From the mountains to the beach, the big cities to the small towns, Georgia is home to some of the south’s most picturesque locations. While it may be one of the more populated states in the nation, Georgia is much more than just Atlanta. Some of the state’s small towns are filled with charm and make the perfect destination for those in search of a weekend away from the city lights.
The diverse state offers everything from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, world-class museums to universities and major companies. Small towns across the Peach State offer plenty of unique options, even if some of them are just a bit off the beaten path.
If you’re in search of a weekend getaway from Atlanta, or you’re coming in to visit Georgia from a bit farther away, here’s our condensed list of some of the best Georgia towns to check out:
You probably never imagined touring a submarine museum in Georgia, but that’s exactly what you’ll find in the small town of St Marys. The museum takes visitors through America’s history of submarines. The town also boasts its own historic district, with buildings including the First Presbyterian Church, which dates back to the early 1800s. That’s not really even that old, though, when you consider St Marys was first explored in the mid 16the century by Spanish settlers. Just across the river from Florida, the town’s actually the gateway to Cumberland Island National Seashore, which is Georgia’s southernmost and largest barrier island. The town is also where you’ll find the National Seashore Visitor Center.
✓ St. Marys Submarine Museum
✓ Historic District
✓ Gateway to Cumberland Island National Seashore
Macon, Georgia has a rich musical history, classic architecture, and is the epitome of Southern charm. Top attractions in town include Ocmulgee Mounds Historical Park, Hay House, and the Capricorn Sound Studio, famous for where The Allman Brothers Band, Percy Sledge, the Marshall Tucker Band, and countless other artists recorded many of their top hits. The Tubman Museum is also located in Macon, the Southeast’s largest museum of African American art, history, and culture.
✓ Ocmulgee Mounds Historical Park
✓ Capricorn Sound Studio
✓ Tubman Museum
Heading to North Georgia, tiny Tallulah Falls is a popular spot thanks to nearby Tallulah Gorge. With several waterfalls, rapids and hiking, this adventurous spot is a favorite of nature lovers. There’s even a suspension bridge for the truly brave of heart. A popular spot for tourists for generations, the town was first incorporated in the late 1800s, around the same time hotels went up and the railroad came in. Unique options include visiting one of the local distilleries, restaurants, antique shops or museums.
✓ Tallulah Gorge State Park
✓ Tallulah 1882 Tea House
✓ Top Hiking Destination
Staying in northern Georgia, the small town getaway of Dahlonega puts you right in the middle of Georgia Wine Country. While only about an hour from Atlanta, Dahlonega feels a world away. Situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the town is known for its many wineries, its historic downtown and its seasonal festivals. Spend some time at one of the local vineyards and tasting rooms or soak in some history when it comes to Georgia’s own Gold Rush.
✓ Blue Ridge Mountains Trails
✓ Georgia Wine Country
✓ Dahlonega Gold Museum
The one-time logging town of Helen is now one of the more unique small towns to visit in Georgia. Modeled after a Bavarian alpine village, the town stays true to its scenery, with celebrations of Oktoberfest in September, October and November.
✓ Oktoberfest Events
✓ Bavarian-style Architecture
✓ Quaint Shops & Restaurants