Beaches fewer than 5 hours from Atlanta
Ossabaw Island, 248 miles: Ossabaw’s unspoiled land claims title as Georgia’s third largest barrier island. Thirteen miles of undeveloped seashore beckon visitors. This beauty is accessible only by a 20-minute boat ride from Savannah.
Edisto Island, South Carolina, 287 miles: Touted as one of the few uncommercialized family beaches remaining, the dolphins and turtles realize this. Watch wildlife, ride your bike, enjoy a boat tour or take a swing at The Plantation Course at Edisto.
South Walton, Florida, 302 miles: 16 beaches dot this coastal area, with something for everyone. Take in the art festivals at Seaside or the unique dune lake ecosystem. Explore the “French Quarter” feel of Rosemary Beach or the hippie kitsch of Grayton Beach; the adventure is unending.
Charleston, South Carolina, 308 miles: Five distinct beach towns make up the city of Charleston. You’ll find a barrier island at Kiawah Island and a family friendly haven at Isle of Palms. Folly Beach calls to the eclectic crowd, with surfers and a laidback vibe. Seabrook is residential, and Sullivan’s Island sits at the mouth of the harbor.
Beaches fewer than 6 hours from Atlanta
Perdido Key, Florida, 334 miles: Named one of the 10 most beautiful cities in the U.S. by the Culture Trip, this island offers white sandy seashore, state park and recreation areas, golf, family friendly attractions and more.
Jacksonville, Florida, 346 miles: Take on 22 miles of white sandy beaches at Jacksonville, Neptune and Atlantic beaches. Opportunities abound for relaxing, waterplay, nightlife and more. For families, try Shipwreck Island Waterpark; nature lovers will appreciate the Intracoastal Eco-Tour.
Gulf Shores, Alabama, 354 miles: Gulf Shores and Orange Beach combine for 32 miles of white sandy shoreline. Quartz from the Appalachian Mountains collects along the coast, creating a sand soft to the touch. Choose between busy beaches near the town center or quieter ones to the west.
Beachers fewer than 7 hours from Atlanta
Wilmington, North Carolina, 416 miles: Three island beaches call this historic Southern city home. Carolina Beach calls to families, with events and a festive boardwalk. Kure Beach offers a relaxed pace with a fishing pier and aquarium. Watersports and an active social scene set the tone at Wrightsville Beach.
Daytona Beach, Florida, 433 miles: Called the Original American Beach, it’s more than college kids on spring break. Visit the Boardwalk & Pier, or cool off while sauntering through the Cici and Hyatt Brown Museum of Art. Find zip lining, golf and Florida’s tallest lighthouse. No wonder this city was chosen as one of Florida’s best attractions.
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, 450 miles: Thirteen miles of beach regularly attract surfers, offering some of the best wave action on the Eastern Seaboard. Just like Daytona, visitors can drive on the beach for a unique way to explore. No worries, there are traffic-free zones for families. Additional maritime fun includes kayaking, boating, river cruises and more.