Georgia is the perfect state to explore if you want to get a taste of Southern hospitality and check out some incredible destinations in the USA. A road trip is the easiest way to get to know the place, with mountains, waterfalls, picturesque small towns, popular cities and an incredible coastline to discover for the ultimate American road trip.
At some point in your life, Georgia will inevitably be on your mind. In recent years, the state has become a popular film and TV location, with studios popping up everywhere and major productions being shot here. There are favourable tax breaks, and a remarkable variety of easily accessible landscapes. Atlanta is the obvious place to start – it is home to one of the busiest airports in the world, after all – but there’s so much to see throughout Georgia that a road trip is the best way to get a sense of what makes it so special. Here’s our guide to some of the must-see places on any trip across the Peach State, starting with the main regions of interest.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
There’s no way a trip to Georgia could be complete without a trip to Atlanta. The state capital, affectionately known as Hotlanta, especially in summer, is a popular terminal city for many trips across the country and even international journeys. There are some trendy neighborhoods in among the hustle and bustle of the city, and the food here is outstanding.
North Georgia Mountains
A fall trip to the mountains is an excellent alternative if you’re visiting later in the year. The autumn colours here rival those in better-known fall destinations such as New England and Massachusetts, but without the crowds – and there’s something to be said for avoiding the obvious choices. The peaks are part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but each state likes to claim a little bit of the range as its own.
The Georgia coast
Savannah is the obvious choice should you venture to the coast, but it would be a mistake not to spend time exploring the rest of the region, as there are more than 100mi (161km) of sandy beach that hardly anyone knows about. Park the car and take the slower, more scenic route, making time for island-hopping between some of the best-kept secrets in Georgia, which you can travel between by small boat.
When driving through the central part of Georgia, keep an eye out for the picturesque towns and cities that are unique to this part of the USA. They are small and built in such a way that it’s easy to miss them. We’ve picked out some of our favorites below, but it’s still worth just stopping wherever you think looks good. Make sure you try a peach cobbler dessert somewhere on the road, too.
History comes alive in the South, and there’s no better example of this than on the outskirts of Georgia, along the borders with Florida and Alabama. There are a number of important civil-rights memorials here, and you can learn a lot about the the history of the country, both good and bad, by exploring places such as Thomasville, where you can visit the Pebble Hill Plantation museum.
That’s our rough guide to Georgia, but no guide would be complete without a closer look at some of our top recommendations of places to visit next time you’re taking a road trip here.
Castleberry Hill is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the Georgia film industry – parts of the Hunger Games series, The Walking Dead and many more have been filmed here. There are several tours you can take, either dedicated to a specific film or TV show, or giving a more general introduction to the productions that have taken place here. Part of the neighborhood’s appeal is the authentic buildings and streets that have remained untouched for decades.
The most diverse square mile in America, according to a Time Magazine story, Clarkston makes the most of its proximity to central Atlanta while also exuding a welcoming atmosphere. Many refugees have settled here and the integration process has been hugely productive. The mix of influences from all over the world gives Clarkston a uniquely cosmopolitan feel that even big cities struggle to match.
When producers were looking for an authentic American small town for the HBO adaptation of the bestselling thriller Sharp Objects (2018), they found what they were searching for in Barnesville. This quiet location is a real place that showcases some of the best aspects of life in Georgia. There are great diners and cafes with a local charm that is hard to fake, and the residents are very proud of their brush with fame. You can still see some of the purpose-built murals and sets from the hit series, but everything else is very much real.
This quintessential mountain town is a great spot for hiking and relaxing before hitting the road on a lengthy trip. It’s known as Georgia’s apple capital – yes, that’s right, it’s not all about the peaches here – and you can’t beat the wild orchards and serene valleys of Ellijay.
Here’s the perfect spot to do some sightseeing and hiking, if you’re looking to take a break from driving. On Lookout Mountain’s western side, Cloudland overlooks a valley where deep canyons, waterfalls, wild caves and cascading creeks are surrounded by dense woods. This is one of the places we think showcase Georgia best in the fall, and the burst of color you will see here make for some incredible pictures.
Jekyll Island was set up as a colony of Georgia in 1733, and went on to become a playground for the rich and famous. You can drive here from Savannah, which is a fun getaway many people already know about – but nowhere can match the coastal highlights such as Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.