Chattanooga: Best Short Getaway From The Hustle Atlanta
January 1, 1970
by Emily Khong
Thinking of getting yourself a perfect short getaway from the hustle and bustle city? And you only have a day or two, try Chattanooga!
United States is too huge to be explored! If you’re from Atlanta, or places around Atlanta, lucky you. Chattanooga is just a 2-hours drive north from Atlanta. With its breathtaking landscape and laid-back lifestyle, there is no reason for you to say no. You might be thinking, “What do they even have there?” Here are the answers to your question, a little about what you could do for this short road trip for the coming weekend! Be amazed!
One of the most amazing cave waterfalls in the world, Ruby Falls. It is discovered by Mr. Lambert and it’s named after his wife, Ruby. This place is magically blessed by an active waterfall that is still running in a cave! There are plenty of activites could be done at Ruby Falls. If you’re going for the waterfalls, join the Cave Tour. Paying just a $20 ticket (adult) brings you a photoshoot (pay to get the photo. sadly, things work that way), a tour around the limestone cave (get a shoot for your favorite limestone potato chips!), and most importantly, the amazing waterfall. It brings you far underground with an elevator and, your journey starts. Stay closely with the guide to get the best experience of all the historical limestone sculptures. Chandelier, potato chips, mushroom, you name it. Be considerate and give way to other tour groups along the way as some of the trails are narrow! After a mere 45 minutes walk, you could definitely hear the sound of the majestic waterfall. They would then generate a 10-minutes-long lighting for you to get a good photo, JUST LIKE THAT… My suggestion for you? Grab your camera, and be quick! Spend a minute or two for some good photoshoots, and the rest of the time? Stare at this astonishing view and be in awe – Ruby Falls.
After getting out of the cave, head to the counter to get your photo which you took earlier before the tour starts. If you don’t bother getting it, exit the souvenir store and head up the stairs to this breathtaking view. Totally worth it.
TIPS: The whole tour takes about an hour or two, walking in a cave. Unless you want to test how durable your heels are, I suggest you NOT TO GO WITH HEELS. Also, you will be warned not to touch all the limestone unless you’re permitted to. Touching it halt the grow of limestone, which is definitely not a nice thing to do (watch your toddler! or yourself). It gets a little windy and chilly inside too, thanks to the waterfall. So grab a jacket and reach there with your camera ready for that perfect lighting show!
Located in downtown Chattanooga, this aquarium is one of the top aquariums in the country, and it is HUGE. Agreed by local from Atlanta, this place is a better aquarium than the one in Atlanta – Georgia Aquarium. Paying $30 per person, you will get access to 2 main sections – River Journey and Ocean Journey (mind that my photo is just River Journey building, cross the road for its neighbor – Ocean Journey). Unlike the outside, it has stunning architecture on the inside. It has a multi-level walkway for you to enjoy thousands of species from incredibly huge, a few-stories-tall aquarium. Besides, special features like jellyfish themed rooms, devices to show the sounds of the animal are mesmerizing. There are plenty of touch tanks including stingrays, sturgeons, which is very enjoyable for both kids and adults. It has butterfly sanctuary, penguin and otter It operates IMAX too for your enjoyment. Home to almost 1000 species, this is the perfect educational activity for families. The whole tour around both River Journey and Ocean Journey takes about 2 hours or so.
Got this perfect “underwater” shoots from Ocean Journey.
TIPS: A little bonus! There is plenty of space to play around outside all the aquarium buildings themselves. There are concrete open area and running brick rivers. Located in downtown Chattanooga, restaurants are just walking distance from the aquarium. Or on the other side, a mere 15 minutes walk will get you to the Walnut Bridge (the Chattanooga’s signature)!
Lookout Mountain, Rock City
Shout out to my favorite part – the Rock City! No one came out bored. The rate on google search is 100% legit. Rock City, as clear as it sounds, it is a place full of rocks. To be precise, formed with rocks; built with rocks. Walk around to enjoy the natural rock formations and sculpture with just $20 per person. To get up to the lookout at the top, you will definitely need some walking through the stone bridges and walkways. The walking trails are well maintained and surprisingly clean (despite a number of visitors they have occupied over the time). If you enjoy getting lost in a labyrinth of rock pathway and get taken away by the stunning view, this is totally for you! Walk at your own pace to indulge yourself in this rocks garden and several minor caves. It requires squeezing through narrow rocks,
Going through the rainbow hall,
Crossing the swinging bridge,
Getting in awe with this natural rocks formation,
and bam! You reach the top!
Stand right there and you would have 7 states captures in your eyes, with flags posted behind you. How amazing is that?
Also, there are restaurants up at the top to feed your empty stomach, or for you to grab a quick bite and coffee while basking in all the beauty.
Along the way back, there will be a fairy tales cavern to feed the young soul. Be prepared to see your youth being relived and recreated with the gnomes.
There are so much to see there, it will keep your toddler (or even you) excited along the way. Definitely worth the admission price.
TIPS: The whole thing takes about 2 hours up to 4 hours (if you’re like me, taking too many photos. I took nearly 500 photos there, ain’t joking!) Get ready some extra batteries or memory cards, and be in awe with this amazing rock city! The trails are tiled and paved, a hiking shoe is not necessary but a flip-flop might be a problem. Wear sneakers for a better experience. Also, take the red trail up and yellow trail down, the blue is a shortcut. Don’t get too lazy! Oh, good news for dog owners – this garden is dog-friendly!
The Chattanooga’s signature – Walnut Bridge. Head over there when the sun is setting, if you have a thing with beautiful cotton candy sky. The best thing of all, it’s free. It is pretty near to Tennesee aquarium, which could be arrived by 15 minutes walking. Built in 1890, this historic bridge has now turned into a pedestrian bridge, connecting to park and museums. If you’re coming from the aquarium, cross the bridge to get access to Coolidge Park on the other side. Vice versa. Or, stay there to enjoy the magical sun setting moment with your loved ones.
Spot that little aquarium on the left!
TIPS: If you don’t prefer walking from the aquarium, park by the roadside and walk all the way up to the entrance of the bridge. There are people exercising and cycling along the bridge. Hence, mind your lane! Stay off the middle lane if you are stunned by the revitalizing view.
Reinvigorate yourself from that busy Atlanta with these natural wonders! What you need is just a 2-hours drive north to this paradise, Chattanooga. There’s no reason to say no to Chattanooga weekend gateway now!