Only In Georgia
Georgia tends to get sticky and muggy during the summer — Atlanta is not nicknamed “Hotlanta” for nothing. While autumn months in the South can remain nice and warm with the residual heat of summer, autumn is the perfect time to get out and explore. From water parks to National parks with more to discover in between, there is so much to be enjoyed outdoors in the great state of Georgia.
Amusement parks are an integral part of American fun when it hot. Georgia has a handful, including ones on both ends of the state. Lake Winnepesauka is in Rossville, Georgia, on the Tennessee border near Chattanooga in the northwestern part of the state. It has more than 35 rides, from fast thrill rides to slow-moving attractions for kids. The Wild Adventures Water & Theme Park in Valdosta accommodates visitors to the southern part of the state near northern Florida. The park has more than 40 rides, including water attractions like steep water slides. The venue also has a 7,000-foot aviary and more than 300 exotic animals, including the Asian elephant, giraffe and Siberian tiger. Six Flags White Water, a bit outside of Atlanta is also worth checking out. visitvaldosta.org
You don't need to head to the Caribbean to enjoy an island vacation. A string of islands sits off Georgia's southeastern coast in the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors typically can enjoy beaches, outdoor recreation like hiking and historical museums. At Jekyll Island, you also can see The Georgia Sea Turtle Center, play at Summer Waves Water Park and visit the Jekyll Island Museum. Tybee Island, 20 minutes from Savannah, includes two forts. Fort Pulaski fell to the Union during the Civil War and Fort Screven hosted active troops that protected the country from 1897 to 1947. goldenisles.com
The Civil War ripped through Georgia in the 1860s, and aficionados of the war will devour the battlefields, monuments, and museums throughout the state. Take the Civil War Leaders Trail – either by yourself or through a company's guided tour – in southeastern Georgia to see sites about Robert E. Lee and other leaders of the war. In the northwestern part of Georgia, the Blue & Gray trail takes you past landmarks like the Chickamauga National Military Park and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield. To go off the beaten Civil War path, visit the Atlanta home of Margaret Mitchell, author of "Gone With The Wind." atlantahistorycenter.com
Georgia is littered with state parks that offer camping, fishing and nature walks, but parks also have other amenities and tourist attractions not normally associated with them. The Victoria Bryant State Park in northern Georgia includes the 18-hole Highland Walk Golf Course with a full-service golf shop. In the central part of the state, the Georgia Veterans State Park pays homage to military members and has a museum with armored vehicles, aircraft, and other artifacts, beginning with the Revolutionary War. In the state's southern region, the Seminole State Park is on the 37,500-acre Lake Seminole reservoir that has boating, swimming and water skiing. Wildlife lovers can take a nature trail to spot alligators and bald eagles.
Depending on one's perspective, the Appalachian Trail begins or ends in Georgia. 79 miles of the 2,190-mile trail are in the Northern part of Georgia and are amongst some of the most scenic in the entire state. Unlike the rest of Georgia, this area is mountainous, and it is a great place for either a day hike or a longer excursion. Guests can enjoy a variety of hikes under 6 miles. appalachiantrail.org
Providence Canyon State Park is located on 1,003 acres near Lumpkin in southwest Georgia. At the core of this fascinating park is Providence Canyon, which is known as Georgia's "Little Grand Canyon" and is considered one of the Natural Wonders of Georgia. What is curious is that the Canyon is actually not natural — soil erosion because of bad 19th century farming practices caused the deep gullies that plunge down 150 feet. Nevertheless, Canyon's fantastic orange, pink, red, and purple colors make for fantastic photos and paintings.
Established in 1937 on 401,880 acres of land, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a wild, beautiful place, a breeding ground, and a refuge for migratory birds as well as other wildlife. At its core is the unique Okefenokee swamp, the headwaters of the St Mary's and Suwannee Rivers, and a habitat for endangered and threatened species such as wood storks, the red-cockaded woodpecker, indigo snakes, and many wild animals. The refuge is known the world over for its population of amphibians, which are bio-indicators of the habitat's health. There are over 600 plant species in refuge. Within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, 353,981 acres are designated as National Wilderness Area. As it is one of the largest intact freshwater ecosystems in the world, the RAMSAR Convention has declared the refuge a Wetland of International Importance. There are a number of observation towers and boardwalks throughout the refuge. folkston.com
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 and was created by thousands of years of relentless work on behalf of the Tallulah River, which can be seen flowing at the bottom of the gorge. Six Tallulah Falls that drop the river level by 500 feet over a mile are the main attraction of the area. You can get another great view from the suspension bridge, which swings 80 feet above the bottom of the gorge. gastateparks.org
Enjoy sipping regional brews with the locals by attending one of the many Georgian beer festivities all over the state. September and October are the best time to visit if you enjoy a hoppy pint. The Savannah Craft Brew Fest may be Georgia’s most beer fanatic-friendly festival. The September event features unlimited sampling of craft beers from around the world, food, seminars about beer, a mixology garden and a cider garden, a VIP experience, music and a cornhole tournament. Discover Helen, an Alpine village tucked away in the North Georgia Mountains, as it goes big each year for their own version of Oktoberfest. You will find beer on tap, polka on the dance floor and plenty of bratwurst. Oktoberfest Boutique Beer Tasting allows you to sip and stroll through the shops in downtown Newnan during this unique annual event. Local, regional, and national brews will be on tap. Boos & Brews is a Halloween-themed festival that takes place at Center Stage in Midtown Atlanta. Uniquely, this festival runs at night, until 2 a.m. savannahcraftbrewfest.com
A relaxing escape, the coast has it all; from miles of shoreline and windswept dunes to historic ports and towns. Stretching for approximately 100 miles, Georgia’s Coast encompasses America’s most beautiful city, Savannah. From the North with the wild horses of Cumberland Island, all the way to the South, one can discover the most charming port towns in-between.
Darien is the second oldest planned city in Georgia and the site of the first fort on Georgia soil. The city of Darien in McIntosh County has a unique blend of history and natural beauty. Take a self-guided walking tour of historic Darien and explore the local antique shops and boutiques. Enjoy a lunch of local walk Georgia shrimp at Kipper’s Fish Camp on the Darien waterfront and watch the shrimp boats return with their catch. Hop on the ferry to Sapelo Island, a beautiful barrier island facing the Atlantic.
Sapelo is a state-managed barrier island, the fourth largest in the chain of coastal Georgia islands between the Savannah and St. Marys rivers. Accessible only by passenger ferry from Meridian Dock eight miles northeast of Darien, Sapelo provides a number of public access recreational, educational, and lodging opportunities. Perhaps the most visible manmade feature of Sapelo is an 80-foot tall lighthouse, built by the federal government in 1820. It was deactivated after a hurricane in 1898 and remained unlit for a century. Repainted in its original alternating red and white bands, the Sapelo light is once again a working aid to navigation overlooking the waters of Doboy Sound. Once the anchorage for hundreds of sailing ships arriving from all over the world to load pine timber processed at the numerous sawmills in the Darien area. Take a private tour to see the Sapelo lighthouse and learn about the Gullah community. visitdarien.com
Georgia offers an endless list of sites and activities for visitors. Nevertheless, Georgia It is not a place to read about, it is a place to go and experience. Start your journey to the Peach State and discover more than you could imagine.
More to Discover Only in Georgia
Monster Mini Golf
Miniature golf indoors with cool monster décor, and state-of-the-art arcade?! Why not?! Enjoy private party rooms for fun gatherings while you and your guests roam the entire building set in glow-in-the-dark. This is a different experience for the whole family, and it is like nothing you have experienced before. Perfect for all ages; enjoy 18 holes of monster mini golf anytime. Host a party and your child will be the star of the event and the center of attention on their big day, as you and your guests will receive red carpet treatment. monsterminigolf.com
You can become the perfect guide to discover the beautiful architecture in Covington. Self-guided tours offer a walking/driving tour of restored Greek revival mansions and Victorian cottages in town; brochures are available at the Visitor Information Center. Opt for a Covington Ghost Tour that consists of multiple walking tours around the Historic Square in Covington, Georgia. Over sixty movies/TV series have been filmed in Covington. The downtown shopping district features pavers listing the actor, project, year filmed and a prominent gold star to recognize many of these productions. gocovington.com/mainstreet
In the southwest corner of the state, city officials say the historic district in Bainbridge is one of their biggest draws. Incorporated in 1829, a large number of homes and buildings from the late 1800s and 1900s are still intact for visitors to enjoy. Take a self-guided tour through one of the 41 historic homes on the Heritage Tour. The Callahan-Penhallegon Home, built in 1907, is known as the “steamboat house” because of its look, reminiscent of a boat. The Caldwell-Perry home was built in 1900 and it was known at the time as the “modernistic house.” downtownbainbridgega.com