Georgia, like much of the southeastern United States, is renowned for its gracious hospitality, picturesque little villages, and mouthwatering cuisine. Nothing less would be expected from a state with the charming moniker “The Peach State.” Georgia is full of personality, variety, and excitement, but it’s also a place where you can take it leisurely and explore on your own time. This route is all about taking in an abundance of culture, family fun, and natural beauty. It begins in the state capital of Atlanta and travels southeast toward the Atlantic Ocean shore. Rent a car when you arrive at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) to begin your journey.
Atlanta: Exciting Southeast Gateway
You’ll quickly see why Atlanta is the subject of so much excitement. It’s a popular urban destination with well-known buildings, fascinating street art, and an international cuisine scene that will leave you wanting more. Begin your downtown adventures around Centennial Olympic Park. On the 20-story SkyView Atlanta Ferris wheel with its enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas, take in the cityscape. After that, stroll to adjacent tourist hotspots like the World of Coca-Cola Museum and Georgia Aquarium, one of the largest in the world.
Atlanta is a historic city as well. Martin Luther King Jr. tour The Atlanta BeltLine is one of the greatest places to tour like a resident to get a sense of the city. This city-wide trail is accessible by both foot and bicycle passes through thriving districts and is filled with public art, eateries, markets, and other attractions.
Start in Ponce City Market in the Old Fourth Ward district, which has a food hall where you can try regional and international flavors as well as a fun rooftop with bars and a mini golf course. The nearby, hipster Cabbagetown is notable for its ever-changing, graffiti-inspired street art in its Krog Street Tunnel, as well as for having its food hall at the Krog Street Market.
History, beauty, and entertainment in Savannah
Take Interstates 75 and 16 to Savannah, and as you get closer to this waterfront metropolis, watch how the hills gradually flatten out. Savannah, which was founded by Gen. James Oglethorpe in 1733, is referred to be “America’s first planned city” because of the broad streets and public parks that he envisioned. Savannah is essentially linked with heritage, charm, and friendliness. The warmth of the people you encounter as you stroll through manicured squares surrounded by opulent homes gives off the feeling. Savannah, the oldest city in Georgia, is full of historical landmarks, including Forsyth Park, the city’s biggest and oldest public park and the location of one of the city’s most popular photo ops.
Visit Bonaventure Cemetery, a serene Spanish moss-draped cemetery with elaborate monuments that was made well-known by the book and movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” a short drive from the city center. Next, proceed to Wormsloe State Historic Site, where there are numerous photo opportunities along a broad path lined with more than 400 live oak trees. This street leads to the ruins of a 1745 tabby home (concrete made of crushed oyster shells, lime, sand, and water), which is Savannah’s oldest standing building.
Returning to the city’s core, River Strip, a cobblestone street with brick sidewalks where you’ll discover pubs, restaurants, art galleries, and stores amid former warehouses, offers history combined with water vistas. Visit the trendy Plant Riverside District or the artsy and popular Starland District for more places to eat, shop, and have fun near a restored 1912 power plant. Take a day trip to Tybee Island, a coastal getaway with sandy beaches, a fishing pier, and Georgia’s oldest and tallest lighthouse, before continuing south.
Barrier island paradise at the Golden Isles
As you travel south on Interstate 95 toward the Golden Isles, an area with four barrier islands and a historic mainland city, you’ll start to see marshes and twisting rivers. The name calls to mind the wealth of the islands’ resources, particularly their golden sands and coastal wetlands.
The largest of the Golden Isles is the kid-friendly St. Simons Island, which has 32 kilometers of bike paths that are perfect for riding with kids and one of Georgia’s five remaining lighthouses, a white structure that appears to reflect the color of the sky.Sea Island, which is nearby to the east, is the only resort in the world to have won four Forbes Five-Star awards continuously for 12 years. You may unwind in elegance here while enjoying three championship golf courses and 8 kilometers of gorgeous, private coastline.
Little St. Simons Island, which can only be reached by boat, entices with a stunning eco-resort located amid a vast uninhabited wilderness. On the 11 kilometers of private beach located here, you can relax or go on naturalist-led excursions that include hiking, fishing, kayaking, and bird watching.
Jekyll Island, a state park and National Historic Landmark District with 34 historic buildings are the southernmost of the barrier islands. Driftwood Beach, which is properly titled, is a hauntingly gorgeous stretch of beach lined with numerous weathered trees that are guaranteed to fill your camera roll. The nearby town of Brunswick has a bustling center with Victorian-era buildings, locally owned shops, art galleries, restaurants, and even a rum distillery. A fun evening can be had there before making the 4.5-hour trip back to Atlanta to catch your flight home.