<b>FORT STEWART, Ga.</b> - Some folks think a drive from Hinesville to Savannah is physically tiring and driving in downtown Ludowici is mentally stressful. That's why Leisure Travel offers get-away packages that save both stress and money.

A recent 'park and ride' trip took Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Families to Georgia's capital city, Atlanta. The $250 costs included two-night accommodations and tickets to Stone Mountain. Tickets to other attractions could be purchased at a huge military discount.

For example, Georgia Aquarium tickets normally sell for about $26 per person. Through Leisure Travel, these tickets are $21.50 per person.

Between their departure and arrival at the Country Inn & Suites in Morrow, Ga., this bus load of military tourists enjoyed two "in-flight" movies with a lunch break half-way in Dublin, Ga.

That evening, they hopped on their chauffeured bus and headed for the Discovery Mills Mall to enjoy the Medieval Times dinner and show or just hang out at the mall - a mall that includes a multi-screen theater and a Bass Pro World.

The next day began with a trip to the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the world. Fresh and salt water fish, including sharks, whales, stingrays and jellyfish, alligators, otters, sea lions and penguins greeted guests, watching the people as the people watched them.

Several Stewart-Hunter travelers also visited the Coca-Cola Factory (free to active-duty Soldiers), which includes a chance to taste soft drinks from all over the world.

The afternoon and evening were spent at Stone Mountain, Ga. This enormous granite monolith, famous for its gigantic carvings of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Gen. Robert E. Lee and Lt. Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson is now an amusement park that includes rides and other Family attractions, including a laser light show.

The last day of the Atlanta trip included a stop at Underground Atlanta. This two-to-three block, flea market-like area of novelty shops and restaurants is found under the streets with the city's old railroad.

Some Families spent the afternoon walking and exploring downtown Atlanta, visiting the art festival at the Olympic Centennial Park or taking a tour of the Cable News Network headquarters.

The ride home included more movies, though many chose to sleep, having had a long, fun-filled weekend that left them satisfied but exhausted. Now especially is when many appreciated not having to drive.

Other planned 'park and ride' trips include a trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and one to Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Ga., in August. September includes plans for another trip to Atlanta, this one to Six Flags and a Braves game. A trip to Disney World is planned for October.

Anyone interested in 'park and ride' packages should call Leslie Washington or Marline Parker at Stewart's Leisure Travel, 767-2841, or Daven Moore at Hunter's office, 315-3674.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16