Day trips are the perfect summer escape––the weather in the Atlanta region is predictable and the multiple highways the perfect paths to grand getaways. There is no need to pack a steamer trunk or gather your passport. Just jump into your car like a normal day, but if you plan well, the day will be anything but normal.

Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary
712 LG Griffin Road
Locust Grove, GA 30248
(770) 957-0888

For those who may want an exotic adventure for a remarkable day trip, head to the local non-profit Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary. Entrance to the sancturary is free, so pack up a picnic and utilize the picnic area. Then visit the local stars, an unlikely group of animal pals that include a lion, a tiger and a bear (Oh, my) living in perfect harmony. They have been featured on ABC News, National Geographic and more. Over 1,500 other exotic, domestic and wildlife other animals also call this their home. Many call Noah’s Ark home after coming from abuse and neglect. While at Noah’s Ark they live out their lives as VIPs–everything here is all about the animals.You will likely find your favorite animal here and you can also sponsor one with the  Animal Registry. It allows for gifts, which help aid in the care for the animals. Most who visit here come back repeatedly, and either volunteer and/or aid with sponsorship or donations after falling in love with the Noah’s Ark Sanctuary.

Barnsley Gardens Resort
597 Barnsley Gardens Road
Adairsville, GA 30103
(877) 773-2447 

Barnsley Gardens is a day trip into the past, and if gardens or spas are a part of your perfect day trip, you have found the right choice.  The resort’s own Fairy Godmother makes her own magic for visitors and designs refreshing experiences to enhance any trip. A drive to this resort 3,000 acres along the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills is the perfect locale to get lost for the day. There are so many choices and activities to take in. Foodies, spa lovers, romantics, history buffs and sports fanatics will all enjoy this as a perfect day trip. If unwinding is on your schedule, The Spa at Barnsley Garden is a luxurious escape. Be sure to pick up Clent Coker’s book titled “Barnsley Gardens at Woodlands” if you are a history buff or just feel the need to know more after your visit. It may soon be a movie at your local theater.

Georgia Aquarium
225 Baker St. N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30313
(404) 581-4151

The Georgia Aquarium has so many different exhibits, it will be hard to decide which to do first. First explore the aquarium exhibits, then options for animal interactions like Dolphin Encounter. If you would like a little fur on your aquatic animals, you can opt for the Otter Encounter. With Behind the Scene Tours, Lecture Series and the Dolphin Tales show and more, this is a day packed with excitement. Tickets come in various prices and packages. If you purchase your tickets from the Official Atlanta CityPass, you can also gain entrance to the World of Coke, the CNN Tour and other locale Atlanta attractions. Don’t miss the new special exhibit “Frogs, A Chorus of Colors!”

The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead Spa Level
3434 Peachtree Road N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30326
(404) 237-2700

For a luxury lover, the perfect escape is a spa lounge with a cup of green tea after receiving a relaxing spa treatment. Save time on the drive and head The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead Spa Level the best luxury day trip inside the perimeter. The tranquility will only be enhanced as your toes are treated like VIPs for the day, when you receive the The Organic Milk and Honey Pedicure. You may have not ventured far on this day trip, but your worries have gone far away. 

The Whistle Stop Cafe 
443 McCracken St.
Juliette, GA 31046
(478) 992-8886

Head south toward Macon to the town of Juliette, Georgia to dine at the cafe that is a movie star––The Whistle Stop Cafe as featured in the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes.” In the movie, no one seems to take Evelyn Couch seriously, but once you taste fried green tomatoes here, you will forever respect the sour green tomatoes of the south. Be sure to sip a coke from a glass bottle, and if you are brave, put some peanuts in the bottle for a truly southern gastronomical experience. Foodies and movie buffs alike should hurry down to this famous place to dine. Be sure to watch the movie before you go to find out about the secret sauce. Restaurants today are all about the secret menus, but this movie took it to a new level! 

Head to CBS Atlanta’s Best Of page for more local tips on family fun, shopping, nightlife, food, culture and more!

Ava Roxanne Stritt is a Freelance Travel Writer and the editor of in Atlanta. She has more than 25,000 Twitter followers and additional others on her numerous platforms. Her areas of expertise include spa travel, luxury resorts, North American travel, Caribbean travel and travel in Britain. Her work can be found at