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 Nikola Badger will debut with a tap for drinking water.

Photo courtesy of Nikola Corporation

When it comes to emissions, there's little that beats the cleanliness of hydrogen fuel cell technology. Though it has a mineral-rich battery pack, the model is fueled by hydrogen. The only thing that comes out of the tailpipe is water vapor.

That water vapor can either be absorbed into the atmosphere or, in the case of the Nikola Badger, become part of a drinking fountain system, as reveled in a tweet earlier this week.

Take a look at the back end of the Badger. That's right, you will be able to tap that.

Nikola Badger The Nikola Badger can be reserved online today.Photo courtesy of Nikola Corporation

A recent tweet from Nikola Founder and CEO Trevor Milton promised that a drinking fountain would be in the truck. Inn fact, the company had already narrowed it down to two designs and chosen the winner.

A hot a cold tap are promised, with safeguards to prevent accidental emissions and splashing.

Aside from the engineering, the question about the safety of drinking the water is a valid one. There are technologies, including hydropanels, that capture water vapor and turn it into drinking water. Other technologies, like Akvo AWGs, do similar things via a different, multi-step process.

Toyota does not recommend drinking the water vapor from its hydrogen fuel cell-powered Mirai, however Hyundai touts the ability to do so, even going so far as to creating a publicity stunt wherein Olympic swimmer Mireia Belmonte ran on a treadmill inside a plastic bubble while the Nexo's tailpipe was hooked up pumping in emissions.

Hyundai Nexo y Mireia Belmonte 30" www.youtube.com

The engineering behind taking the emitted water vapor from the truck's tailpipe to a drinking fountain has yet to be seen. A prototype of the Nikola Badger has yet to be seen by the public despite the fact that top-tier reservations for the model have already sold out.

The Nikola Badger is slated to debut later this year as part of the festivities surrounding Nikola World.

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The Nissan Foundation has

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Foundation has announced a new round of grants to nonprofit organizations. The 27 organizations that benefit from the grants are located in the Southern California, Tennessee, Central Mississippi, Eastern Michigan and the New York and Atlanta metro areas.

Over its 28-year history, the Nissan Foundation has awarded more than $12 million to approximately 150 organizations that offer educational programs that inform, inspire and celebrate diversity among the various racial, ethnic and cultural groups that make up society.

The Nissan Foundation Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

"The Nissan Foundation's singular focus from day one has been to stimulate dialogue around race relations and cultural diversity and to support organizations celebrating our differences while reminding us of our similarities," said Nissan Foundation President Travis Parman. "Our 2020 grantees have been engaging in this important, difficult, and often uncomfortable, work for many years. It's our honor and privilege to recognize and amplify their efforts."

Since it was founded in 1992, the mission of the Nissan Foundation was been "to build community by valuing culture diversity", according to a release. The Foundation was founded in response to the civil unrest that occurred near Nissan North America's then-U.S. sales operations in Southern California following the Rodney King trial verdict.

The list of 2020 grant recipients includes:

The Nissan Foundation will begin accepting letters of intent for the 2021 grant cycle in mid-October with a submission deadline of November 16. Applicants must be based in California, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Tennessee, or Texas.

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