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Just Peachy! Discover the Best of Georgia

Just Peachy! Discover the Best of Georgia

The last of the original 13 British colonies, the Peachtree State represents as much of the United States' early history as it does the modernness of today.

From the mountains to the plains, and the urban centers in between, Georgia offers a variety of options to explore. Here, we'll dive into some of the top spots that are popular among groups.

It makes sense to start with Savannah, given that it was the state's first settlement, dating back to 1733. Known for its beautiful seaside landscapes, luscious seafood, architecture and a vibrant arts and culture scene, it's also one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the country. One suggested activity is a city tour, which can be done via a period-style trolley or with a knowledgeable step-on guide who will board your motorcoach. This two-hour excursion is an ideal way to get to know the "Hostess City of the South."

For those interested in learning more about Savannah's past, a visit to any or all of the Coastal Heritage Society's six historical museums is in order. From battlefields to forts to railroads and more—plus a look into the Gullah Geechee culture—groups will get a well-rounded view of the city's unique history. Groups are also encouraged to tour Davenport House, see airplane restoration at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, take in the grandeur of Wormsloe State Historic Site, or enjoy afternoon tea with Savannah Riverboat Cruises. And, for foodies, there are Savannah Taste Experience walking food tours and cooking classes at Chef Darin's Kitchen Table.

While in the area, don't miss the opportunity to visit Tybee Island. In addition to enjoying sandy beaches and ocean views, other highlights include a stop at Tybee Island Light Station and Museum, dining among live gators at The Crab Shack and exploring marine life with an eco-kayak tour or nature walk.

If you want to give your group a one-of-a-kind experience, head to Peachtree City where 15 mph is just the right speed. Rent golf carts and traverse 100-plus miles of paved multi-use paths that connect visitors to all the area has to offer, whether it's golfing, shopping, dining, natural areas or hotel accommodations. Another group favorite is taking a movie tour with Georgia Tour Company or Southern Hollywood Film Tours.

WWII history buffs will want to add a stop at CAF Airbase Georgia where there's plenty of memorabilia on display and expert staff to chat with, as well as the option to rent a flight on a WWII Warbird. Golf outings, brewery tours and a behind-the-scenes tour of Atlanta Motor Speedway are also great itinerary adds. Before leaving, check out Alo Farms for a tour, farm dinner, class or nutrition workshop.

Next stop, Cartersville! The county seat of Bartow County, it's also known as "Museum City," with three Smithsonian-affiliated museums: Tellus Science, Booth Western Art, and Savoy Automobile. Each offers a different facet of interest, and all are considered must-sees. Our friends at the CVB also recommend sipping some craft brews and slinging axes at the combined establishments of Drowned Valley Brewing Company and Game of Throwns. Major props for that clever name! Barnley Resort is a hit with groups as well, whether it's shooting clays, horseback riding, golfing, a spa treatment or fine dining.

There's plenty more for history buffs to see in Cartersville, too. Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site, African American Heritage Trail, and Roselawn House Museum, to name a few. If art is more your thing, your group will definitely want to traverse the Iron Butterfly Trail, where they'll marvel at a meandering array of hand-painted butterflies, made of local steel materials—each a tribute to the city's mining past and colorful present.

Now, let's tackle Atlanta, Georgia's expansive capital city. In keeping with the "best of" theme, let's look at a handful of favorites, given that we can't possibly cover all that The ATL has to offer.

When visiting Atlanta, a trip to World of Coca-Cola is an absolute must. Located within the 20-acre Convention & Entertainment District, this attraction and tribute to the iconic beverage brand encompasses more than 135 years of history, with interactive exhibits, artifacts and memorabilia, and a brand-new, immersive Beverage Lab experience. Inside Beverage Lab, guests become active participants, delving into the science, creativity, and innovation behind Coca-Cola's diverse offering. Groups can look inside the beverage process; taste the past, with samplings of classics such as TaB and New Coke; and shape the future, by tasting unreleased formulas and providing feedback. Don't leave without getting a photo with the seven-foot-tall Coca-Cola Polar Bear or sipping a variety of delicious beverages from around the world.

Zoo Atlanta is next, located in Grant Park—a short distance from downtown. It's not only home to one of the largest populations of gorillas in North America, it's also the only U.S. zoo, at the time of this writing, where you can see giant pandas. Attractions include a petting zoo, the Norfolk Southern Train Ride and the Endangered Species Carousel, plus a virtual Gorilla Trek and Wild Encounters, which are behind-the-scenes experiences with Aldabra tortoises, African elephants, warthogs and lemurs. For an added fee, groups can tackle the Tree Top Trail ropes course. And, depending on when you visit, you might get an opportunity to attend one of their special events happening throughout the year. Just a few are Brew at the Zoo, Art Gone Wild, Savanna Nights, Wild World Weekend, Sippin' Safari (for ages 21+) and IllumiNights Chinese Lantern Festival, which runs November through January.

Another group-friendly to-do while in Atlanta is Georgia Aquarium. With 15 or more people, you can get special rates, plus access to shows, presentations and animal galleries, as well as a variety of meal options. See beluga whales, encounter penguins and sea lions, or take a "Behind the Seas" tour. The Ocean Voyager exhibit has a wow factor with 6.3 million gallons of water, over 50 species, a 100-foot-long underwater tunnel and 4,574 square feet of viewing windows. As part of that exhibit, guests can also take part in the "Swim and Dive with the Whale Sharks" program.

Looking for more to do in A-Town? Some additional top picks include Illuminarium Atlanta, Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site and Krog Street Market. And, just outside of the metropolis are Sandy Springs, known for its parks, rivers and natural areas, and Gwinnett County, a place rich in culture and diversity.

Written by Allison Kay Bannister, Contributing Writer for Groups Today.

This article originally appeared in the May/Jun '24 issue of Groups Today.

 Photo courtesy of Visit Savannah. 


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