From the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains to the coastal lowlands, Georgia’s breathtaking landscape offers travelers a variety of diverse experiences. Road trips are one of the easiest ways to sample this rich diversity. Choose a few attractions to visit, pack a few things, and you’re ready to go. Many vacation rentals in Georgia are situated along most highways and routes, so it’s easy to experience the charm of the state’s small towns and big cities. Here are a few ideas to help you in planning your epic Georgia road trip.
1. Art From Atlanta to Augusta
Discover Georgia’s art scene on an epic road trip from Atlanta to Augusta. Start your trip in midtown Atlanta with a tour of the extensive collection of classic to contemporary art the High End Museum of Art. Spend some time admiring the gorgeous architecture of the building, and then enjoy the artistic presentation and farm-fresh flavor of dinner at Twelve Eighty, the museum’s farm to fork restaurant. Take in a play or an orchestra performance at the associated Woodruff Arts Center that evening, and then spend the night in a vacation rental. The next day continue your Atlanta art tour with the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Head northeast out of the city to Athens for the next leg of your road trip. While in Athens stop by the Lyndon House Arts Center, the Athica Athens Institute, and ARTini’s Art Lounge. Depending on the length of your stay, you may also want to ramble about the artistic landscaping at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. Plan for a stop in Crawfordville on your two-hour drive into Augusta for authentic Mexican food at Mama Chucha’s Cafe. In Augusta, visit the Morris Museum of Art on the Riverwalk, and then stroll along the Riverwalk stepping into boutiques and small galleries along the route, and enjoying the view of the Savannah River. If you spend a second day in the city, be sure to visit the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art where interactive visits let you make your own artwork as well as view the work of established artists.
2. Antebellum Architecture
Journey along the Antebellum trail to learn about about pre-Civil War era history and view some of the area’s beautiful Antebellum homes. The towns on this route were mostly untouched during the Civil War, and there are many architectural gems that are worth further exploration. Start your journey east of Atlanta in Watkinsville with a tour of the 1801 Eagle Tavern Museum and a drive through the 1897 Elder Mill Covered Bridge. Then head to the 1827 Haygood House and finish up with dinner and a favorite brew at Chops and Hops restaurant. After a good night’s sleep, head south to Madison, and spend some time just soaking in the atmosphere at you admire the historical homes along its tree-lined streets. Delve deeper into history with a tour of Heritage Hall, a Greek Revival home built in 1811, and for dinner, make reservations at Town 220 for their famous herb-encrusted lamb chops with mint jelly. Continue your Antebellum road trip in Milledgeville, Georgia’s Antebellum capital, with a guided trolley tour through the old city. Next head to Eatonton for the Uncle Remus Museum, and then onto the Jarrell Plantation.
3. Mountain Country
Take a scenic drive through Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains to savor their majestic beauty and experience some of the area’s old-time Appalachia culture. Start your trip in Dahlonega with a tour of one of the many vineyards in the region, then head onto Blue Ridge, stopping in Suches to take the short hike over the swinging bridge to view Sea Creek Falls in the Toccoa River. Bring along a picnic lunch because there are not many places to stop for food deep in the Chattahoochee National Forest, but the views are beautiful so be sure to stop at a few of the overlooks along the way. In Blue Ridge, get dinner at Harvest On Main or the Blue Ridge Brewery, and browse the quaint downtown area for souvenirs of your adventure. After a night in a vacation rental, take a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. A short drive gets you to Cherry Log where you can browse through exhibits about everything Sasquatch at Expedition Bigfoot, and then press on to Ellijay for lunch at the River Street Tavern. Finish your trip at Amicalola Falls State Park to view the tallest waterfall in the South.
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4. The Georgia Coast
If you love the sound of the surf, pack up your suit and jump in your car for this short road trip down the Georgia coast. Start with Tybee Island for five miles of public sand beaches ready for sunbathing or exploring. If your interests include the ecology of the area, sign up for a dolphin tour or an ecological tour of the salt marsh through one of the many island tour services. Savor some fresh seafood with an oceanside view before getting a good night’s sleep at a vacation rental and then heading onto Riceboro to learn more about Gullah-Geechee culture at the Geechee Kunda Cultural Arts Center. In Darien, visit the Fort King George Historic Site and the Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation State Historic Site before a casual dinner at Skipper’s Fish Camp. Finish your trip the next day with a tour of Cumberland Island unique ecosystem and historical ruins.
5. Georgia for Foodies
If you have a few days and want to sample some of Georgia’s best down-home cooking, hop in your car and hit the road. For your first stop head to Kennesaw for lunch at the Pie in the Sky Pizzeria, with pizza pies that weigh a full 11 pounds and have been featured on several Food Network TV shows. In Marietta, dine on the unique sloppy slaw burger at the Red Eyed Mule, and try to resist the temptation to sample every single one of the unique sides. After a good night’s sleep in your vacation rental, continue onto Atlanta for some of the state’s best barbecue at Heirloom Market BBQ or one of the fabulous burgers at Vortex Bar & Grill. The next morning grab breakfast at Sublime Doughnuts, for mouthwatering treats so good you can’t stop with just one. In Tucker, tuck into the home cooking at Matthew’s Cafeteria, and then finish your trip in Savannah with seafood specials at The Juicy Seafood or Pearl’s Saltwater Grille, or for a more casual setting check out Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster Bar.
6. A Journey Through the Low Country
Savannah is in the heart of Georgia’s low country, and it is a great place to spend two or three days soaking up southern charm along the Savannah River. Get the lay of the city plus a dose of history on an Old Town Trolley Tour. Stroll along River Street to find the perfect restaurant to satiate your hunger and pick up some sweets to take back to your vacation rental at River Sweet Treats or Lulu’s Chocolate Bar. For your second day in town, take a Savannah Riverboat Cruise. Several are available including brunch and dinner cruises, and moonlight options. Browse the City Market and the Telfair Museum, and end your day with a little extra fun on a Old Savannah Tours Ghost Tour. On your third day drive on to Skidaway Island State Park for a hike through maritime forest amid the salt marsh. Then head to Fort Pulaski National Monument for some Civil War history.
7. Golf-Lovers Dream Tour
If a beautiful golf course is your idea of paradise, plan a road trip around some of Georgia’s best golf courses. Start your golf tour at Butternut Creek Golf Course in Blairsville amidst the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Move onto the Innsbruck Golf Club in Helen where golfers often enjoy watching local wildlife as they play the 18 holes nestled in the mountain terrain. At Victoria Bryant State Park in Royston, the Highland Park golf course pairs gorgeous views with the challenge of steep rolling hills and sloping greens. Work your way down the state to Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro for six fantastic courses designed by some of the greatest golf architects, and then finish up your tour with some of Georgia’s fabulous coastal golf courses, such as Jekyll Island, Sea Island, and Sea Palms.
8. Civil War Tour
Many Civil War battles were fought on Georgia soil, making it easy to find Civil War era historical sites and museums in every region of the state. For a shorter trip, start in Macon at the restored Cannonball House & Museum for a taste of Antebellum culture, and them move onto Andersonville to see the Civil War memorabilia at the Drummer Boy Civil War Museum. Watch living history reenactments at the The National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus and the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, both in Columbus, and then work your way up through the historical societies in the state’s northwest mountain communities, including Cartersville, Bartow, and Kingston.
9. Georgia for Film Lovers
If you love movies, plan a Georgia road trip around the filming locations of some of your favorite films. Take a walk thought Atlanta’s Landmark District to see lofts and warehouses used for filming “Driving Miss Daisy”, “Kalifornia”, “The Signal”, and more. Have a pint of Guinness at Fado Irish Pub in the city’s Buckhead region, a location that featured prominently in “Captain America: Civil War”, and grab dinner at Home Grown Restaurant where scenes from “Trouble with the Curve” with Clint Eastwood were filmed. In Decatur, take a walk at Agnes Scott College, a film site for “The Four Seasons,” “Scream 2,” and “Single Moms Club.” Then spend a moment at Decatur Cemetery, the opening and closing setting for “Remember the Titans.” The Beach at International Park in Jonesboro was an important filming site for “Catching Fire,” and downtown Jonesboro was the filming site for most of “Smokey and the Bandit” with Burt Reynolds.
10. Farm Country
Embrace the local food movement, and learn more about where you dinner comes from with a road trip through Georgia’s farm country. The Clinch County honey trail starts at the Avriett House in Homerville and then winds through eight apiaries with tours and fresh honey products. Drive west to Lakeland to visit Georgia Olive Farms for a tour and complementary tasting. Another 20 minute drive gets you to Nashville’s Horse Creek Winery with breathtaking views and some of the best local wines around. Pick up a bottle to take to your vacation rental, and then after a good night’s sleep, continue north through farm country up to Lane Southern Orchards in Fort Valley. The Orchards offers tours and home produced goods year round, but visit in the spring or summer months to take advantage of its fresh produce.
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