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  • Writer's pictureDiana Meneses

4 Reasons to Make Atlanta, Georgia Your Next Travel Destination: Exploring Atlanta and Beyond

Updated: May 9

If you've never considered Georgia as a top travel destination, you're not alone. But our recent trip to Atlanta, Georgia, changed our perspective entirely. Thanks to my brother-in-law's residence in Suwanee, we had the chance to experience the hidden beauty of this state firsthand.


From the enchanting suburbs to the bustling city life, here are 4 reasons why you should add Georgia to your travel bucket list and some ideas on what to do while you're there.


Nature

Despite its urban setting, Atlanta is surrounded by forests and lakes that are incredibly beautiful.


Our decision to rent a boat on Lake Lanier turned out to be a highlight of the trip. The unique geography of the lake offers pockets of private sandy beaches where you can dock your pontoon boat. And the best part is that if you are used to swimming in Canadian lakes and their ice-cold water, you'll be in for a warm surprise since the water in this lake is actually warm!




Another thing we loved was how great the Pontoon boats are. Before our visit, we were not familiar with these boats and we really enjoyed how 'flat', and comfortable they are for families.

Pontoon boat, adventure time

Some other nature-related things we enjoyed exploring:

  • The beautiful waterfalls at Ann Ruby Falls and walking around the small mountain town of Helen and its unique Bavarian-style buildings.



Sunny day, vacation time, Atlanta


  • Discovering some of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, where we took a small hike towards the water where we sat and admired our surroundings.

Nature-related things we wish we would have time to explore:

  • Piedmont Park: Located in the heart of Atlanta, this park offers walking and biking trails, green spaces, and a serene lake. It's a great place for picnics, leisurely strolls, and outdoor events. Tip: There are electric scooters for rent along the park!

  • Sweetwater Creek State Park: This park features beautiful hiking trails that lead to stunning views of Sweetwater Creek and its impressive red rock formations. It's a perfect spot for hiking, birdwatching, and photography.

  • Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area: Explore the unique landscape of Arabia Mountain, featuring vast granite outcrops, rock formations, and diverse plant life.

  • Red Top Mountain State Park: Situated on Lake Allatoona, this park offers hiking, boating, fishing, and camping opportunities.

  • Amicalola Falls State Park: While a bit farther north, this park is worth the visit for its stunning waterfall, hiking trails, and the beginning of the Appalachian Trail.

  • Savannah: While it's a bit farther from Atlanta, we wish we had time to visit this coastal town with its sandy beaches and famous southern hospitality.

Culinary Delights

Atlanta, Georgia, has rapidly emerged as a "foodie" city, where culinary diversity and innovation collide to create a great dining scene. From the food trucks lining the streets to the exquisite creations of its upscale restaurants, Atlanta caters to every palate and craving.


During our trip, we ate delicious seafood by the lake at Fish Tales, indulged in smoky barbecue joints, ate delicious German food at Bodensee and tried mouthwatering dishes such as lobster and fries at local food trucks in downtown Suwanee.


Array of Activities

As a major metropolis, Atlanta, Georgia, caters to a wide range of interests, providing an array of activities that appeal to all. From the multiple nature-focused options mentioned earlier to an impressive selection of museums and even one of the world's largest aquariums, Atlanta ensures there's something to captivate every visitor.


Among all the activities we enjoyed, one of my kids' favourites was our visit to the Georgia Aquarium which is one of the world's largest aquariums and is home to diverse marine life and fascinating exhibits.




Some things we loved about the Aquarium:

  • The Georgia Aquarium is a non-profit organization and its primary mission is to promote education, conservation, and public awareness about marine life and aquatic ecosystems. The aquarium uses its revenues to support its various programs, exhibits, and initiatives aimed at achieving these goals.

  • Behind-the-Scenes Tour: We took a guided tour that provided us with a glimpse into the daily operations of the aquarium, offering insights into animal care, conservation efforts, and more.

Planning Your Visit to the Aquarium:

Given its popularity, it's advisable to plan your visit to the Georgia Aquarium in advance. Tickets can be purchased online, and it's recommended to arrive early to avoid crowds. We visited on a Friday and it was veeeeeery busy, I can't even imagine what visiting on a weekend would look like, so keep that in mind when planning your visit.


Affordability and Accessibility

Atlanta's status as a major transportation hub means affordable flight options abound. The accessibility of this city gives you more bang for your buck, letting you save on travel expenses.


Tips To Keep In Mind While Visiting Atlanta, Georgia:


  • Exercise Caution When Chasing Cost Savings in Air Travel: Reflecting on our journey, we realized the importance of making informed choices. Hartsfield-Jackson (Atlanta's International Airport) which has been argued as one of the biggest airports in the world, offers a multitude of flight options. Lured by the allure of cheaper flights departing from Seattle Airport instead of Vancouver, we thought we were saving significantly. However, in hindsight, the reality was starkly different. The decision to rent a car, coupled with unpredictable traffic and border crossing times, turned our once-promising plan into a logistical nightmare. In retrospect, embarking directly from Vancouver would have been a wiser choice. Our departure from Seattle was, to put it mildly, a whirlwind of chaos. For those considering this route, it's essential to allocate an ample amount of time—more than you'd think—for border crossings, car rental procedures, navigating traffic, and tackling the bustling security lines at Seattle's airport, especially during peak travel hours.


  • Choose Your Stay Wisely: For nature enthusiasts, staying around Lake Lanier provides a serene backdrop, while city lovers can opt for accommodations in downtown Atlanta. As a Canadian family of four with an appreciation for nature, our decision to stay outside the city and closer to the natural surroundings proved to be the perfect choice. Atlanta, being a big metropolitan city can get quite busy, so keep that in mind if you do decide to stay in the city.


  • Opt for Car Rental: During our stay, we quickly realized that having our own vehicle was an absolute necessity due to the limited availability of public transit in the Atlanta suburbs. Having a car at our disposal not only enabled us to venture further into nature but also bestowed us with a sense of liberation to explore at our own pace.


  • Skip the World of Coca-Cola: While an iconic brand, the World of Coca-Cola might not meet everyone's expectations. According to insights from locals, the most noteworthy aspect of this visit would likely be the tasting room, where you can sample Coca-Cola variations from around the globe. Given the admission cost of $20 USD per adult, the overall value of this experience doesn't quite measure up. Disclaimer: It's worth mentioning that we aren't particularly avid Coca-Cola enthusiasts ourselves, which could have influenced our choice to forgo this attraction. As opinions can naturally vary, feel free to hold a differing viewpoint—we respect that.


Conclusion

Our journey through Atlanta, Georgia, convinced us that this state deserves a spot on your travel bucket list. With its enchanting weather, natural wonders, affordability, and rich cultural tapestry, Georgia promises a memorable and fulfilling travel experience. So, why wait? Embark on your own Georgia adventure and discover the hidden gems that await your exploration.



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