My Parents are coming for a visit to the States in Late May and I would like to take them on a trip to Georgia & the Carolina's for 2 weeks
Looking on some must go to places in these regions.
I will leave them in Washington DC and they will then go up to New York & Boston before back to California and home to Australia.
Any suggestions where we should definitely visit would be greatly appreciated!
I would definitely recommend Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah, Ga. and if they can get to Florida; Miami Beach. New Orleans, La. would also be good.
GA has some interesting places to visit, but nothing spectacular.
Savannah is great for a couple of days to see the old houses that date back to the 1700's, the shops on the waterfront, the old cemeteries, etc. Pirates house is great to see for fun, but the food is mediocre...Paula Deen's restaurant is overrated, and long lines. Look up the history of the town, and the houses and sites, and you will appreciate it more. Several movies have been made there and it is fun to retrace the sights in the movies.
Edisto and Jekyll are ineresting islands if you have a couple of days to spend, and take time to learn the history...otherwise they are just tourist islands. They are about 2 hours from Savannah.
Okeefeenokee Swamp is worth taking the time to take a boat ride through if you like nature. Be sure to take bug repellant (it is a swamp). The guides are uusally very good.
The aquarium in Atlanta is a typical aquarium, but very well done. There is a Coca Cola museum in Atlanta, and Stone Mountain is near which is a fun place to visit as well as being informative...well worth a day.
A little known, out of the way place of interest, is Rock Eagle in Eatonton, GA which is of unknown origin, but rocks are placed in the shape of a very large eagle (a tower has been erected in order to be able to see the eagle, as it is not recognizable as anything but rocks from the ground...it does not appear to be an Indian burial ground, and archaelogists still study it. If you are an Uncle Remus book fan, the museum is very near by in the town of Eatonton.
Another out of the way little known place is GA guidestones in Elberton, GA. Fun place to see and speculate about its origin...nothing spectacular, but puzzling.
Helen, GA is a tourist destination. The town was dying from lack of industry, farming, etc, and the locals all got together (and without government help) decided to work together to save the town. All the building were renovated to make them look like a typical Bavarian town, and advertised it as such. It is so quaint, people flocked from everywhere and the town actually grew, and is one the most visited cities in the fall when the leaves change color and during Octoberfest...lots of gift shops, hotels, and restaurants.
Augusta, GA is the home of the Masters Golf tournament, but you cannot even get a glimpse of the course. You can drive by the perimeter, but it is protected by a heavy barrier of trees, and bamboo. Augusta has some interesting old buildings, and Fort Gordon has a military museum.
Google GA attractions, and if you see any you think are interesting, let me know, and I can give you a non advertising view of what is actually there, and time it will take to visit.
Do the same with SC, but I will tell you Charleston is worth a visit, and be sure to see Angel Oak while there.
NYC has so much to do you won't know where to start during May we have the tribeca film festival, there's all the outdoor street fairs, broadway shows (hopefully Spider Man will be ready), restaurants of unlimited amount of cuisines to choose from, horse ride through central park, jazz or ballet at lincoln center etc
assuming you're starting in Atlanta. You can hit the neighborhood of Virgina Highlands, for some great restaurants and boutique shops. Its also a great walking neighborhood of craftsman style houses. Another dinner option and good for the best view in the city is the Westin Hotel with its rotating Sun Dial restaurant on the 73rd floor in downtown.
Sweet Auburn is the district downtown that Martin Luther King lived and preached. You can visit the museum which was his home and walk the neighborhood and visit the church he preached in.
For a little southern style Swan House is worth a few hours. Its the home of the Atlanta Historical Society.
A little more southern history is in Grant Park at the Cyclorama and next door is the zoo. Not sure what is going on there at the moment but they were famous for the new born gorillas.
After Atlanta, drive to Charleston, from Charleston head south to Savannah and then south again to St Marys historic city. I didnt know this but its the 2nd oldest inhabited city in the US after St Augustine in Fl. Its a great little town with fishing fleet. Its also a good jumping off point to go to Cumberland Island
From here head inland and north back up through Atlanta and on to Biltmore House In Ashville North Carolina. The town it self is a great destination of arts in the mountains. From Ashville head south to the beautiful little towns of Cashiers and Highlands and then from there back to Atlanta, again assuming you are finishing in Atl for you flight to NYC.
Thank you for taking the time to post these great suggestions - definitley some interesting places I'll look at.
Good call on Okeefeenokee Swamp, went there as a kid and I still remember it. Also was going to suggest Charleston and Savannah with a lean towards Charleston.
No South Of The Border recommendations?
Really depends on what you parents like.
But Charleston is a lovely, lovely city and there are plenty of other charming places like Charlottesville, VA,
and the spectacular beaches and fishing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, which is dotted with lighthouses, the free ferry system and quaint little B & Bs.
I would say if I were doing this and as a driving trip I'd probably head down to the Carolina's via the Outer Banks, perhaps with a stop in historic Williamsburg, or the Maritime museum in Virginia, then head to the Outer Banks, maybe with a stop at Kitty Hawk, and definitely at a couple of the lighthouses. I'd also stop for the day if anyone in the family want's to try the best big game fishing in the US (tuna, billfish, etc - expensive, but incredible). Its also got pretty much the nicest beaches on the east coast.
Then I'd take the ferries (free) which would take you back to the mainland from Cape Hatteras. From there its about a 2 hour drive up to the research triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill - all great places in NC) or head down into Charleston (an amazing city, but a much longer drive).
From there, Savannah or Atlanta are easily viable options and I've had fun in both but they have very different feels. Personally I'd opt for Savannah if I could choose just one as Atlanta is so sprawling that I think it's harder to get a feel for.
I'd definitely skip the touristy cities of Hilton Head and Virginia Beach and opt for quieter places where you'll get a better taste of the old south.
If you still feel like driving from Savannah, I'd head down to St. Augustine, the oldest city in the US, about 2 hours away. It's great for walking around, seeing a bit of less discussed US history and has a fun little pirate museum to boot.
Go to Chapel Hill, NC it is darling! Also St. Simon's Island in Georgia is really fun and has a great atmosphere/weather. It's about a 45 minute drive from Savannah, which is also lovely. Athens, GA is a bit more of a hip college town (kind of like Austin TX).
Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC, Mertyl Beach, SC, Outer banks, NC ..
nothing else is really worth your time in May ... you'll want to be near water and the beach in the summer.