Day Trip to Rome: Kick Up the Autumn Leaves in this Beautiful Northwest Georgia Outdoor Destination

Written By: Sherry F. Popovic

Like its namesake European city, Rome, Georgia is a town full of notable historical sites with walkable downtown and abundant outdoor activities. Located 70 miles northwest of Atlanta, the city was founded in 1834 on a Cherokee Indian settlement. 

Rome’s rich heritage and recreational opportunities make it the perfect escape this fall to take your weekend fun outside and watch the leaves turn. You won’t need a passport or plane ticket to visit our Rome. Just grab your sense of adventure and fall in love with this corner of North Georgia!  

Where to Dig 

History buffs will dig the local heritage on display at the Rome Area History Center. Located on Broad Street, enjoy free admission and tour artifacts reflecting Rome’s history and town progress.Head outside in the crisp fall air with a self-guided historical marker tour or settle into a Roman chariot for a guided downtown tour. Don’t miss snapping a selfie under the Rome Clocktower, Rome’s official symbol! 

Uncover Rome’s Cherokee influence at the Chieftains Museum, site of former Cherokee leader Major Ridge’s historic home linked to the Trail of Tears. To learn more about Major Ridge’s influence, attend one of the museum’s sponsored lectures at Berry College. Founded by Martha Berry in 1902, the campus sits on 27,000 acres and boasts many miles of public trails for walking, biking, and horseback riding.

Where to Roam

Rome is a nature lover’s delight with around 23 miles of trails to explore. Hop on the ECO Greenway, a 16.7-mile multi-use paved trail, perfect for fitness and leisure. Take your workout off the beaten path with the 13-mile network of paved paths known as the TRED (Trails for Recreation and Economic Development) city initiative. Participate in the monthly Walk and Talk series led by local health and history experts to learn more about the trails, town history and health benefits of outdoor recreation.

If treasure hunting is your game, Rome’s got you covered with geocaching. Using a GPS, discover more than 200 caches hidden within 50 miles. Sign up for the Geocaching app and earn rewards when you check in at 14 locations throughout the city.

Prefer to paddle around? The Coosa, Etowah and Oostanaula rivers intersect Rome and wind along parts of the greenway trails. Take advantage of river launches at Dixon Landing at Grizzard Parkand Cedar Creek Park in nearby Cave Spring. After your waterway excursion, stop by pet-friendly Cosmic Dog Outpost, Rome’s best beer garden. Located next to the Heritage Park Boat Ramp, chill with their vast brew selection and live music.

Rome is the perfect place to appreciate the arts outside. Get into a fall groove at the outdoor Imagine Music Festival in mid-September with a four-day lineup of musicians. In October, art lovers can stroll through Myrtle Hill Cemetery and participate in a Progressive Cocktail Party called “Sunset on the Hill” and view the unveiled on-site sculpture at Rome’s historic southern cemetery. 

With so many outdoor options to experience Rome’s culture, visitors will have a hard time deciding what to plan first!

Where to Shop 

Gear up at The Canoe House with clothing, equipment and accessories to prepare you for your next outdoor adventure. Bibliophiles can turn the pages of more than 20,000 new, used, and rare books at Dogwood Books.

Fall into fashion at one of the clothing shops downtown. The Lodge Menswear and Snazzy Rags Boutique sell the latest in designer wear for men and women. Purchase with a purpose at the Do Good Boutique. Offering inspirational clothing and wares, each line represents a way to do good by supporting women-owned businesses, fair trade items, American made products and more. 

Outfit your kids at Smartypants with new and used children’s wear. The Trendy Teachers not only carry teacher supplies but toys for the little ones, too!

Where to Eat  

Top off your morning at The Sharp Sickle, located on Broad Street. Missionary-owned, this coffee shop and bakery offers gluten-free, sugar-free and vegan options for the health-conscious. Need a fast pick-me-up? Scoot over to Scooter’s Coffee drive-thru for a quick caffeine boost.

From surf to turf, recharge from an active morning with lunch in downtown Rome. At Rock N Roll Sushi, sample sushi with an American twist. Whether you choose the Groupie, Punk Rock or Good Times Roll, the flavors are as amplified as an electric guitar. Prefer your meal off the grill? Stop by Blossom Hill BBQ & Burgers for Southern backyard-style dining. Watch college football on the big screen TV outside or enjoy a friendly game of cornhole.   

Happy hour meets history with an old-fashioned at Alibi Prohibition & Combat Market. Reminiscent of an era with scandalous cocktails, Rome’s newest bar will become your favorite place when the autumn sun sets. Just beware of the coppers! 

For dinner, you won’t need to cross the Atlantic for authentic Italian cuisine. For fine dining with a Roman accent, reserve a table at La Scala Mediterranean Bistro. From pasta to protein, traditional Italian family recipes are enhanced with local and seasonal flair. 

Where to Stay  

When your day trip turns into a long weekend, Rome has the overnight options covered with familiar chains and short-term rentals. Stay the night at the Courtyard by Marriott Rome Riverwalk. This hotelhosts live music open to the public every 3rd Friday from April through October. 

To enjoy the comforts of home, reserve an AirBnB lakeside cottage or downtown apartment. Cozy up on your next glamping adventure with Timberline Glamping at nearby Kingston Downs. S’mores kits are available to add on to your campsite!

When in Rome, you can do it all! From leaf peeping to bonfires, head northwest for your next North Georgia getaway. With activities, events and sights filled with autumn inspiration, add Rome to your bucket list of fall places to explore. Plan your trip at 

Sidebar: Pets Welcome to Roam Rome  Kick up the leaves with your four-legged friend! With the Paws Permitted program, dogs are welcome at Rome’s local attractions and patios. Participating businesses display Paws Permitted stickers on their storefronts. Review the list at


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