Hiking is a fun and healthy family activity.

Explore Georgia

From the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic Coast, Georgia has a variety of outdoor destinations for family road trips and captivating escapes. Head to a Bavarian Oktoberfest, hike a mountain, or camp on an island. The best way to enjoy Georgia is to experience it.

By Renee Bradley

Barely in Georgia and minutes from downtown Chattanooga, TN, Lookout Mountain touts majestic views spanning seven states, and is home to Rock City Gardens and Glen Falls. Rock City is a delightful 4,100-foot walking trail showcasing brilliant rock structures, caves and lush garden terrain. Or hike to Glen Falls waterfall and take in breathtaking views of the crest of Lookout Mountain.

Wild horses run freely
on Cumberland Island.

A three-hour drive east is Helen, a charming Bavarian town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is a replica of an alpine village, best known for its annual Oktoberfest. This year, the two-month festival will run Sept. 9 through Oct. 31, attracting thousands of people from all over the world with its parade and authentic German food and music.

Just outside of Atlanta is Stone Mountain, a popular destination offering hiking and scenic activities. Hike the 1.3-mile path to the top of the mountain and experience the majestic views of the Atlanta skyline and the north Georgia mountains. When it's time to come down, take the Summit Skyride, a high-speed cable car, and encounter the edge—since you hiked up, then rode the Skyride down, you have to trek the 1.1 miles back to the Confederate Hall parking lot. Enjoy the Lasershow Spectacular, a dazzling display of neon laser lights and fireworks choreographed to music. The park now offers reserved seating for the show, including a seat on the terrace with unlimited popcorn and a beverage.

The Forsyth Park Fountain in Savannah. The park
became famous for the movie "Forrest Gump."

Located an hour south of Atlanta is Pine Mountain, home to Callaway Gardens and its 13,000 acres of pristine gardens, nature preserves and resort. This retreat offers an array of things to do: spa; golf; nature trails; vegetable, butterfly and azalea gardens; and lakes. Go on a tethered balloon ride Labor Day weekend during the Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival. If you enjoy running and mountain biking, attend the weekend of races Nov. 6 and 7. The twilight 10-K goes through the world-famous "Fantasy in Lights," and the bike races are held on the undeveloped Callaway Gardens property.

Travel an hour northeast of Atlanta and you're in Athens, home of the University of Georgia Bulldogs. Join the high-spirited fans of Bulldog Nation for football Saturdays; check the University of Georgia's website for details. If you're a golfer, the Athens area touts some of the most celebrated, best-kept and challenging courses. Grab an early-morning tee time—you can still catch the afternoon game—at the University of Georgia Golf Course, the only in-town public course. The course was renovated in 2006 by Love Golf Design, and in 2009 was named one of the top 10 public courses in Georgia by Golfweek.

Southern Georgia is home to Savannah—made famous by John Berendt's bestselling book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil—but this area also draws the outdoor enthusiast with excursions featuring biking, jogging and kayaking. You can bike up and down the streets of the Historic District, or if you crave more of a challenge and have a mountain bike, try out the Skidaway trail, which provides hills and valleys that make for good jumps ranging from easy to extreme. Savannah is also one of the most beautiful cities to jog in. Check out one of the Savannah Striders Track Club's scenic running routes, available at the convention and visitors bureau. A 20-minute drive brings you to Skidaway Narrows, an old barrier island boasting lush tropical plants and animals, which provides a rarely seen side of Savannah. Embark on a kayak venture along the Intercoastal Highway, traveling through forested creeks and a plethora of thick forest to discover old Civil War defenses.


A mere two-hour drive south of Savannah is Cumberland Island. Pristine beaches, forests and vast marshes provide spectacular views that are accessible only by ferry or private boat. The limited travel options create a serene environment, making the island an appealing camping destination for nature buffs. The island is home to bands of wild horses that roam freely, frequently seen around the mansion ruins and along the beaches and contributing to the untamed and ghostly attraction of the region.

Georgia is a place where you can create unforgettable outdoor experiences. So stick around and make your next adventure one that you'll remember forever by choosing one of these beautiful destinations, located in your own backyard, at the best time of year.

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HOT PICKS for Fall in Georgia!

Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta
Experience the newly expanded Georgia-Pacific's Cold Water Quest gallery, featuring an exhibit of beluga whales and harbor seals. The Southern sea otter exhibit has doubled in size, and there's a brand-new African penguin exhibit.
AAA Special Price: 8/15-11/12/10
Gate: $26
AAA: $15

Salvador Dalí: The Late Work
August 7 through January 9, 2011
High Museum of Art, Atlanta
Come and enjoy this exclusive exhibit of Dalí's art created after 1940, featuring more than 40 paintings, drawings, prints and other Dalí ephemera.
AAA Special Price: 8/1-9/30/10
Gate: $16.82
AAA: $10.95

Six Flags Over Georgia
Bring the entire family and visit this 100-acre park with awesome rides, great shows and incredible attractions. AAA members receive special half-price tickets during Exclusive Member Days: Sept. 4-6, 11-12 only.
Gate: $44.99
AAA: $21.95

For member-discounted tickets, or to learn more, visit your local AAA office or AAA.com/Fun.

Special pricing only available through AAA.

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