Georgia, The Peach State, has more to offer than nearly one million tons annual production of the sweet fruit. This state is also the location of beautiful natural landscaping like gardens, islands, caves, parks and mountains. Visitors and locals also enjoy world-renowned aquariums and museums. Read on for 7 of Georgia’s best getaway spots you need to visit right away.
Callaway Gardens. Photo courtesy of @lizibailey via Instagram.
1. Callaway Gardens
Located at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Callaway Gardens is a resort complex of 6,500 acres with over 750,000 visitors each year. There is much to do and see, making the Gardens a great weekend vacation spot for almost anyone. Visit Robin Lake Beach, the world’s largest man-made, white sand beach. Step into the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, a conservatory maintained at 80ºF and 74% relative humidity and home to 1,000 butterflies of 50 different species. There are also golf courses, walking and biking trails, and seasonal events.
2. Cumberland Island
Cumberland Island, located off the Georgia coast, is an island of over 36,000 acres. Much of the island is maintained by the National Park Service, and salt marshes, untouched beaches and a variety of animals can be found all over the island. Go hiking, camping, hunting and fishing. Comb the beaches for sharks teeth and sea shells while watching wild horses run along the shore. Visit the Dungeness Ruins and Plum Orchard Mansion, both of which date back to the late 1800’s.
3. Frick’s Cave
Home to the endangered Gray Bat, Frick’s Cave is Georgia’s richest biologic cave environment. The cave makes up about 34 acres of karst topography, or cave area. The cave is also home to Georgia’s only population of the rare Tennessee Cave Salamander. Frick’s is closed to visitors during the summer due to the 10,000 endangered bats that live there, though people can visit the cave during parts of the winter, during which time winter conditions drive the bats live elsewhere.
Opened in 2005, the Georgia Aquarium was the world’s largest aquarium until China’s Ocean Kingdom opened in 2014. The aquarium houses more than 100,000 animals—500 species—in 10 million gallons of marine and fresh water. Visitors to the aquarium can enjoy sea otter and dolphin encounters, behind the scenes tours, sleepovers, and animals like beluga whales, African penguins, whale sharks, bottlenose dolphins and manta rays.
Stone Mountain Park. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.
5. Stone Mountain Park
Stone Mountain Park, located at the base of Stone Mountain in Stone Mountain, Georgia, is the hotspot for family activities. Visitors can camp or stay in one of the hotels in the park. The park’s activities and attractions include a Swiss cable car ride with views from the summit of the mountain, a museum with 12,000-year-old artifacts, hiking trails, fishing, golfing, restaurants, shopping, and festivals and events in every season. There’s something for everyone at Stone Mountain Park.
6. Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Among this museum’s permanent exhibits is the Giants of the Mesozoic display, which features a 123-foot-long Argentinosaurus—the largest dinosaur ever classified. Enjoy a film in the IMAX theater and special exhibitions that make their appearance at different times of the year. Different activities and events are available throughout the year, so consider making a call before visiting to find out what will be offered when you visit.
7. Forsyth Park
Forsyth Park, a 30-acre park in Savannah, is the perfect place to spend a beautiful, almost picture-esque day with the family. Talk a walk along the paths and through the gardens, get a bite to eat at the cafe, and attend the occasional concert in the park. Throw a frisbee around or have a picnic lunch in the open grassy areas. Children will enjoy the play area, and the whole family can appreciate the fountain, fragrant garden, tennis and basketball courts.
Vincent Stokes is an outdoor enthusiast and an experienced world traveler. He also writes writes for the National Parks and works to promote pride in homegrown travel destinations. You can also connect with Vincent on G+ or twitter (@TravelingGlobal).