Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. Photo by Gregory Ng, @followgreg
Photo by Gregory Ng, @followgreg

Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. Photo by Gregory Ng, @followgreg

15 Places You Can Find Only in Georgia

Georgia has no shortage of incredible places to explore from beaches and mountains to cities and small towns. Among them, the Peach State holds some unique titles and has some quirky landmarks you'll find only here.

Here are 15 places in Georgia you won't find anywhere else. How many have you visited?

Georgia Aquarium. Photo by Romana Žáčková, @romana_zackova

Largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere

Photo by Romana Žáčková, @romana_zackova

The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is the largest in the United States, featuring 100,000 animals. There are permanent galleries with marine life from the state and beyond, including whale sharks and beluga whales. The aquarium has even been featured on the Animal Planet show "The Aquarium."

National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center in Columbus, Georgia

The only museum dedicated to the American Infantryman

The National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning in Columbus is the only military museum that focuses solely on telling the story of the Infantryman through America's conflicts. The Smithsonian-affiliated institution has free admission and an incredible collection of military artifacts, a large-screen theater, memorials, a gift shop and a restaurant.

If you visit on Thursday or Friday mornings, you can attend Fort Benning basic training graduation ceremonies, which are held on the field adjacent to the museum. Loved ones travel from across the country to witness their soldier's graduation.

Mountain Crossings in Blairsville, Georgia

The only place where the Appalachian Trail passes through a manmade structure

Hikers traveling to Blood Mountain from Neels Gap near Blairsville can cross under the stone arch at Mountain Crossings, the only place where the Appalachian Trail passes through a manmade structure. Mountain Crossings is an outfitter that also has accommodations for hikers.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Park in Dublin, Georgia

Where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his first public speech

Photo by James Scarboro, @jamesscarborophotography

Dublin, Georgia, is where a 14-year-old Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his first public speech after winning an essay contest. The event took place at First African Baptist Church, the oldest African American church in the city.

Today, a mural and small park honor King's early legacy. Several times a year, visitors can participate in a living play that chronicles the civil rights movement, including highlights from King's first speech. And, youth can participate in the annual oratorical speech contest at the church in Dublin each April.

Presidential Gallery at The Booth Museum in Cartersville, Georgia

A gallery with a letter and portrait from every U.S. president

The Booth Museum in Cartersville has a presidential gallery that has a letter and portrait from every U.S. president. The 120,000-square-foot space also has Western art, Civil War art and more than 200 Native American artifacts. There is even a sculpture garden outside. The second largest art museum in Georgia has interactive and temporary exhibits, and it hosts events throughout the year, including the Cowboy Festival & Symposium in October.

Kolomoki Mounds State Park in Blakely, Georgia

The oldest and largest Woodland Indian site in the Southeast

Kolomoki Mounds State Park in the southwest Georgia town Blakely is the oldest and largest Woodland Indian site in the Southeast and has the oldest great temple mound in Georgia. It was occupied by Native Americans from 350 to 750 A.D. and contains two smaller burial mounds and a park museum featuring items found during excavations.

Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve in Cairo, Georgia

The largest extent of trout lilies known anywhere in the world

The Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve in Cairo, Georgia, is the largest extent of trout lilies known anywhere in the world. The plants are in bloom from mid-February to March on land that was donated by a former timber company. Late morning and early afternoon are the best times to see them opened up.

The longest and largest canopy tour in the U.S.

The Screaming Eagle zip line at Historic Banning Mills Adventure and Conservation Center in Whitesburg reaches up to 70 miles per hour. The zipline holds the Guinness World Record for the longest and largest canopy tour in the U.S. The park also has a spa and onsite accommodations, including an inn and tree houses, and an RV and camping park.

Home of the oldest living U.S. president in history

As of March 2019, Jimmy Carter became the oldest living American president. The 39th president set the record at 94 years and 172 days old. Visitors can learn about him at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in his hometown of Plains and attend his Sunday school class at Maranatha Baptist Church.

Whitewater rafting in Columbus, Georgia

The longest urban whitewater rafting course in the world

The Columbus Whitewater course is the the longest urban whitewater rafting in the world, running straight through the city on the border with Alabama. The Georgia Power portion on the Chattahoochee River has changing rapids levels based on the dam release times on the 2.5-mile course.

Okefenokee Swamp. Photo by Brian Foster, @fosterino

Largest blackwater swamp in North America

Photo by Brian Foster, @fosterino

The Okefenokee Swamp is the largest blackwater swamp in North America, running along the border between Georgia and Florida. Stephen C. Foster State Park, which is located within the swamp, also has been named the first International Dark Sky Park in Georgia, which makes it a prime destination for stargazers.

Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia

The only Trappist monastery in Georgia

The Monastery of the Holy Spirit was established by Trappist monks in Conyers more than 70 years ago. Set on 2,000 acres, visitors can roam the grounds or even stay overnight and attend church services. The monastery also has a cafe, gift shop and bonsai nursery.

Rock City Gardens in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Photo by Helga Fontánez, @helgadenisse

The first mini golf course

Photo by Helga Fontánez, @helgadenisse

Rock City Gardens in Lookout Mountain on the border with Tennessee is a beloved attraction, promoted on the sides of barns for generations. It was here that the first mini golf course was created when a local man created a community called Fairyland. Construction delays caused a small golf course to be created until a full one could be built. The popular mini golf course soon caught on.

St. Catherine's Island. Photo by Tom Coy Photography

Georgia's lemur colony

Photo by Tom Coy Photography

Accessible only by boat, the interior of St. Catherine's Island is not open to the general public. But, it's here that eight ring-tailed lemurs roam free for the purposes of research. The species is native to Madagascar.

By state law, all of Georgia's barrier island beaches to the high tide line are open to the public, including St. Catherine's. So, during daylight hours, the public is allowed to use the beach for hiking, picnicking or shelling to the high-tide line. However, the interior of the island is off-limits to the public without permission.

World's largest known classic car junkyard

Old Car City in North Georgia is one of world's largest automobile junkyards. Some cars date back to the 1920s. The attraction in White, Georgia, is made up of 34 acres and contains more than 4,000 old cars. The majority are from the 1970s.

Published: May 2019
Written by: Caroline Eubanks