These are the best cities to visit in Georgia! From outdoor attractions to historic world-class museums, Georgia has something for everyone.
Best Cities To Visit In Georgia
We’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time in Georgia, thanks to house sitting. In fact, some of the best friendships we’ve made over the years have been with homeowners in Georgia that we regularly keep in touch with. With that being said, there’s still a lot more of the state that we’d like to explore.
If you’re also interested in exploring more of The Peach State, take a look at our list of the best cities to visit in Georgia. Along with our own recommendations, we’ve also added cities recommended by fellow travel bloggers.
Alanna of Periodic Adventures
While Athens is known as a big football college town (home of the University of Georgia Bulldogs), it’s a great city to visit regardless!
First, it’s a foodie city with a great craft brewery culture so you’ll find a number of great places to eat and drink in Athens including Jinya, with delicious ramen, The Place, for classic Southern fare known for their chicken and waffles with blueberry compote, and Mama’s Boy, the local favorite for breakfast.
If you’re a beer fan, Athens has a new Beer Trail where you grab a passport at one of six breweries. Make your way to them all, get your passport stamped, and return the passport to the Historic Athens Welcome Center to redeem it for a prize!
Athens also has great parks and is very dog-friendly. Visit Memorial Park in town where there’s a dog park, playground, and Bear Hollow Zoo. Sandy Creek has a nature center, historic trails, and water activities. Be sure to visit the newly remodeled and free Botanical Garden of Georgia. It’s home to a conservatory and international, herb, heritage, flower, and children’s gardens.
If you are a sports fan, you’ll definitely want to visit on a Bulldog game day as the atmosphere of the town is so fun!
While you explore Athens, one of the best hotels is the Graduate Athens, a boutique stay on the edge of downtown. It has an outdoor pool, a historical music venue and bar called the Foundry, and is pet friendly.
James of Travel Collecting
Atlanta is a top tourist destination in Georgia – there is so much to see, do, and eat. Atlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996 and you can still see the Olympic rings at the Centennial Park Atlanta. It’s a lovely place to hang out, but it is also the centerpiece for many of the city’s main attractions.
One of them is the Georgia Aquarium, the second largest aquarium in the world. Exhibits are divided into different environments, including tropical, fresh water, and cold-water areas. The main show stopper, however, is the enormous deep water tank housing whale sharks, giant turtles, manta rays, other sharks, and hundreds more fish. There are plenty of other experiences you can have, including swimming or diving with whale sharks, taking a behind the scenes tour, or seeing dolphin and sea lion shows (don’t sit in the Splash Zone unless you’re willing to get wet – because you will!)
Another highlight is a CNN Studio Tour. You can see behind the scenes of the news network and even pose as a news anchor for your Instagram. If you like soda, a stop at the World of Coca-Cola museum is also a must. Watch a 4D movie, see old memorabilia, learn the history of Coke, and sample over 200 sodas from around the world!
Atlanta is also home to Martin Luther King and there are several places to learn more about his legacy and civil rights movement. These include the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, and The King Center.
For good southern cooking with live music, head to Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint. It has great soul food with a fun vibe. For its central location right on Centennial Park, the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center is hard to beat.
Pro Tip: To save money on your trip to Atlanta, get the Atlanta CityPASS!
Bret & Mary of Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide
Modeled after a traditional Bavarian village in the German Alps, the town of Helen easily ranks among the most unique and best cities to visit in Georgia. It is perhaps best known as home to the world’s largest Oktoberfest celebration, which draws more than 200,000 visitors each year. But even if you’re not interested in crowded cobblestone streets, kitschy German architecture, and beer gardens, the surrounding area is also a haven for outdoor adventurers and history buffs.
You can find an endless array of things to do in Helen, which is home to 3 Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites (Hardman Farm, Smithgall Woods, and Unicoi), one of the tallest mountains in Georgia (Mount Yonah), and around a dozen waterfalls (including Anna Ruby, Dukes Creek, and Raven Cliff Falls). Kids will enjoy attractions such as the Georgia Mountain Coaster, Alpine Mini Golf, and tubing the Chattahoochee River. Adults will love the nearby wineries, excellent restaurants, and stunning scenic vistas along the Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway.
If you get a chance to visit after Thanksgiving, Christmas in Helen is a festive small-town celebration, with colorful lights on the Helen Square and in Riverside Park, free photos with Santa, and some of North Georgia’s coolest Christmas shops. For a truly unique place to stay in Helen, check out the unusual barrel-shaped cabins at Unicoi State Park. They were built back in the late 1960s/early 1970s, were recently renovated, and overlook the lovely Unicoi Lake.
Candice of CS Ginger
One of the best cities to visit in Georgia is Jekyll Island. It is an island with a rich history dating back to the 1800s. The island was an exclusive hunting club for prominent families like the Rockefellers, Morgans, and Vanderbilts. Today, it is a beautiful island filled with historic sites and really pretty beaches.
The beaches on Jekyll Island are the highlight of things to do there. It is home to the famous Driftwood Beach, a beach commonly recognized as being one of the most romantic beaches in the United States. There are large pieces of driftwood on the beach that are really fun to explore.
Another one of the fun things to do on Jekyll Island is to explore the historic district. The ancient oak trees cover the 240-acre area with lots of fascinating buildings. There are 34 buildings you can learn about either on a guided tour or as you stroll through the area.
One of the best places to stay on Jekyll Island is the Jekyll Island Club Resort. It is a beautiful high-end property with an outdoor pool and three on-site restaurants. It is a perfect place to relax and enjoy your time on the island.
Be sure to stop by Zachry’s Riverhouse for dinner after a day of playing at the beach!
Lori of Southerner Says
While Macon might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think about the Peach State, it’s definitely worthy of being included on a list of the best cities to visit in Georgia. Just a couple of hours south of Atlanta, Macon is full of soul – literally and has a fun vibe that makes it a great stop on a Georgia road trip or vacation.
Macon’s soul comes from its thriving music scene. Georgia in general, has a rich music history and Macon is the birthplace of legends such as The Allman Brothers Band, Otis Redding, Little Richard and country music’s super popular Jason Aldean. With that musical past, it’s no wonder Macon carries on that legacy to the present day with music venues, concerts and events year round.
Music lovers can visit the famous Capricorn Sound Studios and Museum. Capricorn is a multi-purpose venue that features real recording studios, interactive listening stations – to check out all the music that’s been recorded there – videos and hundreds of artifacts in the museum that tell the story of Macon’s musical heritage. Museum admission is $7 and a tour of the studios is $5.
Macon also has plenty of activities for the nature lover. Visitors can tour prehistoric Native American sites and mounds at Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park. Some of them are over 1000 years old! And if you happen to visit in the spring, Macon’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival is stunning as downtown comes alive with thousands of pink blooms.
Other downtown activities include shopping at the many cute shops and boutiques and sampling Macon made brews and a burger that was voted Macon’s best at Ocmulgee Brewpub.
To extend your stay in Macon, consider staying at the Macon Marriott City Center. It’s close to many attraction, some you can even walk to. It also has an indoor pool and a restaurant on-site.
Marietta is another of the best cities to visit in Georgia. There are a lot of fun things to do in Marietta, and it’s just 30 minutes northwest of Atlanta. The first place you should visit is Historic Marietta Square. There are over 70 shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. There’s even a brewery just a few blocks away, Glover Park Brewery. Another popular place to hangout at is Marietta Square Market. Inside what was once a warehouse, the space is now an awesome food hall with 18 restaurants.
If you’d like to learn more about the history of Marietta, there are a few museums you should visit. The first is the Marietta Museum of History. It’s inside the Kennesaw House, which was once a cotton warehouse and then a hotel. Another must-see is the William Root House Museum; the oldest surviving house in downtown Marietta.
For your stay in Marietta, we recommend the Stanley House Inn. The beautiful bed and breakfast is only an eight minute walk from Marietta Square. It also includes a full Southern breakfast and free WiFi.
Tami of Postcards & Passports
Nashville (“City of Dogwoods”) is a lovely town in southern Georgia and is probably best known for its historic Berrien County Courthouse, built in 1898. It’s still in use today and is on the National Register of Historic Places. You can’t miss it, as it marks the center of town. In the downtown square, there are several quaint shops and eateries.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, there’s really only one hotel, but it’s the best! A cute boutique hotel called Our Place Hotel offers luxury at a very reasonable price. With trendy decor, a very comfortable bed, and every amenity you might want, you can’t go wrong. The only problem might be finding availability. The best part? You get to check yourself in and have access to a kitchen and outdoor courtyard too.
Want to do a little exploring? The Old Berrien County jail looks just like it did when it was in use and you can imagine being on the other side of those old jail bars. Visit Connie’s Children’s Park with its beautiful fountain, statue of playful children, and benches. Shop at the Farmers Market; everything sold there is Georgia-made. And when it comes time to eat, enjoy amazing southern fare at Brooks Steakhouse, where you’ll feel like family as soon as you walk in. Tip: order their Banana Pudding for dessert! Nashville is a very walkable town that just feels like home, and it would be a shame to miss it!
Another of the best cities to visit in Georgia is definitely Savannah. There is so much history in this city and when you’re walking around you feel like if you’ve gone back in time. Now, Savannah can be expensive. But there are also a lot of free things to do in Savannah!
Savannah has an awesome free walking tour that we highly recommend (although you should tip your guide). You can also go around on your own and see the many historic homes, statues, churches, and cemeteries. Many films and television shows have been filmed in Savannah as well. Reenacting your favorite scenes at filming locations can be a lot of fun.
Make sure to also visit Forsyth Park, Savannah’s most beautiful public park. It’s home to an iconic two-tiered, white cast-iron fountain. It’s arguably the most photographed attraction in Savannah. If you’re visiting Savannah with kids, Forsyth Park also has two playgrounds.
A great place to stay in Savannah is The Marshall House. Built in 1851, it’s located in the heart of Savanna’s Historic District. A continental breakfast and WiFi is included. Guests can also enjoy a nightly wine and cheese reception in the library.
St Marys / Kingsland
Dr. Rachel of TheRxForTravel.com
Just off I-95 near the Florida-Georgia line are St Marys and Kingsland, Georgia. You may pass them thinking they are just pit stops. But these small towns hold beautiful views and some fun things to do. One of the few Georgia train rides that can be found throughout the state is located in Kingsland and it’s the St Marys Railroad Express (recently relocated). Throughout the year, this Georgia train hosts different themed experiences like solving a murder mystery, journeying to the wild west, or eating on the pizza express.
St Marys is located along the St Marys River and is the ferry point to get to nearby Cumberland Island. But here on St Marys’ shore, you’ll find the Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum. Free and open in the afternoons, you’ll learn the history and see artifacts that date back hundreds of years.
If you are looking for accommodations in the area, there is no shortage especially in Kingsland given its proximity to the highway. You can also look for home stays in the St Marys area, which may put you within walking distance to the river. As far as restaurants go, Kingsland is so close to the highway that you will find all your favorite fast-food places as well as some Southern BBQ joints. If you head towards St Marys, you’ll find some seafood restaurants, perfect if you want something fresh caught.
Andrea of A Capone Connection
Thomasville, Georgia is a small town in Southern Georgia full of historic homes and quaint shopping boutiques. One popular attraction is “The Big Oak, ” a 335-year-old massive oak tree. The trunk has a 27’ circumference and this oak tree spreads 155 feet wide. When you stand beside it, you can’t help but feel small.
It’s challenging to get a picture of you in front of the tree because it sits on the corner of Crawford Street and Monroe Street. The good news is when you visit The Big Oak all you have to do is call (229)236-0053 from your phone, and a camera that is set up across the street will take your picture and post it on their website for you to retrieve.
Another popular attraction is Thomasville Rose Garden and Cherokee Lake Park. Take a stroll through the stunning Rose Garden and see over 1500 rose bushes! The BEST time to see the roses in full bloom is in April when they have the Rose Show and Festival. Situated next to the 5-acre Cherokee Lake Park, you can also enjoy the playground, pavilion, and walking trails.
Thomasville also has a FREE mobile app to help you plan your trip. It’s easy to use and it will tell you about all sorts of fun activities that are happening in the area. You can add items to your itinerary and use the map to see where everything is located.
A great place to eat is Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop. What makes Sweet Grass Dairy different it that they pride themselves on sustainable agriculture and humane animal husbandry practices. The quality of food at this farm-to-table style restaurant is superior. Their “field-to-flask” handcrafted cocktails are also amazing!
Enjoy dining in the restaurant area, or simply savor wine and a charcuterie board filled with handcrafted cheeses at the bar. Don’t worry, if you find a cheese that you fall in love with, you can always order it on their website and have it shipped right to your home.
A great place to stay is Holiday Inn Express and Suites Thomasville. It’s less than three miles from the center of town and has an indoor pool and hot tub, a sauna, free WiFi, and breakfast is included.
Disha of Disha Discovers
Georgia is home to many great cities and Valdosta is one of them. Even though Valdosta is a city, it has a small-town feel to it which makes it a great place to visit.
Valdosta is known as the “Azalea City” because of the many azaleas that bloom there each spring. The azaleas in Valdosta are some of the most beautiful in the state and attract visitors from all over. The city also hosts an azalea festival every March to celebrate the bloom.
Valdosta offers an endless array of fun things to do. There are a number of parks and trails for visitors to explore, as well as a variety of shops, restaurants, museums, and historical sites.
Downtown Valdosta is especially worth a visit. Here, you can stroll down picturesque tree-lined streets, window shop at the many unique stores, and grab a bite to eat at one of the delicious restaurants. Be sure to drop by the Lowndes County Courthouse, which is a beautiful historic building in the downtown area.
After exploring downtown Valdosta, head over to the Crescent which is one of Georgia’s prettiest mansions. The architecture is breathtaking and the grounds are beautiful. Valdosta State University is another must-see. It was founded in 1906 and is one of Georgia’s oldest and largest universities. The campus is beautiful and there are a number of historic buildings on it.
You can also visit the Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum, the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, the Dosta Playhouse, and Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area. One of the best restaurants in Valdosta is 306 North Restaurant which offers upscale Southern dining. A great hotel in town is Hampton Inn & Suites Valdosta.
Final Thoughts On The Best Cities To Visit In Georgia
We can’t wait to explore even more of Georgia to keep adding to this list. Are there any Georgia cities that you think we should visit? Let us know in the comments below. 🙂
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