Even a place as pleasant as the Classic City can leave a person wanting a change of pace, but it’s not always easy to make a major getaway. For those who are in Athens over spring break but are ready for a mini-vacation or perhaps a weekend away, the following locations are close enough to be made into day trips and still warranted destinations for any traveler.
Dahlonega: 60 miles from the Arch
Dahlonega is home to the site of one of America’s first gold rushes, and has remained a rustic relic of American history ever since. Its position nestled against the Chattahoochee National Forest means that the terrain, such as Amicalola Falls, is great for hiking, tubing or any manner of outdoor adventure. The less outdoorsy can still enjoy the quaint town square, complete with a plot of land just beside the visitor’s center that is usually outfitted with folk musicians. The local Consolidated Gold Mine is the top tourist spot, but there are eateries, wineries and shops to keep anyone occupied.
Clemson, South Carolina: 77 miles from the Arch
Home to its namesake university, Clemson is another Southern town that highlights both the great outdoors of the Appalachian Mountains and picturesque Southern historicism. Whether you want to find beauty in historic homes and plantations, explore the South Carolina Botanical Gardens, meander through CLemson’s campus, or walk along the Abernathy Waterfront, you’ll be able to fill your time with activity and your stomach with delicious food at one of the many farmers’ markets hosted in the town.
Clayton: 75 miles from the Arch
Clayton, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, brings an edge to outdoor adventuring with its white-water rafting, beautiful campsites and mountain trails. Not to mention the local barbecue restaurants have an edge of their own. Those with a taste for wine and whiskey will enjoy establishments like the Noble Wine Cellar and the Moonrise Distillery, and those with a taste for the other fine things of life will enjoy perusing local galleries of bucolic art.
Greenville, South Carolina: 99 miles from the Arch
Greenville is a favorite among budget travelers for its affordable fun and congenial atmosphere. The Mice on Main, nine mouse statuettes placed along Main Street, guide visitors through the town from park, to restaurant, to landmarks like the waterfall-filled Falls Park on the Reedy. The Swamp Rabbit Trail is another way to explore the city, and the more sedentary can enjoy one of over 300 events a year that are held at the Peace Center, a performing arts center so impressive that it has hosted several Republican presidential debates.