*Editor’s Note: Due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, nonessential travel is discouraged at the moment – this article is meant to serve as inspiration for a future trip once the pandemic has come to an end.*
Home to a spectacular food, drink, and party scene as well as the earth’s busiest airport, it’s no surprise that Atlanta is by far the most popular destination for those visiting Georgia. However, those planning a trip to the state’s capital should expand their horizons beyond simply Fulton County, taking advantage of some of the other cities that Georgia has to offer. For anybody planning a trip to the Peach State once travel is accessible again, be sure to consider adding one of these fascinating cities to the itinerary.
The oldest city in all of Georgia, Savannah is a true wonder of the American South, packed full of gorgeous landmarks and a wide array of spectacular bars and restaurants. First-time visitors should be sure to take a trip to the American Prohibition Museum – the only one of its kind in the nation – before heading to Moon River Brewing Company to sample a refreshing Rosemary Swamp Fox IPA. In terms of dining, the Olde Pink House is an absolute must-visit, offering Southern classics such as fried green tomatoes and shrimp gumbo in an opulent late-1700s mansion, while nearby B. Matthew’s Eatery is the ideal brunch venue for chicken ‘n’ biscuits alongside an extensive list of cocktails.
Located roughly ninety minutes east of Atlanta, this charming city is particularly notable as the birthplace of multiple iconic music acts, including R.E.M. and Widespread Panic. In addition to its musical roots, Athens is home to the University of Georgia’s main campus, a sprawling tract of land that’s famed nationwide for its idyllic beauty and stately architecture. Beer enthusiasts take note – Creature Comforts Downtown Taproom and Brewery lies within the heart of Athens, serving up a diverse array of ales in their rustic cafeteria-style brewhouse. Best known for their Tropicália IPA, the brewery is a rising star on the national beer scene, with the Living on the Sun Triple IPA and Koko Buni Milk Porter standing out as two particularly tasty selections.
Established in 1736 along the banks of the Savannah River, this quiet city bursts alive in the springtime, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors for the annual Masters Tournament, one of the most prestigious golf championships in the nation. During the off-season, Augusta is the perfect place for a quiet getaway, with multiple drinking and dining destinations scattered across the city. A particularly enticing spot for spirit enthusiasts is Whiskey Bar Kitchen, an inviting venue that offers over two hundred different varieties of whiskies from across the globe. For fans of soul music, the new James Brown Walking Tour is an essential experience, taking visitors on a tour of every local landmark associated with Augusta’s own Godfather of Soul.
The idyllic city of St. Marys can be found at the very southeastern edge of Georgia, located just one hour north of Jacksonville, Florida. While the city’s historic district is home to a collection of notable restaurants – Riverside Cafe and 401 West being two particular local favorites – the area is best known as the jumping-off point for exploring Cumberland Island, the largest of Georgia’s barrier islands. Rife with rolling dunes and long strips of white sand beach, this serene isle is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, with a wealth of shorebirds and wading birds thriving throughout the area.
Fans of wildlife and natural history will find one particularly enticing natural feature in the heart of Albany – namely, the Flint River. Running close to 350 miles from Georgia’s southern border up to the Piedmont region, this renowned waterway is lined with a wealth of attractions. Visitors are welcome to stroll through idyllic Riverfront Park and pay a visit to the Ray Charles Memorial, a monument to one of soul music’s greatest contributors born right here in Albany. Continue north to the Flint RiverQuarium for an opportunity to observe over one hundred fish, bird, and reptile species that call the Flint River home.