Looking for some family-friendly vacation trips in the Southeast? We have you covered and will explore some destinations in Georgia and Tennessee.
Georgia Family-Friendly Vacation Trips- Forests & Beaches
As an RV traveler, you may only know Georgia and the region around its capital city Atlanta, as an area to try to avoid during rush hour. When you have to think about navigating a big rig across five lanes of traffic, it’s understandable that this may be all that is on your mind when it comes to the Peach State. Many may be surprised to find that just a short drive to the North or to the Southeast, you will find great family-friendly vacation trips. You just need to make a choice, would your family prefer clear streams and rushing waterfalls or sun and surf? Tough choice for some but the good news is that Georgia has both.
North Georgia is the home of many quant mountain towns that will appeal to the whole family. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains you will even find the starting point of the famed Appalachian Trail! To have easy access to this part of North Georgia, we can recommend a home base near Helen GA at Yonah Mountain Campground.
Helen, GA is a replica Bavarian Alpine town the family will enjoy visiting. What was once a faltering logging town is now a booming tourist attraction. Helen resurrected itself in 1969 by requiring all of the buildings to be designed in the style of a south German mountain village. It features a downtown with specialty shops offering everything from toys, to pottery, to fudge. Thanks to its nod to Bravaria, you can introduce the family to delicious German delicacies like authentic Spätzle or Bratwürst. If you’re in need of a cool off, you can rent tubes and float the Chattahoochee River, which conveniently runs right through town.
Hiking Brasstown Bald
When you are ready to work off all those brats, take a scenic drive that meanders North through the mountains on your way to Brasstown Bald. Brasstown Bald is the highest point in GA at 4,784 feet. At the top of the bald is a visitor’s center with a museum featuring interactive cultural and natural history exhibits. There is also a film screening about the changing seasons at Brasstown Bald. On a clear day, you can see four states (GA, TN, NC, & SC) from the observation deck on the summit!
After all that hiking, fudge, and Spätzle, your family may be ready for the beach and Georgia has plenty to choose from. Georgia has a large coastline thanks to the barrier island and the barrier islands create many beaches that are perfect to explore.
Cumberland Island is managed by the national park system and is a National Seashore. There are no cars allowed and you will need to take a ferry from St. Mary’s Georgia to get there. It requires a little more effort to get there than most journeys to the beach. You will be rewarded for your efforts as you take in sights of the Dungeness ruins surrounded by feral horses. This sprawling mansion was built by Thomas Carnegie and his wife Lucy in 1884 and burned to ruins in the 1950s. After exploring the interior of the island, head out to the beach to look for seashells, sand dollars, and any other treasures that may have washed up on these nearly undisturbed shores.
Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island
Just to the north of Cumberland Island is Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island. The beach is peppered with twisted trees and offers a wonderful location for photographs and for kids to climb the driftwood. Years of erosion due to weather and pounding surf have left the beach scattered with downed trees that have become a near-permanent beach fixture.
To ensure you get enough beach during your Georgia family-friendly vacation, aim your RV to the north and head to River’s End Campground on Tybee Island, GA. Bring your sand buckets and fishing gear as you are walking distance to the beach.
Tennessee Family-Friendly Vacation Trips- Waterfalls & National Parks
The great state of Tennessee offers some amazing family-friendly vacation trips. Tennessee is known for being the home of country music, having delicious southern cuisine, and The Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It is also very accessible. For any families living in a major metro-east of the Mississippi river, the Volunteer State is often within just a day’s drive. Which makes Tennessee an excellent destination when you are searching for that next family-friendly vacation. To get a little taste of what Tennessee has to offer for families, we recommend planning vacation trips to Chattanooga and Pigeon Forge.
Chattanooga sits in the mountains of Southeast Tennessee. The city stretches along and is situated on both banks of the beautiful Tennessee River and offers a ton of family vacation fun.
Chattanooga is Thrilling
The thrill seekers in your family will love the iconic Lookout Mountain Incline railway. The cars climb straight up the mountain at a 72.7% incline! It takes about 15 minutes to get to the top and is one of the steepest train inclines in the world! Once you are at the top, you can enjoy scenic views of Chattanooga and the surrounding area. Just a heads up, going down Lookout- Mountain at a 72.7% incline is even more thrilling than going up!
If you have done much RV traveling on highways in the Southeast, chances are you have seen the red “Come See Ruby Falls” advertisement painted on the side of an old barn. This Chattanooga attraction has been around for 90 years. Ruby Falls is tallest and deepest underground waterfall that the public can visit in the U.S. The falls were accidentally discovered in 1928 and are located deep within Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Just getting underground to see the falls is an adventure in itself. Your guided tour will take you 26-stories down into the cave by elevator and you walk just under one mile on a paved path. The walk is worth it as your whole family will agree they are a breathtaking sight.
For a place to stay while visiting Chattanooga, check out Holiday Travel Park Chattanooga. They are consistently rated as a Good Sam top family campground and will keep you close to all the Chattanooga attractions.
We’ve written about Pigeon Forge before as it is a destination we love when planning a family-friendly vacation. Pigeon Forge is a gateway city to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and there are a ton of great RV camping options to create that home base while you explore.
When staying in Pigeon Forge we like River Plantation RV Resort, Creekside RV Park, and the kids love Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park of Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg
If you are visiting Pigeon Forge, you must visit the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. There is so much to see and do from hiking along streams and waterfalls to exploring early settlements like Cades Cove.
In addition to being a top-notch home base to access America’s most visited National Park, the town itself has attractions for the whole family. We love having family dinners while on vacation and Pigeon Forge helps us kick it up a notch with acrobatic horseback riding and music of Dolly Parton at Dolly’s Stampede Dinner Show. Cowboys and Cowgirls ride real horses, herd buffalo and perform stunts all through dinner. This is a dinner the whole family will love.
As you are planning your next RV trips around the Southeast, make sure to include destinations in Georgia and Tennessee. Both offer unique family-friendly vacation options from gorgeous wooded hikes, to underground caves, to amazing beaches. You should be able to find that perfect vacation that the whole family can enjoy!