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Travel through “The Peach State”, and you will see why Ray Charles crooned “Georgia on my Mind.” Every part of the state welcomes visitors with genuine southern hospitality. In Georgia you can find breath-taking coastal beaches, sophisticated cities, stunning southern architecture, and a rich and vibrant history that seems to pop up at every bend in the road.
Our excursion through Georgia starts in the beautiful Savannah coast. Begin in Tybee Island, a robust beach town that caters to those wishing to explore life around the southern coast. Head over to the Tybee Island Lighthouse, which has guided mariners through the Savannah River for over 200 years. If you are so inclined, climb the precisely 178 steps to the top of the lighthouse, and see the nine-foot-tall lens that still functions. Head back down and see over 100 indigenous marine animals—like alligators, polka dot batfish, and tree frogs—at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. For a little bit of Georgia history, visit Fort Pulaski, which was designed by a young Robert E. Lee. With towering walls, a moat, artillery tunnels, and a massive drawbridge, the fort resembles a medieval castle.
Hop on the US 80 east, and then get on I-95 south to continue to our next destination; Savannah. Be warned, though; according to research, Savannah is the most haunted city in the country. To experience the ghosts first-hand, take a midnight ghost tour through the city, where guides point out the most creepy and macabre parts of Savannah. If you crave some tamer activities, head down to the Historic City Market in Savannah to visit unique art galleries, fine dining, and loads of great shopping. Or you can escape the city and go to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and explore 30,000 acres of freshwater marshes, tidal rivers, and bottomland forests. Whatever you do, just make sure that you finish your tour of Savannah with a carriage ride, at dusk, through the city, to get one last look.
Off Highway 17 is Brunswick, a city drenched in American history. Tour the “Bloody Marsh” Battle Site, where in the 1700s the British repelled a Spanish attack, and thereby protected Georgia from becoming a Spanish colony. The Fort Frederica National Monument stands at the sight to honor the brave soldiers who fought there. Get knee-deep in history at the Georgia Heritage Theme Park and Animal Experience, an innovative amusement park that showcases Georgia’s Victorian history with a real Main Street, including retail stores, an opera house, stable, and a train depot. The steam train here takes visitors on a safari of the nearby 2,000 acre animal habitat.
Continue on highway 17 until you reach the end of our trip, the beautiful Jekyll Island. Explore the local marine life hands-on at the Tidelands Marine Center, where they have numerous touch-tanks filled with turtles, octopuses, and sharks. And no visit to Jekyll Island is complete without touring the Historic Distinct, where you can shop at the famous open city market, eat at notable restaurants, and see the mansions built here by the likes of the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers.