Georgia, the southern land of the peaches, is not usually considered a top tourist destination. People pass over the state on their way to Florida or catch a connecting flight in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport without considering all the wonderful things to do in Georgia.
The folks who just pass through are missing out. Georgia is a beautiful state filled with history, beaches, and tons of fun activities for travelers.
Whether you are just driving through or planning an entire vacation to the peach state, the best things to do in Georgia are here.
The 23 Best Things to Do in Georgia
Jekyll Island, about an hour south of Savannah, is one of the most unique beaches in the country. The pristine shore is a graveyard of the dead, fallen trees.
The beach used to be a maritime forest, but erosion caused the northern part of the beach to erode into the sea. The tree remains washed up in the South, creating the iconic landscape of a driftwood-filled coast.
Savannah Ghost Tour
Savannah holds the dubious distinction of being one of the most haunted cities in the country. Ghouls haunt hotels, ghosts frequent the civil war era graveyards, and creepy happenings are every day in numerous buildings dating to the 18th and 19th centuries.
Savannah is proud of its supernatural heritage. Numerous tour companies offer guided ghost tours to show visitors the most haunted locations and share tales of Savanah’s sordid history.
Bar Hop on River Street
Savannah’s river street is a cobblestone parkway along the river filled with restaurants, bars, and shopping. Savannah is one of the few cities in the US that allow you to take drinks to go, which makes it an ideal place to barhop.
Start at Wet Willies on River Street for a famous adult slushy, then make your way to Docks for an upscale rooftop bar. Head a few blocks north to Congress for even more drinking and dining establishments when you tire of River Street.
Tour the Charming Parks and Squares
Forsyth Park is one of the most iconic features in Savannah and the entire state of Georgia. The 30-acre park features a gorgeous white fountain and an abundance of grass for playing, people watching, or even napping.
Savannah is known for its tiny parks and charming southern squares. The downtown area alone has over 15 squares, each a block or two wide, but offers shady oak trees covered with Spanish moss. These squares are the perfect place for a short respite and get the most Instagram-able photo of Savannah.
Feed Alligators at the Crab Shack
Tybee Island is home to one of the best beaches in Georgia but is also home to the Crab Shack, a delightful seafood restaurant with a twist.
The Crab Shack offers delicious seafood fresh from the coast and a live alligator pen. Visitors can eat succulent crab and also give these iconic reptiles of the South a tasty treat.
Fort Pulaski is an old civil war fort meant to protect Savannah from assault through the river. On April 10, 1862, Union forces attacked the fort with mortar and rifles. Confederate troops surrendered the next day, allowing the Union to take the fort and seize control of the main supply route into Savannah and the South.
Today, the fort stands as a monument to Union perseverance and wartime engineering. Visitors can see holes in the walls from cannon fire and learn more about the siege and its importance in the conflict. There are also a variety of trails around the fort for those interested in hiking.
See the Wild Horses at Cumberland Island National Seashore
Cumberland Island is one of the last islands on the Georgia side of the Georgia/Florida divide. The island is home to undeveloped beaches and over 9,000 acres of protected wilderness.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the island is the feral population of horses that call it home. Though horses were brought to the island on numerous occasions throughout history, the wild horses likely descended from the Carnegie’s family carriage horses, brought to the area in the late 1800s. Visitors can glimpse these majestic creatures grazing on marshland, but remember not to get too close. Although they look like the horses you’d encounter on a farm, they are now wild and may kick or bite.
Pick a Georgia Peach
Georgia is proud of its peaches. It’s the state fruit and part of the iconic peach cobbler dessert in most restaurants boasting Southern cooking.
For the freshest taste of this juicy fruit, you should try picking your own. Sweets Berry Farms, located about an hour east of Atlanta off I20, is a perfect place to choose your fresh peaches and berries. If you are traveling down I75 into Florida, you should stop at Southern Grace Farms for various U-Pick fruits, including strawberries, blueberries, and of course, peaches. Be sure to check the websites for seasonal information.
Enjoy Georgia Peanuts and Pecans
Georgia may be known for its peaches, but the locals will tell you that nuts are where it’s really at! Georgia prides itself on its peanuts, pecans, and pralines.
Most gas stations have cauldrons of boiled peanuts available for sale, and pecan pie is one of the top deserts in Georgia. If you’re in Savannah, stop by River Street Sweets for the enchanting aroma of freshly cooked pralines. You won’t be able to leave the store without at least taking a sample of the delicious treat. Many of the peach farms above also offer these nutty delights.
The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History
The small town of Kennesaw on the Northern outskirts of Atlanta is home to an incredible piece of civil war history. The General is a locomotive made famous during an epic chase during the Civil War. In 1862, union forces stole the train, which was used to carry confederate forces and supplies. The resulting pursuit, “The Great Locomotive Chase,” has gone down in history as one of the most daring stunts of the Civil War.
Though the locomotive is the star of the Southern Museum, there’s far more to see. It’s now a vast collection of civil war memorabilia and locomotive history, making it an ideal attraction for history buffs and railroad fans alike.
The National Civil War Naval Museum
The National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Georgia, is dedicated to preserving civil war era naval warships. It’s home to the most significant surviving confederate warship, the USS Jackson, and full-scale replicas of other warships.
In addition to the ships, the museum features a timeline of naval events that occurred during the war. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in civil war history and the history of maritime battles in the United States.
Tour the Drummer Boy Civil War Museum
The small town of Andersonville near the Southeast corner of the state may not be on most people’s Georgia itinerary, but it’s worth a stop if you’re in the area. Andersonville is home to a unique museum that celebrates an iconic civil war symbol, the drummer boy.
Gerald Lamby’s Drummer Boy Civil War Museum is one of the best off-the-beaten-path things to do in Georgia. It features complete drummer boy uniforms from both the Union and Confederate forces and other badges, apparel, and accessories of the era. The museum also houses the diaries of Captain Albert Wilber, the officer in charge of the search for Lincoln assassinator John Wilkes Boothe.
The Tubman Museum
Near the center of Georgia lies the unassuming town of Macon. It’s not a top tourist destination, but you would be remiss if you skipped this city’s top attraction.
According to its website, The Tubman Museum is the largest in the country dedicated to educating visitors on African American history, art, and culture.
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
If you enjoy hiking and the outdoors, you need to check out the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Located about 90 minutes north of Atlanta, the park is an ideal place for hiking, biking, and floating on the river.
The park includes 48 miles of the Chattahoochee River, making it an ideal place for fishing. Anglers can catch trout, bass, and catfish in this chilly reserve all year long.
The Appalachian Trail starts (or ends) in Georgia. At the southern side of the Chattahoochee River Park, Springer Mountain marks the iconic trail’s starting point. There are approximately 78 miles of Appalachian Trail in the state of Georgia.
Ambitious hikers will start from Springer Mountain and make the 6–to 7-month journey through 15 states to the ending point in Maine. It’s also easy to hike small portions of the trail. Those not interested in months-long adventure can walk the one-mile route from the parking lot to the summit.
Providence Canyon State Park
The folks who skip the state’s southwestern edge folks miss out on one of the best things to do in Georgia. Located about an hour south of Columbus and near the border with Alabama, Providence Canyon is referred to as “Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon.”
The park offers plenty of hiking and gorgeous views of the canyons. It also hosts astronomy and geology programs, so those interested in the sciences can learn how the canyons were created or spend an evening marveling at the stars.
Blue Ridge Mountains
Though the country song made the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia famous, that same range spans south to the charming town of Blue Ridge, Georgia. Located just outside of Chattahoochee River National River, this town is the perfect place for a romantic getaway in the mountains.
The town of Blue Ridge features a wide array of lodging, from quaint cabins to luxurious bed & breakfasts, which makes it ideal for travelers of all types. The scenic views and fresh mountain air offer a perfect respite from the hectic schedule of daily life.
The Master’s Tournament
Golf Lovers need to visit Augusta, Georgia, to check out the iconic home of the Master’s Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club.
Although it’s one of the most well-known golf courses in the US, the club is exclusive and private. Tickets to the Master’s Tournament are minimal and chosen based on a rigorous application. Playing the course is even more difficult, as membership is offered strictly invitation-only. The best way to play is to qualify for the Masters – not an easy feat!
Things to Do in Atlanta
Atlanta is the biggest city in Georgia and filled with exciting activities. Some of the best things to do in Georgia are found in Atlanta.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park is Atlanta’s top tourist destination and one of the top destinations in Georgia overall.
The 34-acre complex features monuments and exhibits dedicated to the mid-century civil rights leader. King’s birthplace is a top tourist attraction in the park, showcasing memorabilia from his family and early life. Visitors to the park can also tour Ebenezer church, where King was first ordained as a minister, and the “I Have a Dream” International World Peace Rose Garden, a monument dedicated to peace in honor of King’s ideals.
The Georgia Aquarium in the heart of Atlanta is a massive complex featuring over 12000 animals. Visit the aquarium to see beluga whales, bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions, and African penguins.
The iconic whale sharks are the aquarium’s biggest attraction. These massive creatures are the largest fish in the world, growing to nearly 40 feet long! The Georgia Aquarium is the only place in the United States to see this impressive species.
Atlanta Botanical Gardens
There are two versions of the botanical gardens. The original is in Atlanta, but for those who want to avoid a big city, there’s a smaller garden located in Gainesville, Ga.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden features one of the most extensive collections of plants in the South. The garden has 30 acres of outdoor space and an impressive collection of tropical flora in their Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory. The park also showcases art exhibits and hosts events throughout the year.
World of Coca-Cola
When traveling through the South, especially Georgia, you may notice that all soft drinks are called “coke.” The iconic soda brand hails from Atlanta and offers visitors a sneak peek at its creation at the World of Coca-Cola.
Guests can taste various Coca-Cola offerings in the tasting room, learn the relationship between taste and scent in the new scent discovery exhibit, and even take their pictures with Coke’s leading mascot, the polar bear.
High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art is one of the top art museums in the South. It features an extensive collection that includes a wide array of art styles from different periods. Although the museum features a few works by masters such as Picasso, Sargent, and Gauguin, the selection of these works is limited.
The highlight of the High Museum is the folk-art collection. High was one of the first museums to celebrate art from non-traditional artists who never attended art school and taught the craft to themselves, creating a department dedicated to these works in 1994.
The Atlanta Underground is often considered one of the top tourist attractions, but the truth is that the main attraction shut down years ago. The underground area still hosts pop-up art shows and events. The site is currently undergoing renovation and may reclaim its place as a top destination in years to come.
Consider Visiting Georgia!
With all these spectacular things to do in Georgia, visiting the Peach state should be on your list. Big cities, serene beaches, quiet mountains, and abundant US history make Georgia an ideal travel location perfect for everyone.
Plan your trip to Georgia today!