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Did You Know…?

  • The Girl Scouts of the USA originated in Savannah in 1912.
  • Georgia produces more peanuts than any other state.
  • Coca-Cola, created in Atlanta in 1886, sold for 5 cents a glass — not cheap then.
  • The nation’s first major gold rush occurred in Dahlonega, Ga., in 1829.
  • Georgia was expelled from the Union in 1869 but readmitted in 1870.

Scarlett’s home turf

Georgia has a booming metropolis (Atlanta), a romantic, traditional southern city (Savannah), an Atlantic coastline with well-known, popular resorts and a fascinating history that stretches from colonial times through the Civil War and beyond.

In more recent times, a Georgian, Jimmy Carter, went to the White House. The 1994 Summer Olympics also introduced Georgia and its capital Atlanta to many visitors, who left praising the city for its cleanliness, friendliness, fine dining and shopping.

In addition, the state — and the fictional Georgian Scarlett O’Hara — are immortalized in Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind.”  Georgia’s capital was burned during the Civil War, but today it’s a modern metropolis with its full share, or more, of cultural attractions, museums, galleries and the performing arts.

For those who would look back, there are historic sites and museums to chase down. Atlanta’s Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History brings America’s most devastating war to life.  There are reminders of the Civil War all across the state, among them Andersonville, site of the Confederacy’s largest prison camp for Union soldiers. It is now the National Prisoner of War Museum.

Savannah, on the coast, represents another part of the Georgia story. It was founded in 1733 by British Gen. James Oglethorpe when he founded the state itself. It is described as America’s first planned city, but it is remembered by visitors as a place full of southern charms — antebellum mansions, picturesque squares, restaurants offering low-country cooking and live oaks laden with Spanish moss. Its historic district is one of the nation’s largest. The beach is nearby, but this is golf country, too.

Visitors also talk about the Golden Isles of Georgia, especially Sea Island and St. Simons Island. The islands boast lovely resorts where guests can play all kinds of sports, fish the Atlantic or relax on the beach or at poolside. The state’s mountains offer another kind of playground, for those more inclined to hike or climb.

Like other southern states, Georgia is open all year. It can get cold in the northern half of the state, but this isn’t Minnesota.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Go tubing on the winding Chattahoochee River or whitewater rafting down the Chattooga River, the latter designated a Wild and Scenic River.
  • Kayak on the Altamaha and Ogeechee rivers. Or, go boating on Georgia’s coast and travel the waters alongside dolphins.
  • Cycle along coastal paths around Brunswick and the Golden Isles. Or, push yourself and try the world’s first Olympic mountain biking course in the Georgia International Horse Park.
  • Participate with a couple of friends in one of Georgia’s adventure races. The Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race, started in 1998, involves teams of three who compete by hiking, kayaking, mountain biking and running.
  • Try hang gliding at Lookout Mountain (at Lookout Mountain Flight Park in Rising Fawn), or practice your parasailing in Brunswick or the Golden Isles.
  • They are not the Rockies, but Georgia’s mountains offer options for climbers, from the cliffs of Tallulah Gorge to the so-called Rock Town at the Crockford Pigeon Mountain Wildlife Area.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Cruise across scenic Lake Chatuge, or choose an activity at Lake Sidney Lanier: canoeing, golfing, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking or waterskiing. Stay in a houseboat on the lake.
  • Charter a boat on Saint Simons Island, or at several other island or coastal sites, to go fishing or for a dolphin watching trip.
  • Take a candlelight tour of the early 19th century Pebble Hill Plantation in Thomasville. Attend an open-air concert there. You can arrange to be married there, too.
  • Rent a kayak or canoe on Jekyll, Saint Simons or Tybee Island or in Brunswick and St. Marys for a guided tour on the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway or nearby rivers.
  • Make use of Georgia’s running trails, varying from options in Atlanta to the 15-mile Columbus Riverwalk along the Chattahoochee River to the cross-country Berry College Viking Trail which includes a run up Mount Berry.
  • Cruise the 1845 canal in the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area aboard a replica of the original canal cargo boats.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Give yourself a driving tour along one of Georgia’s scenic highways. For example, the 100-mile Antebellum Trail features seven communities left nearly untouched by the Civil War. It starts in Athens and takes you through Watkinsville, Madison, Eaton, Milledgeville, Old Clinton and Macon. Another choice highlights Georgia’s coastline.
  • Attend the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta. Play golf yourself on any number of courses around the state.
  • In Atlanta, tour the World of Coca-Cola, and follow that with the 55-minute guided walking tour of the CNN studio.
  • Sample local specialties: Brunswick stew, shrimp, soft-shelled crabs. Eat peaches.
  • Try your luck on the Colonial Coast Birding Trail, a hiking trail where more than 300 bird species have been sighted.
  • Attend the October Oliver Hardy Festival in Harlem; Hardy, of Laurel and Hardy fame, was born in Harlem, Ga.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Georgia Department of Economic Development at