Having tackled the best of the Carolinas, we're ready to take on a really big state, Georgia, from its capital of Atlanta to its shoreline, highlighted by Savannah and the Golden Isles. One could spend a month just touring the state, but good road links let you tackle its highlights in just 7 days, including visits to the famous Callaway Gardens and to Warm Springs, where FDR went for R & R.
Days 1 & 2: Atlanta
Use Atlanta as your gateway to Georgia. (It's the transportation hub of the Deep South.) Once here, plan to stay for at least 2 nights. You'll need a car to see Atlanta: The city is spread out, with many sights located outside the city center and inconvenient to reach by public transportation.
Plenty of places in Atlanta offer family fun. The two must-visits for families are the theme park Six Flags Over Georgia and Zoo Atlanta. It's recommended that you also work in an organized tour for a quick overview of the city -- you simply won't be able to see it all in 2 days. If you didn't have time for the tour on the first day, take it on the second day and also consider separate visits to Underground Atlanta, the World of Coca-Cola, and, most definitely, the new Georgia Aquarium.
Day 3: Callaway Gardens & Warm Springs
In your rented car on Day 3, get an early morning start and drive south of Atlanta for 70 miles. The gardens and the hiking trails will take up most of your day, and you can enjoy a picnic lunch on the grounds. Before the afternoon fades, drive 17 miles east of Callaway Gardens to Warm Springs and FDR's Little White House. You can tour the Little House, where the wartime president, a polio victim, went for the healing waters, and you can also visit the FDR Memorial Museum. Accommodations are limited in Warm Springs. You might opt to stay overnight in Callaway Gardens and just drive over and back on an excursion to Warm Springs.
Day 4: Macon, Milledgeville & Augusta
If you move fast enough, you can do a three-city tour in 1 day. Leave Warm Springs in the morning, take Route 41 south to 80 East, a driving distance of 91 miles, to the city of Macon, which is 84 miles southeast of Atlanta. Here allow at least enough time to see the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and the elegant Hay House, in the Italian Renaissance Revival style. After lunch in Macon, head northeast along Route 49 to the town of Milledgeville, a distance of 30 miles from Macon.
In Milledgeville, pay a call on Andalusia -- Flannery O'Connor's Farm -- where the famous novelist lived until her death in 1964.
Continue east along Route 24 to 88. Then head northeast on Route 1 to the city of Augusta, home to the famous Masters golf tournament. The driving distance is 91 miles. Plan to overnight here. The attractions are rather minor, but you'll have time to walk along the tree-lined Riverwalk, bordering the Savannah River. Catch a performance at its amphitheater if the show interests you. Or settle for a moonlit stroll.
Days 5 & 6: Savannah
On the morning of Day 5, leave Augusta, taking Route 25 south to I-16 East, which brings you right into Savannah, a distance of 141 miles.
You'll be based in Savannah for 2 nights. Set out as soon as you check into a hotel to explore the Historic District. The best way to get acquainted is to take one of the Old Town Trolley Tours for orientation purposes, if nothing else. In the afternoon, visit the Mercer Williams House Museum and the Telfair Mansion and Art Museum. Select one of the restaurants along the Savannah riverfront for dinner. On the morning of Day 6, take in the Owen-Thomas House and Museum and the Davenport House Museum. In the afternoon, go on one of the Savannah riverboat cruises operated by the River Street Riverboat Company. If you finish in time, browse some of the shops of Savannah.
Day 7: The Golden Isles: St. Simons & Jekyll
Leave Savannah on the morning of Day 7, heading for the town of Brunswick, 75 miles to the south. From Savannah, follow the signs to I-95 to the Brunswick turnoff.
Once at Brunswick, follow the signs to the E. J. Torras Causeway, which leads to St. Simons Island. Pick up the makings of a picnic in the village along Mallory Street and enjoy it at the south end of the island at Neptune Park, where there's a freshwater swimming pool, a play park for the kiddies, and picnic tables. Instead of driving around, we recommend you take the informative St. Simons Trolley Island Tour.
Back in your car, cross the causeway leading to Brunswick, where you follow Route 17 south for 9 miles to Jekyll Island; here you can overnight. Like St. Simons Island, this is mostly an island for play, with its fine beaches and other outdoor pursuits. Drive south on North Beachview Drive to some of the island's 10 miles of public beaches with picnic areas. Try to time your visit to take one of the guided tours of the Historic District to see the fabled "cottages" of America's Gilded Age millionaires.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.