Expedition: Bigfoot in Cherry Log, Georgia

Expedition: Bigfoot in Cherry Log, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

13 Strange Things You Wouldn't Believe are in Georgia

If you're a fan of the stranger things in this world, you'll love these weirdly wonderful places in Georgia.

"Stranger Things" is more than just a hit TV show filmed in Georgia. It's also what you'll find in all corners of the state. These places are far from your average attraction and are worth getting off the beaten path to explore.

Exhibits inside Expedition: Bigfoot in Cherry Log, Georgia

Exhibits inside Expedition: Bigfoot in Cherry Log, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Expedition: Bigfoot in Cherry Log

Located in the mountains north of Ellijay, where you might spot the mythical creature, is Expedition: Bigfoot. The 4,000-square-foot space has exhibits on "genuine" Bigfoot artifacts, information on sightings, and a reference library. Learn about the origins of the legends surrounding "Sasquatch."

Joni Mabe

Joni Mabe

Elvis' Wart in Cornelia

You might have been to Graceland, but North Georgia's Elvis Presley fan museum is something entirely unique. The Loudermilk Boarding House & Everything Elvis Museum is covered in 30,000 memorabilia items related to “The King.” The highlight of the collection is a wart that was removed from Presley’s wrist and later sold at auction and purchased by owner Joni Mabe. The historic home where the museum is located dates back to 1908 and holds an annual Elvis festival.

Replica of Altie the sea monster in Darien, Georgia

Altie the sea monster in Darien, Georgia

Altie the Sea Monster in Darien

Did you know Georgia has its very own Loch Ness Monster? Local lore has it the Altamaha-ha sea monster, better known as "Altie," lives in the waters and abandoned rice fields of McIntosh County. Tales of the creature's sighting reach back to the land's original inhabitants – the Muscogee tribe – and increased when Scottish settlers from Inverness brought over stories of Loch Ness. Even today, visitors to the coast tell tales of a strange creature swimming in the Altamaha River near Darien. Try to catch a glimpse of the legend at Fort King George Historic Site – one of the most popular sighting spots – or snap a selfie with a replica of Altie at the Darien-McIntosh Regional Visitor Information Center.

old bicycles lined up at Old Car City

Old Car City in White, Georgia. Photo by @bwebmasta

Old Car City USA in White

Calling itself “the largest open-air classic car museum in the world,” Old Car City USA is a junkyard of sorts that started as a car dealership in 1931. Spend the day wandering through the acres of rusting vehicles, which take on a post-apocalyptic feel. There are countless photo ops, including the hand-written signs and the styrofoam cup art gallery. The attraction is located in Northwest Georgia and is open Wednesday to Saturday.

BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia

BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia. Photo by @benjamingalland

Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland

It’s not every day that you see babies born from a cabbage patch! But the Babyland General Hospital in North Georgia is where the Cabbage Patch dolls have their origins. Creator Xavier Roberts converted a former clinic into the original “hospital” space, although they’ve since moved into a larger building. Visitors can adopt their own doll or see one being born in the cabbage patch.

Doll's Head Trail in Atlanta

Exactly as it sounds, this unusual trail is within Constitution Lakes Park in Southeast Atlanta and was created in 2011. The free and pet-friendly trail offers views of the lake and is well-marked with signs. The unusual "art piece" riddled with the heads of abandoned dolls and objects by Joel Slaton is located on the site of a former brick plant.

Barbie Beach in Turin, Georgia

Barbie Beach in Turin, Georgia. Photo by @joelcarrick

Barbie Beach in Turin

Similarly, this landmark in remote Coweta County southwest of Atlanta has become known for its dolls. Steve and Lynda Quick created their "lawn art" in 2005, showcasing Barbies and G.I. Joe dolls in various scenes. Located in front of their private residence at the intersections of highways 54 and 16, it’s free to visit and changes regularly. It even inspired a short documentary that was screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. Photo by Sarah, @themindfulmrs

Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. Photo by Sarah, @themindfulmrs

Two-headed Calf in Atlanta

The Georgia Capitol Museum in Atlanta is a hidden gem within the city. Its collection is eclectic, covering all aspects of the state’s history, but one item stands above the rest. The taxidermied head of a two-headed calf is a favorite of visitors. Other highlights of the collection include Leo Frank’s clemency papers, private photographs of the Carnegie family, and records from the Western and Atlantic Railroad.

The Rock Garden in Calhoun, Georgia. Photo by Barry Snapp, @barrysnapp

The Rock Garden in Calhoun, Georgia. Photo by Barry Snapp, @barrysnapp

The Rock Garden in Calhoun

Built by volunteers, 50 structures crafted from tiny stones make up The Rock Garden, located on property behind the Calhoun Seventh Day Adventist Church. Stroll through the flowers and greenery to see Cinderella's castle, Notre Dame cathedral, a monastery, houses and more wee buildings all fashioned out of rocks, pebbles, shells, broken pieces of china and other odd materials. The free attraction is open daily from dawn to dusk.

Tree Spirit at Gascoigne Bluff on St. Simons Island, Georgia

Tree Spirit at Gascoigne Bluff on St. Simons Island, Georgia

Tree Spirits on St. Simons Island

There’s more to the oak trees of Coastal Georgia than meets the eye. In 1980, artist Keith Jennings began carving whimsical faces into them. The faces, each of which is different and carved by hand over a few days, are inspired by the sailors lost at sea. There are at least 20 dotted around the island, and the St. Simons Island Visitor Center can tell you where to go to find them.

Specimen in the U.S. National Tick Collection in Statesboro, Georgia

Specimen in the U.S. National Tick Collection in Statesboro, Georgia

U.S. National Tick Collection in Statesboro

Set on the campus of Georgia Southern University lies the world’s largest collection of ticks, those pesky insects that latch onto your skin. First established in a lab in Montana, then given to the Smithsonian Institution, over 1 million specimens came to Georgia on loan and never left. Multiple species are represented and even painted gold for better viewing under the microscope. They are studied for information about the transmission of diseases. Call ahead to plan your trip because the U.S. National Tick Collection is open by appointment only.

The Tree that Owns Itself in Athens, Georgia

The Tree that Owns Itself in Athens, Georgia

The Tree That Owns Itself in Athens

A simple oak tree in a quiet part of the Classic City is only recognized by the small stone sign at its base. The "Jackson Oak," as it's also known, likely dates back to the 17th century, but fell in 1942. In 1890, the owner gave the tree "possession of itself and of all land within eight feet," saving it from future development. The current Tree That Owns Itself is its "son," planted from the original tree's acorns. It's now located within the Dearing Street Historic District, a short walk from downtown.

Woman walking in the courtyard at Pasaquan in Buena Vista, Georgia

Pasaquan in Buena Vista, Georgia. Photo by Geoff L. Johnson

Pasaquan in Buena Vista

Head southeast about 30 miles from Columbus to explore Pasaquan, a 7-acre art site hidden in the pines of rural Marion County, roughly six miles east of Buena Vista. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is considered among the most important visionary art environments in the United States.

Created by Eddie Owens Martin, better known as St. EOM, the art environment features six major structures, mandala murals and more than 900 feet of elaborately painted masonry walls. Pasaquan's design fuses pre-Columbian Mexico, African and Native American cultural and religious symbols with motifs inspired by Edward Churchward's books about "The Lost Continent of MU." There's no shortage of photo ops on this colorful compound; nearly every inch of every surface is filled with zany, bright-hued patterns.

Published: March 2024
Written by: Caroline Eubanks
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