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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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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The new Type R set a Suzuka Circuit lap record.

Honda

The new Honda Civic somehow improves on the formula laid out by its numerous predecessors and does so with style, refinement, and value. The Civic Si built on that foundation with a potent turbocharged engine and solid handling, but Honda's not done with the Civic. The automaker just teased the new Civic Type R, and it set records at Japan's Suzuka Circuit during a recent testing session.

The All-New 2023 Type R Achieves Track Record at Suzukawww.youtube.com

The Type R lapped Suzuka Circuit in 2 minutes, 23.120 seconds, a record-breaking lap for a front-wheel drive car. The video features neat telemetry information on-screen during the lap as well, but the real excitement comes later when full specs are revealed.

Honda's been understandably mum on details on the new Type R's powertrain and performance numbers, but the car is expected to carry the same powertrain with its predecessor. The 300-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine made that car a force to be reckoned with, so the 2023 Civic Type R will likely continue carrying that torch.

Honda Civic Type RHonda will fully reveal the car this summer. Honda

Honda will reveal the car in all its glory this summer. As for pricing, the previous car started around $38,000, so the new model should be around there to start. That, of course, is before dealers mark it up and other lucky buyers snap them up for insane resale on an auction site.

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