Casino getaways less than a tank of gas from atlanta

The Atlanta metro area may not be known as a gambling mecca, but there are plenty of casino getaway options within a relatively short drive. In fact, you can reach some of the top gaming locales in the Southeast with little more than a tank of gas. Here’s a quick survey of some great spots that are less than four hours from downtown Atlanta.

Just across the Alabama state line, this Creek Indian tribe casino offers all the usual entertainment options – slots & video poker, live table games, a poker room, and a race book. It also features regular concert events in its 1,500-seat theater. Crowd favorites have included Cochran, Lorrie Morgan, Charlie Daniels, and Confederate Railroad.

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The Mountain Top Grill serves up breakfast, lunch, & dinner, while the Buffalo Hills Restaurant opens at noon each day. You’ll find an oil-and-vinegar salad bar at both the Riverwalk Restaurant (breakfast, lunch, & dinner) and the Quick E Escanilla mobile kitchen (serving fast food & snacks 24 hours). The deli-style Fast Track Eatery (open daily for breakfast, lunch, & dinner) features made-to-order sandwiches, salads, and entree items. Finally, the Full House Deli (located inside the high-limit area) serves made-to-order sandwiches, salads, & soups from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., while the Roundabout Ice Cream Parlour offers old-fashioned malts, shakes, & scoops from 11 a.m. Until 11 p.m.

You’ll find numerous lodging options within a few minutes’ drive of the casino, but if you opt for on-site accommodations, Wind Creek Hotel & Casino offers 306 rooms, suites, & villas, starting at $125/night. Other amenities include a spa, exercise facility, outdoor pool, & gift shop. Free valet & self parking are available.

This small casino is dwarfed by the nearby Meriwether National Park & Lake Lanier. Like the other Georgia gambling establishments, it’s limited to electronic bingo & slot machines, but it does offer live simulcast greyhound racing. The track has an interesting history; opened in 1947, it was one of the first in the South and helped popularize “the running of the bricks” long before a certain Spanish town became fashionable.

The Victory Casino Cruise ships out from Barnett Road on Lake Lanier. Boarding begins two hours prior to departure, with three daily cruises – brunch (11 a.m.), lunch (2 p.m.), & dinner (7 p.m.). Each of the three-deck casino vessels operates year-round, rain or shine. Gamblers will find 300+ slot machines, 20 table games, & a sports lounge. Non-gamblers can enjoy dining, dancing, shows, & shopping.

The ship’s Bistro 440 restaurant serves Southern cuisine for lunch & dinner, while the More 440 marketplace offers sandwiches, salads, & snacks. The Sundeck bar & grill is open on the upper deck during afternoon & evening cruises. A full-service bar is located on each deck.

A third option is the SeaStar Harbor Bar & Grille, which serves breakfast (8-10 a.m.) on Sunday brunch cruises. The ship’s main casino level offers fast food options throughout the day.

All forms of alcohol are prohibited when you board the ship, so don’t bother trying to bring beer on the vessel. There’s a large security gate to prevent such shenanigans, & anyone found violating the rules is subject to immediate removal from the property.

Free self parking is available, but hotel accommodations are not offered onsite. Several national motel chains are within a few miles of the dock, however.

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Greyhound racing & electronic gaming are permitted at this facility, but horseplayers should note that there hasn’t been a live card since December 31, 2017. Advocates are hoping to resurrect the sport, but that appears to be bogged down in political wrangling.

Fortunately, the 300+ Vegas-style slot machines & 20+ table games continue to operate 24 hours per day. The poker room hosts daily tournaments, & the onsite restaurant – Sonny’s Kitchen – serves breakfast, lunch, & dinner. The Carrollton Inn is the only local lodging facility, with 25 rooms renting for $50-$70. Pets are welcome, & guests receive a free continental breakfast each morning of their stay.

Cherokee Casino Resort – Robertstown, OK

Most Atlantans know about the Oklahoma casinos just across the state line north of Metropolis, but the Cherokee Nation’s facilities to the southeast often get overlooked. That’s too bad, because the Robertstown venue is barely an hour & forty minutes from the I-20 / Six Mile Road overpass.

The massive complex offers 2000+ slots & video poker machines, live table games, a high-stakes bingo room, & a poker room with daily tournaments. The full-service Will Rogers Downs racetrack hosts quarter horse racing meets in the spring & the fall.

Dining choices range from quick bites at the Grab N’ Go or Hot Spot Deli to steak & seafood selections at the Range Steak House or buffet fare at the Dining Room. The Coffee Shop serves breakfast, lunch, & dinner, while Jack’s Place offers burgers, sandwiches, & other fast-food items 24 hours/day.

The adjoining hotel boasts 210 rooms, suites, & villas, along with a fitness center, indoor pool & hot tub, & full-service spa. An RV park is located nearby.

Coosa Valley Fairgrounds – Rome, GA

It isn’t exactly Las Vegas, but this temporary casino was erected at the fairgrounds in June 2021 to allow gamblers to pursue their addiction while electronic bingo machines at the local Indian casinos undergo a legal challenge. Electronic bingo has been ruled illegal in Georgia, but several of the facilities continue to operate the machines – thus, the protestors.

If you decide to join the fight, you’ll find vending machines & portable restrooms at the makeshift casino. Food trucks are usually on site, & several local restaurants are within walking distance. Numerous hotels & motels are located near Interstate 75.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casinos – Murphy & Cherokee, NC

Two Harrah’s casinos straddle the North Carolina / Tennessee border around 200 miles west of Atlanta. Both venues offer the standard array of slots, video poker, live table games, & high-stakes bingo. The Western North Carolina facilities host frequent visitors from Metro Atlanta.

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The larger of the two properties – Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort – features more than 4,000 slots & video poker machines, dozens of blackjack, roulette, & craps tables, & 100 high-stakes poker tables. The adjacent hotel offers 1113 rooms, suites, & concierge levels, plus a full range of amenities – exercise room, indoor pool & whirlpool, spa, salon, gift shops, & multiple dining options.

The smaller sister casino – Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River – is about eleven miles to the southwest on US 411. This Class II casino relies upon bingo-with-electronics to determine video slot machine payouts. Nevertheless, it offers more than 850 machines, most with denominations ranging from a penny upward.

Several restaurants are clustered around the central High Country Trading Post, offering everything from quick bites to sit-down dining experiences. The casino’s Courtyard Suites provides lodging, although many more options are available in nearby Murphy & Andrews.

Reaching the Smoky Mountains resorts is easy from Atlanta. Simply hop on I-75 north to Chattanooga, then transfer to I-24 west to Chattanooga. Continue on I-24 through Chattanooga & Dalton to Exit 27 (Murphy). Both casinos are less than ten miles from the interstate.

Chattooga County Horseriders – Summerville, GA

This non-profit organization operates a flea market & thrift store next to the fairgrounds racetrack on Highway 27 just south of Summerville. Legal technicalities forced them to discontinue pari-mutuel wagering, but they still host quarter horse races periodically.

Volunteers staff the onsite concession stand, offering typical track fare – hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. – during special events. Numerous restaurants are located in Summerville, & many Atlantans stop in Rome or Calhoun for a meal on the way home.

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Several area motels rate three stars or better, & many residents leave the trailer hitches on their pickup trucks, in case an out-of-town guest shows up unexpectedly. Personally, I’ve stayed in Summerville’s Super 8 (very nice), the Hampton Inn of Rome (& had to wait while they remodeled my bathroom in the middle of the night), & the Comfort Suites of Calhoun. Your experience may vary.

Cove Landing Casino – Ducktown, TN

Like Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River, this Microgame casino leans heavily upon bingo-with-electronics to determine payoffs. Consequently, the 500+ machines are all penny slots or video poker devices.

On the other hand, Cove Landing offers live table games – mini & Midi Baccarat, Blackjack, Four Card Poker, Mini & Midi Puerto Rico Bingo, & Roulette. They also feature a full Race Book, so you can bet on dog & horse tracks from around the country.

The onsite restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, & dinner. Several other eateries are located in nearby Ducktown or Copper Basin. Lodging is not available onsite, but many Atlantans stay in the Birchwood Area, which includes Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Copper Hill, Hampton, & Harvester.

Cripple Creek & Black Hawk Casinos – Colorado

These mountain gambling towns lie beyond the four-hour limit established for this article, but they’re certainly worth considering if you have the time & inclination. Numerous casinos cluster around the historic mining towns, which are situated in the Rockies just south of Colorado Springs.

Many of the casinos are clustered within easy walking distance, & several offer combined cards that allow play at multiple sites. Most of the Colorado casinos feature slots & video poker machines, live blackjack, craps, roulette, & poker tables, & off-track betting.

You’ll find numerous places to eat, from greasy spoons to elegant steakhouses. Many of the casinos provide free shuttle service to adjoining resorts, where additional restaurants await hungry gamblers.

While Cripple Creek & Black Hawk are Boom Town USA, they still manage to maintain a Wild West flavor. Many of the buildings date back to the late 1800s, & several of the casinos are housed in appropriately restored structures.

So, the next time you feel the urge to roll the dice or pull a slot handle, consider taking one of these casino getaways. Whether you crave the bright lights of a big city casino or prefer the relaxed atmosphere of a small mountain resort, Georgia’s neighboring states have something to tickle your fancy.

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John R. Welch has written health, wellness, and environmental articles for about fifty years. Now retired and living in bucolic northeast Georgia, he continues to write and to speak out on issues related to the environment, , preventive medicine, public health, and appropriate medical technology.

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As a lifelong card player & occasional casino visitor, he’s made a number of these getaways & would be happy to share his knowledge with our readers.