Distance from Atlanta: 69 miles; 1 hour, 10 minutes
Repping the Georgia side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Barnsley offers a golfing/gardening escape in the form of a championship course designed by acclaimed greens designer, Jim Fazio, around a super lush heirloom garden. Take a rented mountain bike or cruiser through the 12 miles of trails, then play paintball on Wolf Cave Mountain Field, where you can crouch and hide behind giant pieces of wood. Aside from the mountain views and Chattahoochee River tours to see waterfalls, you can visit one of several local wineries to stay chill, or ask for the resorts exclusive brew made by Atlanta's own Monday Night Brewing: the Englishman’s ESB (Extra Special Bitters).
Distance from Atlanta: 208 miles; 3 hours, 15 minutes
There are worse ways to stay cool than drinking liberal amounts of quality local craft and microbrewed beers in the mountains. The climate is cool, with the highest temperature averaging only 85 in July (as opposed to 90 in Atlanta), and whether it’s the dine-in movie theater at Asheville Brewing Company, live weekend music at Highland Brewing Company, or the taproom at Wicked Weed, you’ll have plenty of cold liquids to fight off any unexpected heatwave. Every third Friday through September there’s a free concert called “Downtown After 5,” and there are hundreds of waterfalls to find (as well as a 60ft natural waterslide made of rock), whitewater rafting expeditions, and a 6,000ft peak called Mt. Mitchell, where you can stand and say something cool like “Neat!” on the highest elevation east of the Mississippi.