Chattanooga: Come for the aquarium, stay for the swimming holes

Just a couple of hours north of Atlanta are ‘blue holes’ at the North Chickamauga Creek Gorge

A trip up Interstate 75 to Chattanooga can be fun for the whole family.

You likely already know about Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls and the Tennessee Aquarium, but Chattanooga has a few hidden gems less than half an hour from downtown.

» Drive an hour north of Atlanta and spend the day exploring this charming area

The North Chick Blue Hole in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, is a great place for swimming, sunbathing and taking envy-inducing photos for your Instagram.

"North Chickamauga Creek comes tumbling down the side of Walden's Ridge, carving out a steep gorge between Signal and Mowbray mountains, and creating a series of deep, welcoming pools along the way," Visit Chattanooga writes on its website.

» Explore downtown Chattanooga for a family weekend getaway

There are actually a series of swimming holes — called blue holes — along the creek. In some places, these clear pools can be more than 10 feet deep.

From the parking lot off Montlake Road, it's an easy hike that begins as an old Jeep road that soon crosses the creek. Roots Rated recommends wearing shoes you won't mind getting wet and muddy. Along the creek are boulders perfect for jumping from or sunbathing on.

On your way back to Atlanta, stop in Rome and explore the area's free and cheap attractions, like the Cave at Rolater Park and the Labyrinth.

» Looking for a cool adventure? Explore caverns just a few hours from Atlanta

» There's a Georgia aquarium 3 hours from Atlanta that costs just $9 to get in

» Three of the '1,000 Places to See Before You Die' are in Georgia