Summer on a budget? 5 Atlanta 'staycation' ideas

Credit: Provided by Georgia Department of Natural Resources/For the AJC

Credit: Provided by Georgia Department of Natural Resources/For the AJC

It's almost summer and vacation is probably on your mind. At the same time, you may not be able to take the time off or your bank balance may dissuade you from spending too much.

Even if you can't spend too much or take days off, you can still treat yourself to an amazing "staycation" in the Atlanta area. Sometimes simply taking a break from the monotony, doing something relaxing and special, can be just what you need to de-stress and refresh yourself.

Here are five great ideas that don't require you to buy pricey plane tickets or take time off. You can simply go for a relaxing weekend and come back to the office fresh on Monday.

1. Go camping in a yurt

Although it would be amazing to travel all the way to Mongolia to camp in a traditional yurt, that may be a little beyond your budget this summer. Fortunately, you can get a small taste of the experience close to home. There are numerous camping areas throughout Georgia that have yurts ready and available.

In fact, there are even a couple yurt camping areas less than an hour from Atlanta. Stone Mountain Park – about half an hour from the city – has comfortable yurts picturesquely located in a wooded area near a lake. There's also Fort Yargo State Park, which has six yurts available and a great swimming beach to enjoy.

Stone Mountain yurts require at least a two-night reservation, at a rate of $119 per night. Fort Yargo's yurts go for $85 per night.

2. Visit Château Élan Winery

Situated about 45 minutes from Atlanta, Château Élan Winery is the perfect getaway to relax, enjoy some local wine and spend some quality time with your significant other. You can either go for a long fun day of quality wine and great cuisine, or make it an extra special weekend and spend a night or two.

With three different places to stay – including a spa resort, golf villas and an inn – the winery offers a wide variety of packages for different budgets. No matter your budget, a romantic weekend at Château Élan is sure be a memorable one.

3. Spend a fun weekend at Six Flags

If you're planning for the whole family, the kids are sure to love a weekend getaway to Six Flags. With the roller coaster park and White Water (the water park), there's something for the entire family to enjoy. If you want to plan a full weekend experience, you can book a nearby hotel and spend a night or two. Ticket prices vary depending your children's age and when you book. Remember, it's always cheaper to book online before you go! If you think you'll go to Six Flags multiple times throughout the year, it may be more affordable to buy season passes as well.

You can find ticket pricing and information about nearby accommodation on the Six Flags Over Georgia website.

4. Spend a Saturday or Sunday sampling Atlanta's finest cuisine

For the foodies out there, why not take a Saturday or Sunday and sample some of the city's finest cuisine? Maybe there are a few places you've been dying to try, or a spot you've read great reviews for recently. Make it happen, and give your taste buds a treat. Invite a few friends or your significant other and plan your route. If you're looking for some unique and lesser-known spots around the city, here are a few suggestions recommended by area chefs to First We Feast.

El Rey Del Taco (5288 Buford Highway NE, Doraville, 770-986-0032) gets the authentic Mexican dining experience right. With a variety of options, you can pick your favorite meat or sample a few. Looking to try some delicious Vietnamese cuisine? Swing by Quoc Huong Banh Mi Fast Food (5150 Buford Highway NE, Doraville, 770-936-0605). The BBQ pork banh mi is definitely worth a try. And if you want some delicious southern comfort food, pass by The Busy Bee Café (810 M.L.K. Jr. Drive NW, 404-525-9212). According to one local chef, the fried chicken and cornbread dressing will "hit all the right buttons."

5. Luxury weekend in Stone Mountain

Spend a luxurious weekend surrounded by nature just half an hour from the city. The Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort is picturesquely located surrounded by hilly greenery. It's the perfect home-base for a weekend of biking or hiking on some of Georgia's best wooded trails. After a day of enjoying the great outdoors, you'll be warmly greeted by the resort's comfortable rooms and amenities, making it the perfect escape.

Depending on when you go, room rates are generally between $160 and $170 per night.

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