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The Best Vacation Destinations in Georgia

A fountain in Savannah, GA

Table of Contents

Georgia on your mind? Maybe you fancy taking the midnight train to Georgia? If either of these things is true, you need to check out our list of the best vacation destinations in Georgia and fast!

From the Chattahoochee National Forest in the north to the historic streets of Savannah on the Atlantic coast, Georgia is a state filled to bursting with the sights, sounds, and smells of the south. Birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, its culture is second to none, while relics from the Civil War era also loom large.

So let’s get on with sharing our favorite Georgia vacation ideas!

1. Atlanta

Atlanta at sunset

There’s no better place to start any exploration of the best vacation spots in Georgia than the state capital. Not only is it a hub for many of the bus and train carriers that serve the state, but the city is also awash with unique sights to check out.

If you stay in downtown Atlanta, you’ll be just a short stroll from the city’s most exciting spots. These include the graffiti-clad walls of Krog Street Tunnel and the Fairlie-Poplar District, whose streets are filled with landmarks such as the Atlanta Flatiron and Rhodes-Harvey Building.

And you absolutely shouldn’t miss the Martin Luther King Jr National Historical Park, which contains the civil rights leader’s birthplace, church, and burial site. In fact, Atlanta is one of 8 iconic cities linked to MLK.

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Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period. 

2. Savannah

Savannah's skyline with a riverboat

Edging the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Savannah is Georgia’s oldest city, dating back to 1733. Much of its heart has remained essentially unchanged since then, making it one of the best places anywhere in the U.S. to get a feel for what pre-revolutionary America was like.

Savannah has one of the nation’s largest historic districts, and the atmosphere is best absorbed on its cobblestone streets, crisscrossed by streetcar tracks and stunning survivors of another age. It’s also where you’ll find some of the best places to stay in Savannah.

Keen to get away from it all for a couple of hours? Then look no further than upmarket Tybee Island, once known as ‘Savannah Beach.’ No wonder we recommend Savannah as one of the top destinations for a girls’ trip.

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Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period. 

3. Augusta

A creek surrounded by green trees in Augusta

Facing off against South Carolina on the opposite side of the slow-moving waters of the Savannah River sits Augusta. Founded just three years after Savannah, Augusta is probably best known for The Masters golfing competition which takes place there every spring.

Away from the golf course, you’ll find no shortage of charming local restaurants for a bite of authentic southern cuisine. Whether you use them as a gateway to talking with Augusta locals or as a carbo-loading session before taking on the area’s hiking and mountain biking trails, you won’t be able to resist the soul food on offer.

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Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period. 

4. Cumberland Island

Cumberland Island has got to be one of the more unusual places to vacation in Georgia.

Part of the Golden Isles that protect Brunswick from the Atlantic, Cumberland Island is a magical place that boasts a landscape of first-rate natural beaches, dunes, and marshes. Don’t forget to pack your beach essentials!

Home to many native species, the island is also the location of several historically significant structures, easily reachable via ferry that departs from St. Marys. Among them are the ruins of the Carnegie family’s Dungeness mansion, which was made uninhabitable by fire in 1959. The Visitor Center and Seashore Museum help put the island’s long history into context.

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5. Lake Lanier

A view of Lake Lanier from the shore

Swap oceanic waves for the gentle ripple of a lakefront with a fun Georgian getaway to Lake Lanier. Created out of the damming of the Chattahoochee River, the lake boasts almost 700 miles of shoreline, which makes it ideal for boating and water sports.

Vacationing by Lake Lanier is one of the most popular things to do in Georgia in the summer, as more than ten million people come here each year. Many head to the Lake Lanier Islands, where beachside full moon parties and Independence Day fireworks have been the highlight of many Georgia vacations.

The lake is just a short trip from Gainesville, one of several destinations where you can travel from Atlanta for under $20.

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Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period. 

6. Columbus

Whitewater rafting on Chatahoochee River in Columbus

For art lovers, one of the best places to vacation in Georgia has got to be Columbus. The Columbus Museum is the state’s biggest art and history museum. The permanent collection of American art is truly incredible and includes such names as Jeffry Gibson and Fidelia Bridges.

On top of that, Columbus has two more must-see galleries. The first is the W.C. Bradley Company Museum, providing public access to the company’s unique art collection.

The other one is the Bo Bartlett Center, named after the famous American painter who was born in Columbus. The center is located on the Columbus State University campus downtown. It features some of Bartlett’s most monumental works and provides space for a rotating series of contemporary art exhibitions each year.

To add a bit of adrenaline to your Columbus trip, you can book a whitewater rafting adventure on the Chattahoochee River.

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7. Plains

If it weren’t for one man, Plains wouldn’t be likely to make it onto any list of vacation spots in Georgia. But when the man in question is former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter, Plains becomes less than ordinary.

The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site incorporates several structures intricately linked with the president, such as his home and a rail depot building used as his 1976 campaign headquarters. To see even more presidential homes, check out our road trips to visit 21 homes of U.S. presidents.

Plains’ school is now a museum and visitor center featuring President Carter’s Nobel medal for poverty reduction and peace negotiation.

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8. Athens

An original cannon sits in downtown Athens

Offering a great blend of old and new, Athens ticks the boxes for almost any traveler.

While best known as the place where REM’s Michael Stipe grew up, the city is also one end of the Antebellum Trail of Civil War homes and other businesses.

When it comes to contemporary life, Downtown Athens has an almost legendary live music scene, several excellent restaurants, two highly-rated craft breweries, and no shortage of stores all-prepped for a little retail therapy.

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Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period. 

9. Dahlonega

The state’s big cities certainly pack a punch, but you shouldn’t forget its quaint small towns when you’re trying to find cool places to visit in Georgia. Dahlonega is an excellent example, combining traditional southern charm with a fascinating history as America’s first gold rush town.

If you’re curious about what life was like back in the 19th century when gold was on everyone’s mind, you must stop by the Dahlonega Gold Museum that chronicles the history of gold mining in the region.

Nowadays, however, the primary attention of business-minded locals is focused on grapes rather than precious metals, as the town boasts more wineries than most other getaways in Georgia. So, while you’re in town, find time to stop by the several tasting rooms located in the town’s Public Square and try the best vino that regional wineries have to offer. Or, plan an entire wine tour of the East Coast or West Coast, if you’re bold enough!

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10. Macon

A stately mansion with columns in Macon

Nicknamed ‘the heart of Georgia’ because of its geographical location, Macon is sure to steal your heart. Constructed around the Ocmulgee River, it offers plenty of green space blooming with cherry blossoms each spring.

At other times of the year, Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park is an incredible site spanning thousands of years of Native American culture. In addition, the Tubman Museum is one of America’s foremost spaces dedicated to African American art.

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Bus & train prices are based on the average cost of a one-way ticket for the respective route available on Wanderu over a 30-day period. 

Other Places to Visit in Georgia

A fountain in Marietta, GA
Marietta, GA

In need of even more inspiration for places to go in Georgia? Albany comes highly recommended and acts as an excellent starting point for many other attractions, including the Flint RiverQuarium.

Alternatively, fans of classic literature and cinema might want to visit Marietta and check out the Gone With the Wind Museum at Brumby Hall.

Georgia truly has some incredible vacation destinations. Whatever your interests, Wanderu is here to turn your dream escape into a reality.

So download the Wanderu app to check out the cheapest bus and train travel options all in the same place and book your trip to Georgia today.

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