Cumberland Island National Seashore
Cumberland Island National Seashore

Escape the Cold for Spring Break in Georgia

Spring break in Georgia is a great time to enjoy national park camping and hiking, the wonders of Georgia’s barbecue tradition and the state’s many historical sites. Best of all, it’s the perfect place to escape the cold weather in other states! Here are this traveler’s top picks for enjoying your time as you escape the cold on spring break in Georgia.

National parks to explore in Georgia 

Walk the grounds of Dungeness Ruins on Cumberland Island National Seashore.
Walk the grounds of Dungeness Ruins on Cumberland Island National Seashore

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Need a place big enough for the kids to roam, and hope to also teach them about nature and history on spring break? Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia’s largest barrier island, is an undeveloped wonderland of dunes, maritime forests and marshland. After a ferry ride from St. Marys to the island, you can visit the ruins of the Carnegie’s Dungeness mansion and soak up the sun on the untouched beach. Sea turtles and shore birds, pristine dunes and historic sites like the First African Baptist Church will keep things fascinating.

Go boating on the Chattahoochee River. Photo courtesy Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area Facebook.
Go boating on the Chattahoochee River. Photo courtesy Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area Facebook.

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

If you’ve never visited the Atlanta area, you’re in for a surprise. Right in the midst of the city’s northern suburbs, you’ll find a 50-mile stretch of waterway just right for active spring breakers. At the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, you can bring or rent tubes, kayaks or canoes for a float down the Chattahoochee (Class II rapids in some spots). Bring along the tackle and lures (no live bait permitted) for bass and catfish angling in these cool, green waters. You can also hike or bike the paths along the shore to experience the river by land.

Arabia Mountain. Copyright: Stacy Funderburke.
Arabia Mountain. Copyright: Stacy Funderburke.

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area

Round out your spring break trip to Atlanta with another natural wonder — the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area just 20 miles east of the city. Miles of trail through two natural preserves unveil the beauty of massive granite outcroppings as well as scenic waterways, historic sites and greenspaces. Whether you choose to visit Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve or Panola Mountain State Park, it’s a side trip worth taking while in the Atlanta area.

Learn about Civil War history at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Copyright: Jeffrey M. Frank.
Learn about Civil War history at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Copyright: Jeffrey M. Frank.

Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

Traveling on spring break with Civil War history buffs? The enormous Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park on the Georgia/Tennessee border offers hundreds of markers along miles of hiking trails (or you can choose the auto tour). Regarded as the battle that ended the might of the Confederate Army, it’s a sobering and fascinating place to absorb the personal stories of those who fought.

Barbecue to savor along the way

Wiley
Wiley's Championship BBQ

 

Don’t even think about visiting Georgia on spring break without indulging in a little barbecue. In fact, you could make an entire barbecue trip based on each region’s best sauces, meats and sides. The sweet, smoky goodness of Georgia ‘cue is definitely worth the travel time!

Atlanta

In Atlanta, be sure to visit at least one of the metro’s magnificent barbecue joints. This traveler’s top picks? Community Q in Decatur and Heirloom Market BBQ in Atlanta (don’t miss the Brunswick stew).

The Coast

On the Georgia coast, Wiley’s Championship BBQ and Southern Soul Barbeque continue to win spots on the “best of Georgia” lists.

Northwest Georgia

If you’re in northwest Georgia, eat at Dub's High on the Hog in Calhoun.

West Georgia

For spring break travelers in the Pine Mountain/Callaway Gardens area, don’t miss the chance to sample the pork sandwich at Moore’s Whistling Pig.

Bonus Tip: Savannah Music Festival

Savannah Music Festival
Savannah Music Festival

By the time you’ve hiked and eaten your way through Georgia on spring break, you may think you’ve done and seen it all. You’d be wrong! For college-age spring breakers who don’t care to hit the beach this year, or for anyone who loves large cross-genre musical arts events, the annual Savannah Music Festival March 28 through April 13, 2019, offers more than 100 musical productions, with world-class performances in everything from acoustic to flamenco to zydeco.

And there you have it: this traveler’s top tips for getting away to the warmer climate of Georgia on spring break. Indulge all your senses as you shed your winter coats and learn why the Peach State is worth taking more than one taste.

Published: March 2016
Written by: Joe Laing