20 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Georgia
Located at the crossroads of Asia, Europe and Africa, Georgia is perhaps most famous for its Mt. Kazbek, a holy mountain that has been a site of pilgrimage for believers of all religions for centuries. The architecture of the major cities is fascinating, particularly in Tbilisi, a capital with a royal past.
The beautiful mountains of Kakheti and the wine region of Imereti provide opportunities for hiking and a relaxing getaway from Tbilisi.
Travel to and within the country is easy, with international flights to and from major cities such as Tbilisi and Batumi. Travel to Georgia with our list of the top tourist attractions in Georgia.
Historic Savannah was founded in 1733 and is the capital of the US state of Georgia. Centuries before the Pilgrims landed in the New World and then set off in search of the Fountain of Youth, the Englishman George Hutchinson had arrived here and discovered a “jolly harbor, rich in supplies” and named it Savannah. Savannah, home to the University of Georgia, is the state's largest city with more than 800,000 people. As the oldest continuously occupied city in the United States, Savannah has an unusual and interesting history which makes for excellent exploring. Highlights include the restored River Street district, a combination of restored 19th-century buildings and Victorian-era homes and the historic squares, Forsyth Park and Oglethorpe Square. Attractions in the area include the Candler Park (35 acres), which includes a children's zoo, the Savannah History Center, the Riverwalk, a couple of great museums, and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.
Columbus is the perfect mix of small-town Southern charm and lively entertainment. Named for Christopher Columbus, the son of a Spanish nobleman who was born here in 1451, the city was incorporated in the 1890s and has some interesting historical buildings, including the three-story Walters House Museum and the covered sidewalks that bring a touch of New Orleans to the site. Other attractions include the Forsyth Museum, the colorful and often entertaining street festival held the first Saturday of every April, and the live music concerts held each summer in a large public park. Columbus has a family-oriented small-town feel, yet the city offers dining and entertainment options for people of all ages. The Southern Food and Beverage Museum provides a fun and informative look at the history of the Southern dining tradition and includes samples of home cooking from many of the country's best-known chefs.
The United States Department of Energy Savannah River Site (SRS) was established in the early 1950's and now hosts about 1,200 employees along with approximately 4,400 contract workers, contractors, and family members, working on projects that use nuclear energy. About half of the employees at SRS are contractors working under a variety of United States Department of Energy-related contracts. The Savannah River is a highly-regulated waterway, flowing through portions of 10 states and many international treaties. It is the site of the SRS's nuclear operations, which are among the most complex on the planet and maintain a strong counter-terrorism capability, as the location is isolated. The Savannah River is part of the U.S. Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SSRS) Division, a prime developer of advanced nuclear power systems, materials and fuels, especially in the areas of fuel manufacturing, recycling, testing and utilization. The Savannah River site offers environmental services to more than 15,000,000 gallons of drinking water a day. It is a national nuclear security complex and is not far from a number of fascinating attractions such as San Marcos de la Calavera, an island Catholic shrine with a history dating to the colonial period, museums, recreation parks, galleries, state parks and preserves and national and state forests.
Athina and Clarkston, just a few miles apart on the eastern outskirts of Atlanta, are just as likely to be heard complaining about heat and humidity in July and August as they are to be complimenting each other on how much more livable they find Athens than Atlanta, where they have lived for 18 years. The bright side of living in Athens and Clarkston is how close the two towns are to one another. This affords you plenty of options to entertain friends and neighbors in your backyard, or even keep them outside without fear of missing their evening class. The popular and centrally located Mother Earth News Fair in Athens is an excellent place to visit during the summer. You will also find a number of fun spots in the city center to grab a bite to eat or sample some cool specialty foods. The Athens Grocery Cooperative, for instance, has a good assortment of meats and organic products, as well as local cheeses and wines.
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Georgia Aquarium (Georgia Farg'ono Aquarium) in the capital city of Tbilisi is the second largest aquarium in Europe, located in the shape of an Iberian-style manor. More than 750 different species are represented, and visitors will find themselves immersed in the spectacular landscapes of a series of cool, glass-walled tropical sections featuring both marine and freshwater animals. The aquarium is also the setting for an interesting educational program featuring interactive multimedia presentations that combine computer graphics with 3D animation. Fantastic as an open-air museum, the aquarium includes an original 19th-century villa, with its original rooms and furnishings, including a baby grand piano that hasn't been played for 150 years. Also home to the Georgia Dragon Center, the aquarium's sister site is in Macon, and is more than 100 years old. A replica of Georgia's state animal, the Russian sturgeon, is housed there, as well as South American sea turtles and a reptile park with hawks, owls, and snakes.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
The village of Kennesaw is home to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, the largest Civil War battleground in the United States. Located in southeast Georgia, the park is dotted with sights that chronicle the battle: stone walls, trenches, sunken roads, and more than 100 reconstructions of the battlefield. During a visit you'll be able to learn about the history of the war, including the major issues that influenced the outcome. The park also features programs and special events related to the anniversary of the war.
Atlanta History Center
Atlanta History Center is located in a prime location, within the U.S. National Park and on the site of the Civil War Fort McPherson. Its centerpiece is the Confederate Memorial Hall, which houses many of the museum's extensive archives and collections. Visitors can stroll through an exhibit about the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, which grew around the original water works begun by French aristocrat Marquis de Lafayette in 1829, and which have grown into an extensive green-domed showcase of nearly 3,000 varieties of tropical and subtropical plants, all now labeled with species names.
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
This cool, lovely recreation area is most known for its canoeing on the Chattahoochee River. Some of the highlights include the Robert B. Jones Boat Yard, a private little park where canoes can be rented to float the tranquil Chattahoochee River. Just below it, the 20-mile (32.5-km) side canal cuts through some of the park's richest riverine forest, providing some beautiful places to picnic or enjoy some solitude. Boating is also a popular way to enjoy the national park, with three boat houses offering rentals and demonstrations.
Despite recent economic struggles, New Orleans remains a romantic destination worth visiting. One of the leading tourist attractions in the area is the French Quarter, a district that not only preserves the heritage of the region but also lends a vivid atmosphere to the city. Even the Central Business District has its own historic charm. In contrast to New Orleans' reputation as a city of hedonists, it is well worth making a trip to Cafe du Monde. The French establishment has served the delicious beignets, the city's claim to fame, since 1862. Best-known New Orleans neighborhoods include the French Quarter, the Central Business District, the Garden District, the Uptown Historic District, Tremé, and the Faubourg Marigny.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is best known for the Yosemite Valley, where it is possible to see the colorful cliffs and groves of tall trees that define this enchanting corner of the country. There are three entry points to the park, the most accessible being at Yosemite Village. Here, visitors are treated to an extraordinary view of the waterfalls on the floor of the valley, a site that should be seen by everyone. There are trails to hike for those who want to see the valley from a different angle, but not too far. There are also ranger-guided programs, and any park activities that you undertake will cost extra. Another entry point to Yosemite is at El Portal. From El Portal, visitors can go on day trips or overnight hikes to the base of some of the most famous mountains in the park, including Half Dome, El Capitan, and Sentinel Peak. The third is at Arch Rock, where the view of the valley is amazing and the hikes to different sites in the park are fairly easy. If you're here, the best way to do something interesting is to join a ranger-guided hike to any of these places. There are also programs where visitors can participate in classes that help them understand what's happening with the environment and, in return, help protect the park.
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Called the NCCHR, the building was created to highlight the work of the first ever victim of the United States’ use of the chemical weapon Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, and to help prevent future use of such dangerous and potentially deadly weapons. The building houses and displays scientific research on the effects of exposure to Agent Orange. As well as military weapons, NCCHR has a further exhibit that aims to understand the impacts of other chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons that have been used by governments on the people of other countries.
CNN Center is the world headquarters of the news network, located in the heart of downtown Atlanta. Visitors can take a virtual reality tour of CNN Center and the public facilities, including the Peachtree Center, a mixed-use retail and office complex adjacent to the media center. There are several ways to experience the historic CNN Center, including a one-hour tour of the complex by qualified guides and a self-guided tour, which allows you to stop in at the CNN-owned art collection, including works by Marc Chagall, Edward Hopper and Claude Monet, and more. Many famous people have called CNN Center home, including former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former first lady Rosalynn Carter, former Senator Sam Nunn and other famous faces. CNN is the flagship network of the Turner Broadcasting System and is one of the world's largest news organizations. With 50 bureaus around the world, including the headquarters in Atlanta, CNN reaches almost a billion people worldwide each month via CNN Digital platforms.
Atlanta, the largest city in the southeastern U.S. and a major center for the insurance industry, is also a major cultural and entertainment center. Situated on the Atlantic coast, Atlanta is composed of a growing collection of neighborhoods with some beautiful residential areas and a number of major public parks. Home to more than 750 museums and galleries, Atlanta also has a large performing arts scene and a number of historic sites. Atlanta has an excellent public transportation system and some of the best air travel facilities in the Southeast. There is a large international airport that serves many major U.S. cities as well as many destinations overseas. Planning a visit to Atlanta? Find a helpful in-depth travel guide in the Smart Travel section in Lonely Planet's New York City guide.
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East Point is a charming town located along the Gulf Coast of Georgia, only an hour's drive from the beach. This is also a popular destination for wine and other vineyards, as well as home to the East Point Golf Course, which provides a fair test of any golfer's game. Apart from touring the town's old buildings, the main attraction is visiting East Point Lighthouse, which stands at the highest point on the Georgia coast.
Telfair Museum of Art
Inspired by the venerable local Peachtree Battle Avenue Telfair Museum of Art and its temporary exhibition program has become one of the most influential art institutions in the country. While the program changed through the years, the exhibitions, which often attract crowds of more than 15,000, have remained a hotbed for artists of all ages and nationalities. With the help of more than 1,500 objects from the Telfair's collections, the exhibition program revolves around a building design that replicates the historical iron mansion that gave the museum its name, and includes works from the museum's collections. Three years in the making, the July 2006 opening of the new museum building has created a new home for the world-renowned art collection.
Cape Girardeau, known also as the 'World's Largest Crab Shell', is a deserted peninsula on the Mississippi River south of St. Louis. Developed as a tourist attraction in 1874, Cape Girardeau is the country's only land-based historic amusement park. Attractions include a historical railroad car park, a merry-go-round, miniature railroad, restaurants, a dance pavilion, and the world's largest crab shell-shaped building. Also open for a visit is a national monument of the American Revolution, which played an important part in the Siege of Cape Girardeau by British and American forces in 1779. This section of the Mississippi is also famous for being the birthplace of the riverboat trade that transformed the US in the 19th century. An important museum of riverboat history is located in the old port of St. Louis, which also holds the world's largest surviving riverboat from 1858.
Americus, in south Georgia, may seem like a quaint little town full of little white farmhouses, but that doesn't mean there isn't a bit of culture around. For one thing, it's the birthplace of Al Neuharth, the founder of the USA Today newspaper, and his brother David, an entrepreneur and innovator. The world also learned that many of these little country people (not all of them farmers, for that matter) are a bit fastidious about their food, keeping the "plain, the bare and the impotent" foods of colonial America. And although this is a world away from that period, Americus is now a successful and historic community offering theater, art, and antiques of that era. There's no denying it: though much of it has been restored and beautifully maintained, the town does contain some charming older homes and buildings, many of them Craftsman-style. Walking down these streets or roaming the town's art and history museums is a fun way to spend a few hours.
In contrast to Savannah's pleasant, picturesque tree-lined streets, the busy and bustling Greenville was in fact founded in defiance of its beautiful surroundings. Traded for an almost unimaginably huge prize of land, the area was settled by settlers in 1812 who had moved from North Carolina and Georgia. Densely populated and with a population of just under a hundred thousand people, Greenville's nightlife and shopping are among its biggest draws. New towns such as Ball Ground, Toccoa, and other rural towns in the surrounding area are also much more appealing in a much more pleasant setting. A visit to this vast and intriguing city provides visitors with a chance to experience the result of an almost forgotten epoch in time when Southerners came out of the bush to reclaim the land.
Krog Street Tunnel
Georgia's Krog Street Tunnel, located in the city of Marietta in the northeastern part of the state, is a 1.2-mile stretch of highway underlain by a huge network of concrete pipes from which water was pumped to cool the town's electrical generating station during the prohibition era in 1920s. It still functions as a heritage tunnel today. Constructed of structural steel, the Krog Street tunnel has become famous as a place for graffiti artists, who are encouraged to add their work to the tunnel walls. Free tours of the tunnel are held on Wednesday and Friday at 11 am, at which time volunteers also give the full tour of the tunnel.
International Civil Rights Museum
Though a small museum, the International Civil Rights Museum is big on content. There is plenty to see including exhibits on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, as well as many film and photo displays that demonstrate the many ways that the civil rights movement has affected the United States. The museum is housed in the home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King. The King house is beautifully decorated with the couple's personal effects. Other displays include a recreation of a 1960s kitchen as well as videos and photographs that chronicle the struggle for equality, and explains the power and effect of music, especially civil rights music, in bringing about change.