As the “Peach State” is affectionately called, Georgia is the largest and most diverse state east of the Mississippi. In the north, you’ve got the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, and in the south, you’ve got the Okefenokee Swamp. In this charming southern state, you’ll find Atlanta, Savannah, and more.
Here’s our list of the best things to do in Georgia based on our own experience and what other travel writers recommend. It’s sure to be an amazing time exploring this part of the Southern United States.
1. Hike to Brasstown Bald
North Georgia is just 90 minutes from Atlanta and is great for outdoor adventurers and nature lovers alike. The city’s I-285 perimeter is home to nearly 20 state parks, offering everything from mountain biking and rock climbing to horseback riding and spelunking.
You can also hike the Chattahoochee National Forest and end/start the Appalachian Trail. In Autumn, when the weather is chilly and the leaves are at the height of their fiery colors, hiking in this area is spectacular.
What’s the “Bald” part? With a turn of your head, you can see four states (Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee). During peak summer season, the Observation Tower at the top gets quite crowded. However, the rocking chairs, picnic area, and stunning views make it the perfect place to spend a fall afternoon.
2. The Appalachian Trail
Georgia has a lot to offer, from lounging at the beach to ghost-seeking in Savannah to hiking a lot of trails. Hiking the start (or end, depending on how you look at it) of the Appalachian Trail is one of the best things to do in Georgia.
The Appalachian Trail goes from Georgia to Maine and takes about 5-7 months to hike. If you’re in Georgia and want to say you hiked the Appalachian Trail without committing that many hours, try Springer Mountain.
Springer Mountain hike on the AT only takes about 2 miles roundtrip but is rocky for most of the way. Arrive early to avoid the crowds and visit in Spring or Fall for the best scenery. I think the views of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains and the prestige of hiking one end of the AT make it worth it.
3. Celebrate Oktoberfest in Helen
The small town of Helen is a very popular tourist destination in Georgia, about 85 miles north of Atlanta. Since Helen is a replica of a small Bavarian village nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s the third most visited city in Georgia.
In Helen, Georgia, some of the best things to do are to stroll the quaint downtown streets for some stunning pictures, go shopping for unique crafts and local goods, and grab some delicious German food and a pint.
It’s pretty common to rent tubes down the Chattahoochee River in the spring and summer. It’s just minutes away from town to hike one of several waterfall trails. Helen’s annual Oktoberfest, one of the biggest in the country, draws tourists in the fall. Helen is adorned with Christmas trees and lights during the holidays.
4. The Silver Comet Trail
There are so many beautiful, easily-accessible nature trails in Atlanta (and northern Georgia in general). With everything from a relaxing stroll to intense mountain biking, the Silver Comet Trail has it all. There are 62 miles of it, from northwest Atlanta to Alabama.
You can walk, bicycle, take your dog (on a leash), and use other non-motorized forms of transportation (you might see a horse and some rollerbladers here and there). In addition to being mostly flat (which is a rarity in this area), it’s largely shaded, and at least the first few miles are wheelchair accessible.
There are several trailheads with parking on the Silver Comet Trail. There’s a decent-sized parking lot at the Mavell Road Trailhead in Smyrna (a suburb of Atlanta). There’s a 33-mile trail at the Alabama state line if you’re looking for even more adventure.
5. The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
You wouldn’t expect to see a Hindu temple in Georgia, but that’s exactly what makes the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir so special. In the small town of Lilburn, this temple belongs to the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha organization that promotes Hindu ideals like faith, unity, and selfless service.
Visit if you’re not Hindu or even interested in Hinduism. You can visit Shri Swaminarayan Mandir for free. If you want to learn more about Hinduism or the Mandir, you can rent an audio guide for $5 per person.
Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is open every day from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Wear something covering your shoulders and knees for your visit.
That’s it! Georgia’s top 5 things to do. What’s your favorite thing to do in Georgia?