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Best Places and Times to Travel in Georgia

No matter when you go and where you visit, the Peach State is bound to leave a lasting impression. A Deep South state with one of the nation’s most cosmopolitan cities, a physically immense place with a tight-knit, small-town feel, Georgia defies easy labels. Georgia, it seems, is comfortable doing double duty as both the prototypical Southern state of Sherman-scarred legend and Scarlett O’Hara-derived myth, as well as one of America’s engines of lasting change and innovation.

southern live oaks covered in spanish moss in Savannah Georgia
Oak trees are a common sight throughout Georgia, and the humid climate encourages the growth of Spanish moss on branches. Photo © Sean Pavone Photo/iStock.

Here’s what to expect in each region and time of year to help you prepare for your trip.

Where to Go in Georgia

Atlanta

There’s always something to do in one of America’s most dynamic cities, a burgeoning multiethnic melting pot that also has a friendly flavor of the Old South 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 Atlanta’s specialties.

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. The influence of the enormous University of Georgia in Athens pervades the rolling green Piedmont region.

Middle & South Georgia

From Macon to Columbus, the rhythmic heart of Georgia is the soulful cradle of the state’s rich musical tradition—and where its best barbecue is located. The region’s therapeutic value isn’t only found in the legendary Warm Springs that gave solace to FDR. Farther south is the state’s agricultural cornucopia and the home of former president Jimmy Carter, along with the mighty and mysterious Okefenokee Swamp.

Savannah

Georgia’s grand old city isn’t just full of history, though that aspect remains very much worth exploring. Savannah has found new life as an arts and culture mecca, 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.

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 are one of the country’s hidden vacation gems and one of the most unique ecosystems in North America.

When to Visit Georgia

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.


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