When you travel for work and your work never ends, it can be hard to find time for you. So for several summers now, we have squeezed in a quick little three-day vacation to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Georgia, just a short drive from both Nashville and Atlanta.
This post was last updated in March 2023.
Living back in Tennessee for nearly a decade has presented us with no shortage of road trip options; destinations we can reach in a matter of hours. We’re bordered by eight states and can be in so many cool cities—Knoxville, Memphis, Louisville, Lexington, Asheville, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Birmingham, the list goes on—in a matter of hours by car. But when I’m stealing away for an actual vacation, I often want to get out of the cities, and a road trip to Blue Ridge had forever evaded me, despite it being in North Georgia just an hour beyond the Tennessee border.
Reasons we loved Blue Ridge
We loved Blue Ridge for a number of reasons, but what put it up there as a place we’d return to multiples times after this inaugural trip was this.
It’s an easily doable weekend trip from Tennessee
For us, and from the Nashville area, Blue Ridge is just three hours by car; anything longer than that, and I would demand more than a weekend there. It is truly the ideal distance for a three-day getaway, particularly if you are looking for a remote getaway where you don’t see a soul.
It’s extremely pet-friendly
Our dog Ella, our original road trip buddy, gets pissed when we leave her behind—and we’ve been leaving her behind a lot the last few years. So when picking a weekend destination that’s drivable, taking her along was non-negotiable. I quite literally Googled “pet-friendly cabins in Georgia” and found numerous options where we could stay in Ellijay, just 15 minutes south of the town of Blue Ridge. It was perfect for the three of us.
It offers plenty of comfortable vacation rental with space to spread out
SVV and I like to have our own personal space when we travel. A bonus if we can sleep in separate rooms! (Hey, he snores. LOUD.) Our cabin rental in Ellijay not only had three floors, but two bedrooms on separate levels, three bathrooms, a huge living room and a basement level with games. While I never got around to beating SVV in foosball again (I am a foosball master and I’m not afraid to admit it), we did settle in and make the most of that A-frame living room that overlooked the woods and a pond. Best of all? It cost us less than $200 a night.
A trip to Blue Ridge requires very little planning
We booked our cabin three weeks out and our car just three days out and did zero research until we were on the ground. For someone as Type A as me, this spontaneous (in a sense) getaway was liberating.
There’s diversity in activities
I’m glad we picked a cabin near a town, because while the outdoors was our main focus, a tropical storm wound up thwarting our hiking and paddling and waterfall plans. Instead, we spent the afternoons exploring the downtowns in Blue Ridge and Ellijay and the evenings holed up in the cabin.
And while we technically did work a little, doing so in a cozy cabin with no cell service and plenty of cold beer still made those working afternoons feel like a vacation.
There are restaurants and breweries nearby
Even though I like the idea of being somewhere remote like the mountains, I still like not having to (make SVV) cook, and the idea that Ellijay has a charming town square with a coffee shop and a handful of restaurants—plus, Blue Ridge and its three breweries being just 20 minutes up the road—definitely factored into the location we chose.
Blue Ridge has access to the great outdoors
While our cabin was literally surrounded by woodland, we also stayed right on the fringe of Chattahoochee National Forest and were just a half hour’s drive from so many Georgia gems like Fort Mountain State Park, Carters Lake, Amicalola Falls and Blue Ridge Lake. And while it may have been wet out, that didn’t stop us from tracking down lookouts like this one in between breaks in the sky.
Blue Ridge is extremely affordable
The cost of our three-day car rental and two nights in a massive cabin came in under $600. We could have done it cheaper, too, had we opted for a smaller accommodation. Our total for travel and lodging is what many people spend on a single plane ticket, so I consider that a pretty economical weekend trip for a family of 2.5!
Where to Stay in Blue Ridge, Georgia
If you’re planning to travel this spring, due to the nature of people looking for remote getaways during a busy Spring Break period, I would advise getting on your planning at least four to six months out and look at vacation rentals in Blue Ridge or Ellijay.
Preparing for a road trip to Blue Ridge
Because we had planned to paddleboard while there, we opted once again to rent a Nissan truck from our Enterprise neighborhood location in Tullahoma by my parents’ house so we could take our boards along, plus also have space in the cab for our bags. Our old family truck has long seen better days, and renting a truck usually puts us back no more than $200 for a long weekend, which beats putting the miles and wear and tear on my own Jeep.
Pro tip: It’s always more affordable to rent a car from a neighborhood or non-airport locations as you save on airport taxes.
Our road trip to Blue Ridge was just the break we needed before entering our busy season. We loved Blue Ridge and Ellijay so much, we wound up going back a few months later for Christmas with my family, staying in the very same cabin, too. After all, you can’t beat a retreat like this one that’s just over two hours down the road!
For more travel tips to Northern Georgia, check out this comprehensive site on the Blue Ridge Mountains region.