The largest state east of the Mississippi, Georgia is vastly different at each of its borders. The state is a perfect example of southern culture and a stunning showcase of what the south has to offer visitors. The culture in Georgia is as extremely differing as its geographical landscapes with far right republicans challenging left liberals and cloud tipped mountains contrasting marshlands infested with alligators.
The State capital Atlanta is a sprawling metropolis and host’s headquarters of some of America’s (and the world’s) biggest corporations as well as friendly neighborhoods and local markets. Our list of the Peach States top 25 takes from the bustling cities of Atlanta and Savannah as well as the state’s stunning natural landscapes to create the definitive guide for travelers.
I’ve lived in Georgia my whole live and traveled the length and breadth of the state. During my travels I found some gems that are listed here in my list on the best things to do in Georgia.
1. Callaway Gardens
Callaway Gardens are a popular leisure center situated north of Columbus on Pine Mountain.
The gardens feature artificial lakes, a butterfly house and many plants and flora. Robin Lake is a great place for water-sport enthusiasts and hosts the Masters Waterski and Wakeboard Tournament annually.
Two world class golf courses and a number of quality walking trails can also be found here.
2. Ocmulgee National Monument
This National Monument is dedicated to the human inhabitants of the Macon area throughout the ages, from the first settlers 12,000 years ago to the present day.
A Ceremonial Lodge and earthen mounds are available for public viewings and visitors can also learn about the Native American inhabitants of the area as well as the important Civil War battles that took place here.
3. Chattahoochee National Forest
Set in around 750,000 acres, the Chattahoochee National Forest is packed with stunning natural scenery.
Visitors will find rivers, lakes, waterfalls and countless trees.
The National Forest is a great place for outdoor recreation such as camping, canoeing, hiking, swimming, kayaking and picnicking.
4. Jekyll Island
Jekyll Island was bought by a group of millionaires from the East Coast who collectively named themselves the Jekyll Island Club.
The island, also known as “Millionaires Island”, was sold in 1947 to the state of Georgia for use as a state park.
Today, it is used as a picturesque location for camping and is home to great golf courses, beaches and nature trails. I really recommend a visit if you like going for long walks.
5. Jimmy Carter National Historic Site
Situated in Southwest Georgia, the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site includes Carter’s boyhood home and family farm.
The site is also home to the Plains Train Depot and Plains High School.
The site is a great place to get an insight into the president’s upbringing and factors that may have influenced the decisions he made in later life.
6. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
This National Historic Site in Atlanta allows visitors to see both the birthplace and grave of this world famous civil rights leader.
Also found at this site is the Ebenezer Baptist Church and the Freedom Hall Complex.
Self guided tours are a popular way of seeing the area as information is plentiful both online and within the site.
7. Forsyth Park
In a city known for its beautiful parks and squares, Forsyth Park manages to stand out.
Located in Savannah, the park is the city’s largest and is a stunning example of a mid 19th Century Southern park. Key features of the park include a period fountain, walking trails and old trees allowing areas of shade to indulge in the parks beauty.
8. Okefenokee Swamp
The Okefenokee Swamp was known to Native Americans as “The Land of the Quaking Earth” and covers over 770 square miles of southern Georgia.
The watercourses, swamp grassland and cypress swamps found here form a maze of harsh but beautiful terrain.
The “Floating Islands” found here support entire forests and provided protection to Native American settlers but seemingly quake underfoot.
Over 10,000 alligators are believed to inhabit the swamps and a boat trip is your best chance of seeing the prehistoric beasts.
9. Atlanta History Centre
This large attraction is comprised of the Olympic Games Museum, the Atlanta History Museum, Swan House, Smith Family Farm and the Kenan Research Centre.
It is also home to a number of historic gardens including the Frank A. Smith Rhododendron Garden.
The Atlanta History Museum features a variety of permanent and temporary exhibits that document the history and culture of Atlanta as well a features on the Civil War and Southern Folk Art.
10. The Fox Theatre
Built in the 1920s as the Yaarab Temple Mosque, the Fox Theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Its history has been varied but it has always been an adored landmark despite problems during the Great Depression.
The interior of the building has seen much restoration work in order to preserve its 1920s appearance.
Currently, performances at the Fox are extremely varied and range from ballet and opera to rock concerts.
The theater also house two beautifully restored ballrooms, which are available for special events.
11. World of Coca-Cola
Invented in 1886 by a chemist named Dr John Pemberton, this world famous beverage started life as a syrup used to relieve headaches.
After being mixed with carbonic acid and water, the syrup became Coca Cola.
The World of Coca Cola documents the history and domination of the iconic Coca Cola drink and brand.
12. Piedmont Park
Piedmont Park can be found northeast of Downtown Atlanta and is the oldest and largest park in the city’s metro area.
The grounds of the park were originally part of the Battle of Peachtree Creek during the American Civil War.
Plans to revitalize and renovate the park were drawn up in 2006 and have been a huge success.
The former bathhouse has been transformed into a lakefront venue called Greystone and is used for weddings and other events.
The park is a great place for fishing and walking along the many nature trails.
13. Atlanta Botanical Garden
Thought up in the 1970s and opened to the public in the 1980s, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens is home to a variety of well-designed garden spaces.
Since its opening the gardens have expanded and offer new features and programs for visitors.
The gardens are a visual treat all year round but especially stunning in spring.
The key gardens include the Japanese Garden, Winter Garden and the Orchid Display House.
14. Oakland Cemetery
This historic cemetery began as six acres in 1850 when it was just a garden cemetery.
It has expanded over the years and now encompasses over 88 acres.
In 1884 the cemetery stopped selling plots and fell into disrepair.
In 1976 it was declared a National Historic Landmark and is available for public tours with its very own visitors center and gift shop on site.
15. Fernbank Museum of Natural History
The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is a detailed look into the natural history of Georgia as well as the science of the area.
The museums eye-catching exhibits include huge dinosaur statues and skeletons as well as the interactive and the entertaining “Sensing Nature” exhibition.
There is also a huge Imax theater and huge gallery dedicated to traveling temporary displays.
16. Michael C Carlos Museum
This museum in Emory University has one of the largest collections of ancient art in the Southeast of the United States.
Objects from Ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece and the Ancient Americas are housed here.
The museum’s permanent collection includes works from the renaissance through to modern art from present day artists.
17. Stone Mountain Park
Stone Mountain Park is situated 16 miles east of Atlanta’s center and commemorates the soldiers of the USA’s southern states that died during the civil war.
Stone Mountain itself is the name used to refer to an 863 foot high chunk of exposed granite in the center of the park.
It has a circumference of 5 miles and its summit can be reached by cable car.
The park is also home to an artificial lake with paddle-steamer cruises and museums detailing the industrialization of the southern states and the civil war.
18. Georgia Aquarium
Home to some of the largest creatures in the ocean including the worlds largest fish whale shark, the Georgia Aquarium hosts a wide variety of marine life.
The aquarium offers visitors the opportunity to snorkel or scuba dive in the tank with fish, although a SCUBA certification is required.
For visitors wishing to stay dry, the aquarium has a large acrylic tunnel, allowing guests the chance to sea fish swimming around them from a unique perspective.
19. High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art possesses an impressive collection of art ranging from the Renaissance period to the present day with 19th Century French art dominating the collection.
Forming part of the Woodruff Arts Center, the High Museum of Art was built by architect Richard Meier although there are now an additional three buildings used to house the ever-growing collection.
As well as its collection of art, the museum also plays host to an annual cinema event featuring foreign and independent films.
20. Center for Puppetry Arts
This hands on museum, has a large collection of puppets from around the world including African rod puppets and Chinese hand puppets.
As well as puppets, the museum offers posters, videos and other information relating to puppets as well as a wide range of puppet productions designed for all ages with more serious themes being explored in productions for adults.
21. CNN Center
This colossal center is the headquarters of the CNN news coverage company and offers the CNN guided tours allowing visitors to feel connected with the action of developing news.
Also included in the tour is a ride on the huge escalator within the building, which climbs high above the food court and into a model globe housing the upper levels of the facility.
22. Cathedral of St John the Baptist
This cathedral, situated in Savannah, was completed in 1986 before being destroyed by fire two years later.
It was re-opened in 1912 and features stunning stained glass windows showing Christ’s ascension into heaven and Station of the Cross Bavarian wood carvings.
The building is as stunning outside as it is inside and certainly warrants a visit from all travelers.
23. Museum of Aviation
The Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins is the second largest aerospace museum of the United States Air Force.
The Museum houses various aircraft and equipment and well as permanent exhibits on World War 2, the Korean War and the Vietnamese War.
The museum’s collection is ever expanding and it regularly takes delivery of new military vehicles to add to its exhibits.
24. Georgia State Capitol
The Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta is both architecturally and historically significant.
It has been listed on the national register of historic places and is one of only forty-three landmarks in Georgia to be granted this honor. Guided tours of the building are highly recommended and include a look at Georgia’s history and government as well as the splendor of the building itself.