- Shelia Poole The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Let’s say you have two passions: military history and travel.
So, how can you get the best of both in Georgia? There are plenty of historic military attractions, including memorials and museums, that you can visit across the state that are great for a quick outing, a day trip or even a weekend getaway.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s tourism office has pulled together some of the unforgettable military sites in Georgia, and they’re not limited to the Civil War. We’ve narrowed it down to 10 must-see attractions, but more can be found here. Some sites are closed on Sundays and Mondays.
So, fill up the tank and go.
Atlanta History Center. 130 W. Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta; 404-814-4000
“Turning Point: The American Civil War” is one of the nation’s largest Civil War exhibitions. Located in the 9,200-square-foot DuBose Gallery, the exhibit contains more than 1,500 Union and Confederate artifacts, the Confederate flag that flew over Atlanta at the time of its surrender, a Union supply wagon used by Sherman’s army, Gen. Patrick Cleburne’s sword, a Medal of Honor won by the United States Colored Troops as well as medical equipment and firearms. In addition, dioramas, videos and interactive learning stations help bring this chapter of history alive. The Cyclorama is moving to the Atlanta History Center, and there are plans to open the restoration process to the public at various times in 2017. The formal opening of the building will happen in 2018.
Cost: $16.50 for adults; $13 for students 13 and older and seniors 65 and up; $11 for youth 4 to 12; and free for children 3 and under and Atlanta History Center members.
Currahee Military Museum. 160 N. Alexander St, Toccoa; 706-282-5055
Located in Toccoa’s restored train depot, the museum is home to the World War II history of roughly 17,000 soldiers who trained at Camp Toccoa to become paratroopers. The featured exhibit is a horse stable that was once used as housing for the military during WWII. The stable was flown in from England.
Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park. 3370 LaFayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe; 706-866-9241
It’s one park with several sites, including the first major Civil War battlefield set aside as a memorial to the soldiers who fought there. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the 5,200-acre battlefield and hear an audio tape tell of the three-day conflict that claimed 34,000 Union and Confederate soldiers. It’s also a short drive to military sites in Tennessee.
Cost: Chickamauga is free. There is a small fee for Point Park on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee.
Heritage Park Veterans Museum. 101 Lake Dow Road, McDonough; 404-831-9740
The museum contains an array of uniforms, some of which date back to World War I, plus rations, equipment, supplies and vehicles displayed to provide a sense of the life of a soldier. Highlights include the military uniforms of two Henry County Medal of Honor recipients from the Korean War, a weapons collection that dates back to World War I and a 1942 Harley-Davidson motorcycle with sidecar.
Gwinnett’s Fallen Heroes Memorial. 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville
The memorial, located on the grounds of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, pays tribute to all Gwinnett residents who died in the line of duty in military or public safety service. From native Americans “who were the first to love this land,” to the most recent casualties, the memorial honors about 700 individuals, organized by categories of service.
6th Cavalry Museum. 6 Barnhardt Circle, Fort Oglethorpe; 706-861-286
This museum preserves the rich military history of the “Fighting Sixth,” stationed at Fort Oglethorpe 1919-1942. The 6th U.S. Cavalry was organized in Pittsburgh in 1861, fighting in the Civil War with notable success at Williamsburg in 1862 and during the Battle of Gettysburg. The museum is located on the post’s original parade ground/polo field. The area, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is surrounded by officer’s homes and other post buildings. The museum houses artifacts, uniforms, weapons, accouterments, photos, a Patton tank and authentic WWII vehicles.
Cost: Free for 6th U.S. Cavalry Association Members. $2-$3 for others. Free for children 5 and younger.
Andersonville National Historic Site. 496 Cemetery Road, Andersonville; 229-924-0343
The site pays tribute to all American prisoners of war. The park has three features: the National Prisoner of War Museum, the site of the Andersonville prison, and the Andersonville National Cemetery. The Camp Sumter military prison at Andersonville was one of the largest Confederate military prisons during the Civil War. During the 14 months the prison existed, more than 45,000 Union soldiers were confined there.
The Drummer Boy Civil War Museum. 109 E. Church St, Andersonville; 229-294-2558
The museum is home to Civil War uniforms, guns, flags, revolvers, carbines, muskets and swords.
Cost: $5 donation, $1 for ages 13-17.
National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center. 1775 Legacy Way, Columbus.
One of the leading military history destinations, this museum contains thousands of artifacts, monuments, interactive exhibits and video presentations. Visitors can see a military documentary in the theater, take a shot at the combat simulators or eat at the Fife & Drum Restaurant and Bar.
Cost: Free, but visitors are encouraged to donate $5 to help maintain the facility.
National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force. 175 Bourne Avenue, Pooler; 912-748-8888
The museum is dedicated to preserving the history and stories of the Eighth Air Force. You can hear the unforgettable stories of bravery, experience a bomber mission and briefing, and see the ongoing restoration of the World War II B-17 Flying Fortress City of Savannah inside the museum’s Combat Gallery.
Cost: $6-$10. Free for WWII veterans.