It is often said there are two Georgias: Atlanta and the rest of the state. While Atlanta offers bright lights and big-city action, the regions to the north and southeast are filled with farms, lush forests, sleepy hamlets, and larger towns boasting vibrant arts and cultural scenes. In either direction, there is no shortage of beautiful scenery from the mountains to the north to the rolling hills and rivers to the south.
North Georgia is known for its abundant natural wonders and its cool mountain air. The region is home to the 750,000-acre Chattahoochee National Forest, where several bold rivers, including the Chattahoochee, Oconee, Toccoa, and Chattooga, have their headwaters. Rabun, Burton, Nottley, and Chatuge lakes offer recreational opportunities and camping. To the northwest are quaint river towns like Rome, as well as two important Georgia historic sites: New Echota State Historic Site and the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.
Whether planning a day trip from Atlanta or a longer exploration, there is plenty to do and see in Central Georgia. Head down U.S. 441—the Antebellum Trail—from Athens to Macon, and you'll quickly see that the elegance of the Old South is new again, with many historic buildings returned to their original splendor. Athens, home of the University of Georgia, pulses with college life, especially when the Bulldogs are playing. For a taste of old Georgia, Macon's historical architecture is unmatched. Farther east, Augusta is home of the Masters Tournament. Even if you're not drawn to the tees, this city—like so many in Georgia—is undergoing a renaissance of its waterfront and historic districts.