Where to Go in Georgia and the Best Times of Year to Visit

Downtown Atlanta skyline at dusk with the traffic lights blurring from the long exposure of the photo

Downtown Atlanta. Photo © tableatny, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

First things first: Georgia gets very hot in the summer. For most parts of the state, August is the month you don’t want to be here. An exception, however, would be North Georgia, where the mountain air keeps things a bit cooler.

Conversely, winters are mild throughout the state except in North Georgia, where many attractions, trails, and even some roads are closed due to ice and snow. Always check ahead.

Autumn leaf-watching season in North Georgia is extremely popular. While there are plenty of great state parks, they fill up well in advance. Because of the general dearth of lodging in the area, you should try to book well in advance for a fall trip to the mountains.

The hurricane threat on the coast is highest in August and September. Obviously there’s no way to plan your trip in advance to avoid a hurricane, but that would be the time when trips, especially by plane, are most likely to be disrupted.

Savannah hotel rooms are difficult to get in the spring and fall, but especially difficult around St. Patrick’s Day in the middle of March.

The Masters golf tournament in Augusta in April fills hotels, vacation rentals, and bed-and-breakfasts for many miles around throughout northeast Georgia and well into South Carolina.

Athens is much slower in the summer since most classes are not in session at the University of Georgia. However, during home football weekends in the fall, hotel rooms may be booked many months in advance.


Where to Go in Georgia

Atlanta

There’s always something to do in one of America’s most dynamic and progressive cities, a burgeoning multi-ethnic melting pot that also has a friendly flavor of the old South just beneath the surface. For every snarled intersection, a delightfully bucolic neighborhood tantalizes with cafés, shops, and green space. Adventurous restaurants and quirky nightlife venues are particular specialties here.

North Georgia

The Blue Ridge Mountains are the backdrop for this inspiring, scenic area full of waterfalls, state parks, and outdoor adventures for the whole family. While not the best place to visit in winter, North Georgia in spring and summer provides a welcome respite from the state’s scorching temperatures. Its accessibility to Atlanta is a convenient advantage.

Piedmont

Green, rolling countryside and classic antebellum architecture are the calling cards here, where old meets new on a daily basis in what was once a center of Georgia’s old Confederate power structure. The University of Georgia’s influence around Athens and the culture of the Savannah River valley in the Augusta area reign supreme.

Middle Georgia

From Macon to Columbus, the rhythmic heart of Georgia is the soulful cradle of the state’s incredibly rich musical tradition… and where its best barbecue is located! Its therapeutic value isn’t only found in the legendary Warm Springs that gave solace to FDR. Middle Georgia is a place to take stock mentally and spiritually as well, by getting in touch with some of the South’s most cherished roots.

Savannah

Georgia’s grand old city isn’t just full of history, though that’s certainly very much worth exploring. It has found new life as an arts and culture mecca and world-class destination, with as many or more things to do on any given day than cities two or three times its size. Come prepared for high tea or a rowdy party; either way Savannah’s got you covered.

South Georgia

The state’s agricultural cornucopia and home of former President Jimmy Carter offers quite a few surprises among the peanuts and pecans, including the mighty, mysterious Okefenokee Swamp. The state’s most sparsely populated area is also its largest, so be prepared to do some driving. You’ll be sure to come across some pleasant, unexpected discoveries.

The Golden Isles

History and salt-kissed air meet in the marshes of Georgia’s chains of relatively undeveloped barrier islands. The feeling is timeless and tranquil. The Golden Isles comprise one of America’s hidden vacation gems, and one of the most unique ecosystems in North America.


Excerpted from the Seventh Edition of Moon Georgia.


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