An Atlanta to Panama City Beach road trip provides the perfect opportunity to relax and soak up some rays. Take a sip of your Atlanta-bottled Coca-Cola and consider the possibilities of seeing amazing state parks along the way where you can go hiking, learn about the area’s history, and more. You may even want to consider starting your trip by traveling north to visit the Great Smoky Mountains, but this will add a minimum of 164 miles to your journey. There are many fantastic places to stop and look at along the way, especially if you enjoy military history. You will also not find a shortage of great cities, like Columbus, Dothan, and Marianna, Georgia, with beautiful campgrounds where you can spend the night.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is about three hours north of Atlanta. You can choose to head to the Oconaluftee entrance to explore the North Carolina side of this park or the Sugarland entrance to explore the Tennessee side. If you choose the Oconaluftee entrance, stop at the Pioneer Museum to learn how this Native American tribe established its community and grew crops. You will also be close to Mingus Mill, which workers constructed in 1886, and you can see the process of turning corn into cornmeal. If you choose the Sugarland entrance, there are many nearby hiking opportunities, including seeing waterfalls. Coconut Falls and Grotto Falls are a couple of great options. You may also want to drive along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail to see some of this park’s stunning scenery. You will find many things to do in this park, including fishing and biking.
Sweetwater Creek State Park
Sweetwater Creek State Park is a great place to stop on an Atlanta to Panama City Beach road trip since it is just 15 miles outside of Atlanta. You will love fishing on the 215-acre lake from a boat or from this park’s two fishing piers. It is also a fantastic place to go hiking. Follow the trails leading across the rugged hills and rocky outcroppings to reach the New Manchester Mill destroyed during the Civil War. Find a quiet spot and relax by the creek to watch for wildlife. The creek is also a fantastic place to paddle a canoe or kayak as you enjoy seeing fields of wildflowers in the spring or the trees dressed in their glorious autumn colors in the fall.
Panola Mountain State Park
Panola Mountain State Park near Stockbridge, Georgia, is part of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. This park features a 100-acre granite monadnock that has never been mined. You can accompany park rangers on a guided walk of this area to understand its unique ecosystem. Elsewhere in this park, enjoy cycling or hiking on trails across the rolling landscape past two fishing lakes and grassy meadows. The two lakes make great places to go fishing. You will also want to join park rangers as they use guide ropes to let you climb 60 feet up a tree to get a bird’s-eye view. On select nights, you can even sleep in a tree. Channel your inner Robin Hood at the archery range, where you will often find rangers teaching classes.
Chattahoochee Bend State Park
You may feel like an early explorer when you stop at Chattahoochee Bend State Park near Newman, Georgia. Launch your kayak to enjoy paddling on the river. Over 12 miles of trails allow you to explore along the river and in the hills. If you are new to hiking or kayaking, consider going with a park ranger on a hike-and-kayak program. The adventure starts with a 5.5-mile hike where you will learn more about the landscape and the animals that live in this park. Then, join the ranger for a kayaking adventure. You can bring your kayak or rent one of their single or double kayaks or a canoe. Photographers will not want to miss the chance to capture wildlife from the viewing platform. Rent a bike at the park’s headquarters to explore this park’s fantastic paved roads and over 3 miles of cycling trails.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park
If you love hiking, then make sure to stop at F.D. Roosevelt State Park near Pine Mountain, Georgia, on your road trip from Atlanta to Panama City Beach. This park offers 42 miles of hiking trails, including the fabulous Pine Mountain Trail, which runs along the bluffs and creeks. You can also go biking and horseback riding at this park, which is the largest in the state. In the summer, take a dip in the swimming pool. You are sure to love the dark skies at night at F.D. Roosevelt State Park.
Providence Canyon State Park
Often referred to as Georgia's Little Grand Canyon, Providence Canyon State Park near Lumpkin, Georgia, makes a great stop on your Atlanta to Panama City Beach RV road trip. The five canyons at this state park require different hiking abilities, so everyone is sure to find the perfect one for them to explore. Many people choose this location to go climbing. While nature creates most canyons, the ones here were created by poor farming practices during the early 1800s. Stop at the museum to learn more.
World of Coca-Cola
Before leaving on your Atlanta to Panama City Beach road trip, stop at the World of Coca-Cola. You can see an odd assortment of artifacts, including an 1896 urn containing Coke, 1976 Coke flood pants, and more at this museum that features Coke products from around the world. See the vault where the secret formula is stored. Head to the bottle works area to see how Coke is bottled. Taste Coke products from around the world at this Atlanta attraction.
The National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center
Watch a 3D movie on the big screen highlighting different war themes at the National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center at Columbus, Georgia. See if you have what it takes to be a U.S. soldier on a Non-Combative Evacuation Operation (NEO) mission at the stimulator. Stroll through the interactive exhibits, including motion-activated videos, and see over 1,800 artifacts from various wars. Pay respects to the men who have served at 42 military monuments.
National Civil War Naval Museum
See the largest surviving Confederate wartime vessel and several other naval vessels by stopping at the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Georgia. See several other artifacts, including the largest collection of naval flags from this period in history, by strolling through this waterfront museum. This facility puts on spectacular special events, so be sure to check their calendar.
Man in the Sea Museum
See diving-related exhibits dating back 1,500 years at the Man in the Sea Museum in Panama City Beach. You can also see many more modern exhibits, like the SEALAB, showcasing what people have learned about the Earth through diving.
Thrill-seekers may want to spend all day playing at Race City in Panama City Beach. Ride the thrill rides, like the paratrooper, various roller coasters, and the Ferris wheel. Then, challenge someone to a fun game of indoor blacklight golf. The 40-foot-tall go-kart track is an awesome place to ride. You will also want to play a wide assortment of arcade games.
While you will have to go about one hour west off your route to reach Plains, Georgia, you will find many outstanding things to do there, including visiting the Jimmy Carter Historic Site. Campgrounds in Plains include Country Vista Campground and Andersonville RV Park. You can also find great Georgia campgrounds in many nearby locations. Plains RV dump station options are available at Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia Veterans State Park, and other Georgia locations.
Located in the heart of the Wiregrass region, there are many great campgrounds in Eufaula, Alabama. Many consider Lakepoint State Park the world's bass capital, and it is a fantastic place to go camping. You may also want to camp at Lake Eufaula Campgrounds, which is a terrific place to go canoeing. Find Eufaula RV dump stations at Hardridge Creek Campground, Blue Springs State Park, and other Alabama locations.
Once you cross the Alabama-Florida state line, one of the first communities you will come to is Marianna, Florida. Florida Caverns RV Resort at Merritt’s Mill Pond and Alliance Hill RV Resort make great Marianna campground choices. You can find Marianna dump stations at Torreya State Park, Falling Waters State Park, and other nearby Florida locations.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from Atlanta to Panama City Beach, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in Atlanta or Panama City Beach.