- For the country see Georgia (country)
Georgia is a U.S. state in the South. The state was named after Great Britain's King George II and was the last of the 13 original U.S. colonies. Georgia's capital, Atlanta, is the ninth largest metropolitan area in the United States. The state is also known as the Peach State and Empire State of the South.
|Historic High Country |
|Metro Atlanta |
|Classic Heartland of Georgia |
|Plantation Midlands |
|Coastal Georgia |
- 1 Albany - home of Albany State University and Flint River Center
- 2 Atlanta — the state's capital, largest city, and home of CNN, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, UPS, and a myriad of other smaller national companies
- 3 Athens — home of the University of Georgia's main campus
- 4 Augusta — home of Augusta National Golf Club, site of the Masters
- 5 Columbus - home of Columbus State University, the Chattahoochee RiverWalk, and the National Civil War Naval Museum
- 6 Dalton — carpet capital of the world and home to the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center, which showcases the Georgia Athletic Coaches' Hall of Fame
- 7 Macon — cherry blossom capital of Georgia and home of the Allman Brothers Band Museum.
- 8 Savannah — Georgia's first established city, first state capital, and a heartland of colonial culture. Savannah was the host city for the sailing competitions during the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta.
- 9 Valdosta — called the Azalea City, it is not far from Wild Adventures, the only amusement park in south Georgia
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail
- 1 Blue Ridge — Gateway to the mountains and the Toccoa River
- 2 Cumberland Island National Seashore
- 3 Amicalola Falls
- 4 Jekyll Island
- 5 Lake Chatuge
- 6 Oconee National Forest
- 7 Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
- 8 Saint Simons Island
The first European expedition known to have charted today's Georgia was Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto. The territory was contested between the Spanish Empire and England, who founded the colony of Georgia in 1732, named for George II of Great Britain. The fertile soil of the Black Belt was great for cash crops such as cotton. Much of the immigration came through the trans-Atlantic slave trade and indentured service labour from Britain. As plantations expanded, much of the indigenous American population was forcibly evacuated; see Trail of Tears.
During the American Civil War, Georgia was hit hard by William T. Sherman's "march to the sea" and a lot of its infrastructure was destroyed. However, the state quickly rebuilt and by the turn of the twentieth century (1900), it was one of the more advanced states in the South. Beginning in the 1890s, Georgia and other Southern states passed a wide variety of Jim Crow laws that mandated racial segregation in public facilities and effectively codified the region’s tradition of white supremacy.
However, during the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, Atlanta came to be known as "the city too busy to hate" because it experienced less racial violence than other Southern cities. Native Georgian Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most important US civil rights leaders. Georgia has shed the image as a largely agricultural state that it had in the 19th century and is home to the headquarters of several major corporations as well as the busiest airport in the world, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta. While most people thinking of Georgia immediately think of Atlanta, there is still a lot the rural Georgia of yore left and Southern hospitality has lost nothing of its charm and is - contrary to common prejudices - more often than not extended to people of all origins and creeds.
Although traditionally regarded as a deeply conservative state, an influx of liberal suburbanites into the Atlanta area in the 21st century has turned Georgia into a swing state, with the Democrats narrowly winning the state in the 2020 presidential election.
Many (but not all) Georgians speak with southern accents. Non-native English speakers may have difficulty understanding them. Many native Georgians speak in the dialect of the American South. This dialect changes slightly as you cross through each region, and will be more so in rural areas. In the two urban areas of Atlanta and Savannah, most residents speak with a General American English accent. In the Atlanta metropolitan area, speakers will also have several different dialects and accents, along with other languages due to the diversity of the people that live there.
Spanish is also spoken by small portions of the population throughout Georgia.
Georgia has colder winters than Florida, its neighbor to the south, giving it a more temperate climate, but in summer sees similar hot temperatures and high humidity. The best time to visit is in spring or fall.
- See also: Air travel in the USA
Georgia borders Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The main interstate highways are I-20, which goes east-west and continues to South Carolina and Alabama; I-75, which goes north-south and continues to Tennessee and Florida; I-85, which goes northeast-southwest and continues to Alabama and South Carolina; I-16, an in-state route that links Macon with Savannah; and I-95, which hugs the coast and continues to South Carolina and Florida. With the exception of I-95 and I-16, all of these highways go through Atlanta.
Amtrak serves Atlanta (unsurprisingly as the city was founded as a railroad terminus). Train travel in the USA in general has entered a decline in the 1950s and Georgia is no exception, however since about the year 2000 trains are regaining some popularity, with Amtrak ridership growing continuously and now almost fifty percent higher than at the turn of the millennium. Trains are still unbeaten in terms of legroom, views and people you can meet. While traveling by train in the US is not necessarily fast or cheap, it is still a uniquely stylish experience and a great way to get around if time is not critical. For more on schedules (often few and far between) and prices (not necessarily cheaper than flying), see Amtrak's website.
- MARTA, the public transport system in Atlanta, Georgia and some of its surrounding metro-Atlanta area only.
- Georgia allows international drivers to use their own driving licenses as proof of driving capability as long as that license is in English.
- Historic High Country: In the north Georgia mountains, visit the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, where one can view contemporary Western art, Western illustration, Western movie posters, Civil War art, Presidential portraits and letters, authentic stagecoaches, and an interactive hands-on gallery for children based on a working ranch. The most intact Mississippian Culture site in the American Southeast, the Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site is home to six Native America earthen mounds, a plaza, village site, borrow pits and defensive ditch. Brasstown Bald, the tallest mountain in Georgia, offers a spectacular view of the north Georgia mountains. The Dahlonega gold museum commemorates the Dahlonega Gold Rush, the first gold rush in the United States.
- Metro Atlanta: See the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the United States with tens of thousands of animals in 8 million gallons of water. Near the Georgia Aquarium, tour the Coca-Cola factory at the World of Coca-Cola, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights or the headquarters of the Cable News Network. Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site College, which consists of several buildings related to leader Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, including the civil rights leader's boyhood home and the original Ebenezer Baptist Church. Football fans can visit the College Football Hall of Fame, located near Centennial Olympic Park. Outside of Atlanta is Stone Mountain, a massive dome-shaped mountain with free Saturday night laser shows and a cable car to the summit.
- Classic Heartland: Visit Calloway Gardens, a 6,500-acre resort complex and garden located just outside Columbus. Calloway Gardens contains a butterfly center and a large, man-made white sand beach. People can also visit the Little White House, the personal retreat of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Near Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins is the Museum of Aviation, an aerospace museum operated by the US Air Force.
- Plantation Midlands: Visit Andersonville National Historic Site, a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp during the American Civil War. The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Sumter County preserves various sites associated with US president Jimmy Carter.
- Coastal Georgia: Visit the Okefenokee Swamp, a shallow, 438,000 acre peat-filled wetland straddling the Georgia–Florida border. Savannah also offers a lot sites for visitors to see, such as its 22 public squares and antebellum architecture. Georgia's barrier islands, which include the Golden Isles, Tybee Island and Cumberland Island, contain numerous beaches, historical sites and lighthouses.
- Festivals and events: Events and festivals in Georgia include the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Oktoberfest in Helen, the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, and the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Savannah. There are also fan conventions in Georgia, the most famous being Dragon Con in Atlanta.
- Hiking: There are numerous opportunities to hike in Georgia. Popular places to hike in northern Georgia include Kennesaw Mountain, Sawnee Mountain, Cloudland Canyon, Tallulah Gorge, and Yonah Mountain. The Appalachian Trail begins in the north Georgia mountain and runs 75.2 miles from Springer Mountain to the North Carolina Border. Other long trails in the state include the Pinhoti Trail, the Silver Comet Trail and the Benton MacKaye trail. Hiking is not exclusive to north Georgia, as there are hiking opportunities in other places throughout the state including Sweetwater Creek State Park west of Atlanta, F.D. Roosevelt State Park near Warm Springs, and Cumberland island on the Georgia coast.
- Lakes, rivers and beaches: Most lakes opened to recreation in Georgia are man-made reservoirs. Notable lakes in Georgia include Lake Lanier, Lake Allatoona, Lake Blue Ridge and Richard B. Russell Lake. Beaches are located on Georgia's barrier islands, in addition to the lakes. Many of Georgia's rivers are opened to boating. Popular rivers for boaters include the Chattahoochee River, the Etowah River and the Toccoa River.
- College sports: Notable college sports programs in Georgia include the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets of Atlanta, the Georgia State Panthers of Atlanta, the Georgia Southern Eagles of Statesboro and the Georgia Bulldogs of Athens. These four schools are members of the Football Bowl Subdivision, the highest division of college football, and also sport competitive teams in other college sports such as basketball and baseball.
- Professional sports teams: Several professional sports teams play in Georgia. Atlanta is home to the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League, the Atlanta Hawks of the National Basketball League and the Atlanta Braves of major league baseball. Atlanta is also home to the Atlanta Gladiators, a minor league hockey team that plays in Duluth. There are also a minor league baseball team in Rome (Rome Braves) and Gwinnett County (Gwinnett Braves).
- Shopping: There are numerous malls in Georgia, including the Mall of Georgia in Gwinnett County, Lenox Mall in Atlanta and the several outlet malls located just outside Metro Atlanta. Other places to shop include Atlanta Station, Underground Atlanta and City Market in Savannah.
- Theme parks: Major theme parks in Georgia include Six Flags Over Georgia near Atlanta and Wild Adventures near Valdosta
Several fast food chains are based in Georgia. Chick-Fil-A serves a variety of chicken products such as chicken nuggets, chicken biscuits and chicken sandwiches. They are also well known for their waffle fries and lemonade. Like Chick-Fil-A, Zaxby's also serves chicken products, such as chicken fingers and sandwiches. Waffle House, as its name suggests, are famous for their waffles, but they serve the usual diner fares such as steaks, eggs and burgers. The Varsity, which has far fewer locations than Chick-Fil-A or Waffle House, is known for their chili dogs and frosted orange.
For dessert in the summer, expect to see peach pie or peach cobbler on the menu. During the rest of the year, you may find Coca-Cola cake. Yes, that Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola was invented in Georgia, and as a result is very popular in the state. Sweet tea is a staple of the South and is served everywhere in Georgia, from fast food chains to Atlanta's high-end restaurants. Varieties of sweet tea include mint, raspberry and lemonade flavorings.
A popular alcoholic drink is the mint julep, a combination of mint, bourbon, sugar and water. There are also vineyards in the north Georgia mountains.
Don't make jokes about Jim Crow or Sherman's March to the Sea. Whistling "Marching Through Georgia" will not win you friends (this may seem obvious, but the lyrics and origins are less well-known than the tune).
Like much of the South, Georgia can be oppressively hot and humid during the summer. Shorts and flip-flops are widely accepted indoors and outdoors during the summer months.
In the same vein, at nice restaurants you can often get away with shorts as long as you wear shoes and a collared shirt. This is easier during the day than in the evening.
Unfortunately, many people and offices run the air conditioning down to 70F in the summer, and crank the heat up to 80F in the winter. As a result, dress that's appropriate for outside may not be suited for indoors. The best way to cope is to dress in layers, so you can adjust as needed.
- Florida - Bordering Georgia to the south, it offers copious beaches, family-friendly theme parks in Orlando and Tampa, historic Southern cultural immersions in its north, and one of the nation's largest national parks, the Everglades, and nightlife centers in its south.
- Alabama - Georgia's western neighbor is home to the Space and Rocket Center and the Talladega Motor Speedway.
- Tennessee - Located northwest of Georgia, Tennessee is home to Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as Nashville and its music-related attractions.
- North Carolina - Georgia's partly northern neighbor is home to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Grandfather Mountain.
- South Carolina - The state's eastern neighbor has historic Charleston, casual Myrtle Beach, and ritzy Hilton Head Island.