This year’s holiday gatherings might look a little different from in years past, which makes it a great time to try something new. Whether you’re looking for a remote getaway or a well-known destination that’s taking its Covid precautions seriously, there are plenty of places to go on one or two tanks of gas from Atlanta. Keep reading for ideas on where to take your holidays on the road.

Photo: iStock

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island welcomes resort guests to extended stay discounts for five or longer days, up to 20% off room rates for guests driving in, and even has a distance learning program that will have your kids exploring this barrier island for families travelling with Chrome Books in tow. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, there will be a festive meal in one of the hotels signature restaurants, in addition to menus with holiday-inspired favorites throughout the season. Restaurant reservations are available exclusively for resort guests on Nov. 25 & 26 and Dec. 24, 25, & 31. Additionally, you’ll find Gingerbread House build workshops, a Holiday Pirate Hunt, Santa Storybook Teas and photos, as well as the option to arrange private gatherings for your family.

Rates vary based on room selections and dates, but check here for specials.

4750 Amelia Island Pkwy.
Amelia Island, FL

Sea Island

If you don’t mind a splurge, you can guarantee a splendid rendition of all holiday traditions at Sea Island. Kicking things off for Thanksgiving is a Turkey Tie-Dye Wednesday afternoon, followed by a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot Family Fun Run Thursday morning and a special service in The Cloister Chapel. Then, traditional Thanksgiving feasts are offered across the resort, ranging from casual to formal and traditional to new-and-exciting. For Christmas, you can expect storytime with Santa’s elves, a lifesize Gingerbread Cottage, Reindeer Dash fun run, Reindog Parade, and a special The Polar Express Extravaganza at Sea Island Kids—a night of festive fun, including a trip down Sea Island Drive in search of Christmas lights. While the kids are in great hands, adults can take a culinary 6-course trip in The Cloister Wine Cellar, the perfect setting as dinner is paired with some of our favorite holiday wines. Additional programming for both Thanksgiving and Christmas are detailed here.

Prices vary based on accomodation selections, which range from rooms at The Lodge or The Cloister to home rentals. View specials here, and accomodation descriptions here.

100 Cloister Drive
Sea Island, GA

Photo: iStock

Palmetto Bluff

Head to the Lowcountry for a catalogue of holiday offerings at Montage Palmetto Bluff, starting with an annual Turkey Trot, Tree Lighting with a holiday band, carolers, food trucks, and shopping, Cocktails and Carols around the resort’s backyard fire pit on Friday and Saturday evenings from Dec. 6-21, and Saturdays with Santa for children, with breakfast on Dec. 7, 14 and 21. You’ll also find the Moreland Holiday Gathering on Christmas Eve, with an oyster roast, Lowcountry boil, and gorgeous waterfront views from the five-story tree house.

Prices vary based on dates of travel and accommodation selections, but you can learn more here.

477 Mount Pelia Rd.
Bluffton, SC

Callaway Gardens

For a megawatt holiday experience, head to Callaway Gardens, where Fantasy in Lights—a National Geographic’s Top 10 Light Displays in the world event—will dazzle, along with a Christmas Village and an illuminated forest. Fantasy in Lights begins on Nov. 20, so guests staying at Callaway during Thanksgiving will get a jump start on the holidays with early access to the 2,500 acres of the resort’s stunning natural landscape.

Prices vary, but explore overnight packages and specials here.

17800 US Hwy. 27
Pine Mountain, GA

Photo: Kasumi Loffler via Pexels

Barnsley Resort

Always wanted to spend the holidays at an English country home at the turn of the 20th century but not quite ready to commit to an international flight? Head to Barnsley, where the resort’s pedestrian-friendly, English-inspired village with an Inn and cottages will have you feeling like you just declared a victory over jet lag. Thanksgiving activities include live music, the lighting of the ruins, a traditional feast, and a family fun day with and introduction to archery, farm animal feedings, painting, crafting, and gingerbread house building. Christmas brings with it lights, feasting, and more fun.

Rates vary, check here for details, including discounts on 3 or more night stays.

597 Barnsley Gardens Rd.
Adairsville, GA

The Dillard House

Explore the North Georgia mountains from a base camp at The Dillard House, which offers rooms that are within walking distance to the restaurant, stables, and pond. Meals at Dillard House are served family-style, and are made from scratch. During the days, go for a hike, cast a line, or take a horse ride through some of the prettiest mountains in Georgia.

Check here for rates and availability.

768 Franklin St.
Dillard, GA

—Shelley Massey


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