Tellus Science Museum
From Dinosaurs to Porsches: A Three-Day Group Tour Itinerary off I-75
Take your group journeying up or down Georgia's I-75 and leave plenty of time to explore its treasures.
Interstate 75 - one of the longest thoroughfares in the United States - stretches 339 miles through Georgia alone. And although the highway runs through the state capital of Atlanta, don't overlook all the gems ripe for exploring that sit along the artery throughout the rest of the state. From charming locals and shopping destinations to wineries and museums, there's something for everyone to make your road trip through the Peach State that much more fascinating.
Georgia Winery, Ringgold
Kick off your trip with a stop at the state's first farm winery that features 20 wines from which to choose. On Saturdays, explore the winery (no reservation required) to see their process during a 45-minute tour. Afterward, sip the fruits of their labor by sampling a flight of three signature varietals paired with cheeses, and take home a signature glass. Guests who want to take extra mementos home will find the gift shop packed with chocolates, gourmet foods, and gifts.
Western and Atlantic Railroad Tunnel, Tunnel Hill
This historic landmark played an important role in the Civil War. Built in 1848, the tunnel was dug into the base of the Chetoogeta Mountain and spans an impressive 1,477 feet. Eventually, train cars started getting stuck in the tunnel, causing it to shut down in 1928. Fortunately, though, groups still stop to marvel at it and tour the nearby Clisby Austin House, which served as Gen. Sherman's headquarters during the Battle of Dalton.
Tellus Science Museum, Cartersville
At this 12,000-square-foot architectural wonder, visitors of all ages will find the museum's interactive exhibits a delight. Leave plenty of time to explore the four galleries focusing on minerals, fossils, motion, and "My Big Backyard" (an interactive wonderland for young explorers). Feast your eyes on wondrous sights like an 80 foot-long Apatosaurus and a replica of the Wright flyer. Call ahead to schedule group tours.
Overnight in Cartersville
The Booth Museum, Cartersville
Giddy-up and start your day at this stunningly beautiful museum that is crafted of Bulgarian limestone and hearkens to a modern pueblo. The Booth is the largest Western art museum in the Southeast and boasts the largest permanent collection of Western art in the world. View works by respected artists such as Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, and Andy Warhol, among many others. Group rates offered for parties larger than 10; docent-guided tours by request.
Porsche Experience Center, Atlanta
Step off the tour bus and into the driver's seat of your dream car at the Porsche Experience Center. Drive your model of choice - perhaps a Panamera Turbo S E-hybrid or the 911 Carrera GTS - for 90 minutes with a Porsche Drive Coach. Visitors of all ages (including those too young for a driver's license) may practice on driving simulators in the Simulator Lab. If all that speed works up your appetite, stay for lunch at Restaurant 356 or the more casual Carrera Cafe.
Overnight in McDonough
Hay House, Macon
A stunning mansion built in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, the Hay House dates back to 1855. Way ahead of its time, it featured running hot and cold water, central heating, gas lighting, and a ventilation system. Only two families have lived here - the Johnsons, through the 1890s, and the Hays, through the 1960s - and much of the original decor is intact, including a marble sculpture by Randolph Rogers. Group rates available (minimum 20) with a reservation; guided tours last about one hour.
Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, Macon
It's not often that one gets to stand on a former beach in the middle of the state. This pre-historic American Indian site sits on the "Fall Line," a piece of land that stretches from South Carolina, across Georgia, and into Alabama and was once covered by the sea. Once the sea receded, a sandy plain was revealed, creating a diverse environment. Here, your group may explore a rich land with wildlife as well as fascinating ceremonial mounds, a burial mound, and defensive trenches.
A perfect outing for history buffs, downtown Perry's historic walking trail spans just over a mile, winds through downtown, and includes stops such as Wells Jewelers and the Perry Historic Station train depot. The Perry Area Historical Museum contains artifacts from the city's early days. Score one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts and souvenirs at Georgia Artisan Center, and refuel for more touring at The Swanson, a restaurant set in a house dating back to 1790 and offering no shortage of Southern delights.
Don't-Miss Dining: Barnsley Resort, Adairsville
Tucked away in scenic North Georgia, Barnsley Resort sits on a sprawling property with several dining options available when your group needs to hit refresh. Each restaurant has its own personality, from Woodlands Grill, featuring a country club vibe overlooking the golf course, to the Beer Garden, a casual outdoor spot offering more than 30 craft beers.
Must-Stop Shopping: Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta, Woodstock
Conveniently situated just off I-575, these outlets are beautifully arranged in an outdoor shopping format that allows groups to get some fresh air while browsing. From brand-name retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th to Gap to Le Crueset, there's a deal to be found here for everyone.