When it comes to Southern states, few are as exciting and diverse as Georgia. It might not always be “on your mind,” but it should be on your travel bucket list. As one of the original 12 US colonies, it’s a source of rich history, culture, and even Southern hospitality. Better yet, these popular Georgia bucket list ideas are full of natural splendor, relaxation, and excitement.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Georgia Bucket List Trip Destinations
- Spring and Summer Georgia Bucket List Ideas
- Fall and Winter Georgia Bucket List Ideas
- Bucket List Foods and Restaurants in Georgia
- Atlanta Bucket List Ideas
- Savannah Bucket List Ideas
Known as the Peach State, there are few things you can’t do in Georgia. From big-city life in Atlanta to the relaxed streets of Savannah and the stunning coastline, this state might just surprise you. Though you’ll need to be ready for a bit of humid weather, there’s so much to discover at the foothills of the Appalachians.
Are you ready to start planning? Here are 30 popular Georgia bucket list ideas and food inspiration from a born-and-raised Southerner.
Georgia Bucket List Trip Destinations
Whether you think of Atlanta or Savannah, there are many must-see destinations to add to your Georgia bucket list. From big cities to iconic small towns and sea views, here are the best places to visit in Georgia.
1. Laze on the beaches of Golden Isles
Though Georgia is a coastal state, most people forget just how many miles of coastland this state has. Golden Isles gets its name from the golden sand beaches along the coast. From world-class resorts to quiet retreats, this is the perfect spot to soak up the sun.
2. Step back in time at Athens, Georgia
If you’re interested in Georgia’s Antebellum Trail, you absolutely must visit Athens. Though a smaller city, this is where you’ll find 17 historic districts full of Civil War-era homes.
3. Experience music history in Macon, Georgia
Georgia is home to much of the country’s music history, especially Southern rock and soul music. In Macon, you can check out the various museums dedicated to musical history, as well as endless music venues.
4. Watch a show in Marietta, Georgia
Marietta is a Georgia treasure, and it’s cherished by all travelers who wander into this small town. Just north of Atlanta, Marietta has a historic town square, restored homes, and the stunning Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre.
5. Wander along Driftwood Beach
Lastly, step into another world on Jekyll Island. The beach at the north end of the island is known as Driftwood Beach thanks to the twisted trunks worn down by the waves and sun. The perfect place to take in the changing of the tides, this is a beach view you won’t forget.
Spring and Summer Georgia Bucket List Ideas
The warmer seasons can be quite damp and humid, but don’t let that dissuade you from visiting Georgia during this time of year. During the summer is when you’ll experience most of Georgia’s festivals and fun-in-the-sun activities.
6. See the butterflies at Callaway Gardens
Located within the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the town of Pine Mountain, Callaway Gardens offers 2,500 acres of gardens. Don’t miss the miles of nature trails in the butterfly center, home to over 1,000 butterflies.
7. Taste local Georgia wine
Though you probably don’t think of Georgia as a wine destination, many up-and-coming wineries are changing the narrative. The best place to explore Georgia’s wine country is at Dahlonega in northern Georgia. Visit in May to experience the Dahlonega Arts and Wine festival.
8. Swim in Lake Lanier
This Blue Ridge Mountain lake has over 700 miles of shoreline and dozens of parks and tiny islands to explore. Rent a boat, go kayaking, or just head for a swim in the warm waters.
9. See the tallest waterfall at Amicalola Falls State Park
To take in the tallest waterfall in the southeast, go hiking at Amicalola Falls State Park. This is also a fun spot for zip lining, GPS scavenger hunts, and animal encounters at the lodge.
10. Experience untouched nature at Cumberland Island
Odds are, you’ve never seen nature like this. Only reachable by ferry from St. Mary’s Cumberland Island is a designated National Park and Seashore. Wildlife roams free here, including feral horses, deer, and wild boar.
Fall and Winter Georgia Bucket List Ideas
Though Georgia doesn’t typically get very cold, this is the perfect time to cool off a bit. From the mountains of the Appalachian range to sleepy towns, here is your fall and winter bucket list for Georgia.
11. Travel to Europe in Helen, Georgia
Did you know you can experience winter in a Bavarian Alpine Village without leaving Georgia? It’s true, and this German-inspired town comes to life in Helen, Georgia. If you can, visit during the annual Oktoberfest.
12. Take in the gorge
Though there are endless parks to choose from in Georgia, few are as awe-inspiring as Tallulah Gorge State Park. The gorge is two miles long and 1,000 ft. deep and features a suspension bridge, perfect for taking in all the sights.
13. Kayak through the Okefenokee Swamp
The largest backwater swamp in North America, the Okefenokee Swamp feels like land that time forgot. Populated by alligators, plants, and rare birds, it’s truly another side of nature.
14. Hike through Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon”
Georgia’s canyon isn’t natural at all. In fact, it’s the result of bad farming practices throughout the 19th century. Today, the canyon is unintentionally beautiful, offering visitors hiking trails throughout Providence Canyon State Park.
15. Stay in a Blue Ridge cabin
Nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’ll find so many cabins to call your temporary winter oasis. Many of these have fireplaces, hot tubs, and more to help you stay warm and cozy during the chilly mountain nights.
Bucket List Foods and Restaurants in Georgia
Georgia is easily a foodie paradise, with so many things to add to your food bucket list. Home to a mix of cultures and cuisines, this is an ode to the best food of the south.
16. Drink a Coca-Cola
Did you know the country’s favorite soda is from Atlanta? Sip on a Coca-Cola at the famous World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta while learning about the drink’s history.
17. Taste a Georgia peach
Peaches are to Georgia what oranges are to Florida. Known as the Peach State, you’ll find peaches in anything you can think of here. From pies to salsa, there’s so much peach to discover.
18. Sample history with pimento cheese
A Southern staple, pimento cheese is something most families enjoy in Georgia. With every family having its own recipe, you’ll find a variety of versions throughout the state. Made with cheddar, pimento peppers, spices, and mayonnaise, this is a tasty addition to any dish.
19. Stop by a famous BBQ joint
Another Southern must is to try local barbecue. While you’ll find BBQ throughout the state, you absolutely must stop by Atlanta’s DAS BBQ to experience some of the award-winning favorites. While there, be sure to grab some white chocolate banana pudding for dessert.
20. Snack on fried green tomatoes
Since the 1991 movie of the same name was filmed in Juliette, Georgia, the state has been known for this tasty snack. Usually served as an appetizer or on a salad, you can find fried green tomatoes in so many different forms throughout Georgia.
Atlanta Bucket List Ideas
Atlanta is the capital city of Georgia, and it’s one of the biggest cities in the region. Known for big-name brands like Coca-Cola and Delta, the area offers so much to explore.
21. Escape the heat at the Georgia Aquarium
Atlanta is known for its super hot days, especially in the summer. Escape the heat at the country’s largest aquarium, home to species like beluga whales, puffins, and more.
22. Stroll through Ponce City Market
This converted historic Sears building is a testament to Atlanta's forward-thinking innovation. Today, Ponce City Market is a bustling space with food halls, shops, and even living spaces.
23. Watch the news in action
Want to see what it takes to bring the nation 24/7 news? Experience this up close by taking a tour of the CNN newsroom in Atlanta.
24. Explore the Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Easily one of the most beautiful places in the city, there are seasonal attractions here that change all the time. With 30 acres of gardens located adjacent to the famous Piedmont Park, you can easily lose yourself here.
25. Walk or cycle the Atlanta BeltLine
The Atlanta BeltLine was previously a railway corridor. Today, it’s been transformed into a multi-use trail for hiking, walking, and cycling. With many places to stop along the way, this is an urban feat of reclaimed industrialization.
Savannah Bucket List Ideas
Lastly, for a taste of Southern hospitality, you absolutely must visit Savannah. Experience the charm of Savannah’s antebellum past with romantic moss-lined streets and adorable shops and eateries. Known as the Hostess City, let this city embrace you with the warmest of hugs.
26. Take in Forsyth Park
One of the prettiest parks in the state, Forsyth Park in the heart of Savannah is a must-see. See the Spanish moss-draped oak trees, the iconic fountain, and a charming cafe all while taking in locals along their daily strolls.
27. Climb the Tybee Island Light Station
Just 20 miles southeast of Savannah, you’ll discover the beautiful and coastal island of Tybee. This is home to the Tybee Island Light Station, the oldest and tallest lighthouse in Georgia.
28. Visit the SCAD Museum of Art
Savannah is very much an artsy city. Home to the Savannah College of Art and Design, the SCAD Museum of Art is the best way to see Savannah’s emerging artists. With artwork, textiles, and more made by current students and alumni, you never know what you’ll find.
29. Shop in the City Market
Within the historic district, you’ll find the City Market. This multi-block open-air market is surrounded by restored warehouses, dining, and art options. This is where you’re likely to spot a concert, especially during peak seasons.
30. Take a snapshot of Wormsloe Historic Site
For the quintessential Southern photo, it doesn’t get more picturesque than this. With the mossy oak trees hanging over this breathtaking lane, this is the perfect place to take a photo of the whole family. Follow the path to the ruins of Wormsloe, a colonial estate that’s now the oldest standing structure in Savannah.
Experience the Best of the Peach State
Now that you know how to make a travel bucket list for Georgia, you’re ready to set off for this Southern state. Known for its quaint cities, ocean views, and the bustle of Atlanta, Georgia has so much to offer locals and tourists alike. Though this might not have been the first state you think of when it comes to destinations, Georgia is sure to stay on your mind.
As a state, Georgia isn’t afraid to give a nod to its past while building a new world in the present. The perfect blend of old and new, Georgia is a treasure waiting to be discovered. Where will you travel next?