- Lesli Peterson for The AJC
Georgia is full of divine treasures, but our neighbors offer unique attractions as well. Take a road trip to the Georgia border states where these 10 unique adventures await.
Huntsville-- Monte Sano Nature Preserve. The Land Trust of North Alabama watches over Monte Sano's 1,100 acres and 25+ miles of trails. Visit Three Caves, a former limestone quarry, for dynamic acoustics during summer concerts or follow the Wildflower Trail searching for fossils, crawfish, snails, fish and salamanders.
Monroeville-- To Kill a Mockingbird Town and Museum. Monroeville was the hometown of both Harper Lee and Truman Capote during the 1930s and the town model for Maycomb in To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set A Watchman. The grounds of the city's courthouse become backdrop to an amateur play of the novel each May. Inside the courthouse are museum exhibits honoring both renowned writers.
Adams– Bell Witch Cave. You've heard the stories of the Bell Witch that tortured John Bell and his family in the 1800s, now it's time to visit in person. See the original cabin artifacts, take a haunted candlelight tour and see the property's cave that spelunkers have estimated at 15 miles deep.
Manchester– Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The four-day music festival was named one of the "50 Moments That Changed Rock & Roll" by Rolling Stone and among the 10 Best Festivals by GQ Magazine. Multiple stages of live music feature an array of genres including indie and classic rock, hip-hop, jazz, country, gospel and others. More than music, festival-goers will also enjoy unique artisan vendors, a comedy tent, cinema tent, a silent disco and even a Ferris wheel.
Bryson City– Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. A ride on the GSMR is unlike any other, with packages that also include a Waterfall Jeep Tour, ziplining adventures and whitewater rafting excursions. Aboard the train, enjoy jaunts along the Nantahala Gorge or the Tuckasegee River. Use your train ticket for free entrance into the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum.
Asheville– The Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club. The bohemian city is worth a visit for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the live music scene. Rolling Stone names The Orange Peel one of the best rock venues in the nation. Everyone from Bob Dylan to Ziggy Marley has performed to sold out crowds at the nightclub. If you can't get tickets, just pop into one of dozens of venues throughout town where locals play everything from Gypsy punk to punk blues.
Edisto Island– Edisto Beach. Uncommercialized beachfront awaits you in one of the most affluent communities in South Carolina. After you frolic in the waves, watch loggerheads hatch and see dolphins peek-a-boo in the ocean, paddle down the Edisto River. This river is one of the longest free flowing blackwater rivers in the country, ending in the Atlantic Ocean.
Westminster– Riley Moore Falls The small falls on the Chauga River provide rampant fun for all ages. Hike 45 minutes into the forest for a day of fun. Relax on the rocky beach with the sound of whitewater rapids easing the stress of the day. Visitors can swim in the natural pool, and the sandbar makes it possible to walk to the base of the falls.
Tierra Verde– Fort DeSoto Park. Kudos include Best Family Beach by Parents magazine and America's Best Beach by Trip Advisor. Camp on the water's edge, fish from the piers, explore Dog Beach, watch sea turtles nest and more. The fort was built during the Spanish-American War, and it served as a filming location for several episodes of "Prison Break."
Apalachicola– Celebrate seafood. Oysters are this town’s claim to fame, but don't miss locally caught shrimp, crab and fish also. Enjoy seafood at myriad restaurants serving in every atmosphere from casual lunch hot spots to elegant fine dining establishments. Book a charter tour to examine the marine life close up while snorkeling, tackle scalloping or head into the Gulf to catch your own red snapper, mahi-mahi or mackerel.