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28 Top Things to Do in Georgia


Situated smack-dab in the middle of the South, Georgia offers plenty in the way of Southern charm. But beyond its mouthwatering comfort food and warm hospitality, the Peach State offers visitors tons of attractions to explore. Spend a trip to this Southern gem visiting a recreated Bavarian village, traversing historic battlefields and sampling some of the tastiest hot dogs you can imagine. Read on to discover the top things to do in Georgia.

(Note: Some of the following activities, attractions and locations may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. New policies may be in place, including capacity restrictions, reservation requirements or mask mandates. Check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of State and local tourism boards before traveling.)

Centennial Olympic Park

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Once host to the 1996 Summer Olympics, Centennial Olympic Park is an iconic destination in downtown Atlanta. Travelers will find playgrounds, tons of green space, Fountain of Rings Plaza, and numerous statues and commemorative markers across the park’s 22 acres. Recent visitors said the area is clean and great for kids, adding that there are plenty of places to sit down and even have a picnic. Centennial Olympic Park is also conveniently located among a slew of other attractions within a half-mile, so when you’ve finished exploring the grounds, head to the popular museums in the Attraction District plaza or check out the College Football Hall of Fame and the SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel.

Address: 265 Park Ave. W NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

Callaway Resort & Gardens

Top things to do in Georgia

(Courtesy of Callaway Resort & Gardens)

No matter the time of year, there’s something to see at Callaway Gardens. Located about 40 miles north of Columbus in Pine Mountain, this roughly 2,500-acre destination features gardens, trails for hiking and biking, a large lake, the visitor-favorite butterfly center and more.

During the winter, the gardens draw locals and travelers alike to view the annual Fantasy in Lights display, explore a holiday village, shop for snacks at the Christmas Market and enjoy photo-ops with Santa, among other festive activities. Spring brings vibrant azalea blooms amid the Spring Flower Fest, while summer offers days at Robin Lake Beach, fireworks displays, zip lining, fragrant magnolias and a hot air balloon festival for Labor Day. With fall comes colorful foliage, blooming chrysanthemums and the Steeplechase horse races. Guests can stay right on the property in the main lodge, a cottage or an upscale villa in the woods, though some past visitors cautioned the lodge and cottages need an update.

Address: 17617 U.S. Route 27, Pine Mountain, GA 31822

Andersonville National Historic Site

Top things to do in Georgia

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History buffs won’t want to miss the Andersonville National Historic Site. Situated about 60 miles east of Columbus in Andersonville, the site is home to the most well-known Civil War prison camp. Travelers can listen to an hourlong self-guided audio tour while driving through the property or explore parts of the nearly 27-acre site on foot. While there, take a walk through Andersonville National Cemetery, a final resting place for U.S. soldiers who died in combat dating back to 1864. Reviewers also recommend the National Prisoner of War Museum and say hiring a guide can be helpful if you want to learn more. Nearby lodging options include Best Western and Hampton Inn outposts in the small town of Americus; a wider variety of accommodations can be found in Columbus.

Address: 496 Cemetery Road, Andersonville, GA 31711

Explore the village of Helen

The Best Things to Do in Georgia

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If you’re seeking a Georgia getaway with lots of charm, look no further than the replica Bavarian village of Helen. In addition to its cobblestone streets and quaint shops, Helen offers plenty of spots to explore. Sip wine at Habersham Vineyards & Winery (one of the oldest and largest wineries in the state), hike through Unicoi State Park & Lodge, float along the Chattahoochee River and savor German food at local restaurants. The town also hosts Oktoberfest every year in September and October. Weekdays during the festival tend to be more family-friendly, while weekends play host to college students and tour groups; Sundays offer free admission for everyone. Be sure to book your accommodations – which range from cozy cabins to quaint inns to chain hotels – early, as they do fill up. The luxurious Valhalla Resort Hotel and riverside Loreley Resort are two traveler favorites.

Staying in this tiny alpine town will also give you time to explore the Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway, a 40-mile loop full of beautiful mountain views that starts just northwest of Helen and winds through the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.

National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Exterior of sign and building of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

(Courtesy of The National Center for Civil and Human Rights)

Atlanta’s 42,000-square-foot National Center for Civil and Human Rights is conveniently located across from Centennial Olympic Park, in the same plaza as the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola. This museum promises a deep dive into the U.S. civil rights movement and an overview of other human rights struggles worldwide, making it one of the most informative and impactful things to do in Georgia. The museum is grounded in the history of Atlanta – the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. and home base of two vital civil rights organizations – and its civil rights gallery explores African Americans’ fight for racial equality across the nation. Interactive exhibits on the entrance level and upper level allow you to participate in a simulated lunch counter sit-in, watch King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and hear oral histories from the Freedom Riders on a reconstructed bus that was firebombed in 1961. The upper level also houses a gallery designed to walk visitors through various human rights campaigns and activists, while the lower level is dedicated to displaying King’s personal artifacts and papers.

Visitors marvel at the multimedia experience of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, where news reels and other primary sources bring history to life, and recommend spending around two hours there. Travelers caution, however, that some content – indicated by signage in certain exhibits – may not be appropriate for young children.

Address: 100 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., Atlanta, GA 30313

Stone Mountain Park

Top things to do in Georgia

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At more than 3,200 acres, Stone Mountain Park, the most-visited attraction in Georgia, offers fun for visitors of all ages, including adventure courses, the world’s longest-running laser show, a 5-mile railroad excursion, two golf courses and a Swiss cable car that takes travelers to the top of the mountain. The park is particularly known for its massive Confederate Memorial Carving, a 3-acre sculpture of three Civil War figures from the South that measures larger than Mount Rushmore. Amid calls for the monument to be removed, the park board has approved the creation of an on-site museum exhibit, set for completion in 2023, to provide context about the history of the world’s largest Confederate monument and its ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

Visitors say they love the park’s picturesque hikes and Historic Square, a collection of original 19th-century buildings, but warned there are separate fees for entering the park and enjoying its various attractions. You will have multiple choices for lodging in or near the park, including Stone Mountain Inn, the Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort or a campground, but since Stone Mountain Park is less than 20 miles northeast of Atlanta, you can also opt to stay in the city and drive to the attraction.

Address: 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Georgia Aquarium

Top things to do in Georgia

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The Georgia Aquarium is yet another gem nestled across from Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. With more than 11 million gallons of water, this aquarium is the largest in the Western Hemisphere and home to more than 100,000 aquatic animals, including penguins, whale sharks, manta rays and more. Travelers can even get up close and personal with beluga whales during a training session or suit up to swim with sharks. The aquarium has seven permanent galleries and a 4D theater that plays films about the ocean’s magnificent creatures.

Previous visitors raved about this attraction and advised reserving your place at its various shows when you arrive and allowing plenty of time for parking. The aquarium requires you to buy your tickets online in advance. To save some coin, purchase an Atlanta CityPASS and get admission to five city attractions for one set price. Additionally, several hotels offer packages that include tickets to the aquarium, including Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park, Hilton Atlanta, the Atlanta Marriott Marquis and the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

Address: 225 Baker St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

Stroll through Savannah

Top things to do in Georgia

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It’s no surprise that Savannah, one of the oldest U.S. cities – and perhaps one of the most haunted – is a traveler favorite on any trip to Georgia. This quaint Southern destination is guaranteed to charm visitors with the ubiquitous landmarks and cobblestone streets of its renowned Historic District, complete with 22 park squares including the lively 30-acre Forsyth Park. While you explore museums and restored 18th-century homes, you can learn about Savannah’s antebellum past at North America’s oldest continuous Black church or head 15 miles east of downtown to the Fort Pulaski National Monument on Cockspur Island, a former stop along the Underground Railroad. Amid absorbing all this history, take advantage of mouthwatering restaurants like Sisters of the New South, amble through the open-air City Market, stop by the Victorian-era Bonaventure Cemetery and complete your visit to Savannah with a ghost tour.

Consider staying at Andaz Savannah in bustling Ellis Square or The Cotton Sail Hotel Savannah, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, a former cotton warehouse from the 1800s. For a spookier experience, book a room at The Marshall House, a reportedly haunted inn that once housed a Civil War hospital. Past visitors appreciated the property’s haunted atmosphere without finding it too creepy to enjoy, with some swearing the lights occasionally turn on and off on their own.

World of Coca-Cola

Top things to do in Georgia

(Courtesy of Coca-Cola)

Learn the history behind one of the world’s most beloved drinks at World of Coca-Cola in downtown Atlanta. Inside, you’ll see the Coca-Cola bottling process and the vault where the secret drink recipe is stored. You can also taste Coca-Cola beverages from around the world – a perpetual visitor favorite – and buy soda-themed souvenirs in the gift shop. The museum recommends visitors purchase tickets in advance; the cost of admission increases slightly at the gate. Noteworthy hotels less than half a mile of this attraction, which is located right next to the Georgia Aquarium and Centennial Olympic Park, include the Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta Downtown and the Hotel Indigo Atlanta Downtown.

Address: 121 Baker St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30313

Sip vino in north Georgia’s wine country

Top things to do in Georgia

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Did you know that Georgia has its own wine region? The northern part of the Peach State is home to acclaimed wineries like Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery, which sates visitors’ appetites for more than just wine with its on-site cafe and Sunday brunch buffet, and Tiger Mountain Vineyards, known for varietals like malbec, cabernet franc and viognier. Many venues – such as Cane Creek Vineyards every Friday – even host live music performances showcasing local artists. After a day of sipping and savoring the wines of northern Georgia, which tend to be on the sweeter side, settle into your cozy abode at Glen-Ella Springs Inn & Restaurant, located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, or at Château Élan Winery & Resort, which features a spa, golf and tennis clubs, and other amenities. Visitors describe the latter as a “hidden treasure” with top-notch food and lodging.

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park

Top things to do in Georgia

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Visit MLK’s birthplace and childhood home at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park in downtown Atlanta. During your visit this free park, you can see the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church – the location of King’s baptism, ordainment and funeral – as well as the Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream” World Peace Rose Garden. To secure a free ranger-led tour of King’s Birth Home, you’ll need to arrive early in the day to sign up at the Visitor Center, which features informative exhibits, and be prepared to wait several hours. According to previous visitors, the park offers a tranquil and moving atmosphere, especially in its rose garden and by the Eternal Flame and Reflecting Pool, where the crypts of King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, are located.

The best options for accommodations close to this historical park, by far one of the most poignant things to do in Georgia, are in central Atlanta. Consider bedding down at Sugar Magnolia Bed & Breakfast or the Home2 Suites by Hilton Atlanta Downtown.

Address: 450 Auburn Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30312

Jekyll Island

Sunset at Jekyll Island. Jekyll is located off the coast of the U.S. state of Georgia, in Glynn County.

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Within the Golden Isles on the coast of Georgia lies Jekyll Island, a serene state park that’s home to sea turtles, historic ruins and some of Georgia’s best beaches. Driftwood Beach is a particular draw for visitors to the island, as the beach’s namesake driftwood accentuates its romantic atmosphere and makes it one of the top things to do in Georgia. These gnarled tree trunks and branches create a one-of-a-kind backdrop for a picnic, a stroll along the sand or stargazing – not to mention a perfect playground for kids. The best time to go is at low tide.

Beyond Driftwood Beach you may want to stop by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to see rehabilitation in action or choose from activities such as golfing, biking, kayaking, horseback riding, fishing and much more. History enthusiasts will find plenty to explore in the 240-acre grounds of the former Jekyll Island Club, now a National Historic Landmark District. You can start with Mosaic, a museum in the historic stables that takes patrons through the island’s cultural and natural history, including its Native American and African American roots.

A parking pass is required to access Jekyll Island by vehicle. To wind down after a busy day touring, shopping and dining, choose from an array of accommodation options such as the family-friendly Jekyll Island Club Resort in the Historic District.

Margaret Mitchell House

Top things to do in Georgia

(Courtesy of Atlanta History Center)

Take a look inside the life of the acclaimed author of the 1936 classic “Gone With the Wind” at the Margaret Mitchell House. Located in Midtown Atlanta, this Tudor Revival mansion – which is one of several Atlanta History Center attractions – is home to the small apartment where Margaret Mitchell wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning book. The author nicknamed her first-floor abode “The Dump,” but the building is now a museum featuring various exhibits about Mitchell and her famous novel. The property is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Guided tours take guests through the complex history surrounding “Gone With the Wind,” including its inaccurate depictions of slavery and the Civil War. Visitors praise the Margaret Mitchell House’s tour guides, saying they’re both well informed and entertaining. Nearby hotels include the Hyatt Centric Midtown Atlanta and the Homewood Suites by Hilton Atlanta Midtown, GA.

Note: The Margaret Mitchell House was closed for renovations at the time of publication. It is expected to reopen in late 2022.

Address: 979 Crescent Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

Eat hot dogs at The Varsity

Top things to do in Georgia

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While vacationing in Atlanta, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a delicious hot dog and an order of onion rings at The Varsity. This family-owned local institution opened in 1928 and is considered the world’s largest drive-in restaurant. Be sure to come prepared, as before you order you’ll need to know the right lingo – like “Heavy Weight” (a hot dog with extra chili), “Walk a Dog” (a hot dog to go) and “Naked Dog” (a plain hot dog). Throw in a signature Varsity Orange drink, and you’re all set. While there are now six Varsity locations, including two at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, head to the original restaurant on North Avenue for the authentic experience. Past visitors said this is an absolute must when in Atlanta, for both the onion rings and the nostalgia.

Address: 61 N. Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308.

Six Flags Over Georgia

Top things to do in Georgia

(Courtesy of Six Flags Over Georgia)

Georgia has its share of amusement parks, but Six Flags Over Georgia may top the list. Situated about 10 miles west of Atlanta, this Six Flags location features a variety of rides with themes based on DC Comics characters like Batman and Catwoman. Patrons who want to get their blood pumping should hop on The Great American Scream Machine, a classic wooden roller coaster built in 1973, or The Riddler Mindbender, a steel roller coaster with three exhilarating loops. Six Flags Over Georgia also has a water park with a wave pool and waterslides for the warmer months, plus attractions that are suitable for young kids. While you can purchase tickets at the gate, you’ll save money and time by buying them online ahead of time. Reviewers rave about the rides but warn that lines can be long. Hotels like the Hilton Garden Inn Atlanta West/Lithia Springs, the Hampton Inn & Suites ATL-Six Flags and the Comfort Inn Douglasville may offer packages with discounted park tickets.

Address: 275 Riverside Parkway SW, Austell, GA 30168

St. Simons Island

Top things to do in Georgia

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Another Golden Isles offering, St. Simons Island is the largest of Georgia’s barrier islands. This classic Southern landscape, lined with moss-draped live oak trees, also boasts quaint shops, untouched beaches, top-notch fishing, multiple golf courses and an array of other outdoor adventures, so it’s easy to see why it’s one of the top things to do in Georgia. At Fort Frederica National Monument, archaeological remnants of a British colony tell the story of its defense against Spain, while the St. Simons Island Lighthouse Museum details more island history. Visitors also recommend wandering the grounds and cemetery at Christ Church, Frederica – one of the oldest churches in Georgia – which is even more beautiful in spring when the azaleas bloom.

Choose The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort for a luxurious stay or the Grey Owl Inn for a charming bed-and-breakfast experience, among many other hotel options on St. Simons Island.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Top things to do in Georgia

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Journey about 20 miles northwest of Atlanta to visit Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, a nearly 3,000-acre preserved Civil War battleground from 1864. The park has around 20 miles of trails with monuments, historical markers and cannon emplacements, as well as a fantastic view of the Atlanta skyline from atop Kennesaw Mountain. Check out the on-site museum to peruse artifacts and exhibits related to the Battle of Kennesaw. Visitors say this park, which is open from dawn to dusk daily for a per-vehicle fee, makes for a great place to hike. For an easier trek, take the shuttle bus to the top of the mountain and then hike back down. Hotel options in the nearby city of Marietta include the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Atlanta–Marietta or the Hampton Inn and Suites Atlanta/Marietta, both less than 10 miles from the park.

Address: 900 Kennesaw Mountain Drive, Kennesaw, GA 30152

Midtown Atlanta’s Arts District

Fountain at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

(Courtesy of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau)

The best place to immerse yourself in Atlanta’s art and culture offerings is in Midtown’s Arts District, home to an array of attractions. The Atlanta Botanical Garden, for one, is a sprawling 30-acre site next to Piedmont Park that houses permanent artwork, various exhibitions, and weekly shows and classes alongside its indoor and outdoor plant collections. Kids will love the musical and storytelling performances of the Shows for Seedlings program on Fridays. After traversing the Atlanta Botanical Garden, art lovers can check out the High Museum of Art less than a mile away. With more than 17,000 works of art ranging from classic to contemporary and events such as Friday jazz nights, the High Museum of Art promises to engage your inner creativity. Other great ways to experience the Arts District include performances at the landmark Fox Theatre and Atlanta Symphony Hall or visits to the Center for Puppetry Arts and the Bremen Jewish Heritage Museum.

Cloudland Canyon State Park

The Best Things to Do in Georgia

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Get out and discover Georgia’s great outdoors at one of its many state parks. The scenic Cloudland Canyon State Park, which sits on the western side of Lookout Mountain in the northwest part of the state, is a prime spot to hike to the bottom of the gorge and take in magnificent waterfall and canyon views. Families may want to try out a game of disc golf in the park. For overnight stays, Cloudland Canyon offers cottages, campsites and even yurts for a glamping experience. Recent visitors praise the 64 miles of well-maintained hiking trails and recommend arriving early or coming on a weekday; parking, which costs a small fee, can fill up quickly. You’ll find the park about 25 miles southwest of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and 120 miles northwest of Atlanta.

Address: 122 Cloudland Canyon Park Road, Rising Fawn, GA 30738

Get artsy at Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden

Top things to do in Georgia

(Courtesy of Paradise Garden Foundation)

For an off-the-beaten-path adventure, visit Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden in Summerville, a town in northwest Georgia that sits less than 20 miles east of the Alabama-Georgia border. This quirky attraction – which features a kitschy display of sculptures, paintings and curious objects developed by its namesake, folk artist Howard Finster – is considered one of the state’s top art attractions. Finster, one of the most well-known and prolific self-taught artists of the 20th century, created nearly 47,000 pieces of art in addition to the 2.5-acre Paradise Garden. Travelers describe it as fascinating, inspiring and best enjoyed with comfortable shoes. If you’d like to take the experience to the next level, book a stay at the on-site Airbnb cottage or plan your visit around the annual Finster Fest.

Address: 200 N. Lewis St., Summerville, GA 30747

Roosevelt’s Little White House State Historic Site

Top things to do in Georgia

(Courtesy of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites)

Located in Warm Springs, the Little White House was built by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, as he sought a cure for his polio in the town’s spring waters. This house has been preserved alongside a museum filled with the late president’s memorabilia, including his 1938 Ford convertible, his stagecoach and the unfinished portrait he was posing for when he suffered a deadly stroke. Much of this attraction is self-guided, but visitors say the staff stationed around the site to answer questions are exceptionally knowledgeable. After exploring the historic property, check out the shops and eateries lining Main Street in Warm Springs before bedding down at the Aiden by Best Western atWarm Springs Hotel and Event Center.

Address: 401 Little White House Road, Warm Springs, GA 31830

View the highly regarded Cyclorama

Top things to do in Georgia

(Courtesy of Atlanta History Center)

Cycloramas – large paintings used for a kind of three-dimensional visual storytelling – were a popular form of immersive entertainment in the 1800s. Atlanta’s Cyclorama constitutes a more than 130-year-old hand-painted rendering of the 1864 Battle of Atlanta that is longer than a football field and stands almost 50 feet tall. Created in 1886, it is one of only two cycloramas in the U.S. – the other can be found in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – and has been on display in Atlanta for 130 years. In addition to the painting, the Atlanta History Center’s “Cyclorama: The Big Picture” exhibit showcases a short film alongside related artifacts and technology to examine the untold stories of the painting and the ways Civil War imagery has shaped our perspectives. Past visitors loved seeing the massive painting, describing the piece as astounding. Entry to this exhibit is included in Atlanta History Center admission.

Address: 130 W. Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30305

Providence Canyon State Park

The Top Things to Do in Georgia

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Known as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon,” Providence Canyon State Park is colored by pink, orange, red and purple soil. Giant gullies caused by 19th-century farming practices also further the canyon’s photogenic appeal today. Popular for both hiking and camping, the park has nine campsites and more than 10 miles of trails, including the 2.5-mile Canyon Loop Trail. The most popular of the nine canyons are Nos. 4 and 5. Providence Canyon comes alive in July and August when its plumleaf azaleas (a species that only grows in this region) are in full bloom. Keep in mind, though, that the park’s daytime temperatures often climb into the 90s in the summer months and make the canyon floor very hot. Daily parking costs a small fee. Providence Canyon State Park is located about 40 miles south of Columbus on the western side of Georgia.

Address: 8930 Canyon Road, Lumpkin, GA 31815

Historic Oakland Cemetery

The Best Things to Do in Georgia

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As Atlanta’s oldest public park, the historic Oakland Cemetery is where many of the city’s most prominent residents – including author Margaret Mitchell, golfer Bobby Jones and Bishop Wesley John Gaines, who founded Morris Brown College – are laid to rest. The cemetery consists of several distinct areas, including the Jewish Flat, the African American Grounds and the burial grounds for roughly 7,000 Confederate soldiers. Around a mile from downtown, Oakland Cemetery spans 48 acres and also houses gardens with sculptures and majestic oak trees and magnolias. Past visitors highly recommend a visit, noting the interesting tombstones and vast history.

Address: 248 Oakland Ave. SE, Atlanta, GA 30312

Rock City Gardens

Rock City Gardens illuminated at night.

(Courtesy of Rock City, Inc.)

Atop Lookout Mountain in northwest Georgia you’ll find the natural wonders of Rock City Gardens, a one-of-a-kind attraction just 6 miles from downtown Chattanooga. The 4,100-foot Enchanted Trail spotlights ancient rock formations, breathtaking panoramic views, a cascading waterfall and the famous Swing-A-Long Bridge. Visitors will enjoy the valley views from Lover’s Leap, where you can dine on the mountain and try to spot seven states with binoculars, or the nursery rhyme dioramas at Mother Goose Village inside Fairyland Caverns. In addition to more than 400 native plant species, the gardens also feature several art installations inspired by the trail’s natural beauty. Rock City charms travelers year-round with music weekends in the summer, the autumn Rocktoberfest, the Enchanted Garden of Lights for the winter holidays and a spring flower festival, among other events. Recent visitors recommend going to Rock City early so you can take your time and your pictures without too much of a crowd.

Address: 1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750

Cumberland Island

Top things to do in Georgia

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Perhaps best known as the island where John F. Kennedy Jr. wed Carolyn Bessette in a secret ceremony, Cumberland Island boasts more than 17 miles of white sand beaches off the southeastern coast of mainland Georgia. This destination is accessible only by ferry, which departs from the small mainland town of St. Marys, and reservations are recommended. Cumberland Island offers a range of things to do, from tours of the former Carnegie family home and other mansion ruins to outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking, swimming, fishing and stargazing.

Visitors suggest biking as one of the best ways to explore the island, as much of the northern half is too far to reach by foot. You can bring your own bike or rent one from the Camden Bicycle Center in St. Marys after calling 24 hours in advance to check availability. Note that bringing a bike on the ferry costs extra, and space is limited so it’s best to reserve your spot. The Cumberland Island Ferry is not providing bike rentals at the island’s Sea Camp Dock because of supply chain issues at the time of publication; contact the ferry service at 912-882-4335 to check future availability. If you’d like to stay overnight on the island, you can choose between a campsite and a room at the historic Greyfield Inn, with its antique furnishings and candlelit dinners.

Lake Lanier

Top things to do in Georgia

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As one of Georgia’s most popular lakes – and the largest one available in the state – Lake Lanier has 76 recreational areas and spans almost 700 miles of shoreline. The lake, located about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta, boasts shores that are home to Don Carter State Park, a more than 1,300-acre state park with beautiful hiking trails, well-maintained campsites and an array of water-related activities, according to previous visitors. Plus, the lake is where you’ll find Lanier Islands, a lakefront resort complex that features a water park, a spa and even snow tubing during the winter months.

For lodging amid all this lakefront leisure, stay in one of the resort’s upscale guest rooms at Legacy Lodge or Legacy Villas. If you’d rather get the full outdoor experience while visiting one of the top things to do in Georgia, take advantage of the area’s abundant campsites or hang out at Lanier Islands’ Margaritaville RV Resort, which offers both cabins and sites for recreational vehicles.

Strike it rich at Dahlonega

Top things to do in Georgia

(Courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources)

The town of Dahlonega sits on what once were the largest gold deposits east of the Mississippi River. In fact, the site was so rich in the valuable metal it caused a gold rush in the early 1800s, bringing 15,000 miners to the area. In present-day Dahlonega, you can tour a gold mine, pan for gold in the area’s creeks and rivers, and visit the Dahlonega Gold Museum State Historic Site, which displays artifacts such as rare coins and a hydraulic cannon used for mining. While the museum may be small, most previous visitors appreciated the informative displays and suggest watching the short film. For accommodations, consider the Dahlonega Resort and Vineyard, a relaxation-focused property with a wine garden and a spa, or the Hall House Hotel, which dates back to 1881.

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