If you’re visiting Atlanta but want to make a quick getaway to the coast, the charming city of Savannah is only four hours away. It’s easily accessible by taking I-75 to Macon and then I-16 until your destination. Break up the road trip with stops at quirky landmarks, with some great tunes, and in a comfortable car. All locations are within Georgia.
Henry County and its communities are the perfect stopover for the afternoon or overnight, located in the southern suburbs of Atlanta. Here you can take a test drive on the track at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which hosts frequent NASCAR races and other events.
The town of Hampton is a location frequently used by The Walking Dead but is also home to Jailhouse Brewing, located in the town’s historic jailhouse.
In nearby Stockbridge, Noah’s Ark has 250 acres of rescued exotic animals including wolves, bears, tigers, primates, and more. Panola Mountain State Park is one of the state’s best, with tree climbing, hiking, archery, and bike paths.
If that’s not enough, you can stop by Jackson to see the Stranger Things filming locations and Juliette to see the set of Fried Green Tomatoes before hopping back on the highway.
Macon is the epicenter of Southern rock and other genres of music and was the home of Otis Redding and the Allman Brothers Band. Here fans can tour the Allman Brothers Band Museum, pay their respects at their burial sites, and as of January 2020, visit the Capricorn Museum, which features exhibits on the recording studio and label that fostered so many acts.
Also in town, the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park is one of the most important Native American landmarks in the state, if not the country, inhabited for over 17,000 years.
The Hay House is one of the finest Southern mansions, this Italian Renaissance Revival home was built in 1855. The Tubman Museum focuses on the art, culture, and history of the African-American diaspora.
In nearby Warner Robins, visitors can tour the Museum of Aviation, a large aerospace museum run by the Air Force. It features restored aircraft.
The town of Vidalia is known for being the home of the Vidalia Onion, a sweet variety beloved nationwide. The Vidalia Onion Museum tells the story of the all-important crop and how it gained popularity with the annual festival and pageant.
The nearby town of Santa Claus is another fun roadside attraction with streets like Candy Cane Road and Rudolph Street. It provides the holiday spirit year-round.
Dublin was named for the city in Ireland, first incorporated in 1812. It was captured by Union troops during the Civil War. But it’s best known for being the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s first public speech in 1944.
He was a young student who had won a contest and traveled from Atlanta to the First African Baptist Church. The site is memorialized with a mural by artist Corey Barksdale and an audio guide.
Made famous by the Blind Willie McTell song “Statesboro Blues,” the town is home to Georgia Southern University. Eagle Creek Brewing Company is a favorite stop for students and visitors alike with varieties inspired by their surroundings. The US National Tick Collection is another offbeat attraction, showcasing over 125,000 of them. It’s open for tours by appointment.
Savannah has so much to offer visitors, especially for lovers of history and food. The American Prohibition Museum is an interactive space about America’s failed experiment with exhibits on Savannah’s boozy past and a speakeasy.
The Telfair Academy is a Neoclassical mansion turned art museum with American and European works as well as the Bird Girl, which graced the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Wormsloe Historic Site sits on the grounds of a former plantation on the Isle of Hope. It has a recreated area from the colonial times. While you’re there, visit the nearby Pin Point Heritage Museum, which covers the Gullah and Geechee culture of the Sea Islands and the freedmen that lived in the area.
About the Car
For this trip, I borrowed a Chevy Equinox, which was similar in size to the Blazer I’d previously driven. It came in the same four-door hatchback style with the features I loved like the touch screen for navigation, radio, and Apple CarPlay. The small SUV crossover drove like a car but had plenty of space for my bags and the souvenirs I purchased.
Weber Shandwick and Chevrolet organized our borrowed ride.
I’ll be traveling to Savannah at the end of March. Hopefully, there will be some azaleas blooming.