Looking for a Getaway Destination in GA?
Whether you just moved to Georgia or you have lived here a while, one of the best things about Georgia is being able to explore new places for a day or overnight trip. Several of these destinations can be combined for a longer getaway.
Georgia offers a wide range of activities and environments from the beaches to the mountains, and everything in between.
Here are a few destinations to explore:
AMICALOLA FALLS STATE PARK
Amicalola is the tallest waterfall in Georgia, dropping 730 feet with multiple tiers. The Southernmost endpoint of the Appalachian Trail (AT) which leads to Spring Mountain begins at the park. Amicalola Falls State Park is great for a day trip or an overnight adventure that includes staying at the lodge. https://www.amicalolafallslodge.com/
Callaway Gardens is located in Pine Mountain, GA, and encompasses 2,500 acres and a great destination for the entire family, with four distinct seasons. Guests can enjoy a lake for boating, fishing, and water sports plus beaches for swimming and relaxing. Known for its natural exhibits, there are azalea, hydrangea and holly gardens, hiking and biking trails, a zip line through the treetops, birds of prey shows, a historical pioneer log cabin, and an incredible butterfly center with 1000 butterflies representing 50 different species. Callaway Gardens is a great day trip or overnight destination with multiple options for overnight lodging. Combining a trip to the Wild Animal Safari makes this combo a nice mini-vacation. https://www.callawaygardens.com/
WILD ANIMAL SAFARI
Also located in Pine Mountain, GA, the Wild Animal Safari park appeals to all ages. Visitors can drive their own vehicle 3.5 miles in this drive thru animal safari. Or visitors can take a guided bus tour or rent an open air zebra safari van. This is truly a unique experience, with visitors being able to see, touch, and feed hundreds of animals on the safari, all up close and very personal! There are 550 animals on 500 acres of property. Be sure to have your camera ready as there will be opportunities for great photos. https://animalsafari.com/Georgia/
Helen is Georgia’s third most visited city. Helen gives you a glimpse of Germany, featuring the charm of the Southeast’s finest Bavarian Village. Quaint hotels, unique shops, and tasty alpine food and drink make it a great place to visit. Nearby rivers also offer seasonal rafting trips. Festivals featuring arts & crafts and music draw visitors throughout the year. http://www.helenga.org/
Home to the UGA Bulldogs, Athens is also well know for it indie music scene, historical Southern architecture, museums, restaurants, and art galleries. The vibrant college culture is co-mingled with a distinctly southern flair. The University of Georgia is not only well known for its sports action, but it is also the state’s largest public research university and the birthplace of public higher education in the United States. https://www.visitathensga.com/
STONE MOUNTAIN PARK
Georgia’s most visited attraction spans 3,200 acres and features the largest granite formation in the world. Carved into the granite are the faces of historical figures from the South, including Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, and Robert E. Lee. The park also has a lake, hiking trail, laser shows, science and nature activities for children, outdoor adventure courses, restaurants, lodging, and numerous festivals throughout the year. https://www.stonemountainpark.com/
Historic Dahlonega is known for its heritage as the site of the first major U.S. Gold Rush. It is also a popular location for wine lovers with multiple vineyards and wine tasting sites. Dahlonega is tucked away in the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains of Northeast Georgia and has museums, gold mine tours, and hosts many festivals with arts, crafts, and music throughout the year. http://dahlonega.org/
ANDERSONVILLE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
Located in Andersonville, GA, this historic site is run by the National Park Service. Camp Sumter, a prisoner of war camp used in the last year of the Civil War by the Confederate Army, has been restored and maintained at the site. During the Civil War, almost 13,000 Union soldiers out of 45,000 held captive at the camp died of diseases like scurvy and dysentery, due to poor conditions at the POW camp. Andersonville National Cemetery is located at the site. The historic site is also home to a National Prisoner of War Museum encompassing POW stories from the Revolutionary War to today. https://www.nps.gov/ande/index.htm
PROVIDENCE CANYON STATE PARK
Providence Canyon is nicknamed the “Little Grand Canyon” of Georgia. The multi-colored layers in the canyon are a visual delight in pastel shades of red, pink and orange. The picturesque geological formations were caused by improper farming techniques common in the 1800s. The park has over 10 miles of hiking trails, as well as camping nearby, and encompasses over 1000 acres in Lumpkin County. https://gastateparks.org/ProvidenceCanyon
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE MIGHTY EIGHTH AIR FORCE
In Pooler, GA, is The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, a museum dedicated to the Eighth Air Force of the US, which served in Europe during World War II. The museum is located in Pooler, Georgia, a suburb of the city of Savannah. The exhibitions include curated information, artifacts, and personal accounts of the soldiers who served in the force. World War II aircraft and an outdoor memorial garden are beside the museum. http://www.mightyeighth.org/ Being located near Savannah makes this day trip easily turn into an overnight trip along the famous River Street in Savannah, where shopping, restaurants, festivals, and ghost tours are popular activities. https://www.visitsavannah.com/
JEKYLL ISLAND, GA
An island just off Georgia’s coast, Jekyll Island has been a State Park since 1947, and has a rich history and protections in place to preserve its history. The island was purchased in 1886 to become a winter retreat called the Jekyll Island Club for the wealthy and famous to escape to an isolated club. Notable club members included J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, William K. Vanderbilt, and Marshall Field. Today, the 240-acre site of the former Club has 34 historic structures and is one of the largest ongoing restoration projects in the southeastern United States. In addition to historic buildings and exhibits, Jekyll Island has nature and turtle centers, hiking and biking, beaches, golf, restaurants, and shopping. https://www.jekyllisland.com/
CUMBERLAND ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE
The historic coastal city of St Marys, GA is the gateway to Cumberland Island, the largest and southernmost barrier island in Georgia. The National Park Service has a ferry to the island, where visitors will enjoy 300-year old live oaks draped with Spanish moss and a setting that remains pristine, virtually undeveloped, and natural. There are opportunities for overnight stays at the National Park Services campgrounds or at the Carnegie family’s Greyfield Inn, which is the only commercial establishment on the island. Cumberland Island is for the adventurous traveler who enjoys the outdoors, including nature, photography, hiking, beach combing, stargazing, and “roughing it” among the pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches and wide marshes. Cumberland Island is over 17 miles long, with over 36,000 acres, including home to over 9,800 acres of Congressionally designated Wilderness. http://cumberlandisland.com/