7 Charming Places To Visit In Georgia
There is so much more to Georgia than is typically experienced by visitors who stick to Atlanta or Savannah. The Peach State is brimming with small cities, towns, and rural areas, each with its own personality and unique charms. In no particular order, this list spotlights regions and communities worth a second look for travelers who want to get off the beaten path.
The #1 entry is Alpharetta. The city is situated between the North Georgia Mountains and the Atlanta metropolis. It is home to many music venues, such as Ameris Bank Amphitheatre, which has featured artists such as Jason Aldean, Foreigner, and Lady A.
There are hundreds of dining options in Alpharetta. At Amma Kitchen, visitors can enjoy traditional Indian food like poori bhaji, upma, and chana bhatura. Andy's Frozen Custard serves cold dessert treats, while Bagel Boys Cafe offers a variety of breakfast food and deli-style sandwiches.
Coming in at #2, we have Dahlonega, regarded as the site of the first major U.S. Gold Rush and the heart of Georgia Wine Country. This small mountain city is only an hour north of Atlanta. Its downtown area, listed on the National Historic Register, is full of restaurants and retail shops.
Visitors to Dahlonega can pan for gold in the area's creeks and rivers, as well as at the Consolidated or Crisson Mines. Home to several tasting rooms and wineries, Dahlonega offers a variety of local, regional, and international vino to visitors from all over the world.
Next up, at #3, we present Columbus, a city located on the Chattahoochee River. It boasts many outdoor activities, such as whitewater rafting, kayaking, fishing, and birding. The city is home to the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, which features the Mead Observatory, an attraction open to the public once a month for astronomical viewing.
Columbus is home to the Andersonville National Historic Site, which commemorates American prisoners of war; the historic Camp Sumter is one of the park's main features. The city offers various dining options, such as Mellow Mushroom, an eatery serving hand-tossed pizzas and calzones, hoagies, and salads.
At #4, we have Rome, Georgia, located in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. The city includes many cultural attractions, such as a Shakespeare festival every autumn that offers free staged productions for visitors and locals. In addition, Rome hosts an international film festival each year.
There are several historical sites in the city. One, Chieftains Museum, was once the former home of Cherokee leader Major Ridge and his family. It has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. There's also the Capitoline Wolf with Romulus and Remus, a statue in downtown Rome. The sculpture is a replica of the Etruscan art that stands in the Palazzo dei Conservatori on Campidoglio in the namesake Italian city.
The #5 entry is the Golden Isles. This group of four barrier islands and the mainland city of Brunswick are nestled on the Georgia coast, midway between Savannah and Jacksonville, Florida. These formations are home to many golf courses, including Heritage Oaks and Sea Palms.
The islands offer many outdoor activities for residents and visitors, such as horseback riding, birding, camping, and water sports. There are several boutiques in Brunswick, Jekyll Island, and elsewhere for those interested in shopping. Many of the isles have restaurants that feature nightly musical performances.
For #6, we present Tybee Island, a small coastal community located 18 miles away from Savannah, Georgia. It has three miles of public beach, which encompasses salt marshes rich with birds and wildlife unique to the region. Television personality and chef Paula Deen owns a home on the island.
There are many activities to enjoy on Tybee. Visitors can bike, participate in water sports, go on a dolphin tour, or enjoy the beaches. Most of the island's restaurants, such as the Crab Shack, Bernie's Oyster House, and Coco's Sunset Grille, serve freshly-caught seafood.
Finally, at #7, we have Gwinnett County, comprised of 16 cities. Snellville is adjacent to Stone Mountain Park, where visitors will find hiking, water activities, camping, Segway tours, and a lot of other outdoor activities. Sugar Hill is home to The Bowl, which has booked acts like Blues Traveler, Third Eye Blind, and The Purple Xperience.
Incorporated in 2012, Peachtree Corners is Gwinnett's largest city, boasting several hotel properties, many restaurants, and shopping. Outdoor enthusiasts will find much to do at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area and Jones Bridge Park, where fishermen, kayakers, and tubers are active throughout the year.