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Lonely Planet Georgia & the Carolinas

Lonely Planet Georgia & the Carolinas

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Lonely Planet Georgia & the Carolinas

valoraciones:
3/5 (1 clasificación)
Longitud:
1,019 página
6 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Jan 1, 2019
ISBN:
9781788682114
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet's Georgia & the Carolinas is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Take a thoughtful trip around Atlanta's Center for Civil & Human Rights, hike in the stunning Great Smoky Mountains National Park, admire Charleston's antebellum architecture and feast on low-country fare - all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Georgia & the Carolinas and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet's Georgia & the Carolinas:

  • Colour maps and images throughout
  • Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests
  • Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots
  • Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices
  • Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sightseeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
  • Cultural insights provide a richer, more rewarding travel experience - covering history, people, music, religion, cuisine, politics
  • Covers Atlanta, Savannah & Coastal Georgia, Charleston & South Carolina, Charlotte & the Triangle, Coastal North Carolina, North Carolina Mountains, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet's Georgia & the Carolinas is our most comprehensive guide to Georgia & the Carolinas, and is perfect for discovering both popular and offbeat experiences.

  • Looking for just the highlights? Check out Pocket Charleston & Savannah, our handy-sized guide featuring the best sights and experiences for a short visit or weekend away.
  • Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's USA for an in-depth look at all the country has to offer.

About Lonely Planet: Lonely Planet is a leading travel media company and the world's number one travel guidebook brand, providing both inspiring and trustworthy information for every kind of traveler since 1973. Over the past four decades, we've printed over 145 million guidebooks and grown a dedicated, passionate global community of travelers. You'll also find our content online, and in mobile apps, video, 14 languages, nine international magazines, armchair and lifestyle books, ebooks, and more.

'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times

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eBook Features: (Best viewed on tablet devices and smartphones)

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  • Effortlessly navigate and jump between maps and reviews
  • Add notes to personalise your guidebook experience
  • Seamlessly flip between pages
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  • Embedded links to recommendations' websites
  • Zoom-in maps and images
  • Inbuilt dictionary for quick referencing

Important Notice: The digital edition of this book may not contain all of the images found in the physical edition.

Editorial:
Publicado:
Jan 1, 2019
ISBN:
9781788682114
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor

Lonely Planet has gone on to become the world’s most successful travel publisher, printing over 100 million books. The guides are printed in nine different languages; English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Chinese and Korean. Lonely Planet enables curious travellers to experience the world and get to the heart of a place via guidebooks and eBooks to almost every destination on the planet, an award-winning website and magazine, a range of mobile and digital travel products and a dedicated traveller community.


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Georgia

& the Carolinas

Contents

Plan Your Trip

Welcome to Georgia & the Carolinas

Georgia & the Carolinas Top 20

Need to Know

If You Like

Month by Month

Itineraries

Outdoor Activities

Eat & Drink Like a Local

Travel with Children

Regions at a Glance

On The Road

Atlanta

Savannah & Coastal Georgia

Hiking in Coastal Georgia

Savannah

Coastal Georgia

Brunswick

Cumberland Island & St Marys

St Simons Island

Jekyll Island

Sapelo Island

North Georgia

Hiking in Tallulah Gorge

Athens

Dahlonega

Amicalola Falls State Park

Blue Ridge

Blairsville

Helen

Clayton

Tallulah Gorge State Park

Toccoa

Augusta & South Georgia

Augusta

Columbus

Senoia

Charleston & South Carolina

Road Trip > Greenville & Cherokee Foothills

Cycling & Hiking in South Carolina

Charleston

Lowcountry

Mt Pleasant

Hilton Head Island

Charleston County Sea Islands

Beaufort

Parris Island, St Helena Island & Hunting Island

Myrtle Beach

Columbia

Congaree National Park

Upcountry

Greenville

Charlotte & the Triangle

Charlotte

The Triangle

Raleigh

Durham

Chapel Hill & Carrboro

Coastal North Carolina

Outer Banks

Manteo

Ocracoke Island

Crystal Coast

Beaufort

Wilmington

North Carolina Mountains

The Best Day Trips from Asheville

Outdoor Activities in the North Carolina Mountains

Road Trip > Blue Ridge Parkway

High Country

Blowing Rock

Boone

Asheville

Western North Carolina

Cherokee

Bryson City

Pisgah National Forest

Brevard

Nantahala National Forest

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Best Day Hikes

Newfound Gap Road

Cades Cove

Cataloochee Valley & Balsam Mountain

Fontana Dam & Western North Carolina

Understand

Georgia & the Carolinas Today

History

Music

People & Culture

Landscape & Environment

Survival Guide

Directory A–Z

Accessible Travel

Accommodations

Climate

Embassies & Consulates

Electricity

Food

Health

Insurance

Internet Access

LGBTIQ+ Travelers

Money

Opening Hours

Post

Public Holidays

Telephone

Time

Toilets

Tourist Information

Visas

Volunteering

Transportation

Getting there & Away

Air

Land

Sea

Getting Around

Air

Bicycle

Boat

Bus

Car & Motorcycle

Hitchhiking

Local Transportation

Train

Map Legend

Behind the Scenes

Our Writers

Welcome to Georgia & the Carolinas

Striking landscapes, tumultuous history, soul-satisfying food and oodles of Southern charm await visitors to Georgia and the Carolinas.

Dining Destination

With culinary roots in Europe, the Caribbean and West Africa, is it any wonder that every year millions of people pack a toothbrush just to eat in Georgia and the Carolinas? Packed with James Beard award–winning chefs, Charleston is the region’s star, but you can scare up a satisfying supper just about anywhere. Seek out fine-dining fusion in Atlanta, a steaming bowl of she-crab soup in the Lowcountry, deep-fried shrimp on the Outer Banks, or tangy, sauce-smothered BBQ on a rural highway in South Georgia. Wash it all down with the South’s famous sweet tea, one of the USA’s best craft brews or a surprisingly quaffable North Georgia wine.

Outdoor Adventures

Georgia and the Carolinas offer limitless opportunities for adventure, and not just within the region’s two outstanding national parks. Rafting world-class white-water rapids, hiking the oldest mountain range in the US, relaxing on pristine beaches, diving deep into rugged canyons or exploring steamy, primordial swamps – nature beckons here, and mild winters mean that many of its lures can be enjoyed year-round. What are you waiting for?

Culture & History

The Trail of Tears, Revolutionary War battles, Sherman’s March to the Sea, the first airplane flight and the continuing struggle for Civil Rights – Georgia and the Carolinas have seen some of the country’s most tragic and triumphant moments. Pay homage to heroes and delve into the complexities of the past at the region’s many museums and historical sights, and ponder the way the past has influenced the present.

Southern Charm

Yes, etiquette is important to most Southerners: you’ll hear ma’am and sir frequently in service situations, especially among older generations, although they’re typically forgiving of outsiders if you miss a beat. Southerners also tend to have the gift of the gab – get ready to make friends while standing in line or sitting at the bar. It’s not unusual for a stranger to tell you their life story, or at least a few rather personal details, at the drop of a hat, but any conversation goes down easy in one of the region’s many of colorful accents (though the aristocratic drawl typically used on film is an endangered species).

Providence Canyon, South Georgia | SEAN PAVONE/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Why I Love Georgia & the Carolinas

by Trisha Ping, Eastern USA Destination Editor

This fascinating, beautiful region is one of my favorites in the USA. From the laid-back coastal cities to tiny mountain towns to the South’s biggest metropolis, its communities are as diverse as its people and mouthwatering culinary offerings. The region is also the site of some of the country’s greatest historical injustices, making a trip here crucial to understanding the reckoning with the past that’s taking place in the USA today.

For more about our writers

Georgia & the Carolinas Top 20

Charleston

Rich, meticulously preserved history? Check. Idyllic waterfront? Check. World-class dining scene? Check. We could go on, as there is seemingly no end to the advantages of vacationing in Charleston, easily the top attraction in South Carolina. The Holy City, as it is known thanks to an abundance of historic churches, regularly appears on prominent lists of the nation’s best/friendliest/tastiest cities, and wandering the fairy-tale-like peninsula, one can’t help but be wooed.

SEAN PAVONE/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Top Experiences

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Don’t miss out on the eastern USA’s most magnificent park, which has completely bounced back after the 2016 wildfires. Easily accessible from several major cities, the park still offers a memorable wilderness experience. Take a stunning scenic drive, soak in frontier history at Cades Cove or hike through miles of misty mountain trails while on the lookout for deer, birds and yes, even black bears.

Elk buck in Great Smoky Mountains National Park | JADIMAGES/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Top Experiences

Atlanta

Georgia’s culturally rich and multifaceted capital illustrates the dual nature of today’s South: it’s a bastion of African American enlightenment, a hip-hop hotbed, a film and tech industry upstart and LGBTIQ+ epicenter that’s also steeped in Old South wealth and Fortune 500 investment. Overall, a satisfyingly complex and unique metropolis emerges – it’s way past Gone with the Wind.

SEAN PAVONE/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Top Experiences

Beaufort

It’s easy to lose yourself in this small, well-preserved Southern town. Whether explored via horse and buggy or on foot, these charming streets are lined with gorgeous antebellum homes, restored 18th-century mansions and Spanish-moss-covered magnolias, and the riverfront brims with tasty cafes and cleverly named shops. Southern hospitality takes on new meaning here, with perfect strangers inviting each other for drinks on the famous local sandbar in Port Royal Sound. They don’t call Beaufort a ‘two-liver town’ for nothin’.

Cuthbert House Inn | DEBORAH MCCAGUE/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Top Experiences

Cumberland Island

This almost uninhabited and thoroughly wild barrier island off the coast of Georgia offers an unparalleled natural experience. It’s more than 36,000 acres of marshland, mud flats and tidal creeks, plus dune-swept beaches. Only 300 visitors per day are allowed on the island. Go rural and pitch your tent at a forest campsite or sleep in luxury at the Greyfield Inn; whichever you choose you’ll want to come back for more.

Cumberland Island National Seashore | IOFOTO/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Top Experiences

Savannah

Georgia’s oldest city has a rich culture, astonishing architecture, fascinating history and a thriving art scene – plus an iconoclastic streak a mile long. Celebrating eccentricity is a major pastime here. People-watch in the live-oak-shaded squares or rifle through an antiques shop that’s as packed as grandma’s attic, then fill your belly with satisfying Southern seafood dishes straight from the sea.

Forsyth Park | DARRYL BROOKS/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Top Experiences

Congaree National Park

A good bog is as eerie as it is beautiful, and the inky-black swamp running through Congaree National Park more than qualifies. Every year, dozens of die-hard adventurers paddle their way down its cinematic and unearthly ‘canoe trail’ surrounded by 27,000 acres of old-growth bottomland forest (the largest contiguous stretch in the US). Gliding among the cypress stumps draped in Spanish moss, it’s easy to feel you’ve become a character in some Southern Gothic novel, and the plot thickens when the alligators show up (just kidding – no alligators).

BRIAN W. DOWNS/GETTY IMAGES ©

Top Experiences

Lowcountry Cuisine

No trip to Georgia and the Carolinas is complete without gorging on the fresh, seafood-centric, African-influenced cuisine of the coastal lowlands. All the yummiest critters – crab, fish, shrimp and oysters – are front and center on menus in the Lowcountry, be they fried, grilled, steamed or deliciously raw. Grits, local produce and luscious long-grain rice that flourishes in the marshes are also vital ingredients, and the names of the dishes are often as entertaining as the food is tasty. Frogmore stew, we’re talking about you.

Frogmore stew | ALEXANDRA GRABLEWSKI/GETTY IMAGES ©

Top Experiences

Greenville

Stroll the dazzling Liberty Bridge over the cascading waterfalls of Falls Park in Greenville, and we all but guarantee you’ll feel a crackle of good energy. The city, too, is on the move, and has lately been attracting gobs of visitors and new residents anxious to eat, drink and bike their way through this up-and-coming destination. Truly, this is one of the South’s most picturesque downtowns, and with its fiercely local aesthetic and mountainous backyard, it’s sure to continue rising in the ranks.

JON BILOUS/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Top Experiences

Centennial Olympic Park

Hopping from museum to museum around the big attraction-concentrated Olympic legacy Centennial Olympic Park makes for a near effortless big day out. You can drink yourself silly on international sodas inside the World of Coca-Cola, contemplate more somber times inside the Center for Civil and Human Rights, lurk near your favorite newscasters on a behind-the-scenes tour at CNN Center or root for a college football team while romping through the College Football Hall of Fame – without even breaking a sweat.

ANDREW GUNNERS/GETTY IMAGES ©

Top Experiences

Amicalola Falls State Park

This expansive state park centers on Amicalola Falls, the state’s highest waterfall at 729ft. It’s also a link to the southern end of the legendary Appalachian Trail, which continues for more than 2000 miles all the way to Maine. Come in the spring for mountain laurel, dogwood and azaleas, or in the fall for blazing autumn colors.

KELLY VANDELLEN/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Top Experiences

North Carolina’s Outer Banks

More than 100 miles of scenic, underdeveloped shoreline are calling your name. Chase wild Spanish mustangs on a cinematic barrier island; explore the history of flight at Kitty Hawk; stuff your belly with fried fish or go local and shuck oysters or weave hammocks on isolated Ocracoke Island.

DAVID LOUIS ECONOPOULY/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Top Experiences

Asheville

Perhaps North Carolina’s prettiest mountain town (which is saying something), Asheville charms with its quaint and quirky 1930s downtown, established craft beer culture and easy access to some of the state’s best outdoor adventures. The rambling, luxurious Biltmore Estate is a key draw, built on the Vanderbilt fortune. Once you’ve toured the home, wine-tasting and bike rides or strolls around the acres of manicured grounds await.

MILESBEFOREISLEEP/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Top Experiences

Wormsloe Historic Site

Take a 20-minute drive from downtown Savannah to Wormsloe Historic Site and you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported back in time. A passageway of 400 stately, Spanish-moss-laden oak trees leads visitors to one of Georgia’s oldest plantations, the land of which has remained largely unchanged since the 1800s. Get a glimpse of how early settlers lived and worked on the grounds, where slave labor was used in the 1750s to cultivate 500 acres of crops that included corn, rice, indigo, cotton and mulberry trees to propagate silkworms.

DANITA DELIMONT/GETTY IMAGES ©

Top Experiences

Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site

The Civil Rights movement owes a great debt to the actions of various martyrs, communities and political actions, but almost no aspect of the movement can be mentioned without including Atlanta and the city’s most famous son, Martin Luther King Jr. The power of walking in the steps of this Baptist preacher turned international Civil Rights icon at the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site while pondering struggles around the world cannot be overstated.

NAGEL PHOTOGRAPHY/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Top Experiences

The Triangle

North Carolina’s ‘Triangle’ – made up of the three cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill – contains three of America’s most gorgeous university campuses and Carolina State. With so many students and faculty from around the world, it is a regional culture capital and contributes to a thriving entertainment and music scene. Catch a college basketball game, if you can snag tickets, or pull up a stool at one of the region’s many watering holes.

Duke University | EQROY/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Top Experiences

Fort Sumter National Monument

Dolphins may leap out of the water next to your ferry as it nears the artificial island home of Fort Sumter, the fortification that made history when the first shots of the Civil War rang out over it. Many a visitor’s heart jumps, too, not because the fort is so impressive (it’s not), but because the stories told on this journey, about the nation’s most devastating conflict, are incredibly moving. The multi-layered Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island is another fascinating piece of the monument.

MEUNIERD/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Top Experiences

US National Whitewater Center

Is it a water park? Is it a nature center? Somehow, this awesome facility manages to be both. There are some 1300 acres of adventures available in this outdoor-adventure center just outside Charlotte, including kayaking, ziplining, biking or cutting rapids. Who knows, you might just spot an Olympic athlete in training (or be inspired to become one yourself).

W. G. MURRAY/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO ©

Top Experiences

Atlanta BeltLine

Strolling or bicycling the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail, part of the city’s largest greenway and the most comprehensive transportation and economic development effort ever undertaken in Atlanta, makes for a perfect outing morning, noon or night. Connecting Piedmont Park in Midtown with the hip and happening neighborhood of Inman Park, this 3-mile section of the multi-use trail links big attractions such as the Atlanta Botanical Garden with some of Atlanta’s hippest bars, restaurants and breweries, coolest markets and most interesting urban parks.

MARK WAUGH/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO ©

Top Experiences

Hilton Head

Some call Hilton Head the Hamptons of the South, and there’s certainly no lack of golf courses. Within a half-hour’s drive a golfer can be hitting the links at some 40 courses, a few of which offer iconic, bucket-list holes. But this is also an eco-destination, with strict zoning laws and muted colors that encourage wildlife to flourish. Ride a bike through the woodlands, boat with friendly, resident bottlenose dolphins, and relax on the 12 miles of beaches belonging to South Carolina’s biggest barrier island.

BILL BACHMANN/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO ©

Need to Know

For more information, see Survival Guide

Currency

US dollar ($)

Language

English

Visas

Visitors from Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and many EU countries do not need visas for less than 90 days, with ESTA approval. For other nations, see www.travel.state.gov or www.usa.gov/visas-and-visitors.

Money

ATMs are widespread, and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.

Tipping

A tip is expected in most cases for a job well done.

Mobile Phones

International travelers can use local SIM cards in an unlocked smartphone or buy a cheap US phone and load it up with prepaid minutes.

Time

Eastern Standard Time (GMT/UTC minus five hours)

When to Go

High Season (Jun–Aug)

A Everyone heads to the shore or the mountains to escape the heat and humidity; expect crowds in places like Myrtle Beach and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Shoulder (Mar–May & Sep–Nov)

A Spring is perhaps the best time to visit, with mild temperatures, beautiful blooms and fewer visitors.

A Fall foliage is prime time for mountain hikes and scenic drives.

Low Season (Dec–Feb)

A Ice and snow can hit the mountains. Sections of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be closed.

Useful Websites

Lonely Planet (www.lonely planet.com) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveler forum and more.

Explore Georgia (www.explore georgia.org) Official Georgia Tourism & Travel website.

Atlanta Now (www.atlanta.net) The official bimonthly visitors guide from the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Visit Savannah (www.visit savannah.com) Information on attractions, restaurants, accommodations and more.

Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (www.charlestoncvb.com) Lists hotels, dining and nightlife, itineraries, events and packages.

Important Numbers

Exchange Rates

For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.

Daily Costs

Budget: Less than $100

A Campsite: $25

A Double room in budget hotel chain: $55–80

A Self-catering: $10–20

A Bicycle rentals: $25–35

A Parks and museums: $10 or less

Midrange: $100–250

A Double room in midrange hotel: $100–150

A Midrange meals: $30–50 per day

A Cheap night out: $30–60

A Car rental: $40–70

Top end: More than $250

A High-end hotel: from $200

A Top-flight meal (with tax and tip): $80 or more

A Guided tours: $30–70

A Big night out: $100 or more

Opening Hours

Standard hours are generally as follows.

Banks 9am–4pm Monday to Thursday, to 6pm Friday, some also 9am–noon Saturday

Bars 4pm–3am, from noon on Saturday

Clubs 9pm–3am

Restaurants Breakfast 6am–11am, lunch and weekend brunch 11am to around 3pm, dinner 5pm–10pm

Shops 10am to around 6pm weekdays, to around 8pm Saturday, 11am–6pm Sunday, if they’re open at all

Arriving in Georgia & the Carolinas

The biggest transit hub in the region is Atlanta, though visitors may also arrive through Charlotte, Charleston or Savannah.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport The airport is 9.5 miles south of Downtown. You can rent a car, hop on a shared-ride van, ride the MARTA ($2.50) or take a taxi ($30) from the airport to Downtown.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport Seven miles west of Uptown, this American Airlines hub welcomes nonstop flights from Europe and the UK.

Charleston International Airport The 10-mile trip downtown is easy and fast with shuttles, taxis, buses, ridesharing and a rental-car center at your service.

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport Rent a car, or rideshare or taxi to the Historic District for around $28. Chatham Area Transit (CAT) operates the 100X Airport Express route ($8 return) between the airport and the JMR Intermodal Transit Center.

Getting Around

Bicycle A great way to get around, especially in the flat coastal regions. Major cities have bike-share programs, and many regional tour operators and shops rent bikes.

Boat Ferries usually connect the mainland with the region’s many barrier islands.

Bus Greyhound connects the region’s main cities, and many of its smaller ones. Only major cities – notably Atlanta, Charlotte and Charleston – offer substative public bus transit.

Car & Motorcycle Having your own wheels is the best way to explore this expansive region. There are car-rental companies at the airports. Note that parking is often tricky in urban downtowns.

Taxi Ridesharing apps are usually cheaper and easier than taxis, although smaller towns may not have ridesharing available.

Train Amtrak connects major cities.

For much more on getting around, see Transportation

If You Like…

Culture

Across Georgia and the Carolinas, cultural centers, exhibits and events showcase the long-standing traditions of the region’s people.

Lowcountry Oyster Festival Some 80,000lb of oysters are devoured at this remarkable display of Lowcountry culture.

Atlanta Cultivate your own culture in a city flush with world-class art, fascinating history and stupendous cuisine.

Savannah Get to the art and soul of Georgia’s creative little city in the Starland District.

Gullah-N-Geechie Mahn Tours Tour around St Helena Island, the epicenter of Gullah culture.

Brunswick Shrimping culture meets West Indian flair over a rich local art scene in historic Brunswick.

Folk Art Center There’s no better place to see, learn about – and potentially buy – Appalachian handcrafts.

Food

The amalgam of European, African and Caribbean culinary influences mean the eatin’ is good here in Georgia and the Carolinas.

Charleston It’s no secret that Charleston is among the nation’s best food cities.

Atlanta Souped-up Southern classics, daring New American dives and cutting-edge hop houses.

Charleston County Sea Islands Seafood galore, with local oyster-shucking beach shacks and top-end fish houses.

12 Bones The presidentially approved essence of North Carolina barbecue, in Asheville’s River Arts District.

Greenville A dining hub, with more than 120 locally owned restaurants and dozens of relatively recent openings.

The Tavern in Old Salem An irresistible taste of life and lunch as an 18th-century Moravian.

PinPoint A dazzling farm-to-fork addition to Wilmington’s dining scene.

Athens Foodie-centric college town with farm-to-table Southern haunts, intellectual coffeehouses and wildly fun breweries and bars.

Craft Beer

Home to Asheville, one of the pioneers of the craft beer scene, Georgia and the Carolinas is no slouch when it comes to serving up custom suds.

Burial The out-there spearhead of the Asheville scene fuses Belgian tradition with Southern attitude and ingredients.

Creature Comforts A former tire shop serves up Athens’ best craft beer.

NoDa Brewing Company Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood is bursting with breweries; the best proudly bears its name.

New Realm Brewing Co A brewer who wrote the book on IPAs has opened Atlanta’s biggest hot spot for hopheads.

Mill Whistle Brewing Beaufort can boast the definitive microbrewery – one man, one woman, one barrel.

Hive More than 78 taps can be found in this stylish watering hole in Augusta.

Hunter-Gatherer Brewery at Curtiss-Wright Hangar Columbia’s coolest brewery is headquartered in an old airplane hangar.

History

A lot has gone down in Georgia and the Carolinas over the last four centuries – seek out these stories in the region’s numerous historical museums and sights.

Historic Stagville Plantation Once North Carolina’s largest plantation, Stagville doesn’t flinch from the grim realities of slavery.

International Civil Rights Center The sit-ins that galvanized the Civil Rights struggle started in Greensboro.

Fort Raleigh Explore the legend of the ‘Lost Colony,’ which disappeared at the end of the 16th century.

Old Salem Part Winston-Salem neighborhood, part living history museum, this 18th-century Moravian community remains remarkably intact.

Museum of the Cherokee Indian Exemplary museum where the Cherokee tell their own story, in fascinating detail.

Wright Brothers National Memorial Where dreams of flight finally took to the air, for 12 astonishing seconds, in 1903.

Jimmy Carter Boyhood Farm Learn about the humble beginnings of the 39th US president.

Old Slave Mart Museum Required background for understanding how Charleston rose to prominence in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Wright Brothers First Flight sculpture, by artist Stephen H Smith, at the Wright Brothers National Memorial | ZACK FRANK/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Museums

From art and culture to maritime history, the museums of Georgia and the Carolinas offer a glimpse into the region’s fascinating past.

Center for Civil & Human Rights An intense exploration of civil rights in the US and abroad.

High Museum of Art You can easily lose yourself (and a day) in this excellent art museum.

Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site This deep dive into the life of Martin Luther King Jr is a must visit.

Levine Museum of the New South Charlotte’s museum gives a contemporary perspective of how North Carolina’s past affects its present.

North Carolina Maritime Museum From Blackbeard to today’s Coast Guard, this engaging museum spotlights the best of the sea.

American Prohibition Museum Immersive exhibitions and storytelling shed light on prohibition in this one-of-a-kind museum.

Islands

The many coastal islands of Georgia and the Carolinas offer relaxation, cultural experiences and adventure.

Edisto Island Great island for a family vacay, with a serpentarium and some stunning, secluded beaches.

Cumberland Island Georgia’s wildest barrier island is a camper’s paradise.

Sapelo Island Only accessible by boat, this remote Georgia island is a bastion of the Gullah-Geechee culture.

Jekyll Island This former millionaire’s playground offers a mix of historic buildings and pristine wilderness.

Ocracoke Island See wild ponies, spot dolphins and catch rays in this time capsule on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Daufuskie Island A seldom-visited, car-free island that can only be reached by boat. Still, there’s a winery and a rum distillery.

Sullivan’s Island Great sunset-viewing island, with good bars and restaurants and a soft, wide beach covered in gorgeous flora.

Bodie Island Lighthouse | DAVE ALLEN PHOTOGRAPHY/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Outdoors

Georgia and the Carolinas are an outdoor enthusiast’s kinda place, with forests, mountains, swamps, long stretches of pristine coastline and two national parks.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Drawing more visitors than any other national park, this Appalachian wonderland has more than 800 miles of trails.

Congaree National Park Canoe in an inky-black swamp past old-growth bottomland forest.

Swamp Rabbit Trail An excellent 22-mile bike trail stretching from Greenville to Travelers Rest.

Amicalola Falls State Park Home to the spectacular 729ft Amicalola Falls, the tallest cascading waterfall in the Southeast.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore A 70-mile network of interlinked, undeveloped islets, laced through with woods, dunes, marshes and beaches.

Tsali Recreation Area Nationally celebrated for its mountain biking, this North Carolina lakeside wonderland is also famed for horse riding.

Providence Canyon Explore Georgia’s ‘Little Grand Canyon’ and wander the multi-hued gullies as deep as 150ft.

US National Whitewater Center The world’s largest artificial white-water river is every bit as good as the real thing.

Offbeat Attractions

From wacky roadside stops to museums you didn’t know you were looking for, there are many weird and wonderful sights in Georgia and the Carolinas.

Asheville Pinball Museum Unlimited plays are included with admission to this wide-ranging collection of pinball machines.

Traveler’s Rest State Historic Site This well-preserved 1805 stagecoach inn will make you appreciate modern travel.

Battle of Atlanta Cyclorama Experience the cutting edge of entertainment in the late 19th century by watching this 358ft diorama.

Pasaquan The surreal imagination of one man created this bright and sprawling expanse of buildings – folk-art aficionados shouldn’t miss it.

Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center Learn the skills you need to live off the grid at this hands-on museum.

Senoia Fans of the Walking Dead can indulge their inner zombie by visiting the filming sites of the HBO drama.

Month by Month

TOP EVENTS

Lowcountry Oyster Festival, January

Masters Tournament, April

Merlefest, April

Spoleto USA, May/June

Dragon Con, August/September

Euphoria, September

Music Midtown, September

January

Temperatures are low, especially in the mountains, where snow is possible.

5 Lowcountry Oyster Festival

Rain or shine, 80,000lb of bivalves will be consumed at the Lowcountry Oyster Festival at Boone Hall Plantation every January. There are also shucking and eating contests, live music, beer, local food and more beer.

2 Bill Murray Look-a-Like Polar Plunge

Exactly what it sounds like. On New Year’s Day, some incredibly bold individuals dress like Bill Murray and jump into the freezing cold water at Folly Beach. There’s also a contest for the best dressed.

February

Winter is on its way out, and temperatures start to climb (particularly in the Lowcountry). You can still find good deals on hotels, though.

z Savannah Black Heritage Festival

This city-wide arts and heritage festival spans the first three weeks of Black History Month.

March

One of the wettest months of the year, but temperatures are mild and wildflowers start popping out in South Georgia and South Carolina.

2 National Shag Dance Championships

The longest continuously running shag dance competition in the US has been held every March in Myrtle Beach since 1984. More at www.shagnationals.com.

April

Azaleas and dogwoods are in full bloom and the climate is mild, making this month ideal for hiking, cycling, biking and golfing. Farmers markets start up in much of the region.

2 Masters Tournament

The sporting world focuses on golf’s most prestigious professional tournament, which takes places annually at the members-only Augusta National Golf Club.

z Merlefest

Set up by legendary guitarist ‘Doc’ Watson after his son Merle died in 1985, this four-day Wilkesboro festival (www.merlefest.org) features ‘traditional plus’ music across 13 stages.

3 Atlanta Dogwood Festival

Atlanta’s native dogwood trees are admired and celebrated at the obviously named Atlanta Dogwood Festival, a full-on weekend of live music, arts and crafts, food and, of course, dogwoods.

5 Indie Grits Festival

Held over three days in April, the Indie Grits Festival is Columbia’s answer to SXSW, celebrating art, tech, film, food, music and more around the city.

May

Everything (including prices) starts to heat up. Summer attractions such as water parks open their doors again. Bring your sun hat and bathing suit!

3 Atlanta Jazz Festival

For more than 40 years, the city’s massive Atlanta Jazz Festival has drawn hordes to Piedmont Park over Memorial Day weekend for world-class – and free! – jazz performances from some of the genre’s best known powerhouses.

3 Shaky Knees Music Festival

One of three music festivals under the Shaky umbrella, the Shaky Knees Music Festival draws a fiercely indie lineup to Centennial Olympic Park – think LCD Soundsystem, the XX, Band of Horses, Lumineers, Phoenix and Portugal the Man.

z Gullah Festival

Held in Beaufort over Memorial Day weekend, the Gullah Festival is the states’s largest celebration of the history, culture, language and accomplishments of the Lowcountry’s African Americans. Expect art, music, exhibits, presentations, workshops, dance and regional cuisine.

5 World-Famous Blue Crab Festival

Each May, the World Famous Blue Crab Festival draws 50,000 people to the Little River waterfront just north of Myrtle Beach for art, food, music and revelry.

3 Spoleto USA

The performing-arts extravaganza Spoleto USA takes place over 17 days in May/June in Charleston, with operas, dramas and concerts happening all over the city. It’s South Carolina’s largest event.

June

One of the best times to be outdoors in Georgia and the Carolinas – summer wildflowers line hiking trails and mountain river rafting waters are high.

3 Synchronous Fireflies

For two weeks in late May or early June each year, you can see the incredible display of Synchronous Fireflies, when thousands of fireflies blink in perfect harmony. Elkmont Campground is the best place to see it. Enter the lottery in late April to earn a spot.

July

Most of the region is a hot muggy mess in July; head for the mountains to find considerably cooler climes.

3 Appalachian Summer Festival

Boone owes its prestigious month-long showcase – rooted in classical music, but now extending across theater, film and the visual arts – to the presence of the dynamic Appalachian State University.

z National Black Arts Festival

Considered one of the world’s most important festivals celebrating art and culture of the African Diaspora, the National Black Arts Festival fills Piedmont Park to commemorate African American music, theater, literature and film.

August

August is peak tourism season, crowding cities, the beaches in the east and the mountain roads in the west. Hurricane season threatens the coast beginning this month.

3 Mountain Dance & Folk Festival

The oldest folk festival in the country, Asheville’s three-night Mountain Dance & Folk Festival was founded by banjo and fiddle player Bascom Lamar Lansford in 1928, and remains North Carolina’s premier showcase for old-time music.

5 Decatur BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass Festival

The name says it all. What could possibly make this perfect threesome better? Brews! Decatur’s big day out is a barbecue, blues and bluegrass bonanza but we’re quite sure there is plenty of beer, too, making this trio of Bs boozy as well.

September

The summer heat begins a slow retreat in September, making outside festivals more pleasant, especially at higher elevations. Fall colors begin to peek out toward the end of the month.

3 Dragon Con

Dragon Con sees some 80,000 die-hard science-fiction, fantasy, comic-book and other fan-related fantasy-genre devotees, who take over downtown Atlanta at this internationally famous convention.

5 Euphoria

Euphoria is Greenville’s big food and wine throw down, with four days of tastings, cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, multi-course dinners, celebrity chef sightings, live music and general revelry.

5 Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival

Jewish food and heritage festival (www.mickveisrael.org/food-fest) in Monterey Sq draws a big crowd with traditional ethnic cuisine, plus music and dancing.

3 Music Midtown

Atlanta’s Piedmont Park is the site of yet another massive festival: Music Midtown hosts some of the biggest names in rock and pop for two days of audio overload.

October

Spectacular fall color covers the region; ospreys, falcons and other raptors migrate over the coast. It’s one of the best times to get outdoors.

z MOJA Arts Festival

Charleston’s MOJA Arts Festival is held over the last weekend in September and a week in October, with spirited poetry readings and gospel concerts celebrating African American and Caribbean culture.

z Oktoberfest

Helen’s annual beer-fueled bash celebrating German music, food, drinks and dancing lures some six million attendees over weekends in September and daily in October.

z Atlanta Pride Festival

An estimated 250,000 visit Piedmont Park for one of the oldest and biggest LGBTIQ+ celebrations in the USA, Atlanta Pride Festival.

November

The most budget-friendly time to visit. Cozy up in a mountain inn, or stick to shorts and a T-shirt in the South.

6 Greenville Craft Beer Festival

The Greenville Craft Beer Festival draws an intoxicating array of microbrewery samples from all over the South. There’s also music, food and ‘beer college’ classes.

z Telfair Art Fair

Free open-air art fair (www.telfair.org/artfair) with food trucks, music and children’s activities. Preview selections at the Arty Party before the official event.

December

Things pick up again during the holidays, with a hoard of Christmas and New Year’s events, and prices temporarily rise. Temperatures continue to drop.

6 Wrecking Bar Strong Beer Fest

Ward off the cold with high-gravity barrel-aged stouts, triple IPAs and imperial porters at the Wrecking Bar Strong Beer Fest, a small but serious beer-nerd gathering at the city’s best brewpub.

Itineraries

Georgia & the Carolinas Highlights

2 WEEKS

You’ll have to hit the ground running for this one. Start in Atlanta for three nights, spending two full days on the city’s excellent museums and the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site. Take time to walk, bike or jog the Atlanta BeltLineand drink or dine along the way at spots like Krog Street Market. On day three head east through Athens in time for an afternoon stroll and early dinner at the outstanding Home.made from Scratch; catch some live music if you can before hopping over to Greenville, two hours away. Get outdoors on the Swamp Rabbit Trail or take a walk through Falls Park on the Reedy and enjoy a good meal or three before heading on to the Triangle. Pick from Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill and spend a day and night – then it’s time to hit the beach. Wilmington is good for a relaxing day or two, or a fun night out on the riverfront. Then head south to Charleston for at least three days, meandering around the Historic District, visiting sights such as the Old Slave Mart Museum and the Nathaniel Russell House and, of course, hitting the city’s hot dining scene. Then it’s south to Savannah to check out the artsy vibe at places like the Jepson Center for the Arts and unwind under the Spanish moss-draped live oaks in Forsyth Park. Conclude your trip by driving back to Atlanta with a break in Macon or Senoia if time permits.

Itineraries

South Carolina Sampler

2 WEEKS

For those hungry for a taste of the whole dang state, including Upcountry hiking, Lowcountry adventuring, capitol crashing and even a stopover in tacky Myrtle Beach.

Begin in Myrtle Beach, so you can get your putt-putt and deep-fried-seafood hankerings out of the way (it only gets better from here). It’s usually cheap to fly in. Base your number of nights in Myrtle on how much you love America, and continue on to the state capitol, Columbia, which is far more interesting than it usually gets credit for. You can tour the State House and party with college students at Five Points before continuing on to ‘it city’ Greenville.

Spend a few nights here, giving yourself time for day trips to the nearby state and national parks, which offer superb hiking. Be sure to also stroll over the stunning Liberty Bridge in Falls Park on the Reedy and take a peek at up-and-coming art galleries and locavore restaurants in West Greenville. Try a few craft beers but not so many that you can’t drive back through Columbia to Beaufort, South Carolina’s most darling little town. Spend at least two nights relaxing by the waterfront and paddleboarding out to the sandbar. On neighboring St Helena Island, visit the Penn Center and hop on a Gullah tour for a wonderful introduction to the Gullah people, who have fought for centuries to keep alive the customs of their enslaved ancestors brought from West Africa.

Finally, finish the trip with South Carolina’s crown jewel, Charleston. Spend at least five days here exploring the downtown, wandering the Historic District’s cobblestone and brick alleyways and admiring the meticulously preserved antebellum mansions and historic churches. Pop over to McLeod Plantation for an inside look at a typical Sea Island cotton plantation, which was at one time occupied by both the Confederate and Union forces, along with a federal agency that helped transition emancipated slaves.

Head back up the coast to Myrtle Beach if you’ve got a round-trip flight, and be sure to stop for lunch along the way at TW Graham & Co in McClellanville for the best fried seafood in the state.

Itineraries

The Best of Georgia

10 DAYS

From cosmopolitan Atlanta and artsy Athens in the north to historic Savannah and the barrier islands of its pretty and protected southeastern coast – Georgia is chock-full of diverse geography and storied history. This long Atlanta to Atlanta loop will hook y’all with city, sand and Southern hospitality.

Land at the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta and spend a few days putting a little South in your mouth in the city’s top restaurants. Immerse yourself in all things MLK at the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site and visit the world-class museums. At night, take a stroll along the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail, drinking and eating your way through its good-time breweries and restaurants. Head north from the city to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the appropriately named Blue Ridge, North Georgia’s most charming mountain town – consider a ride on its scenic railway. You’re in Appalachia, so woodland warriors might want to delay their departure to explore many of the hikes in the surrounding area.

Heading southeast, spend a day in Athens enjoying its bustling and bohemian downtown – take in a University of Georgia football game if you can – then make a break for the coast. First stop: Savannah. Wander its moss-draped public squares taking in historic museums and drool-worthy Southern food for at least two days. Just south of Savannah, Georgia’s sea islands beckon. Take a culturally rich night on the Gullah-Geechee Sapelo Island – you must make prior arrangements and bring your own food – then head south to St Simons Island, the largest and most developed of the Golden Isles, full of pretty beaches and wonderful golf courses. Further south is Jekyll Island – the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel was the stomping ground of Gilded Age millionaires. Continue the southern trajectory to Cumberland Island, home to the wild and remote Cumberland Island National Seashore. Only 300 people per day are allowed to visit, so you’ll have (mostly) your own little piece of paradise here.

Itineraries

Lowcountry Cruiser

1 WEEK

With a good set of wheels and an appreciation for seafood, history and natural beauty you’ll be covered on this little trip.

Chances are you’ll fly into Charleston. Many of the states’s best experiences and restaurants are concentrated in and around the city, so spend three days visiting top sights and a couple of the plantations either on the Ashley River or over on James Island (hit the Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island while you’re at it). Then roll over to laid-back Folly Beach for a night, where you can get a fabulous rental house or stay in a charming B&B right on the water.

Venture south the next day, with a stop at Edisto Island to explore some unadulterated coastline at Botany Bay. Double back and make a stop at the seductively swampy ACE Basin to look for whooping cranes before pressing on to Beaufort, South Carolina’s friendliest, most delightful small town. It’s sort of like a mini-Charleston, with an adorable downtown and abundant antebellum mansions in The Point neighborhood (see them by carriage). Stay two nights before retracing your steps to Charleston.

Itineraries

Blue Ridge to the Smokies

1 WEEK

Above all – literally – it’s the magnificent mountains that make North Carolina special. To savor their full splendor, spend a week driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, hiking and biking and staying in cool college towns such as Asheville and Boone.

Start your road trip with two nights in funky Boone, a couple of hours’ drive from either Charlotte or the Virginia state line. While in the area, hike up to the Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain, and out to Linville Falls, breaking for lunch in Blowing Rock. Now cruise on west, and in under half a day you’ll reach the mountains’ ‘capital,’ Asheville. Allow a (very) good three nights to do Beer City’s breweries justice, slurp up some barbecue, and swoon at the opulent Biltmore Estate, plus take a day trip south to Chimney Rock. Then follow the parkway west again, pausing to learn about the Trail of Tears in Cherokee, and a morning’s drive will bring you to your final two-night stop, Bryson City. While there, be sure to cycle the lakeshore in the nearby Tsali Recreation Area, or raft at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, and venture into Great Smoky Mountains National Park before you head home.

Plan Your Trip

Outdoor Activities

With its varied terrain, mild climate and natural splendor, Georgia and the Carolinas is a outdoor lover’s paradise. From strenuous hikes to pleasant nature walks, from peaceful islands to white-water rafting – there’s an activity for every interest and ability thanks to the varied terrain and miles of coastline. Plus, the mild winters make it possible to get outside almost any time of year.

Canoeing in Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge | STACY FUNDERBURKE/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

When to Go

April & May

The South serves up glorious spring wildflowers, mild temps and occasional rain.

June & August

Hottest months of the year – you’ll want to be on the water if you’re outdoors.

September & October

Fall foliage is in full splendor and temperatures are still mild. Beach days are possible on the coast and bodysurfing is at its best in the Outer Banks.

January & February

Wintry landscapes. Access to some mountain areas may be cut off.

Best Parks

Great Smoky Mountains National Park The USA’s most visited park is fun for all ages.

Providence Canyon Just 30 minutes outside of Columbus, Georgia’s Grand Canyon is a rainbow of otherworldly formations.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Canoe, kayak or hike around this primordial environment.

Congaree National Park Come to behold the meandering waterways of its floodplain ecosystem and its sky-high canopy.

Water Activities & Tours

Thanks to miles of coastline and wild mountain-fed rivers, Georgia and the Carolinas gives water-loving travelers plenty of chances to take a dip.

Fontana Lake Taking in a unique perspective of the Smokies from a canoe or kayak.

Amicalola Falls See the Southeast’s highest waterfall.

Nantahala Outdoor Center With well-trained staff and years of experience, there’s no better place for family groups to share an exhilarating, and drenching, white-water baptism.

Okefenokee Adventures Feel like Indiana Jones while cruising these mysterious waterways.

WhiteWater Express The longest urban white-water rafting experience is in Columbus, with thrilling constructed rapids up to class V.

Hiking

The foothills of the Appalachians are the biggest draws for hikers, but just about every region of Georgia and the Carolinas has a walk or trail that will make you gasp.

Trail Difficulty

We’ve rated hikes by three levels of difficulty to help you choose the trail that’s right for you.

Easy Manageable for nearly all walkers, an easy hike is less than 4 miles, with fairly even terrain and no significant elevation gain or loss.

Moderate Fine for fit hikers and active, older children, moderate hikes have a modest elevation gain – in the range of 500ft to 1000ft – and are usually less than 7 miles in length.

Hard Hikes have elevation gains of more than 1000ft, are mostly steep, may have tricky footing and are often more than 8 miles long. Being physically fit is paramount.

All hikes, from day hikes to backcountry treks, follow well-marked, established trails and, unless otherwise noted, the distance listed in each hike description is for a round-trip journey. The actual time spent hiking will vary with your ability. When in doubt, assume trails will be harder and take longer than you think.

Best Hikes

Appalachian Trail Hike a piece of the legendary trail, which travels for 71 miles across the Smokies before continuing up to Maine.

Chimney Rock Park Whether you want to enjoy an easy family hike, or prefer a more demanding backcountry trail, it’s hard to beat.

Mt LeConte No matter which trail you take, it’s a great achievement making it to the top.

Cumberland Island Loop There’s ample opportunity to walk on the wild side on Cumberland Island – this 4-mile hike takes you through diverse landscapes.

Upcountry Foothills Whether you hike the full 76 miles or just a portion, this trail takes you through South Carolina’s most beautiful backcountry.

Packing List

If you’re doing multi-day or overnight hikes in Georgia and the Carolinas, consider packing some of the items below.

Clothing

A Hiking boots with sturdy soles and good ankle support

A Wide-brimmed hat in the summer

A Fleece or sweater, plus long underwear (merino wool or synthetic)

A Lightweight trousers

A Waterproof jacket and pants

A Warm hat, scarf and gloves in the winter

A Gaiters or spare shoes (river sandals) for over-the-ankle creek crossings

A Moisture-wicking socks

Equipment

A Water bottle and reservoir (such as a Camelbak)

A Water filtration system (pump or chemical disinfectants)

A Trail map and compass

A Pocket knife

A Safety mirror and whistle to attract attention in emergencies

A Walking stick or trekking poles

A Sunscreen and lip balm

A DEET insect repellent

A Backpack with a rain cover

A First-aid kit

A Crampons (for winter hiking)

A High-energy food and snacks

A LED headlamp and flashlight with spare batteries

A Survival bag or blanket

Overnight Hikes

A Sleeping bag and sleeping mat

A Lightweight tent, tarp and rain fly

A Garbage bags for protecting suspended food bag in the rain

A Toilet paper, trowel and sealable plastic bags for packing out trash – note that human waste must be disposed of at least 100 feet from any campsite

A Biodegradable soap, toiletries and towel

A Cooking, eating and drinking utensils, including a stove, fuel and dehydrated food

A Matches and lighter

Optional Gear

A Binoculars

A Camera and/or cell (mobile) phone plus a portable power supply (such as a solar charger)

A GPS receiver and/or altimeter

Beaches

With some 600 miles of coastline, you’ll find plenty of chances to chill out with an ocean view in Georgia and the Carolinas.

Ocracoke Beach Dolphins are frequently spotted on this long, glorious beach.

Kiawah Beachwater Park An idyllic stretch of sand on this 10-mile barrier island.

Cumberland Island National Seashore You’re likely to have the 17 miles of sandy beach to yourself on this natural paradise.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore A 70-mile network of interlinked, undeveloped islets, laced through with woods, dunes, marshes and beaches.

North Beach This peaceful portion of Tybee Island is a great place to relax.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The biggest draw for outdoor adventurers in Georgia and the Carolinas is, of course, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The most visited national park in the USA draws some 11 million visitors annually to its miles of trails, scenic drives and historic areas including Cades Cove. If you’re heading to the park, here are a few useful tips.

What to Wear

Take time to plan your clothing well before you hit the road. Don’t wait until the last minute to realize that your waterproof jacket isn’t warm enough, or that you need a new pair of hiking boots and won’t have time to break them in. The main things to keep in mind when planning your wardrobe are to choose garments that are moisture-wicking, breathable, waterproof (and windproof), insulating and, of course, comfortable.

You’ll need to strategize carefully, especially if you plan to camp in the backcountry. First-time visitors are often surprised by the weather, which can get quite cold at higher elevations, particularly if the rains arrive. Spring comes late to the mountains, and nighttime temperatures can dip below freezing even in April. At higher elevations snow is possible from November to April, and rain falls year-round – not surprising for a region that receives 55 to 85 inches of rain per year. Come prepared for dramatic shifts in weather regardless of the season.

Best Day Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains offers some fabulous day hikes. These range from short and flat riverside jaunts to challenging hikes to craggy overlooks with jaw-dropping views. Wherever you go it’s best to set out early, as you’ll beat the worst of the crowds, and have the best opportunities for wildlife-watching.

Alum Cave Bluffs A fantastic walk crossing log bridges, spying old-growth forest and enjoying fine views.

Laurel Falls Trail An easy, paved 2.6-mile trek to one of the park’s most popular waterfalls.

Anthony Creek Trail This kid-friendly trail is an easy ramble, and a connector to the Appalachian Trail.

Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail The only fully wheelchair-accessible trail in the park takes you past the rushing Little Pigeon River.

Kephart Prong Trail Get a taste of history (and a glimpse of wildflowers) on this 4.2-mile hike.

Rough Fork Trail to Woody Place This 2-mile hike has several fun creek crossings and is suitable for families with younger kids.

Andrews Bald Spectacular views await from this high-elevation grassy meadow near Clingmans Dome.

Alum Cave Bluffs, Great Smoky Mountains National Park | BLUEBARRONPHOTO/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Plan Your Trip

Eat & Drink Like a Local

Along the coast, Lowcountry fare, a historically significant, African-influenced cuisine spawned from the shrimp, crab and crawfish-rich coastal estuaries, dominates dining. Fried chicken, fried green tomatoes and Southern side dishes line steaming lunch buffets or fill the tables at traditional ‘meat and three’ lunch spots. Charleston has a place on every foodie’s bucket list, but farm-to-table offerings excel from Athens to Greenville – and there’s a whole lot of BBQ too.

Pulled pork barbecue sandwich | JOSHUA RESNICK/SHUTTERSTOCK ©

Year in Food

While the eatin’ is good year-round in Georgia and the Carolinas, there are particular peaks for fresh produce and the local seafood industry.

March–April

In March, the Food & Wine Festival in Charleston is a gastronomic throw-down. Local farmers markets start in April, and kick off with everything from squash to zucchini to sweet peas. Late spring is for soft-shell crabs.

May–August

Harvesttime for beloved local produce such as Georgia peaches, field peas and okra, plus many other fresh seasonal favorites.

Mid-June

Shrimp are at their biggest and most bountiful along the coast, staying readily available until the season comes to a close on December 31.

September–November

It’s food and wine festival season, with events taking place almost every weekend. Greenville’s Euphoria is a highlight. Oyster season kicks off.

Local Specialties

Carolina Barbecue

The only common denominator on barbecue in Georgia and the Carolinas is this: it’s gotta be pig. Yes, your typical barbecue restaurant may also offer chicken and beef, but by their pulled pork ye shall know them.

South Carolina’s tangy mustard-based sauce, dubbed ‘Carolina Gold,’ is found mainly in the central part of the state and was influenced by the region’s large number of German immigrants.

Eastern-style barbecue, prevalent near the coast of North Carolina and going down into South Carolina, cooks the whole of the hog, then chops the shredded meat up together, with local variations as to whether the crisped-up skin goes into the mix as well. It’s then served with a thin sauce, which, at its most basic, consists solely of vinegar and pepper; some North Carolina chefs throw in a dash of locally made Texas Pete hot sauce too.

Western-style barbecue takes over as you head into the Piedmont, and logically enough is also known as Piedmont style. Here they only cook the dark meat of the pig – usually just the shoulder, but perhaps the butt as well – and they serve it with a sweeter sauce that’s made with tomatoes or, commonly, ketchup. This style is prevalent throughout Georgia as well.

Lexington-style barbecue is, depending on who you talk to, either a subtly different take on,

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