Best Things To Do & See in Georgia (USA)

The Best Things to do in Georgia: 25 Places to Visit in the Peach State

Georgia, or the “Peach State” as it is affectionately known, is one of the largest and most diverse states east of the Mississippi River. The landscape varies dramatically from the picturesque Blue Ridge mountains in the north to the expansive Okefenokee Swamp in the south. In between, you’ll find the booming metropolis of Atlanta, the historic town of Savannah, and a whole lot more in this charming southern state.

We have put together this list of the best things to do in Georgia based on our own experience and the recommendations of a few of our fellow travel writers. You’re sure to have an amazing time exploring this part of the Southern United States.

And if you’re on a road trip south, you’ll definitely want to read our list of 55 incredible things to do in Florida!

Don’t forget to check out our web story: Best Things to do in Georgia!

The 25 Top Things To See and Do in Georgia

1. See Rock City

Best Things to do in Georgia: Rock City

While the oddly well-known roadside attraction of Rock City is most often associated with Chattanooga, Tennessee, it is actually located in Georgia – Lookout Mountain, Georgia to be exact.

This amusement park, of sorts, blends a beautiful natural setting atop Lookout Mountain with a heavy dose of kitschiness, including a variety of garden gnomes hidden throughout the landscape. You can gaze at a 100-foot waterfall, cross a 200-foot long swinging bridge, and edge your way through the narrow rock passageway known as “Fat Man’s Squeeze”.

At the top of the mountain, you’ll be able to see seven different states from Lovers Leap. And all along the trails, you’ll see small garden gnome statues and oddball sculptures. A fun fact about Rock City is that it was home to the world’s first miniature golf course, called Tom Thumb Golf.

Rock City rose to prominence thanks to an incredibly successful marketing campaign. The painter and sign maker, Clark Beyers, was hired to paint the roof and walls of barns across the Southeastern US with the now-famous slogan “See Rock City”. By 1969, over 900 barns were painted with advertisements for Rock City. These days most of them have been demolished or repainted, but who knows – if you’re on a Southern USA road trip you might still spot one of these iconic “See Rock City” barns.

So if you’re looking for the best things to do in Georgia, don’t miss your chance to “See Rock City”!

2. Hike to Brasstown Bald – The Highest Point in Georgia

Georgia (USA) - Best Things to Do & See: Brasstown Bald

Located less than 90 minutes from metro Atlanta, north Georgia is a haven for outdoor adventurers and casual nature-lovers alike. There are nearly 20 state parks located north of the city’s I-285 perimeter, offering everything from mountain biking and rock climbing to horseback riding and spelunking.

There’s also the Chattahoochee National Forest and the beginning/ending of the Appalachian Trail. Hiking in this region is exceptionally beautiful in Autumn when the weather is cool and leaves are beginning to reach the peak of their fiery colors.

One of the best hiking trails in the state is Blairsville’s Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest mountain at 4,784 feet above sea level. The native Cherokee called this place Enotah, but the current name comes from a misunderstanding of the Cherokee word “Itse’yĭ” (New Green Place, or Place of Fresh Green), which settlers mistook for “Ûňtsaiyĭ” (Brass).

The “Bald” part? That refers to the jaw-dropping 360-degree view visitors get from the top, where you can see four states (Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee) with a turn of your head. The only downside is that the Observation Tower at the top can get a bit crowded during the peak summer season. But the rocking chairs, small picnic area, and stunning scenic views make it the perfect place to spend an autumn afternoon in Georgia.

3. Finish (or Start) the Appalachian Trail

Top Things to do in Georgia (USA): Hike Springer Mountain

The state of Georgia is surprising in its variety of things to do, from lounging at the beach to ghost-spotting in Savannah to hiking a wide range of trails. One of the most underrated things to do in Georgia is to hike the start (or end, depending on how you look at it) of the Appalachian Trail.

The A.T. spans from Georgia all the way to Maine and takes about 5-7 months to hike in its entirety. However, if you’re in the state of Georgia and interested in saying you hiked the Appalachian Trail without committing that much time, visit Springer Mountain in North Georgia.

The Springer Mountain hike on the A.T. is only two miles roundtrip but can be challenging due to the rocky outcrops for most of the trail. Plan to visit in Spring or Fall for the best scenery and arrive early to avoid the crowds. The views of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains and the prestige of hiking one end of the A.T. make this hike well worth the effort though. 

There is free parking at the Springer Mountain trailhead, but it is very limited, and the gravel road to get there is a bit rough, so plan accordingly.

4. Celebrate Octoberfest in Helen

Georgia (USA) Best Things to See: Bavarian Town of Helen for Oktoberfest

Helen, a small town located approximately 85 miles north of Atlanta, is a very popular tourist destination in Georgia. In fact, Helen is the third most visited city in Georgia due to it being a replica of a small Bavarian village nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Among the best things to do in Helen, Georgia are to stroll the quaint downtown streets for some stunning pictures, go shopping for unique crafts and local goods, and grab some delicious German food and a pint of beer!

If you plan to visit during the late spring and summer months, renting a tube down the Chattahoochee River is quite popular. Or you can hike one of several waterfall trails that are just minutes away from town. The fall brings tourists to celebrate Helen’s annual Octoberfest, which is one of the largest in the country. And during the holidays, Helen is filled with Christmas decorations, trees, and lights.

Helen’s charm and architecture, in addition to the fantastic shops and restaurants, make it one of the best things to do in Georgia and a destination that is truly unlike anything else in the USA.

5. See a Cabbage Patch Kid be Born at Babyland General Hospital

Top Things to See in Georgia (USA): Babyland General Hospital

If you want to add a truly unique attraction to your list of things to do in Georgia, you can’t go wrong by visiting Babyland General Hospital. It’s a place that will make you laugh for years to come. 

Located two hours northeast of Atlanta, this “hospital” is actually the home of the famous Cabbage Patch Kid. The building itself is massive and gorgeous. You’ll know you are in the right place when you see dolls popping out of a cabbage patch in the ground. 

Your visit to Babyland General will start with the museum where some old and very expensive antique cabbage patch kids are housed. Then there is the nursery full of crying baby cabbage patch kids (that is actually somewhat disturbing). 

The final area is, of course, a huge gift shop. But this is where you will also find the main attraction at Babyland General Hospital – a huge “Mother Cabbage” tree, where all the Cabbage Patch Kids come from. There are licensed “patch nurses” who can tell pun-filled stories of where Cabbage Patch Kids come from and how they have ears thanks to cross-pollination with corn. 

The highlight of Babyland General Hospital is witnessing the “birth” of a cabbage patch kid. The 5-minute delivery by the licensed patch nurse with many jokes about episiotomies, dilation, and other aspects of childbirth is hilarious. After the birth, delivery nurses move the new baby to a different room where you can watch the nurses check to make sure the new Cabbage Patch doll is healthy. Then you can have a cuddle! 

While it may seem like a kid attraction, there are often more adults than kids visiting Babyland General Hospital. It’s definitely worth a visit on your trip to Georgia.

6. Walk, Run, or Bike the Silver Comet Trail

Best Things to do in Georgia (USA): Silver Comet Trail

One of the coolest things about Atlanta (and northern Georgia in general) is how many beautiful and easily-accessible nature trails there are. From a relaxing stroll to intense mountain biking, there’s something for everyone. The Silver Comet Trail showcases many of the state’s best features. It’s almost 62 miles long, stretching from northwest Atlanta all the way to the Alabama state line.   

The Silver Comet Trail is paved and excellently maintained, and open to walkers, bicyclists, dogs (on leashes), and other non-motorized forms of transportation (you’ll see the occasional horse and some rollerbladers from time to time). It’s also generally quite flat (which is a rarity in this area), largely shaded, and at least the first several miles are wheelchair-accessible.

The Silver Comet Trail is free of charge and has several trailheads with parking. The trail starts at the Mavell Road Trailhead in Smyrna (a suburb of Atlanta), where there’s a decent-sized parking lot. And if you’re looking for even more of a challenge, the Silver Comet connects to another 33-mile trail at the Alabama state line to continue your journey. 

7. Marvel at the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

Weird Things to see in Georgia: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu Temple

A visit to a stunningly beautiful Hindu temple is probably the last thing you would expect in Georgia. That is exactly what makes the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir so unique. Located in the small town of Lilburn, this temple is one branch of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha organization which promotes the Hindu ideals of faith, unity, and selfless service.

You don’t have to be Hindu or even interested in Hinduism to visit. The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is free to visit and open to everyone. There is an audio guide you can rent for $5 per person so you can learn more about Hinduism or the construction of the Mandir.

The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is open from 9 am to 6 pm daily. You should dress respectfully for your visit with your shoulders and knees covered.

8. Root for the Atlanta Braves

Best Things to do in Georgia (USA): See the Atlanta Braves Play Baseball

The Atlanta Braves are an institution and anyone growing up in Atlanta certainly has fond memories of seeing the Braves play at Turner Field.

Sometimes referred to as “America’s Team”, the Atlanta Braves boast one of the largest nationwide fan bases of any MLB team. This was achieved thanks to TBS broadcasting their baseball games nationwide from 1970 to 2007. The Atlanta Braves also had an unprecedented win streak from 1991 -2005. During this time, they won 14 straight division titles!

The Braves now have a new stadium, SunTrust Field, in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta. And while SunTrust Field doesn’t have the same history and character as Turner Field, it’s still worth heading out for a ballgame while you’re visiting Atlanta!

9. See a Puppet Show at the Center for Puppetry Arts

The Center for Puppetry Arts, located in Midtown Atlanta, is the largest organization in the USA dedicated to the art form of puppetry. And while it’s one of the best things to do with kids in Atlanta, adults will find the Center for Puppetry Arts quite entertaining as well.

The museum features over 350 puppets including prototypes from the Broadway musical, The Lion King, the robot puppets from Mystery Science Theater 3000, several characters from Jim Hensen’s Muppets, and even a couple of Skeksis from The Dark Crystal. If you have time and you want to learn more about puppetry (or make your own puppet) then you can sign up for one of their fun and educational workshops.

Of course, the best thing to do at Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts is to see a puppet show. There are shows geared towards both adults and children so make sure to check the Puppetry Center’s website for what’s playing during your trip to Atlanta.

Buy Tickets for the Center for Puppetry Arts

10. Be Amazed at the Georgia Aquarium

Best Things to do in Atlanta, Georgia (USA): Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium is not only big – it was the largest aquarium in the world until 2012, and is still the largest in the United States – but it’s also fun. In fact, there is so much to see and do at the Aquarium that you could easily spend the whole day there.

There are four main display areas, focusing on tropical, cold water, freshwater, and deep-sea marine life. And while all four areas are great, the deep-sea tank is the real show stopper. With a multi-story, floor-to-ceiling glass wall at one end and other viewing points on other sides, the view of this oversized tank is breathtaking. It is home to several enormous whale sharks, as well as manta rays, sharks, giant turtles, and thousands of other fish. There is also a large tank with white beluga whales and a shark tank you pass through on a conveyor belt.

There are several shows (free with admission, though premium seats are extra) with dolphins, penguins, and sea lions. Be careful in the dolphin show – the front seats are in the “splash zone” and if you sit there, you WILL get wet! It is even possible to go swimming or diving in the deep-water tank with whale sharks.

There is a behind-the-scenes tour (for an additional fee) that is well worth taking. Seeing the inner workings of the aquarium, including the vet rooms, salination tanks, views of the main tanks from above, and recovery tanks for healing fish is a fascinating inclusion to your day at the aquarium.

The Georgia Aquarium is fun for children and adults alike. Make sure you purchase your tickets for the aquarium in advance so you can skip the ticket line and save yourself some time!

Buy Tickets for the Georgia Aquarium

11. Drink it Up at the World of Coca-Cola

Best Things to See in Georgia (USA): Coca-cola Museum

Coca-cola exists in the background of important events, special moments, and everyday life. But at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia it takes centerstage. Get your tickets and then grab a small complimentary can of Coke to sip on for the start of your visit. First up, you’ll head into the theater to watch a short feel-good movie about the world’s most popular soft drink.

Once you enter the main lobby, the exhibition choices are all yours – perhaps you want to start by snagging a photo with coke’s mascot, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear. You can learn about the history of the drink, crack the code to the secret ingredient in the vault, see firsthand how Coca-Cola has impacted the world, or see the drink as art itself.

Whatever you choose to do, you definitely won’t leave the museum thirsty. The last room offers free samples of Coca-Cola products from all over the world. Sample some of your favorites from your last vacation, discover a new taste from a country you’ve never visited, or fill up on one of the classics.

Make sure you purchase your tickets for the World of Coca-Cola in advance so you can skip the ticket line and save yourself some time!

Buy Tickets for the World of Coca-Cola

12. Kick a Field Goal at the College Football Hall of Fame

Another cool interactive museum in Atlanta, the College Football Hall of Fame, is one of our must-do activities in the state of Georgia.

To date, over 1,000 players and 200 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. But this museum is more than simply a shrine to these players – it’s full of awesome interactive experiences. And while it’s certainly geared to the obsessive college football fans, anyone can have fun here.

There is an indoor playing field where you can attempt to kick a field goal, run the obstacle course, or try your hand at playing quarterback. You’ll also love singing karaoke to your favorite school’s fight song and getting crazy in the digital face painting booth.

The College Football Hall of Fame is open from 9 am -6 pm on Saturdays and 10 am-5 pm every other day of the week. It’s located in Centennial Park along with the Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, and the CNN Center so it’s easy to visit them all during a day of Atlanta sightseeing.

Buy Tickets for the College Football Hall of Fame

13. See a Live News Broadcast at CNN Studios

Best Things to do in Georgi, USA: Tour CNN Studios

One of the coolest things you can do in Georgia is to take a tour of CNN Studios. For just $15 you’ll get a 50-minute, behind-the-scenes tour of the CNN Center. You’ll get to see how a live news show is produced and broadcast worldwide. Or if you’re a real TV junky then you can upgrade to the VIP tour. There you’ll have even more access to live newsrooms at CNN. You may even get to meet your favorite news anchor if they happen to be recording that day.

Tours of CNN Studios are available Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. We highly recommended that you book your tour a couple of days in advance especially if there is a specific time slot you want.

14. National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Top Things to do in Georgia (USA): Center for Civil and Human Rights

Atlanta, Georgia is famous for many reasons but when you visit the wonderful National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Downtown Atlanta, you’ll learn about the important role that Atlanta played in the Civil Rights Movement.

After all, Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood. And the former Mayor of Atlanta, Ivan Allen Jr., was the only elected official from the South to endorse the bill that became the 1964 Civil Rights Act. For these reasons and others, Atlanta has always tried to brand itself as “The City Too Busy to Hate”.

Other exhibits in the Center for Civil Human Rights cover important moments in the struggle for civil rights outside of Atlanta. There is an especially moving section on the 1963 Baptist Street Church bombing that killed four little girls in Birmingham, Alabama.

But the Center for Civil and Human Rights doesn’t just report on civil rights struggles of the past. The final rooms of the museum have powerful commentary on activists who are fighting for civil rights in their countries to this day.

Atlanta CityPASS

If you’re planning on doing much sightseeing in Atlanta then you’ll definitely want to purchase the Atlanta CityPASS!

The CityPASS costs ~$77 and gives you entry to all the best places in Atlanta, including the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Atlanta Zoo, College Football Hall of Fame, and National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

If you visit all five of these attractions using the CityPASS you’ll save yourself ~$55 per person. Plus you get to skip the ticket line which will also save you valuable time. Score!

Buy the Atlanta CityPASS

15. Visit the MLK Jr., National Historic Site

Atlanta, Georgia (USA): Best Things to See & Do: Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site

Martin Luther King Jr. may be the most influential person to ever come out of Atlanta, Georgia, and the Martin Luther King Jr., National Historic Site allows visitors to walk in the steps of this inspirational Civil Rights activist. Visit King’s childhood home and see how he lived for the first twelve years of his life. Explore the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King served as a pastor from 1960 until his death in 1968. Finish off your journey at the King Center, Mr. and Mrs. King’s final resting place.

Note that while it is quite easy to visit Ebenezer Baptist Church and the King Center, if you would like to visit Martin Luther King’s childhood home, you should be prepared to wait. The only way to see the home is by taking a free private tour and these private tours only take 15 people each.

Because King’s childhood home is such a popular place to visit in Atlanta, the lines for this iconic landmark typically start forming around 7am, even though tours don’t start until 10 am. In other words, get there early.

Book a Walking Tour of the MLK Historic District

16. Find the Best Barbecue

Georgia (USA) - Best Things to do: Eat Barbeque

Atlanta is full of delicious southern cuisine and if you’re a foodie, there are dozens of restaurants in the city worth trying. But one thing you definitely shouldn’t miss in Atlanta is the outstanding barbecue scene.

While it’s impossible to say who serves up the best barbecue in the city, there are a few places that we think really stand out:

Fatt Matt’s Rib Shack
Fat Matt’s Rib Shack is one of the longest-standing barbecue joints in Atlanta and many people swear that it’s still the best. True to its name, Fat Matt’s is a small run-down looking eatery off of Piedmont Avenue in Northern Atlanta. The inside has the feeling of a classic American diner. You’ll need to order at the counter – no fancy table service here. Fatt Matt’s specializes in pork ribs, so make sure you get a rack of them. If the barbecue wasn’t enough reason to visit, they also have live blues music every night of the week!

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q
Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q is another crowd favorite. The Fox brothers, Justin & Jonathan Fox, are actually from Texas. But after moving to Atlanta, they decided to recreate the Texas barbecue they grew up with. The star of the show at Fox Bros Bar-B-Q is the beef brisket, but they also have a great smoked portabello mushroom sandwich if you have any vegetarians in your group. And make sure you save room for their homemade banana pudding for dessert!

Heirloom Market BBQ
Heirloom Market is the new rising star on the Atlanta barbecue scene. It’s the result of a collaboration between Cody Taylor, a southern chef who was born in Texas and raised in Tennesee, and Jiyeon Lee, a South Korean pop star turned barbecue chef. The fusion of southern and Korean flavors is what makes the barbecue at Heirloom Market so unique. If you’re looking for a real hidden gem in Georgia then don’t miss this tiny strip-mall barbecue joint.

17. Tour a 747 at the Delta Flight Museum

Atlanta, Georgia (USA) - Best Things to do: Delta Flight Museum

The Delta Flight Museum is located at the Delta Airlines headquarters just south of the Atlanta airport. The highlight of the flight museum is the tour of a retired Boeing 747 – you’ll get to walk out on the wing of the airplane or have your photo taken while sitting in the engine!

Delta’s flight museum has an informational film on the history of Delta Airlines, and how the employees themselves put in money to purchase a plane to help build and support the company during trying times in the 80s. You can also tour that plane – a 767 called The Spirit of Delta.

The museum also has other aircraft dating back almost 100 years and hands-on exhibits. You can even give your pilot skills a shot by testing out the 737 flight simulator.

Be sure you check the times and schedules on the website, as they do close to the public for private events. If you’re an aircraft enthusiast, the Delta Flight Museum is one of the best things to do in Georgia!  

18. Get Creeped Out on the Doll’s Head Trail

Atlanta, Georgia has plenty of amazing Halloween options for people of all ages. Aside from haunted houses and historic cemeteries, there’s a more unique attraction: the Doll’s Head Trail. Situated near Constitution Lakes in southeast Atlanta, Doll’s Head Trail is a 1.6-mile loop that features a lot of, well, doll heads.

Created in 2003 by local carpenter Joel Slayton, the Doll’s Head Trail meanders through the site of the 19th-century South River Brick Company. In fact, you’ll see red clay bricks and shards lining the trail and featured in the “art displays” along the trail. While certain elements are very creepy, there are also more humorous elements scattered along the heavily wooded path. Some include funny messages, and just plain odd additions, like a little library, built out of an old fridge. You are even allowed to add your own “exhibits,” so long as you only incorporate items that you found within the park.

The cool thing about the Doll’s Head Trail is that it offers something for everyone, whether you crave that creepy Halloween atmosphere, a heavy dose of weird art, or just want a stroll in the woods. It’s one of Atlanta’s true hidden gems!

The trailhead for the Doll’s Head Trail is located at 3445 Almand Rd SE, Atlanta, GA 30316

19. Attend the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta

If you happen to be visiting Georgia in April then you should not miss the opportunity to attend the Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club. The first major PGA tournament of the year, the Masters, is probably best known for the iconic green jacket that is awarded to each year’s champion.

For any golf die-hard, a trip to Augusta is a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage. Unfortunately, it’s rather unlikely that you’ll be able to play a round of golf at the Augusta National Golf Club. Membership is strictly invitation-only and the golf club only has about 300 members at any given time. The initiation fee is around $30,000 and then annual dues will set you back about $10,000 each year.

Tickets for the Masters are sold through a lottery-style drawing about 10 months prior to the event and cost ~$115. If you’re interested in attending, you can find more info on ticket sales here.

20. Drive Through the Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari

Best Things to do in Georgia: Giraffes

Of all of the things we have listed here, the Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari may be the strangest and most unique thing to do in Georgia. This 500-acre wild animal preserve is located in Southern Georgia. It is home to over 65 types of animals, including exotic species such as camels, giraffes, water buffalo, and watusis.

What makes this animal preserve such a fun place to visit is that you are allowed to drive yourself along the 3.5-mile road through the park. Once you enter the enclosed area, most of the animals are roaming freely and hoping to be fed by you. In fact, they are so eager to be fed that they will almost certainly wander right up to your vehicle and stick their heads right in. Imagine a zebra or giraffe sticking its head through your car window hoping for a treat!

While you are allowed to drive your own vehicle through the park – it may not be the wisest move. Having a water buffalo rub up against your new car’s paint job is bound to cause you some anxiety. Luckily the Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari also has minivans that you can rent and drive through the park. This will spare your vehicle and, as an added bonus, the rental vans are painted with fun zebra stripes.

If you’re traveling with kids then this is one Georgia activity that you simply cannot miss!

21. Spend a Day at Callaway Gardens

One of the most picturesque places in Georgia, Calloway Gardens, has 10 miles of trail spread over 2,500 beautifully landscaped acres that you can explore on bike or foot. There is also a butterfly center, a golf course, a sprawling lake with a beach, and lots of cool events – like their annual hot air balloon festival or lakefront concert by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

And if you’re visiting Southern Georgia during the holiday season, you’re in for a real treat. Calloway Garden’s annual Fantasy in Lights Christmas display has a whopping eight million Christmas lights. It was even featured by National Geographic as one of the top 10 holiday light displays in the world!

22. Go on a Savannah Ghost Tour

Georgia (USA) - Best Places to See & Visit: Savannah

Whether you’re into history, haunted sites, or eating delicious food, exploring Savannah is something that you must add to your Georgia bucket list.

Start your day with a walk through Savannah’s Historic District. When you’re in the Historic District, you can walk around outside with alcoholic drinks. Grab a frozen daiquiri from Wet Willie’s and take a stroll through the Historic District, admiring the beautiful homes and taking a break in one of Savannah’s 22 historic squares. Eventually, make your way to the beautiful Forsyth Park, where you’ll find Savannah’s iconic (and frequently photographed) fountain.

Savannah is one of the most haunted destinations in the United States, so a visit isn’t complete without taking a ghost tour. There are several different tours to choose from, some of which are adults-only and some that are family-friendly. If you’re ready for more of spooky Savannah, make sure to take a walk through Bonaventure Cemetery.

Ready for some delicious food? Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room and The Olde Pink House are both favorites for sampling Southern cuisine. For dessert, make sure to get some ice cream from Leopold’s – the long lines move pretty quickly and it’s worth the wait!

Book a Historic Trolley Tour of Savannah

23. Pamper Yourself on the Golden Isles

Best Things to See in Georgia: Golden Isles (St. Simmons & Jekyll Island)

If you’re looking for a beach destination that offers something for everyone, the Golden Isles of Georgia is the place. This chain of barrier islands just south of Savannah is a coastal playground, no matter the season.

St. Simons Island is the most developed of the islands and the ideal place for a family beach vacation. Cruise beneath ancient live oak trees from the beach to dinner with ease thanks to a network of bike trails all over the island. Enjoy casual coastal fare at local restaurants like wild-caught shrimp and oysters and award-winning barbecue at the famed Southern Soul BBQ.

For a romantic getaway, head to Sea Island and lounge in luxury at the Forbes Five Diamond Resort, The Cloister Hotel. Don’t miss their award-winning spa and dinner at the Georgian Room, the only Forbes Five-Star restaurant in the state.

For history lovers, head to Jekyll Island, to stay at the Jekyll Island Club Resort, once a winter getaway for New England’s elite, and tour Jekyll Island Historic District, a national historic landmark dating back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

24. Camp on Cumberland Island

Top Things to See in Georgia (USA): Cumberland Island

The barrier islands off the coast of Georgia are spectacular to visit with rural communities, untouched landscape, and other cultural attractions. Cumberland island in the southern tip and close to the Florida border is accessible from the port town of St. Mary’s with a ferry operating daily to the island.

Just two hours south of Savannah, Cumberland Island really feels like Georgia’s historic past with wild horses, alligators, dense forests, and isolated sandy beaches. You can explore the island by taking a guided tour, renting bicycles, or hiking one of its many nature trails. There are even historic ruins of a steel tycoon’s mansion to explore if you are feeling adventurous and lots of natural beauty all around the island. 

Thanks to its designation as a National Seashore, Cumberland Island’s pristine beaches have remained undeveloped and there are over 9,800 acres of designated wilderness on the island. Overnight accommodation is minimal so make sure you check in advance if you would like to camp on the island.

25. Go Gator Hunting in Okefenokee Swamp

Best Things to See in Georgia (USA): Okefenokee Swamp

You don’t have to go all the way to Florida to see alligators, the Okefenokee Swamp is home to over 10,000 of them! Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge encompasses over 400,000 acres of swampland in Southern Georgia and Northern Florida. There are lots of different ways to explore this massive swamp, but the most popular way is by boat.

Okefenokee Adventures in Folkston, Georgia offers several options for boat tours, including an incredibly cool sunset tour. You’ll get to watch the sunset and the moon rise over the swamp while you try to spot alligators with your flashlight.

Or if you like to be in charge of your own adventure, you can rent a kayak or canoe and head out into the swamp on your own. There are several well-marked paddling trails that run through the swamp.

There you have it! 25 of the best things to do in Georgia. What’s your favorite thing to do in the Peach State?

Planning a trip to Georgia? Check out our favorite books and resources!



  • Nick Wheatley

    Nick took his first solo trip abroad to Ireland and Scotland when he was just 19. Since then he has visited over 70 countries around the world (plus 45 states in the USA).

    He coupled his passion for travel photography with Val’s passion for writing and thus Wandering Wheatleys was born. He now lives in Asheville with his two rambunctious kids, Humphrey and Wilhelminha.

    Besides photography, Nick loves eating the weirdest food he can find in a country (sheep’s brain currently sits in first place) and making Val get up an hour before sunrise to make sure he gets “the good light”.

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2 thoughts on “The Best Things to do in Georgia: 25 Places to Visit in the Peach State”

  1. Way too Atlanta-centric. And good luck fighting crowds at Aquarium and Coke world. How about branching out of the “obvious?” How about Bob White quail hunting in Southwest Georgia? World renowned. Or maybe visit Radium Springs in Albany? Or visit Rock Eagle or the Kolomoki Mounds? Raft in downtown Columbus? Maybe visit Tallulah Gorge outside Clayton or pop over to Toccoa Falls or Mount Currahee of Band of Brothers fame? Maybe visit the Woodbury and Alexandria of TWD fane in Senoia? Maybe FDR’s retreat at Warm Springs? Visit Capricorn Records and the home of the Allman Brothers in Macon? Point is, head out of Atlanta and Savannah and there’s plenty of rad stuff to do in the best state in the country.

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