Georgia is thought to be one of the most beautiful states in America, with good reason. Everywhere you look, beauty both natural and architectural meets the eye. From the allure of Old South plantations to the wonderfully preserved charm of Savannah, a visitor to this place should never use boredom as an excuse! The only problem is deciding exactly where in Georgia you want to go.
Atlanta is a good choice for a fun vacation for many reasons: some of the most family friendly attractions include the Georgia Aquarium, Botanical Gardens, the Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War Museum, and the Atlanta History Center. If you’re traveling as a family, the majority of history-related attractions you choose will probably have a lot to do with the interests of the younger members of the family. Atlanta is a great place to merge vacation fun with learning experience. Does anyone in your group love animals? Try Zoo Atlanta. Do you have an interest in government? Check out the Georgia State Capitol building.
There is a distinct difference between the modern hubbub of Atlanta and the charming, old-fashioned pull of Savannah. Savannah is a great place to visit even if you only have a few hours in the area. You will notice that the ambiance is an attraction in itself, and that the historic homes beautify the old city streets. Some of these homes include the Owens-Thomas House, Green-Meldrim House, and the Davenport House, all built during the 1800s. Countless other old homes can be spotted; if you are interested in this sort of thing, it may be handy to take a list of notes and directions so you can photograph many of these venerable homes. Many historic churches can be found in Savannah as well, including a cathedral and the First African Baptist Church.
If your interests run toward art, you will love the Telfair Museum of Art. Do you love all things ocean? Your longings should be satisfied at Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum. Savannah, while keeping its distinctively antebellum ambiance, satisfies modern cravings as well.
There are a few different ways to tour Savannah. Of course you can use your car, but traffic being what it is these days, you may opt for another choice. To fully immerse yourself in Civil War times, take a trolley for a sightseeing tour of the city. After all, it’s much easier to relax on your vacation if you don’t have to navigate crowded streets! You can also choose from a tour bus (this comes in handy if you happen to visit during rainy season).
Old Fort Jackson is another possibility for a tour that will probably take a few hours. The fort dates from the early 19th century and contains a wealth of information for the history lover. For a different twist, tred off the beaten path and consider Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge. Savannah is a very diverse place with many different vacation options, and it’s good to know there is something for everyone.
Another old and stately Georgia city is Brunswick, forever associated with English General James Oglethorpe. From personal observation, part of Brunswick is like a small cozy town, inviting and rustic, but once you explore further you will see there are many hidden things to discover. One of the secrets is that there is a large number of old buildings that have stood the test of time, though they may not be as famous as those of Savannah. Also, you will find everything from music to ghost hunting if you only know where to look.
Don’t forget the shopping and restaurant opportunities tucked among Brunswick’s homey streets. It is almost a rule (well, at least in my eyes!) to eat the famous Brunswick Stew while in the city. You can buy a can at a local store, or visit a restaurant that serves this yummy concoction. What better lunch to have during your stay in Brunswick? It is actually like eating a Philly cheese steak in Philadelphia.
After exiting Brunswick, the Golden Isles are never far away. Two of these are St. Simons Island, with its historic Christ Church, Bloody Marsh Battle Site, Gascoigne Bluff, Lighthouse, and many other attractions, and Jekyll Island, more of an island resort for the wealthy than a touristy destination. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Marshes of Glynn, a beautiful wild swampland that is so much more beautiful in person than even in Sidney Lanier’s famous poem.
By Lacie R. Schaeffer