From rolling green countryside and craggy mountains to mystical Celtic ruins, crumbling castles, to rowdy beer bars and shanty pubs, the Emerald Isle has some…
From the coast to the mountains and everything in between, Georgia’s nine regions offer well-known and off-the-beaten-path gems in cities both big and small. We’ve come up with a top ten list of places to visit in Georgia that are sure to satisfy the travel bug.
The charm of Savannah is undeniable. From the remnants of its antebellum past in the historic district to the romantic Spanish moss-lined streets in Forsyth Park to the shops, eateries and party-hard reputation of River Street, Savannah encompasses what the state of Georgia is all about: Giving a nod to the past while bringing its own personality into the present. Plus, the city offers a heavy dose of laid-back Southern hospitality to match.
Georgia might not come to mind when you think of wine destinations, but Dahlonega is worth consideration. This northern Georgia city is home to 12 wine tasting rooms and five wineries, with locally owned and operated vineyards stretching across the area’s verdant, hilly landscape. For a festive visit, plan a trip during the area’s annual Dahlonega Wine Trail Weekend in August.
#8 Jekyll Island
The southernmost of the Golden Isles, Jekyll Island is ideal for travelers seeking a quiet beach getaway. The entire island is designated as a Georgia state park. Conservation and wildlife preservation is top priority here. Visitors can lounge on 8 miles of pristine beaches or meander through the historic district (also known as Millionaire’s Village) to see homes that have belonged to some of America’s richest families, including the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers and the Pulitzers.
#7 Stone Mountain
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2001, Stone Mountain Village has the look of a former time and place with the warmth and services of today. Enjoy over fifty specialty shops and restaurants. Stone Mountain Village is also home to 3 charming B & B’s.
Serious sports fans should add Augusta to their bucket list. This eastern Georgia city is known around the world for its golf course – Augusta National Golf Club – and the annual Masters Tournament that takes place there. Off the green, travelers can stroll along the Augusta Riverwalk or rent a canoe or kayak down the Augusta Canal. For a taste of contemporary Southern art, stop by the Morris Museum of Art, which offers free admission on Sundays.
#5 Tallulah Falls- Tallulah Gorge State Park
Tallulah Gorge State Park is a scenic 2,689-acre state park near Tallulah Falls, Georgia. The park spreads around a Tallulah Gorge, which is 1,000 feet deep and two miles long. Six Tallulah Falls that drop the river level by 500 feet over a mile are the main attraction of the area. There are hiking trails on the rim of the gorge with spectacular views, but for hiking on the canyon floor visitors need a permit.
#4 Folkston- Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
Established in 1937 on 401,880 acres of land that lies at the southeastern Georgia and northern Florida border, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a wild, beautiful place. It is a breeding ground, and a refuge for migratory birds as well as other wildlife including endangered and threatened species such as wood storks, the red-cockaded woodpecker, indigo snakes, and many wild animals. The refuge is known the world-wide for its population of amphibians, and has over 600 species of plants. There are a number of observation towers and boardwalks throughout the refuge. The peaceful, lush environment is popular for fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, and canoeing. Fun Fact: Okefenokee is derived from an Indian word meaning “trembling earth.”
If history is your thing, you might be most interested in Athens. The city marks the starting point of Georgia’s Antebellum Trail of Historic Towns, which highlights Civil War era homes and period architecture. The University of Georgia’s campus is also home to the Georgia Museum of Natural History and the Georgia Museum of Art. For a more modern getaway, check out the downtown area’s shops, restaurants and entertainment options. Downtown Athens hosts a pretty large music scene which has had its fair share of big names in alternative rock such as R.E.M., the B-52’s, Widespread Panic, and the Indigo Girls.
A retreat for those who like to be surrounded by nature, Blairsville is nestled in the Chattahoochee National Forest and North Georgia Blue Ridge mountains. Full of natural beauty, old world charm, and a thriving cultural scene, Blairsville is host to several yearly festivals which celebrates the mountain culture and history. Visitors can explore the State Park and Track Rock Archaeological Area year-round in order to get a glimpse of the area’s extensive past. The small town is the gateway to Brass town Bald, the highest natural point in the state, and the Appalachian Trail. There is plenty of adventure to be found among the various hike, bike and horse trails.
While many of the top places to visit in Georgia boast of small-time charm, the state’s capital city is anything but small. Both cosmopolitan and elegant, it has played a major role in the history of the country and is great fun to visit. History is a big part of what makes Atlanta what it is, so start your exploration at the Atlanta History Center. Pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. at his former home or visit the 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park and the adjoining Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, and Center for Civil and Human Rights. The city also is home to LEGOLAND Discovery center and Six Flags theme park. Find great shopping, enjoy fine dining, or take part in the city’s active night life scene. Atlanta won’t disappoint.