5 Beaches Worth the Drive for Atlantans

Who doesn't want to hear the ocean waves roar, breathe the salty air or dip their toes in the cool water as the sun lights up the cobalt-blue skies? For many Atlantans, packing up the car with food for an army, boogie boards and bicycles is an annual event. And it's no wonder as Atlanta is fortuitously located driving distance to beaches on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Here are 5 popular beaches, including two SC beaches, within a 6-hour drive.

Hilton Head Island, SC

Hilton Head Island, located about 30 miles northeast of Savannah is one of the closest beaches to Atlanta. Shaped like a shoe, it is divided into several master planned plantations (or neighborhoods). The community of 40,000 residents offers amenities of a good size town with restaurants and shopping, as well as big-name resorts such as Westin, Marriott and Sonesta. However, tall structures, neon signs and billboards are prohibited.

A key feature is the 60 miles of tree-shaded bicycle trails around the island. Additionally, low tide offers a wide expanse of flat beach for biking along the shore. For spectacular sunset views, head to the Harbour Town Lighthouse at the far end of Sea Pines Plantation ($6 entrance fee for non-registered guests). As dusk settles, walk around the adjacent marina area, get a scoop of ice cream and listen to a nightly summer concert.

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