From History to Hospitality: Your DC to Atlanta Road Trip Guide

Advisor - Henley Vazquez
Curated By

Henley Vazquez

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  • Virginia

  • Washington DC

  • Tennessee

  • Atlanta

  • Georgia

  • USA

  • Road Trip Travel

  • Domestic Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Road Trip

  • Nature Escape

  • History & Heritage

Sun setting over the green tree mountain.
Curator’s statement

With international travel hassles and overcrowded destinations, I've been leaning more towards domestic adventures lately. Especially with kids in tow and an ever busy work life, road trips have become my go-to. They check all the boxes – budget-friendly, great for making family memories and flexible enough for last-minute plans.

Recently, I hit the open road with my kids, driving from DC to Atlanta. With fall just around the corner, it felt like the perfect time to head south and soak in the southern charm. The trip was a mix of culture, learning and laid-back nature escapes.

The Fora Difference

Book with Henley to access exclusive perks and experiences on your trip.

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Killer perks

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Insider knowledge

Expert advice from people who’ve actually been there

Where to stay

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Blackberry Mountain

A lodge in the mountains of Tennessee that infuses wellness, outdoor adventure, hospitality and culinary into one unique stay.

Primland Resort, Auberge Resorts Collection

At the heart of pristine wilderness of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this 12,000-acre mountain estate is home to a regal lodge hotel.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Eaton DC

A welcoming and inclusive cultural hub for kindred spirits, locals and travelers alike, to convene, collaborate and create within a contemporary space.

Fora Perks
  • $25 food / beverage credit.

  • Guaranteed 1pm check out.

  • Upgrade whenever possible.

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Exploring the Nation’s Capital

Washington DC Mall monument with crowds of people on a sunny day

To start our adventure, we're kicking things off in none other than the nation's capital, Washington DC. It's a great place to begin because it's served by three major international airports: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), and Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI). No matter where you're coming from, DC is pretty easy to get to, and it's a cool city that lets you dive headfirst into our country's history.

DC is a treasure trove for history enthusiasts, with 74 museums to explore, including the renowned Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art. What makes it even better? Many of these cultural gems come with no admission fees. The city is also adorned with iconic monuments that pay tribute to past leaders and pivotal moments in American history.

But the history tour doesn't have to end there. If you're looking for a place to spend the night, consider Eaton DC, a conveniently located creative hub and hotel in Downtown DC that fosters a strong sense of community and celebrates culture. And when it's time to satisfy your taste buds, be sure not to miss Immigrant Food, where every meal is inspired by the contributions of immigrants who've played a vital role in shaping America's history. DC's reputation as the 'Culture Capital' is well-deserved!

Presidential Estates in Charlottesville

UVA university campus with blue skies.

Once you've had your city fix, it's time to hit the road and head down to Charlottesville, Virginia. This place has its own dose of history and heritage, earning the title "birthplace of presidents." Charlottesville has seen its share of American history, from the Revolutionary days to the Civil War and Civil Rights movements.

In Charlottesville, you can explore the former estates of past presidents and Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe. But it's not all about history here – Charlottesville is a charming town with a lively vibe, thanks to the University of Virginia. You'll find local businesses and some die-hard Cavalier fans adding to the mix.

This quaint, historic town is the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll through its neighborhoods, stretch your legs, enjoy some tasty local grub and soak up a bit of our nation's story before we head into the mountains.

Mountain Escapes in Southern VA

Blue ridge mountains in southern virginia

Being from Virginia, it was fun to head back home to show my kids just how gorgeous southern Virginia can be. With its tranquil mountains, rushing whitewater rivers and picturesque byways winding through lush countryside, this region offers an endless playground for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking relaxation in the great outdoors. Plus, it's known for its wineries and farm-to-table dining that conveniently dot your road trip route.

Our pitstop in this stunning region led us to Primland, a member of the Auberge Resorts Collection, tucked away amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains. This resort spans across a 12,000-acre mountain estate – meaning you don't even have to step off the property to soak in the natural beauty. From cozy lodges to rustic log cabins and treehouses perched above the Dan River Gorge, Primland Resort offers the ultimate back-to-nature getaway without sacrificing any creature comforts.

And trust me, you almost won't want to leave! There's something here for everyone in the family, whether you're an adrenaline junkie seeking mountain biking adventures or someone craving a serene spa retreat. This stop on our journey is bound to be a memorable one for everyone involved.

More Mountain Luxury at Blackberry Mountain

Waterfalls in the mountains in Tennessee with leaves changing colors.

Now, let's mix things up and head to a different mountain range – Blackberry Mountain in Tennessee. This place is a real gem, sprawling over an impressive 5,200 acres in the Great Smoky Mountains. What sets it apart is its reputation for top-notch hospitality and a deep commitment to preserving the land – 2,800 acres are dedicated to conserving the beauty of the Smokies!

This family-friendly retreat offers jaw-dropping views within a private national park setting, making it the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. There's something here for everyone, too. Kids can dive into camps with fun activities like clay shooting, berry picking, muffin baking and even get the chance to meet bear families (supervised, of course!). For the adults, there are workout classes, outdoor adventures and rejuvenating spa treatments. And for the whole family, you can savor delicious, wholesome meals at their on-site restaurant, Three Sisters.

It might lean towards being a bit of a splurge (I balanced this out by opting for more budget-savvy options on other legs of the trip), but Blackberry Mountain promises relaxation, tasteful elegance and a warm welcome for families. The unforgettable nature experience and unsurpassed hospitality here make it an investment that's truly worth it.

Last Stop: Atlanta

City skyline of Atlanta, Georgia

As we wrap up our southern journey, let's head a bit further south to our final stop: Atlanta. This city is renowned for its rich history, creative energy and a packed calendar of events. If you're thinking about exploring more of Atlanta, the Kimpton Shane Hotel is a great choice. This new boutique hotel is located right in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, boasting intriguing architecture, excellent amenities and convenient proximity to all that Atlanta has to offer.

Atlanta is also home to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), connecting you to over 150 domestic and 78 international destinations. While it can get a bit busy, rest assured that no matter where you're coming from, you can easily catch your next flight from here – whether it's back home or to your next adventure.