5 Must-See Civil Rights Landmarks in Atlanta

MLK Birth Home - ©2015, Kevin Rose/AtlantaPhotos.com

MLK Birth Home – ©2015, Kevin Rose/AtlantaPhotos.com

Atlanta is known as the cradle of the civil rights movement, and as the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Walk in King’s footsteps along Auburn Avenue, reflect on the Dream at The King Center and relive the movement at the Center for Civil and Human Rights. There’s no better time than MLK weekend to explore Atlanta’s most inspiring civil rights landmarks.

  1. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site: Start your journey at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, a 35-acre area encompassing historic landmarks including King’s birth home and Ebenezer Baptist Church. Start at the birth home and take in family stories of young King while imagining life in Atlanta’s bustling Sweet Auburn neighborhood during King’s day. Visit the church where Dr. King served as minister, Ebenezer Baptist Church. Hear audio of King’s sermons on love and nonviolence in the very pews frequented by the King family. Finish your visit by reflecting on the Dream at the tomb of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King. The couple’s massive final resting place is etched with the words, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.”
  2. APEX Museum - ©2015, Kevin Rose/AtlantaPhotos.com

    APEX Museum – ©2015, Kevin Rose/AtlantaPhotos.com

    The APEX (African-American Panoramic Experience) Museum
    Atlanta’s APEX Museum traces history from prominent African civilizations to the period of slavery in America, and onto the civil rights movement. Much of the Museum is dedicated to the history of Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, the main thoroughfare for African-American business and civil life from the mid-1900s to the 1960s. Step inside the Museum’s replica of Yates and Milton Drug Store, one of Atlanta’s first black-owned businesses. After, step aboard the museum’s Trolley Theatre, a historic reproduction of the streetcar that ran up Auburn Avenue during the 1900s.

  3. Sweet Auburn Curb Market - ©2015, Jay Jordan/AtlantaPhotos.com

    Sweet Auburn Curb Market – ©2015, Jay Jordan/AtlantaPhotos.com

    Sweet Auburn Curb Market
    Sweet Auburn Curb Market is situated in the heart of the Sweet Auburn neighborhood, King’s boyhood neighborhood and the hub of African American life in Atlanta during ‘40s and ‘50s. Established in 1924, the Market was segregated at its start with white patrons browsing inside and black patrons shopping at curbside stalls; a phenomenon that dubbed it the “Curb Market.” The surrounding Sweet Auburn neighborhood was so influential in subsequent years that it was named a National Historic Landmark. Today, Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn Curb Market is a downtown hotspot frequented by local business people, students, creatives and foodies. Grab a bite from popular stalls like Bell Street Burritos and Grindhouse Killer Burgers. Take home an edible souvenir from Sweet Auburn Bakery.

  4. Paschal’s - ©2015, Paschal’s Restaurant

    Paschal’s – ©2015, Paschal’s Restaurant

    Paschal’s Restaurant: Brothers James and Robert Paschal opened Paschal’s Restaurant in 1947 on Atlanta’s Westside. At the time, it was a small, 30-seat diner. The restaurant grew to be Paschal’s Motor Hotel and Restaurant, a 120-room hotel, restaurant and lounge –a venue that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used as a home base for the movement. Paschal’s quickly became the place for leaders of the civil rights movement to eat, meet and strategize – the brother’s secret recipe fried chicken served as fuel for the activists’ bodies and souls. Today, Paschal’s has a new location in Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill neighborhood and remains a mainstay for the city’s movers and shakers. Take a seat and feast on the famous fried chicken enjoyed by the likes of John Lewis, Dr. King and Jesse Jackson, to name just a few.

  5. Center for Civil and Human Rights - ©2015, J Glenn Photography

    Center for Civil and Human Rights – ©2015, J Glenn Photography

    Center for Civil and Human Rights
    The Center for Civil and Human Rights is the newest civil rights destination in Atlanta. The Center utilizes compelling exhibits paired with audio and motion to immerse guests in the journey of the civil rights movement. Sit in protest at a simulated lunch counter, or join in the march on Washington. Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection gallery which features a rotating selection of King’s artifacts, papers and hand-written notes. Complete your visit by learning about today’s movements from global human rights activists and challenge yourself to get involved.

10 Amazing Pictures of Last Night’s Georgia Sunset

On the evening of January 7, 2015, skies over Georgia lit up dazzlingly in pink and orange. Our social media channels were flooded with stunning sunset imagery – like these! Share your Georgia photos by using the #ExploreGeorgia hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or by joining the Explore Georgia Flickr group.

Tonight's sunset from the #Kroger parking lot #visitsavannah #exploregeorgia #views #vsco #vscocam #sunlight #sunset #clouds #SavannahNights #savannahphotographer" - @adrianairis via Instagram

Tonight’s sunset from the #Kroger parking lot #visitsavannah #exploregeorgia #views #vsco #vscocam #sunlight #sunset #clouds #SavannahNights #savannahphotographer” – @adrianairis via Instagram




"#sunset #cumberlandisland #exploregeorgia #southend #lovelife #gratitude" - @cumberlandislandemily via Instagram

“#sunset #cumberlandisland #exploregeorgia #southend #lovelife #gratitude” – @emilycumberlandisland via Instagram

"That's one amazing Georgia sunset. #exploregeorgia @exploregeorgia" via @brandyangelphotography via Instagram

“That’s one amazing Georgia sunset. #exploregeorgia @exploregeorgia” via @brandyangelphotography via Instagram

"Gorgeous sunset tonight #georgia #exploregeorgia" - @jenilyn001 via Instagram

“Gorgeous sunset tonight #georgia #exploregeorgia” – @jenilyn001 via Instagram

"Sunset over Savannah's skyline. #visitsavannah #sunset #igers #savannah #exploregeorgia" - @jimodonnell via Instagram

“Sunset over Savannah’s skyline. #visitsavannah #sunset #igers #savannah #exploregeorgia” – @jimodonnell via Instagram

"#nofilter #sunset" via @salowi

“#Gordonia Altamaha State Park nofilter #sunset” via @salowi


Roundup: First Day Hikes at Georgia State Parks

Seminole State Park in Donalsonville

Seminole State Park in Donalsonville

Georgia State Parks invite the public to get a head start on their New Year’s fitness resolutions with their First Day Hike program. On January 1, 2015, more than 35 Georgia State Parks will be hosting hikes and outings. Use our guide to help find a First Day Hike near you.

Middle Georgia

A.H. Stephens State Park First Day Hike: Get started with your New Years resolutions with a pet-friendly, ranger-led hike.

Elijah Clark State Park’s First-Day Fitness Hike: Ring in the New Year with a revitalizing lead hike on a three mile trail that includes a beautiful view of Clark Hill Lake.

First Day Fitness Hike at George L. Smith State Park: Join the fun on New Year’s Day for a hike down a 3-mile nature trail.

1st Day Hike on Blue Mountain Bike Trail at Hard Labor Creek State Park: This 6-mile guided hike is the perfect winter outing for the first day of the new year.

First Day Hike at High Falls State Park: This staff-led, 3.5-mile moderate hike will take you past several scenic and historic sites including the falls, the old powerhouse, and through a mixed pine/hardwood forest.

First Day History Hike at Indian Springs State Park: Join a park ranger for a journey through time. Discover the history of Indian Springs State Park, sample the famous spring water, and tour the park museum. This moderate hike will involve some steps and hills.

First Day Hike at Mistletoe State Park: Discover nature’s winter wonder along the Cliatt Creek and Rock Dam trails.

Atlanta Metro

First Day Hike at Panola Mountain State Park: Hike to the top of the mountain to symbolize all the great things you will accomplish in 2015. Finish with s’mores and hot chocolate around a campfire.

“Bark in the Park” Dog Hike at Sweetwater Creek State Park:  Bring your four-legged companion on this moderate mile long hike to the rapids of Sweetwater Creek and to the five-story Civil War era New Manchester Mill ruins. Ages 6 years and older. Sturdy, closed toe shoes required.

Native American Heritage Hike at Sweetwater Creek State Park: Take a two-hour, moderate hike focusing on the first inhabitants of the area, the Native Americans or American Indians.

Historic New Manchester History Hike at Sweetwater Creek State Park: This mile-long hike (easy to moderate) will lead to the five story ruins of the Civil War-era New Manchester textile mill and focus on the history of the Sweetwater Creek Valley.

North Georgia

First Day Hike at Cloudland Canyon State Park: Start the New Year off with a hike around the top loop of the West Rim that includes some of the best overlook views in the park.

First Day Hike on Lake Lanier at Don Carter State Park: This 2 mile cross country adventure will follow old road beds, ridges, hills and valleys. Moderate to strenuous.

First Day Hike at Fort Mountain State Park: Start the year off right with a First Day Hike to the Stone Wall, Fire Watch Tower and West Overlook at Fort Mountain State Park. This is a moderate rocky 1-mile hike, closed toe shoes required.

First Day Hike at Fort Yargo: Bring in the New Year with a brisk 1/2-mile hike around Bird Berry Trail. No minimum age and ADA Accessible.

First Day Hike at James H. (Sloppy) Floyd State Park: Start your New Year off right with a ranger-led hike (one and 1/2 miles) around the Lower Lake to view the flora and fauna that call James H. Floyd State Park home. Participants will see one of the best views found in the park, as well as, getting a bit of history. This hike is good for all ages and the difficulty is easy.

First Day Hike at Red Top Mountain State Park: Meet at the Visitor Center for a moderate 3.5 mile hike on the scenic Sweetgum Trail.

First Day Hike at Richard B. Russell State Park: Take a pet-friendly, naturalist-guided, half-mile fitness hike on their brand new Fitness Trail.

First Day Hike at Rocky Mountain Recreation & Public Fishing Area:  Start your first day of the New Year with a ranger -ed hike around the Nature Trail. The trail is one mile long and is considered easy.

First Day Hike at Smithgall Woods State Park: Hike a monderate 1.3 miles on flat roadway to Smithgall’s beautiful cottage facility. Staff will lead the hike to one of the cottages where hot cider will be waiting.

First Day Hike at Tallulah Gorge State Park: Join a ranger on a moderate 3.5-mile hike along the rim and through the woods. Children must be 8 yrs. or older.

First Day Hike at Tugaloo State Park: Welcome the New Year with a 1.2 mile moderate hike on the Muscadine Trail.

First Day Hike at Victoria Bryant State Park: Meet at the office for a Ranger led hike on the Victoria’s Path trail. This trail follows along Rice Creek which runs through the middle of the park.

First Day Hike- Bear Hair Gap Trail at Vogel State Park: Ring in the new year with a 4-mile hike along the Bear Hair Gap Trail. The hike will be lead by Georgia Appalachian Trail Club.

Georgia Coast

First Day Hike at Crooked River State Park: Greet the New Year with a “First Day” hike on the Bay Boardwalk trail. Vistas include wetland habitats plus our unique long leaf pine/saw palmetto ecosystem.

First Day Hike at Fort King Georgia: Enjoy a twilight “Hike into History” at Fort King George. Visitors will be guided through the half-mile nature trail as they encounter various Fort King George historic figures.

First Day Hikes at Fort McAllister: Arrive at 10:00 a.m. for a 3-mile nature hike with Ranger Rowe on the Redbird Creek Trail. This hike is medium difficulty and requires sturdy shoes and water. At 1:00 p.m. there will be a History Hike. An Interpretative Ranger will walk you through the past and tell you about the daily life at Fort McAllister during the war.

First Day Hike at Fort Morris: At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. site interpreters will present soldier talks, musket demonstrations and a guided walk around the historic remains of the Revolutionary War fort, Fort Morris (Sunbury Fort).

Laura S. Walker First Day Hike: Enjoy a 1.3 mile ranger-led nature hike along the Big Creek Nature Trail. The trail is approximately 1.3 miles.

First Day Avian Loop Hike at Skidaway Island State Park: Enjoy an guided hike through the marsh.

West Georgia

First Day Hike at F.D. Roosevelt State Park: Hike in the New Year with park staff and Pine Mountain Trail volunteers on the Mountain Creek Trail. Geared towards ages 8 and older.

First Day Hike at Kolomoki Mounds State Park: Take a ranger-led hike through the woods at dusk followed by a hike up the Temple Mound. This is a night hike so please dress appropriately with closed toe shoes and bring a flashlight.

New Year Hike at Reed Bingham State Park:  Wind down with a relaxing night hike on the Upland Loop Trail followed by a bonfire with s’mores.

First Day Fitness Challenge at Seminole State Park:  The event will begin with a 2.2-mile, guided First Day Hike at 10:00 a.m. Other challenges will include mini golf, canoeing, kayaking and more!

Stephen C. Foster State Park’s First Day Hike: Take a hike on the 3/4 mile Trembling Earth Nature Trail.

South Georgia

First Day Hike at General Coffee State Park: Take a ranger-guided birding hike on the 1.5 mile Gopher Loop Trail.

“First Day Hike” Swamp Bay Nature Trail at Gordonia-Altamaha State Park: Learn about the park’s animal and plant life while enjoying a 1-mile hike on the Swamp Bay Nature Trail.

First Day Hike at Magnolia Springs:  At 11:00 A.M., enjoy a Camp Lawton history tour led by a Park Ranger. At 2:00 p.m., take a guided hike of the 3-mile fitness trail.

First Day Hike at Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area:  Kick off 2015 with a visit to Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon.”

20 Ways To Celebrate New Year’s Eve In Georgia


Peach Drop at Underground Atlanta

Whether it’s with a peach (or a possum drop), a dance party or a Masquerade Ball, Georgia is the place to be when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve.

Atlanta Metro

December 31st: 4th Annual New Year’s Eve Geranium Drop in McDonough

December 31st: Tongue & Groove’s Glitz, Glam, & Groove: NYE 2015 in Atlanta

December 31st: New Year’s Eve at Davio’s in Atlanta

December 31st: Peach Drop 2015 in Atlanta

December 31st: New Year’s Eve at Medieval Times in Lawrenceville

Middle Georgia

December 31st: New Year’s Eve at Graduate Athens & the Foundry in Athens

December 31st: Perry Buzzard Drop in Perry

North Georgia

December 31st: The Possum Drop in Tallapoosa

December 31st: New Year’s Eve with Billy Dean in Bremen

December 31st: Dropping of the Edelweiss in Helen

December 31st: The Ridges Resort & Marina’s New Year’s Eve Gala in Hiawassee

December 31st: Gold Nugget Drop in Villa Rica

December 31st: New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball at Copperhead Lodge in Blue Ridge

South Georgia

December 31st: Dublin Farms New Year Celebration in Dublin

December 31st: New Year’s Eve Shamrock Drop in Dublin

West Georgia

December 31st: New Year’s Eve Celebration in Cordele

December 31st: New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball at Flint RiverQuarium

Georgia Coast

December 31st: Up the Cup New Year’s Eve Celebration in Savannah

December 31st: New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Beach on Tybee Island

December 31st: New Year’s Eve Cruise with Savannah Riverboat Cruises

7 Unique New Year’s Eve Celebrations in Georgia

These New Year’s Eve celebrations put the Times Square Ball Drop to shame.

Photo Credit: Savannah Riverfront

Photo Credit: Savannah Riverfront

Up the Cup in Savannah: Countdown the final seconds of 2014 as Savannah raises a six foot to-go cup to the New Year. The “Up the Cup” countdown will start right before midnight followed by a firework display to officially ring in 2015. Admission is FREE and all ages are welcome.

Photo Credit: Perry Buzzard Drop

Photo Credit: Perry Buzzard Drop

Buzzard Drop in Perry: Enjoy live music from two bands, a Buzzard Boogie dance contest with a $100 cash prize and the 2nd Annual Perry Buzzard Drop! The buzzard will drop at midnight and will be followed by the release of balloons and confetti. Food and spirits vendors will be on site.  Admission is FREE and all ages are welcome.

Photo Credit: The Possum Drop

Photo Credit: The Possum Drop

Possum Drop in Tallapoosa: The residents of Tallapoosa, formerly know as “Possum Snout”, ring in each New Year by lowering a stuffed possum named “Spencer” from atop one of the city’s oldest buildings. The famous Possum Drop celebration begins in the afternoon with live music, the crowning of the Possum King & Queen and more. Admission is FREE and all ages are welcome.

Photo Credit: McDonough Tours via Flickr

Photo Credit: McDonough Tours via Flickr

Geranium Drop in McDonough: Dance the year away on the McDonough Square as the Geranium Drops! McDonough’s Mayor, Billy Copeland, will kick off the 4th Annual Geranium Drop at 8pm on New Year’ Eve. Admission is FREE and all ages are welcome.

Photo Credit: The Macon Cherry Blossom Festival

Photo Credit: The Macon Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Drop in Macon: The Cherry Blossom ball is made of recycled metal cherry blossoms decked out in pink lights, and its drop serves as the start of the official countdown to the Cherry Blossom Festival, March 19th – April 4th, 2015. Admission is FREE. There will also be family-friendly events from 7 P.M.-9 P.M. for those with young children, including a mini fireworks finale at 9 P.M.


Dropping of the Edelweiss in Helen:  Ring in 2015 with live music, food, dancing and the 2nd Annual Dropping of the Edelweiss at the Helen Festhalle! Admissions is $15 per person & $25 per couple. Children under 6 will receive free admission and children ages 6-12 will receive half price admission.

shamrockShamrock Drop in Dublin: Be awed as a brilliantly lit shamrock descends from atop the historic Fred Roberts Building in downtown Dublin, Georgia. Admission is FREE and children are welcome until 9 P.M. After 9 P.M., Jackson Street will host a 21+ street party featuring dancing, live music, vendors, food and beverage delights!

1470250_10201404779337586_897188189_nLauren Cleland is the voice of Explore Georgia on social media. She loves ice cold sweet tea, anything peach flavored, channeling Scarlett O’Hara in her daily life and sharing the wonders of her beloved Georgia with all of you!