Island Treasures on Jekyll Island, Georgia
1. Drink a warm beverage (boozy or not)
Gather with some friends or family for a round of warm beverages.
Home to the University of Georgia, Athens is also home to exceptional coffee shops, keeping students and faculty well-fueled for late-night study sessions and early-morning lectures. Stop into Condor Chocolates downtown for an espresso and to see how brothers Nick and Peter Dale produce bean-to-bar chocolate bars, truffles, sipping chocolate, hot cocoa, coffee and more delicious treats. Or, take an afternoon tea break at The Cafe on Lumpkin, where a variety of quality teas are served with three-tiered fare, including tea sandwiches, British scones with housemade clotted cream & jams, macarons, and other sweets.
In Atlanta, there's no shortage of hot drinks to enjoy. Stop in for coffee and a bite to eat at The Chastain after playing a round of golf or a jog around Chastain Park. Try Hampton + Hudson’s bourbon and brandy hot chocolate, or try indulgent versions like Hot Chocolate Berlin or Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup at Cafe Intermezzo. And, when you need a caffeinated pick-me-up, check out these five neighborhood coffee and tea shops in Atlanta.
Savannah knows its way around a hot drink with plenty of coffee shops. Order the white forest mocha at The Paris Market, the spiced lavender mocha at The Collins Quarter or any of the teas at Gryphon Tea Room.
2. Play in the snow (or ice)
Georgia may not get much snow most years, but that doesn't mean you can't see some!
Margaritaville at Lanier Islands
License to Chill Snow Island at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands near Gainesville has snow rides and play areas through the end of February. Take the crew snow tubing, practice your figure eights at the ice rink, hop on the carnival rides, make snow angels, warm up with s'mores and hot cocoa, and visit Santa on select days in December.
Seasonal ice skating rinks
Some of the ice skating rinks set up around the holidays stay open into February, as well.
3. Cozy up at a resort
Book a getaway to one of Georgia's coziest resorts.
Northeast Georgia Mountains
Winter promotions make this the best time of year to enjoy the cabin rentals in Helen and Dahlonega, which can come with hot tubs and mountain views. Escape to a cute treehouse by Stay Dahlonega for a whimsical getaway. Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris is another favorite for its roaring fireplaces and in-house spa.
The Georgia coast is also nice in the off-season. Throughout January and February, Jekyll Island hosts the unique Island Treasures event. You can hunt for stunning glasswork globes created by talented artisans from across the country. Stay nearby the treasure hunt at the Jekyll Island Club Resort.
Or, explore the natural beauty of a barrier island bundled up with a stay at The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island, an 11,000-acre eco-resort that only hosts 32 guests at a time. Spread out on seven miles of private, undeveloped shore, and take guided tours with naturalists into maritime forests and diverse wetland ecosystems.
The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee has lakefront fire pits where you can enjoy a cocktail. Treat yourself to the resort's spa retreat package and indulge in spa treatments infused with native Georgia ingredients and water-themed therapies.
4. Get out while staying inside
Cure your cabin fever by getting out of the house and visiting Georgia's museums and indoor attractions this winter.
In Augusta, you'll feel good learning about the life of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, at the Augusta Museum of History, where you also can brush up on your golf knowledge before The Masters tournament in the spring.
5. Read a book by a Georgia author
Chilly days are the ideal time to dust off some books by your favorite Georgia authors. Might this be the year you re-read "The Color Purple" or "The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor"? Or perhaps you’re looking to learn more about Georgia history from John Lewis’ "March" graphic novel series or one of President Jimmy Carter's many memoirs.
To get started, visit the Georgia Writers Museum to learn about the rich literary heritage of the state, and then browse the stacks of fantastic bookstores like:
- Avid in Athens
- Horton’s in Carrollton
- Little Shop of Stories in Decatur
- Dogwood Books in Rome
- E. Shaver in Savannah, and
- The Bookshelf in Thomasville.
Then, jump into the pages of your favorite books by touring Georgia literary landmarks like Andalusia Farm, home of Flannery O'Connor, in Milledgeville; and the Mercer Williams House in Savannah, featured in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."
6. Indulge in a spa treatment
Splurge on some self-care during this time of year, whether that be a spa treatment or a weekend wellness retreat. Relax in a salt cave at Serenity in the Mountains in Blue Ridge. Steam in a sauna at the Spa at Barnsley Resort, or enjoy a treatment before a trip to the vineyard in the Northeast Georgia mountains, such as at Lucille's Mountain Top Inn & Spa in Sautee Nacoochee or at Paradise Hills Winery Resort & Spa in Blairsville. Go on a silent retreat at one of the state's spiritual centers, or practice yoga and meditation.
Find inspiration with these trip ideas:
7. Go hiking or camping
Spend some time in the great outdoors! Georgia has gorgeous state parks and miles of trails to explore, no matter what region you're in.
Winter is a good time for goal-setting, whether that means waking up early to catch the sunrise on Panola Mountain or conquering some of the state's highest points on the Appalachian Trail, Blood Mountain and Springer Mountain. It's also a perfect season to take in the expansive scenery at Providence Canyon.
8. Binge on Georgia film projects
Cuddle up in front of your television to watch one of the many Georgia film and television projects. Catch up on past seasons of "Stranger Things" and "The Walking Dead."
Want to see where your favorite scenes were filmed in real life? Follow this guide to get some great shots!
9. Shop for new styles
Winter sales make this the perfect time to support local businesses, like at Kevin's Fine Outdoor Gear and Apparel in Thomasville, Wander North Georgia in Clayton, and Heery's in Athens. Plan a shopping trip that includes these great places to shop:
10. Sample seasonal beers
When temperatures cool down, new beer flavors start appearing in breweries throughout Georgia. Chocolatey stouts, nutty dark ales and barrel-aged styles keep you warm hanging out by a fire pit with friends.
Grab your friends and head to Athens for good times when you follow the Athens Beer Trail. Visit all seven breweries on the trail, collecting stamps in your trail guide, and receive a keepsake to remember your trip.
Or, visit the breweries on the Topside Tap Trail in Roswell, Alpharetta and Sandy Springs. Collect stamps in your trail passport to earn a commemorative koozie!
For more beer suggestions, check our list of 21 Essential Breweries in Georgia.