Give These Top Georgia Experiences as Holiday Gifts
Instead of giving them "stuff" this year, give these unique Georgia experiences to everyone on your holiday shopping list.
The holiday season is upon us, and that means shopping for the loved ones in your life. The process can be stressful — braving crowded stores and juggling deliveries from online stores, not to mention the wrapping process.
This year, how about switching out items that crowd the home for unique Georgia experiences? Give the gift of memories that last well beyond when the paper and bows are untied. Whether you’re looking for something for your sweetie, your parents, friends, children, or even pets, you’re certain to find the right gift in Georgia. Here are some of the best experiences to give as gifts this year.
Those who live in the fast lane will love the high-octane excitement at the Porsche Experience Center at the luxury car company’s North American headquarters set near the Atlanta airport. Give the gift of the center’s driving experience, demonstration laps, or the simulator lab. There’s also an onsite restaurant overlooking the track for after their drive!
Splurge on your honey by gifting a spa day at the famed Sea Island Resort. The Forbes Five-Star facility has a series of interconnected pools and offers treatments like hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, and massage. Guests can go just for the spa or add treatments to an overnight stay.
Outdoors fans will jump at the chance to spend a day on the water learning how to fly fish from Ken Louko Fly Fishing School, an expert guiding company in North Georgia. Gift certificates can be used for fly fishing instruction, a guided trip, or a personal mentoring package to develop skills. Send your love off for a day of fun, or join them!
Share the dreamy experience of admiring the scenery of the Peach State from above with a bucket list-worthy hot air balloon ride with Balloons Over Georgia. All you’ll hear is the puff of the flame keeping the balloon afloat as you gently glide over the forest, with views of landmarks like Lake Lanier, Kennesaw Mountain, and the Atlanta skyline.
Gifts for Friends
Celebrate your friendships with activities you can do together. These fun days out are found all over the state and are sure to please your pals.
Allow your pals a chance to dine on the best that the city has to offer with a Taste of Thomasville Food Tour. The tour is a three-hour progressive lunch highlighting dishes from local restaurants, including shrimp and grits, pizza and organic coffee. You can walk between all locations!
Embrace your friend’s artsy side by gifting a glass-blowing class in the Hostess City’s Blown Studios. They can learn how to blow their own molten glass into items like glasses, ornaments, and sculptures before ending the day in the shop for glass souvenirs to bring home.
You’ve never seen the Georgia Aquarium until you’ve seen it from underwater! Book your friend an animal encounter in one of the world’s largest aquariums, which ranges from swimming in the massive tank with sharks, encounters with penguins, and a behind-the-scenes visit with the playful beluga whales.
Gift a year of the great outdoors with Georgia State Parks passes or annual membership to the Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites. The combo pass package grants access to more than 60 attractions across the state, and memberships have a number of perks, including complimentary nights at the campsites, discounted lodge rooms, and free picnic shelter rentals. Plan a getaway to a state park!
Gifts for Parents
How do you thank your parents for everything they do for you? With a gift for a Georgia getaway, of course!
Give your parents a date night at the fabulous and historic Fox Theatre, one of the most storied venues in the nation, designed in the Moorish style in 1929. Gift cards can be used for behind-the-scenes theatre tours, including to see the famous pipe organ, or to attend the many shows there, ranging from concerts to plays to comedy acts.
Send the parents on an escape to the charming town of Blue Ridge to the circa 1890s Blue Ridge Inn. The Victorian home has eight suites with full Southern breakfasts, and the porch has rocking chairs to unwind during their stay. Nearby, they’ll have easy access to the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway and downtown shops and restaurants.
Your parents will love a luxe stay at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, an easy drive from Atlanta. The resort is known for its incredible dining, spa treatments, and golf courses, not to mention boating and kayaking. Packages can include daily breakfast and a resort credit to use around the property.
Gifts for Kids
The little ones are sure to remember these experiences around Georgia. The options range across all ages and are educational!
Adventurous kids will love the chance to raft the rapids on the Chattahoochee River and zip between Alabama and Georgia during a day out with Whitewater Express in Columbus. Gift cards can be used for thrilling experiences for the whole family as well as bike rentals for the Riverwalk. The minimum age for rafting is 7 and 10 for ziplining.
If your little one wants a pet, how about a turtle? But don’t worry, you don’t have to buy a tank for it. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center offers an adoption program that allows your donation to support one of the creatures in their care. Then, your child can visit the adopted turtle during your next trip to Jekyll Island.
Teach the little ones how to create a culinary masterpiece with a gift certificate for a class with Flour Power Kids Cooking Studios. The Alpharetta school offers classes for kids from preschoolers to teens, as well as adults and families, to make treats like cupcakes, pasta, and more.
Kids will enjoy thrill rides and wild animals with an annual pass to Wild Adventures, the beloved theme park in south Georgia. The park has one of the largest ride collections in the region, including a number of roller coasters. For kids that don’t yet meet the height requirement, go on the safari train and slides at the seasonal water park.
Let the kids earn their wolf ears with a stay at the beloved Great Wolf Lodge. The indoor waterpark and hotel is a fun escape for families with multiple deals and packages, including for dining credits and gifts. The large and rustic suites with bunk beds have room for the whole group, and the games will keep you entertained well into the night.
Search for buried treasure on the beaches of Tybee Island on a day out with Sundial Charters, an outfitter that specializes in fossil hunting. The company’s guides take guests to the coastal marshes and barrier islands to spot dolphins and maybe even find your own megalodon tooth, the ultimate souvenir!
Gifts for Pets & Pet Owners
Don’t forget about your pets and loved ones with animals! Georgia has an abundance of pet-friendly spots.
Atlanta’s best dog park has expanded to multiple locations around the state and is the best place to spend the day with your pet. The Fetch Park membership is your best bet for frequent trips, but you can also pay $10 per visit for a fenced play area and a bar for owners to grab a pint while the pups explore.
Sign Fido up for the Georgia State Parks Tails on Trails Club, which is a special pet-friendly trail passport program that comes with an exclusive owner shirt and bandana for your pup. Visit all of the participating parks within a year for the full experience.
Escape with your furry friend to the pet-friendly Barnsley Resort in North Georgia. The award-winning resort has gift cards available for $25 to $5,000. They can be used for overnight accommodations, onsite dining, spa treatments, golf, hunting or shooting at the sporting grounds, horseback riding, or souvenirs for your pup in the resort shop.
You don’t have to leave your dog behind while exploring the squares and parks of Savannah. Oliver Bentley’s offers 90- to 120-minute dog-walking tours of the city’s best spots. You also can get their signature dog biscuits for your pal!