We enjoy a trip to Georgia’s capital city on occasion but we are always looking for small towns near Atlanta. Some of them give you the same “big city” amenities such as great restaurants. You will also find things to do you can’t find in the city. Here’s our picks for great small towns near Atlanta to add to your list.


We may be a bit biased about Adairsville since we live here. While it is the smallest town near Atlanta on the list, it has more to do than you realize. It’s an easy hour drive on I-75 north to this cute little town.

Stop by the Adairsville Depot History Museum to learn more about the town. Did you know that Pretty Boy Floyd was born there? The town is on the path of the Great Locomotive Chase of the Civil War. Every October a The Great Locomotive Chase is held in Adairsville.

The historic downtown has great shops. Head across the tracks and visit the Peacock Junction Antique Mall. You can find almost anything here from antique glassware to vintage furniture.


Calhoun is just a few minutes north of Adairsville. Buc-ee’s, a massive convenience store with everything is located just one exit up. Grab a picnic lunch (we recommend the brisket sandwich) and take the bypass to Ga. 53 and hang a right. Behind the Calhoun Seventh-day Adventist Church, you will find the Rock Garden. These miniature rock structures include a replica of the Notre Dame Cathedral and some other amazing designs along with a beautiful garden. A lighting ceremony is held each fall. Admission is free. 

Once you leave the Rock Garden, head north on Ga. 53 and stroll through the beautiful downtown area. A red caboose is adjacent to the 1854 train depot and is the perfect spot for a selfie. Gordon County has a plethora of activities for all ages. Learn more about them and the county’s lodging options here


Canton is a new discovery for us but what a find. We haven’t explored all of this charming town near Atlanta yet, but we will be soon.

Canton has great dining choices. We recently ate at Dive Southern Coastal Kitchen. The seafood choices are great but don’t skip dessert! I hope they have banana pudding the next time we are there.

Community Burger has more than burgers. We tried the deviled eggs and dived into some great sides. Be sure to try the chipotle-ranch Brussels sprouts if you go.

Community Burger is located in the Mill on Etowah, a great place for shopping and family fun. It’s worth the drive from Atlanta! We didn’t try any of their shakes or desserts which gives us a reason to go back again. The restaurant is located in the Mill on Etowah,which is a great place to shop and hang out on a weekend.

Downtown Canton is adorable. We have walked through it a couple of times and look forward to learning more about the area. The city recently updated its website to show all of the fun things to do here.


We passed by the Forsyth exit on our way to Macon many times. I am so glad we finally stopped by and explored this charming town.

I love a downtown with great shops and restaurants. You can find just about every type of food you could want within walking distance of the beautiful courthouse. Visit on a weekend and dine at Her Majesty Kitchen. You won’t be disappointed.

History lovers will enjoy a trip to the Historic Brick Train Depot that houses the Monroe County Museum. Year ago, Forsyth residents could take the train to Atlanta, shop, and return home all in one day. You can also learn more about Tift College, a female college that was open from 1849 to 1987.


Gainesville is located northeast of Atlanta, about an hour away. Its most well-known outdoor attraction is Lake Lanier, which has a long list of activities on and off the water. We discovered the Atlanta Botanical Gardens’ Gainesville location while passing through there a few years ago. The exhibits have changed since then but if you follow us on social media, you know this cute panda is a favorite. 

You can also learn more about Northeast Georgia by touring some of the many historical sites. The area also has several places to stay for a weekend getaway.  We are looking forward to attending our first lighting of the chicken this year.


There are plenty of outdoor festivals in the fall in Jasper and Pickens County beginning with JeepFest in September and the subsequent  Heritage Days, Tate Day and the Georgia Marble Festival. Located just an hour north of Atlanta, the area is also known for its wineries and mountain views. But make sure to set aside some time to stroll through Jasper’s beautiful downtown. There you will find the Old Pickens County Jail and Kirby-Quinton Cabin. The tour schedule varies but they are a great place for selfies. 

You find plenty of places to stay for a North Georgia mountain getaway including resorts, hotels and a bed and breakfast. Amicalola Falls State Park is just a short drive away and has a lodge, cottages and campsites. It’s worth the drive to see the breathtaking waterfall there. 


Rome is my hometown and one of the most beautiful small towns near Atlanta. From walking trails with gorgeous riverside scenery to historic sites, this sweet hamlet 60 miles north of Atlanta is packed with things to do.

We always recommend visitors start at the Rome Area History Center. The downtown museum gives visitors a tour of life in this Northwest Georgia city from its founding until today.

You could spend all day at Berry College, the world’s largest college campus. Founder Martha Berry was friends with many celebrities of her time, including Henry Ford. A group is buildings is named after him.

You can read more about exploring Rome’s history here.


Take a 30-minute scenic drive north from Rome and you will find Summerville. I lived just 30 miles south of Summerville for years but never visited James H. “Sloppy” Floyd State Park. I have become a regular visitor. You can take paddle boats out on the lake, hike to the old marble mine or just fish off the pier. The park also has cabins and campgrounds. 

Summerville has an adorable downtown area. You can see a restored train turntable at J. R. “Dick” Dowdy Park.

Be sure to add Paradise Gardens to your itinerary. You won’t regret it. 

Georgia has beautiful small towns throughout the state and we have been privileged to visit many of them. We still have a long list we hope to get to in the next few years. What are some of your favorite Georgia towns?  

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