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Home Road Trip ‘America’s Favorite Drive’ And 4 More Must-Do GA Road Trips

‘America’s Favorite Drive’ And 4 More Must-Do GA Road Trips

by Staff

GEORGIA — Known for its impressive natural beauty, Southern hospitality and Appalachian folklore, Georgia offers endless possibilities for road trips as the largest state east of the Mississippi River.

To narrow down the possibilities, here are five Georgia road trips, starting with one that could put some “boo!” in your Halloween spirit, and a couple more that are perfect for leaf peepers:

Shudder and scream in Savannah: This haunted adventure in Savannah, which has a reputation as one of America’s most haunted cities, isn’t necessarily Halloween-themed, but it fits with the spooky season. “Walk into any historic building or cemetery in Savannah and you may catch sight of ghostly presences surrounding you,” according to the city’s tourism website.

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The most haunted of all may be Moon River Brewing Co., where guests have reported seeing a woman in white at the top of the restaurant staircase and being buzzed by bottles thrown by ghosts. But guests “have nothing to worry about as long as they stay away from the basement and upstairs, which are the two most active paranormal spots in the joint,” according to the website.

Guests at Marshall House have reported seeing ghosts in the hallways, hearing nonexistent children running down the halls and faucets turning on by themselves. The hotel has been used as a hospital three times since 1851 — once for Union soldiers, and twice for 19th Century Yellow Fever epidemics. At the Hamilton-Turner Inn, reported paranormal activities include the sounds of children laughing, billiard balls rolling around on the upper floors, and sightings of a strange, cigar-smoking man sitting on the roof.

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Guests at Hamilton-Turner Inn have reported paranormal activity. (Shutterstock/Gestalt Imagery)

The tour also includes one of Savannah’s well-known restaurants, The Pirates’ House, where seafarers from abroad rested and shanghaied locals and forced them to serve on the sea; 17 Hundred 90 Inn and Restaurant, said to be haunted by the ghosts of a slave cook bangs pots and pans in the kitchen, a servant boy and a woman who waits in an upstairs room waiting for her lover; and the Kehoe House, now a bed-and-breakfast, formerly a funeral home and originally home to the Kehoe family of 10 children, two of whom died in the house and are said in an unsubstantiated rumor to haunt the house.

The Pirates’ House is a popular restaurant in Savannah, but reportedly has a dark past. (Shutterstock/Darryl Brooks)

Take “America’s favorite drive”: That’s the moniker given the Blue Ridge Parkway, which meanders for about 470 miles through the rolling hills and dense forests of the Appalachian Highlands. Late October or early November are ideal times for leaf peepers to take the trip.

There are lots of things to do along the way, including hiking, biking and camping — be aware of bears, though. The National Park Service calls it “a museum of the managed American countryside” that preserves a mountain pioneer’s roughhewn log cabin, the summer home of a textile magnate, and traces of early industries such as logging, railways and an old canal.

Public works projects provided a travel and tourism boost that helped the Appalachian region climb out of the depths of the Great Depression, and several are showcased on this road trip. Some of the oldest settlements of both pre-historic and European settlements are found in the region, according to the park service.

Don’t miss Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia at 4,784 feet above sea level. Located in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, it offers breathtaking panoramic views. Within the national forest, the Vogel State Park, one of Georgia’s oldest state parks, is a great place for a picnic.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the best places in Georgia for leaf-peeping tours. This photo was taken near Helen. (Shutterstock/Sean Pavone)

Fall for Georgia: Plan on a couple of days for this approximately 200-mile Georgia waterfall road trip mapped by the website Only in Your State that starts at Amicalola Falls in Dawsonville, the tallest waterfall in Georgia, then continues on to DeSoto Falls, Helton Creek Falls in Vogel State Park; Raven Cliff Falls and Anna Ruby Falls, both in Helen; Panther Falls and Ammons Falls, both in Rabun County, Tallulah Falls; Minnehaha Falls in Braselton; and finally Toccoa Falls.

They’re all gorgeous, but at nearly two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep, the Tullulah Gorge is considered one of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern U.S. When the water isn’t flowing, visitor can obtain permits to hike the gorge floor. A suspension bridge 80 feet above the floor provides spectacular views of the river and waterfalls.

Autumn is a great time to visit Amicalola Falls, the tallest waterfall in Georgia. (Shutterstock/Sean Pavone)

Find Georgia’s hole-in-the-wall barbecue treasures: It would be impossible to visit every barbecue restaurant in Georgia in a weekend road trip, or even a weeklong excursion. There are that many, and barbecue is so deeply embedded in Georgia culture that it gives the peach a run. Only in Your State suggests a hole-in-the-wall barbecue road trip

The approximately 220-mile trip starts at Pit Stop BBQ & Grill in Tifton, then continues on to Smoakies Bar-B-Que in Cordele; Fincher’s Barbecue and Fresh Air Barbecue, both in Macon; Hawg and Ale Smokehouse in Marietta; and Big Shanty Smokehouse in Kennesaw.

Georgia has dozens of barbecue restaurants, some with big names and others that are hidden gems. (Shutterstock/fivetonine

Bigfoot for skeptics, believers and “knowers”: Billed as north Georgia’s “biggest family attraction” is Expedition Bigfoot, a 6,500-square-foot indoor museum in Cherry Log. Is the legend of Bigfoot just that, a story passed down through time with no factual basis? Expedition Bigfoot addresses that question, serving as a research and reporting center, according to the website.

“We at Expedition Bigfoot believe in the existence of Bigfoot/Sasquatch either from personal experience and encounters or from witness testimony and evidence. Our museum provides a lot of that evidence, and leaves the question of Bigfoot’s existence up to you,” the website says. “So, whether you’re a skeptic, believer or ‘knower,’ all are welcome.”

The museum offers videos, photos, witness testimonies and what are billed as Bigfoot growls.

In a nod to the fascination with Bigfoot, someone put a sticker on a trail sign at Red Mountain State Park about an hour away from Cherry Log, where Expedition Bigfoot museum is located. (Shutterstock/Emily Kerns)

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