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Georgia Vacation Spots
As a lifelong Georgia resident, I’ve visited numerous Georgia attractions. My family and I have also spent a lot of time at Georgia vacation spots. The Peach State is very diverse – both culturally and geographically. The capital, Atlanta, is much different than most of the rest of the state, which is made up largely of small towns, farms, and forests. As far as physical features go, we have just about everything. These features include mountains, hills, canyons, gorges, rivers, huge lakes, small ponds, waterfalls, swamps, marshes, plains, beaches, and islands. We have a lot of historic sites, too, along with museums, theme parks, zoos, sports venues, professional sports teams, aquariums, galleries, and opportunities for hunting and fishing. You’ll find that most Georgians are warm and welcoming, and we like to spread the southern hospitality the South is famous for. Check out these Georgia attractions and Georgia vacation spots. Maybe you’ll be convinced to come for a visit!
Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains can be found in the northeast corner of the state, and they’re beautiful one of the most beautiful Georgia attractions of all. The hills are full of great Georgia vacation spots, including the towns of Blairsville, Hiawassee, Dillard, Dahlonega, Ellijay, Clayton, and Helen. Visitors can choose to stay in hotels and condos in town, or they can rent more remote chalets and cabins. The mountains are great for hiking, picnicking, bird watching, wildlife viewing, and waterfall spotting, and many shops offer handmade items crafted by local artisans. The mountain streams provide trout fishing, rafting, and tubing. There are also several large lakes in the area, with boating, water skiing, fishing, and swimming opportunities.
You can also find numerous cultural and historic sites in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, including covered bridges, the Dahlonega gold mines, wineries, old farms, old grist mills, museums, and Traveler’s Rest, a plantation and stagecoach inn built in 1815.
Helen GA, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in White County, is one of the top Georgia vacation spots. This is a charming town, modeled after a Bavarian village. The shops, restaurants, plazas, fountains, walkways, bridges, and hotels all sport Alpine architecture and facades. The Chattahoochee River meanders right through the downtown area, providing a soothing gurgle as you stroll the lanes or sip a drink at a riverside cafe.
In the summer, there’s an amusement park at the end of town that the kids will love. They’ll also enjoy tubing the cool waters of the ‘Hooch. Adults will enjoy shopping for imported items, gourmet foods, local wines, and locally made crafts. For a great family adventure, take a horseback ride through the mountains. There are several riding stables located near Helen, GA, including Sunburst Stables, Cross Creek Stables, and Chattahoochee Stables.
Tallulah Gorge is also located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, near Clayton, just off U.S. Highway 441. The gorge is pretty impressive – around 1,000 feet deep and two miles long. At the bottom is the Tallulah River. Trails along the rim provide easy hikes for viewing the river, interesting rock formations, and the famous site where Karl Wallenda crossed the gorge on a tightrope. There are also a suspension bridge, waterfalls, and rare plant and animal species.
If you’re fit enough, you might want to hike to the floor of the gorge. There, you can swim, kayak, rock climb, and fish. Tallulah Gorge Park also offers an interpretive center, mountain biking trails, a gift shop, a picnic area, geocaching, hunting, tennis, camping, and a lake with a beach. Tallulah Gorge is definitely worth a stop if you’re anywhere Highway 441 in North Georgia.
Cabbage Patch Dolls
Did you know that Cabbage Patch Dolls are “born” in Georgia? It’s true – it all takes place at Babyland General Hospital, located in Cleveland. When my girls were small, they loved Cabbage Patch dolls, and Babyland was one of their favorite Georgia attractions. Visitors get to watch Cabbage Patch dolls be born, with the help of special doctors and nurses.
Babyland General looks like a sprawling two-story southern mansion, and it’s filled to the brim with Cabbage Patch Kids of every description. If you want to take one home, you’ll first have to take the Oath of Adoption.
If your kids are fans of the Cabbage Patch dolls, Babyland is a nice place to spend a couple of hours. Cleveland is in Northeast Georgia, and it’s an easy drive from Helen and other locations in Georgia’s mountains, so it makes a good side trip for kids. Best of all, admission is free. The Cabbage Patch dolls, however, aren’t free. If your child falls in love with one, be prepared to fork over some cash.
Cabbage Patch Dolls - Babyland General
Cabbage Patch Dolls and Babyland
Stone Mountain and Stone Mountain Park are located fifteen minutes east of Atlanta. Stone Mountain is an exposed piece of granite and quartz that reaches 1,686 feet above sea level. The rock’s base is more than five miles in circumference. Stone Mountain was created from magma at about the same time the Blue Ridge Mountains were formed. The view from the top of the mountain is awesome! On a clear day, you might even be able to see the North Georgia Mountains.
Visitors to Stone Mountain Park have numerous activities from which to choose. They can hike to the top of the mountain, ride the train, climb the rock wall, walk miles of nature trails, ride bicycles, play miniature golf, have a picnic, ride the sky tram, watch a 4-D movie, or shop. There’s also an antebellum plantation that guests can tour. The stars at Stone Mountain are the giant carving and the laser light show. The carving is actually larger than Mt. Rushmore’s, and, in fact, it’s the largest bas-relief carving on the planet. Be sure to stick around for the laser show - it’s amazing!
Providence Canyon is one of the most unusual Georgia attractions. Located in the west-central part of the state near Lumpkin, the canyon was made from erosion caused by farming. It’s more than 150 feet deep in some spots, and the walls represent numerous colors and shades. Most of the bottom of the canyon is sandy, often with a very shallow layer of water trickling over the sand. If you go to the bottom to explore, be careful. All the surroundings look the same, so it’s easy to get lost. My friends and I got lost for hours there when we were teenagers.
Providence Canyon, sometimes called the Little Grand Canyon or Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon, is part of Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area, which covers over 1,000 acres. In addition to hiking, visitors can walk the trail at the canyon’s rim, camp, and use the picnic facilities. Be sure to take lots of pictures! The canyon walls are especially pretty in the morning and late afternoon sun.
Located near Providence Canyon is Historic Westville, an 1850s living history museum. It’s sort of like a smaller and more rural version of Colonial Williamsburg. Westville Village features churches, homes, gardens, a school, a printing shop, a doctor’s office, a gift shop, a blacksmith’s shop, an 1854 courthouse, slave cabins, stores, farm animals, antique farming implements, and a restaurant. Workers are dressed in period clothing and demonstrate skills used during the pre-Civil War era. The staff shares information with guests about cotton, slaves, and businesses.
Throughout the year, Westville hosts special programs and celebrations. Some of these are soap making, weaving, spinning, basket making, woodworking, candle making, the Creek Indian Wars of 1836, games, races, barbecues, dances, live bluegrass music, corn shelling, pottery making, cane grinding, syrup making, quilting, and cooking on an open hearth. In December, guests are invited to make wreaths, centerpieces, and swags.
Jekyll Island is one of Georgia’s barrier islands, also known as the Golden Isles. Located just across from Brunswick, you’ll travel over several miles of marsh and tidal rivers to reach the island. Jekyll Island is very well maintained, with lots of flowering plants and live oak trees. Deer and other examples of wildlife are numerous and can be best viewed at night. Swimming, fishing, and other beach activities can be enjoyed on several different beaches. There’s also a water park that kids of all ages will enjoy. Golf, miniature golf, and tennis are also available. Restaurants and stores are somewhat limited on Jekyll Island, but visitors can always make the drive to St Simons Island or to Brunswick for more choices.
St Simons Island
St Simons Island is located just north of Jekyll Island, but it’s much larger. It also has many more restaurants, stores, and things to do and see. Like Jekyll, St Simons Island is covered with moss-draped oaks, giving the isle sort of an eerie atmosphere. This becomes even more evident when you visit the haunted cemetery at historic Christ Church.
St Simons Island also boasts a nice fishing pier, an old lighthouse, and a beachside playground for kids. Be sure to see the ruins of Fort Frederica and the Bloody Marsh, where the English fought the Spanish for control of the area. At Fort Frederica, you can view the ruins of moats, homes, walls, and the fort itself, along with the Fort Frederica National Monument.
St Simons Island
St Simons Island
Savannah GA is a wonderful place to visit! There’s enough to do, see, and experience here to keep you busy for quite a while. Of course, while you’re this close, you’ll want to visit historic Savannah, but there’s plenty to do elsewhere in the city. If you love shopping, you’ll love Savannah GA! Oglethorpe Mall, located on the Abercorn Extension, includes nearly 150 businesses, including stores, shops, restaurants, salons, and a fitness center. Kids can ride the carousel or play in the indoor playground. You’ll also find antique malls, sprawling flea markets, outlet stores, and specialty shops of every kind.
Take in a concert or a live theater performance, or tour some of the old homes. If you’re into military history, you’ll enjoy seeing Old Fort Jackson, Fort McAllister, and Fort Pulaski. If birds and wildlife hold your interest, Savannah GA has several nearby refuges, including Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Oatland Island Wildlife Center, Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge, Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge, Wilderness Southeast, and Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.
Wait – there’s more to do in Savannah GA! Take a dolphin cruise or haul in a whopper on a deep sea fishing charter. Spend a few hours in a museum or art gallery. Visit a plantation, or check out beautiful and historic Bonaventure Cemetery. Indulge in a scrumptious meal and spend the night dancing.
Bonaventure Cemetery and More in Savannah GA
Historic Savannah is one of my favorite Georgia attractions. With its squares, statues, old homes, and fountains, visiting historic Savannah is like stepping back in time. Many of the older homes and buildings have been turned into bed-and-breakfast inns, restaurants, museums, and shops, and these, of course, are open to the public.
The hub of historic Savannah is River Street, which follows the Savannah River. The cobblestone street is wall-to-wall with shops, boutiques, hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, and lounges. It’s easy to spend an entire day on the street and never have time to see everything. If you need a break, grab an ice cream or a frosty drink and have a seat on one of the riverside benches. Watch the boats go by, make a new friend or two, and enjoy the salt air.
Off River Street is the rest of historic Savannah. Tour the city in a horse-drawn carriage, or take a thrilling ghost tour. Have a picnic in one of the lovely squares, or sit down to a great meal of fresh seafood. Don’t miss City Market or the Pirate’s House! Once you park your car, most of the area is within walking distance.
Savannah Beach is one of the top Georgia vacation spots for families. Located at Tybee Island, Savannah Beach is about twenty minutes from historic Savannah. Tybee Island is a fun place, with an upbeat atmosphere and plenty to do. Of course, there’s the beach itself – miles of it – with wide expanses of sand. The surf is usually pretty calm, too, so visitors can enjoy swimming and other water sports.
For a real treat, pay a visit to the old lighthouse, which also has a museum. The Pier and Pavilion area is a lively place and often features live music, dancing, and other types of entertainment. Fish for dinner from the pier, have a picnic, or grab a quick bite to eat from the snack bar. If you want to learn more about native animals, visit Oatland Island Education Center or Tybee Island Marine Science Center.
Savannah Beach has lots of great lodging choices, including beach resorts, condos, hotels, motels, cottages, and private vacation homes. There’s a wide price range for accommodations, so you should be able to find something that won’t wreck your vacation budget.
You’ll also find some delicious food at Savannah Beach, from more than forty restaurants. These range from laid back and casual to fine dining. Choices include fresh seafood, of course, along with pizza, barbecue, wings, steaks, sandwiches, burgers, Italian, Korean, Cuban, Spanish, Caribbean, and Mexican.
Okefenokee Swamp is located in Southeast Georgia, and the entrance is just south of Waycross. While a swamp might not come to mind when you think of Georgia attractions, this one is definitely worth seeing. It covers almost 500,000 acres and is a national wildlife refuge. The Okefenokee Swamp is comprised of rivers, marshes, islands, prairies, forests, and walking paths.
Walk the path to the observation tower for a great view, or take a tour of the swamp by boat. Expect to see deer, alligators, black bears, otters, snakes, and numerous other species. These include forty mammalian species, sixty amphibian species, and at least fifty reptile species. If birds are your passion, how ‘bout this – Okefenokee Swamp is home to more than 200 bird species, including osprey, sandhill cranes, white Ibis, great blue herons, and anhinga.