Travel

10 Road trip-worthy Georgia destinations and attractions that won't break the bank

Visitors can hop on the ferry and camp out on Cumberland Island.

Photo by Ralph Daniel

There's a lot of wide open America to fall in love with between your home and your destination. Taking the long way or the road less traveled isn't a bad thing. It can lead to new adventures that end up as fond memories.

Almost as important as the destination itself is the vehicle you choose to road trip in. Click here to see AutomotiveMap's picks for best road trip SUV and here to see the best road trip cars. Click here to see AutomotiveMap's advice for planning the perfect road trip.

The next time you're planning a road trip to Georgia, consider the following destinations, which are not on the usual tourist roster.

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Cumberland Island hiking path Spanish moss oak tree

Photo by Ralph Daniel

If you're looking for an Instagram-worthy island on Georgia's coast, seek out Cumberland Island. The destination is only reachable by ferry and there's only two departures from the mainland each day. You can't take your vehicle so bring your walking shoes.

Like other National Parks, there is a visitor's center but that's not the main attraction. There are miles of beaches, hiking trails, bike paths, and fishing areas. Camping reservations can be had and there are managed hunting opportunities throughout the year.

One of the main attractions is the ruins of Dungeness Mansion on the southern end of Cumberland Island and the 22,000-square foot Plum Orchard Mansion. Also be sure to stop by The First African Baptist Church, which was established in 1893 and hosted the September 1996 wedding of John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette.

Georgia Movie/TV Tours

You can road trip to the Atlanta or Savannah area then let someone else do the vehicle operations part. The cities have a rich film history from "The Walking Dead" to "The Hunger Games" to a number of superhero films. Tour companies have popped up offering themed tours for TV and film productions, as well as general overview tours. Check out the full list on Explore Georgia's website here.

George L. Smith State Park

If you paddling and fishing, Georgia L. Smith State Park is for you. The state park is home to a 412-acre lake that is surrounded by thick stands of cypress and tupelo trees draped with Spanish moss. The state stocks the lake with bass and bream. If you're not in to tent camping, have no fear, there's well-appointed cottages that can be rented as well as space for tents, RVs, and campers.

National Infantry Museum

The National Infantry Museum

Photo courtesy of the National Infantry Museum

The National Infantry Museum encompasses 190,000 square feet of galleries that give insight into the U.S. military's role in the military campaigns that have helped shape the world's history. There's something for everyone from children to adults. The museum is located just outside Fort Benning, a U.S. Army post. There is no admission fee to get into the museum but they do ask for a $5.00 donation to help maintain the facility.

Chehaw Park & Zoo

Chehaw Park and Zoo

Photo by Ralph Daniel

What is Chehaw? A BMX biking facility, campground, an education center, and a zoo. The facility consists of over 700 acres of conservation land. The zoo consists of hundreds of animals including cheetahs, black rhinos', meerkats, black bears, and alligators. There's RV, camper, and tent camping on-site as well as cabins for rent. The disc golf course and BMW bike track give plenty of opportunity for good clean fun.

Atlanta Beltline

Atlanta Beltline Eastside Ponce City Market

Photo by Ralph Daniel

You can take the Atlanta Beltline from one side of Atlanta to the other, if you don't mind a long bike ride or walk. Or, you can opt to do it in sections. The east side of the Beltline was completed first and has the most development alongside it. There's art installations, popsicle carts, shopping, bar patios, cornhole games, and bike rentals available in addition to a myriad of cuisine options.

Stone Mountain Park

Step aside from the theme park area of Stone Mountain Park and head instead to the natural side where paddling, fishing, biking, hiking, and much more take precedence. There's a bevy of sleeping options from a traditional hotel to a yurt to tent and RV sites (and more). A general store, laundry facilities, and a swimming pool are also available. Remember to bring cash - there's a $20/day parking fee ($40 for an annual pass).

Oakland Cemetery

Oakland Cemetery tour

Photo by Ralph Daniel

Sure, it sounds macabre but some of the best storytellers can be found hosting tours of Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery. The historic cemetery is the final resting place of thousands of people (and animals) with enough stories to fill several days including "Gone with the Wind" author Margaret Mitchell, 27 Atlanta mayors, golfer Bobby Jones, and six past governors of Georgia. There's DIY options and a wide variety of themed tours available most of the year. Bring your walking shoes. There's a lot of ground to travel.

Roosevelt's Little White House

Warm Springs Little White House

Photo by Ralph Daniel

Enter into the world of President Franklin D. Roosevelt at his Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia. Just a few miles from Callaway Gardens, the site takes visitors back in time to learn more about the man that helped the U.S. navigate the Great Depression and World War II. Splurge on a stay at Callaway Gardens or camp out in F.D. Roosevelt State Park where there are tent, trailer, and RV sites as well as backcountry accommodations and cottages. Remember, you can still get a day pass to Callaway that includes the opportunity to walk or bike around the grounds, visit the nature centers, and enjoy the lake. Buying a ticket in advance can save you money.

Hike a monadnock

Panola Mountain State Park

Photo by Ralph Daniel

There are three places to see mondanocks, stone outcroppings that rise out of the surrounding landscape, in Georgia and they're all relatively close to one another. Arabia Mountain and Panola Mountain State Park are the least busy. Experts say that monadnocks are the closest thing we have on Earth to what it's like to be on the surface of the moon. If you're feeling ambitious, pack a picnic in your backpack and make a day of it.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition features a thermal orange paint job that it shares with the Acura NSX.

Photo courtesy of Acura
Acura will make a PMC Edition of its best-selling RDX for the 2021 model year. The move comes following successful PMC Edition iterations of the TLX and MDX and forecasts a design change is in the RDX's future.

Named after Acura's Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Ohio, the 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition will be hand-crafted alongside the Acura NSX by master technicians. Just 360 of the range-topping RDX PMC Edition models will be made and carry a sticker price in the low $50,000s. Exact pricing will be announced in the coming weeks.

2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition

Photo courtesy of Acura

Acura has given each of the North American market-exclusive models a Thermal Orange Pearl paint job - a color shared with the NSX.

It builds on the top-of-the-line RDX, which includes the RDX Advance Package and RDX A-Spec styling. The model gets exclusive black 20-inch alloy wheels, a body color grille surround, black chrome exhaust finishers, and a gloss black roof, side mirrors, and door handles. All-wheel drive is standard.

Acura has pushed the orange color to the cabin where it appears as color-matched orange stitching for the seats, center console, door panels, steering wheel, and floor mats. The RDX PMC edition features a 10.5-inch color head-up display, 16-way power Sport Seats trimmed in Ebony Milano leather and Ultrasuede, heated steering wheel, and heated outboard rear seats.

Like the NSX, each RDX PMC Edition will be built and handled with care. It starts as a body-in-white shell that arrives at PMC to be finished in its orange paint via a robotic paint system. Multiple base coats enhance the paint's intensity. Next ,a mid-coat of gold and orange mica is applied giving off a pearlescent effect in the sunlight. Finally, four layers of clearcoat are applied to increase the paint's luster and protect the finish. The total time in paint, including curing, is five days.

2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition www.youtube.com

Post-paint, PMC master technicians begin hand-assembling the two-row SUV starting with the installation of the drivetrains and chassis components, wiring harnesses, and electronics. Then, the wheels and tires are added. The final step in the process is to fit the vehicle with its unique interior including an individually numbered serial plate affixed to the RDX's center console.

Following assembly, the RDX PMC Edition undergoes an identical quality control process as NSX, which includes a full electronic systems line-end test, expert wheel alignment, dyno run, water-leak test and final paint examination. Before exiting PMC, each vehicle is wrapped in a protective film and loaded onto an enclosed, single-car carrier for transport to an Acura dealer.

Acura has introduced a PMC Edition of the TLX and MDX as they have entered the final year of their design phase. Could a refreshed RDX be on the horizon for 2022? All signs point to yes.

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The 2020 Ram 1500 Built to Serve model features aeronautical accents and pays tribute to the Air Force.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The third installment of the 2020 Ram 1500 Built to Serve models will go into production next month at the company's Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Michigan. Each of the Built to Serve variants of the truck pays tribute to a brach of the U.S. armed forces.

Ram's newest edition is crafted with an aeronautical theme in honor of the U.S. Air Force. It is available with either an Anvil or Billet Silver exterior color and with a black interior with Light Diesel Gray accent stitching.

2020 Ram 1500 Built to Serve: Air Force

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Ram continues to honor all of those who serve or have served in the United States armed forces with distinction through our latest 'Built to Serve' offering," said Mike Koval Jr., Head of Ram Brand, FCA – North America. "The 'Built to Serve' adage is something Ram truck owners, whether civilian or military, are very familiar with as it's something we strive to build into every truck and van we produce."

The Ram Built to Serve Edition trucks are built on the Ram 1500 Big Horn trim level.

Each model features a U.S. flag and Bulit to Serve decal on each of the rear quarter panels, 20-inch aluminum wheels with unique Technical Gray finish, body-colored wheel flares, all-black grille and surround, black bumpers, black-bezel premium lighting, black badges, black wheel-to-wheel side steps, and dual four-inch black exhaust tips.

There are Built to Serve Velcro panels on each front seat and on the rear shoulder panel where owners can apply their own patches to personalize their truck. Front seat-back panels are covered with PALS/MOLLE webbing that can be used to attach additional equipment or pouches.

Each model also comes loaded with Ram's 4x4 Off-Road Group content, including:

  • All-terrain tires
  • Electronic-locking rear axle
  • Hill-descent control
  • Front suspension skid plate
  • Steering gear skid plate
  • Fuel tank skid plate
  • Transfer case skid plate
  • Tow hooks
  • Heavy-duty off-road-calibrated front and rear shock absorbers

By appealing to past and present military members with the marketing of this truck, Ram is tapping into a significant population. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs calculates that approximately seven percent of the U.S. population is an active or reserve member, or veteran of the armed services.

Ram is selling the special edition as a $2,795 option.

The trucks wlll be available at dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2020.

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