ALTA members already know that Atlanta truly is the best city in the country for tennis fanatics. In addition to boasting the strongest independent tennis association in the nation, and more than 100 public tennis courts within the city limits alone, Atlanta is just a short distance from some of the best tennis-friendly resorts in the country.
This time of year is ideal for planning a weekend escape. Whether you prefer a beach retreat, a mountain setting or somewhere in between, your ideal destination is just a short drive or flight away. Just don’t forget to pack your racquet!
Bear Lake Reserve
Tuckasegee, North Carolina
Bear Lake Reserve, a MatchPoint Resorts property, is perfect for tennis lovers of all skill levels who want to improve their game while enjoying a getaway in a majestic mountain lake community. MPR at Bear Lake Reserve offers seasonal clinics for members and guests. Every three-day/two-night retreat is designed for any group of tennis enthusiasts, including friends, teams, groups or clubs. Tennis amenities include world-class Core 6 Fundamentals tennis instruction designed by doubles legend Daniel Nestor, and low player-to-coach ratio on court, plus video analysis.
While you’re there, improving your game in the crisp Blue Ridge mountain air, be sure to take in a few holes at Nicklaus Design® Golf Course, catch a film at the private movie theater, relax in one of the many pools or hot tubs, or enjoy the natural beauty of the area along the sandy beaches of the lakefront.
THINGS TO DO
- Pack your boots; there’s plenty of hiking/biking trails and waterfalls to explore when you’re not on the court.
- Get in the water! You can rent kayaks, paddle boards and jet skis.
- There are fishing excursions, skeet shooting and other activities for outdoors enthusiasts.
- Take advantage of the resort’s spa services.
Big Canoe Racquet Club
Big Canoe, Georgia
Located in the foothills of the Georgia mountains, Big Canoe is just one hour north of Atlanta. Big Canoe amenities include tennis, golf, swimming, hiking, fishing, boating and more. Dining options are available on property, as well as just outside the gates.
Surrounded by beautiful mountains and scenery, tennis is a year-round activity in Big Canoe. Big Canoe offers eight outdoor courts (four Har-Tru clay courts, two Clay Tec and two hard courts). Additionally, the Racquet Club has two indoor hard courts available for play, and there’s a full-service pro shop onsite. All of these amenities helped Big Canoe to earn the 2017 Bliss Award for tennis community of the year.
Led by tennis director Matt Motil, Big Canoe tennis offers a variety of programs to suit all levels of play. From the first-time player to the tennis enthusiast, Big Canoe has a program to fit your needs. Weekly round robins for both men and women are offered, as well as clinics and private or group lessons. Special tennis events are held throughout the year, including holiday socials, flex leagues, tournaments and charity events. Big Canoe welcomes groups and teams to come experience all that the Racquet Club has to offer.
Big Canoe To-Do List:
- Enjoy dinner and drinks at the clubhouse’s Black Bear Pub (overlooking Lake Sconti and the mountains of Big Canoe).
- Rent a boat at the marina. Don’t forget the picnic lunch.
- Schedule a team round robin or tennis clinic.
- Host a cookout at your mountain rental home.
- Get your zen on with yoga at the fitness center or take it easy at the pool.
Family Circle Tennis Center
Charleston, South Carolina
Voted No. 1 small city in North America, Charleston is an exciting destination for a weekend getaway, appealing to tennis players, beach bums, history buffs and foodies.
The Family Circle Tennis Center on nearby Daniel Island is an award-winning public facility nestled in the lush landscapes of the coastal Carolinas. With 20 championship courts (14 clay and six hard, all of them lighted for night play), the center is a 32-acre, first-class facility. At the center of it all is the Volvo Car Stadium, host to the annual Volvo Car Open, which is one of the WTA’s premier championships. Every spring, the tournament welcomes close to 90,000 spectators and more than 100 of the best female athletes.
For us mere mortals, the center offers great tennis year-round, including the Volvo Car Open Weeklong Package. You’ll have access to all nine days of the tournament, including day and night sessions and priority seating in the first three rows on the terrace level. As a package holder, you are automatically entered into the Ace Club, providing benefits like player autograph sessions, tournament poster, private bag store and more. You’ll also receive complimentary access into the Ace Lounge, a VIP hospitality area situated in close proximity to the stadium.
The excitement continues off the court, too. In between matches, the tournament offers spectators a variety of activities for all ages. From happy hours with live music to theme nights and food trucks, the Volvo Car Open’s entertainment goes beyond a great forehand.
Family Circle Tennis Center To-Do List:
- The clubhouse serves as the hub for activity – from the pro shop to the luxury locker room facilities.
- Stroll along Charleston’s famous Rainbow Row or splurge in the shops on King Street.
- Stop by South of Broad for gorgeous seaport views and a look at some of the South’s best architecture.
- Enjoy all of Charleston’s culinary delights, from high-end cuisine to Lowcountry boils.
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes Tennis and Pickleball Center on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, was named the No. 3 best resort in the South in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2017 readers’ choice awards, in part because it boasts 23 clay courts (including six lighted for night play); eight pickleball courts; and a well-stocked, 1,800-square-foot tennis pro shop.
Palmetto Dunes hosts weekly clinics and drill sessions for youth and adults, daily round-robin tournaments and weekly happy hours and demo days. There is plenty to keep tennis enthusiasts busy. The facility’s Tennis Stay and Play package includes four days and three nights in a two-bedroom resort-view villa. After breakfast at the Palmetto Dunes General Store, enjoy two hours of court time and a one-hour clinic, covering either the stroke of the day or a daily drill. The Extreme Tennis Vacation package includes an eight-day/seven-night stay in a two-bedroom resort-view villa for four guests with three one-hour, semi-private tennis lessons per player, two clinics per player and daily court time.
World-class tennis isn’t all that Palmetto Dunes has to offer. Guests may play one of the 2,000-acre resort’s three award-winning, championship golf courses, bike along the beach, kayak the 11-mile inland lagoon system or explore Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina for a variety of dining, shops, entertainment, fishing charters, nature tours, water sports and more.
Palmetto Dunes To-Do List:
- Rent a bike to explore miles of paved pathways beneath towering live oak trees and three miles of pristine beaches.
- Play a few rounds on the Robert Trent Jones golf course.
- Check out HarbourFest, a free, signature summer event (runs through Labor Day).
- The waterfront offers a variety of charters, including nature cruises, dolphin tours, sport crabbing and fishing.
Rome Tennis Center at Berry College
If a nonstop tennis weekend – away from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta – is what you’re craving, consider the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College. A short drive from Atlanta, RTCBC offers the largest single-surface tennis facility in the United States. Nestled in the quaint tennis city of Rome, and partnered with Berry College, you will find a full-service public tennis center that offers a complete array of tennis programming for every age and ability level. The USPTA Elite Professional staff “breathes” tennis day in and day out.
The facility features 60 lighted hard courts, including three stadium courts, six NCAA collegiate courts, eight permanent 18’x36’ courts, and 43 individually fenced courts. Additionally, there are six PlaySight live-streaming cameras for remote viewing from anywhere around the world, as well as the full-service Tennis Pro Shoppe.
Tennis programs include the Rome-A-Way Adult Tennis Camp, directed by Tom Daglis, USPTA master professional; the Darlington School for RTCBC’s Junior Summer Overnight Tennis Camp, featuring a week for co-ed players and a separate week for a girls-only session; and Berry College offers a Professional Tennis Management Program – one of only a few college programs accredited by USTA University that prepares graduates for a lucrative career in the tennis industry.
ROME TENNIS CENTER TO-DO LIST:
- Grab a $10 “Out-of-Towner Tennis Pass” that offers unlimited court time for seven consecutive days.
- Take in a Rome Braves game (Atlanta Braves minor league team).
- Dine and shop along Broad Street in downtown Rome.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort prides itself on premium guest amenities and sporting options for tennis enthusiasts. The staff enjoys nothing more than giving you the opportunity to share the court with new friends in its popular round-robin tennis tournaments. The staff will organize everything and provide balls, drinks, prizes, court time and the perfect setting for a great time regardless of skill level.
The resort has received multiple accolades, including being named one of the top 25 U.S. tennis resorts by Tennis Resorts Online and No. 1 tennis pro shop. It features 12 world-class HydroGrid clay and three hard tennis courts; private lessons with USPTA and USPTR pros; a highly ranked junior tennis program; and clubhouse access, featuring dressing rooms, showers and a shop with the latest tennis apparel. When your time on the court is finished, take advantage of other conveniences, including bicycles, boogie boards, kayaks or time in the fitness center.
Weekend getaway packages include men’s and women’s Team Challenges and the Tennis Dream Team Packages. Every Team Challenge weekend features accommodations, gifts and a welcome luncheon. Each team has a minimum of six players (three doubles teams). The format is similar to a round robin. Meanwhile, the Tennis Dream Team Package includes group instruction, match play/round robins, room accommodations, unlimited drinks and court time, and prizes.
Sandestin To-Do List:
- Play one or more of Sandestin’s four championship golf courses.
- Check out the Village of Baytowne Wharf with shops and restaurants.
- Stroll along Sandestin’s seven-mile strand of powdery white beaches.
- Relax in one of 19 swimming pools.
Sea Island, Georgia
An exceptional destination appealing to those who appreciate gracious service and heartfelt hospitality, Sea Island is home to four Forbes five-star experiences – The Cloister at Sea Island, The Lodge at Sea Island, The Spa at Sea Island and the Georgian Room restaurant – and an extensive array of engaging nature adventures and recreational experiences. Located on the southeastern coast of Georgia, Sea Island is a true paradise for active adults and families. The resort plays host to a 65,000-square-foot spa, three championship golf courses, horseback riding on the beach, salt marsh nature tours, fishing, boating, water sports, shooting school, five miles of private beach, casual to five-star dining and, of course, tennis.
Sea Island features 16 Har-Tru clay courts and instruction that is professional and instinctual. With instruction available for players of all ages, the mission of the Sea Island Tennis Academy is to inspire and promote a lifelong love of tennis by equipping juniors with the tools required to play and offering a memorable experience.
There are two weekend tennis packages from which to choose. The Classic Package offers luxury accommodations at The Cloister, a one-hour clinic or drill session daily, one-hour private lesson with a Sea Island tennis professional daily (with double occupancy, the lesson will be shared) and two hours of court time daily. The Inn Package consists of four hours of court time per player during your stay, which may include round-robin play based upon availability; four hours of scheduled group clinics per player with an Elite pro; and transportation to and from The Inn and The Cloister Tennis Center.
Sea Island To-Do List:
- Opt for a tennis clinic or individualized instruction during your stay.
- Book some time in the spa.
- You’re on an island, so engage in some water sports.
- Treat yourself to a five-star dining experience.
The Beach Club Resort & Spa
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Imagine waking up every morning to a Gulf Shores vista during your tennis getaway. At the Beach Club Resort & Spa, every condominium has a gulf-front view. During your stay, enjoy the eight lighted rubico clay tennis courts, sign up for clinics or lessons from the staff professional and check out the Racquet Club for the latest equipment and apparel.
When you’re not on the courts, the Beach Club has the area’s only HD sports simulator where guests can play multiple championship-level golf courses or try their hand at other sports such as football and soccer. The club has a dedicated activities team that offers daily events in addition to arcade/game rooms, walking trails, an onsite spa, boutique for onsite shopping and multiple pools and hot tubs. The Beach Club is a true resort that has everything a guest may need right onsite.
Through Labor Day, you can take advantage of the Tailgate Getaway promotion. The weather is great during the fall, occupancy is lower so there are smaller crowds, and the promotion is the best deal the Beach Club offers each year.
The Beach Club To-Do List:
- Check out the gaming center and arcade for video games, billiards, shuffleboard and more.
- Additional outdoor activities include walking trails, parasailing and kayaking.
- Relax in the onsite spa, saunas and steam rooms.
- Eat well in any of the multiple dining facilities, including al fresco options and an onsite creamery.
TOPS’L Beach and Racquet Resort
Miramar Beach, Florida
Situated on 52 private acres, the full-service TOPS’L Beach and Racquet Resort is bordered by the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and a nature preserve – so without ever getting in the car, you can choose from relaxing at the beach, playing tennis and racquetball, or hiking, kayaking or paddle boarding, all while experiencing the resort’s natural beauty.
Tennis Resorts Online consistently rates TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort as one of the world’s Top 100 tennis resorts and camps and a “best value for the dollar.” The tennis facilities feature USPTA-certified tennis professionals, private and group lessons, tennis clinics, player-matching services and round robins and socials. There are several group and individual tennis packages available. Please check the resort’s website for details.
TOPS’L Club amenities include 12 beautifully kept clay tennis courts, fitness center, year-round heated pools, steam room hot tub and sauna, racquet ball, yoga and group fitness classes. Treat yourself to massage therapy, available by appointment in two treatment rooms within the clubhouse. Families can take advantage of an array of entertaining children’s activities, and there is also meeting and event space available for up to 200 invitees.
TOPS’L To-Do List:
- Visit the nearby Coffeen Nature Preserve, a 210-acre, protected land trust chock-full of local history.
- Get your golf fix at one of several nearby championship courses.
- Take advantage of top-notch shopping, art and entertainment nearby.
- Take a drive along scenic Highway 30A.
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
MPR’s WaterColor community is just a few steps from the beach and includes on-site dining and a convenient location to other attractions in this Gulf Coast town, including the nearby Seaside and Rosemary Beach villages. Tennis fanatics will appreciate that on-site pros Brett Femrite and Malcolm Ridenour have a combined 40-plus years of coaching experience. Take advantage of their instruction at a facility that Tennis Resorts Online has named a “Top 23 Resort” and a “Top 15 Adult Tennis Camp.”
WaterColor Tennis offers seasonal clinics for members and guests of all ages and skill levels. Similar to MPR’s Bear Lake property, every three-day/two-night tennis retreat is designed for any group of enthusiasts, including friends, teams, groups or clubs. Tennis amenities include world-class Core 6 Fundamentals tennis instruction designed by doubles legend Daniel Nestor, and low player-to-coach ratio on court, plus video analysis.
When your days on the court are completed, the fun has only begun. You have plenty of adventurous or relaxing options. Go deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, take a guided hiking tour, arrange for a private bonfire or just opt for a drink at the resort’s poolside bar.
WaterColor To-Do List:
- Pack your clubs, too. Challenges await at both the Shark Tooth and Nicklaus Design Mountaintop Golf courses.
- Charter a fishing boat – you’re in the Gulf of Mexico after all.
- The vibrant beach communities of South Walton offer plenty of shopping and dining options.
- Rent a bike. There’s no need to walk everywhere.