Discover Where History Was Made on St. Simons Island

The island may stretch a mere 12 miles in length, but St. Simons’ rich history runs longer than the Georgia coast on which it rests.

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Maui
Maui

Maui

With more than 120 miles of coastline, Maui tops Mandy Ingber's list. Channel your inner roar, and strike a warrior pose, as you take in the sights and sounds of the deep blue Pacific splashing against the island’s rocky headlands. 960 1280

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Ibiza

Ibiza

“This is one of the most beautiful, soulful spots I have been to,” says Ingber of this Mediterranean island off the coast of Valencia, Spain. “Bohemian, a place where living and enjoyment are an art -- even just sitting on the beach feels like yoga here!” 960 1280

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Viceroy Bali

Viceroy Bali

“I have wanted to travel to Bali, and have seen the pictures of the Viceroy -- luxury resort!” says Ingber. Luxury, indeed: The family-owned-and-operated property on the Indonesian island of Bali is home to 25 villas, nestled on a hill overlooking the “Valley of the Kings.” 960 1280

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Harbour Island, Bahamas

Harbour Island, Bahamas

This island, located off the northeast coast of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, may be a trek to get to, but it’s worth it for the “quaint, sweet town [vibe] and casual, beachy feel,” says Ingber. We’re betting you’ll agree as you stroll past colorful rows of homes and “om” away on the island’s pink sand beaches. 960 1280

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Ganeshpuri

Ganeshpuri

This small village, about 50 miles north of Mumbai, is “very poor, but soulful and where many gurus have lived and died,” says Ingber. Explore the village’s Siddha yoga tradition at the local ashram, then while away the hours in one of the hot springs near the area’s Tansa River. 960 1280

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Chiva-Som Resort

Chiva-Som Resort

This world-class resort in Hua Hin, Thailand, is on Ingber’s travel wish list. “They have programs tailored to detox, weight loss and rejuvenation here,” says Ingber. “Sign me up! Sometimes I want to be the one on the retreat!” 960 1280

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Kauai

Kauai

“Incredible setting!” says Ingber of this Hawaiian island. “Not only were we in a gorgeous, Bali-style house but the boat ride up the Na Pali Coast is dreamy. Waterfalls and beautiful hikes. So much wild nature here. One of the most bountiful and beautiful places I have been to and taught in.” 960 1280

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One & Only Palmilla, Mexico

One & Only Palmilla, Mexico

Ingber gives this Los Cabos resort overlooking the Sea of Cortez high marks. “I have been here twice, and have had some lovely yoga sessions in this beautiful setting,” says Ingber. “Many of my clients love Mexico because it’s sandy and close -- and we love the sunny weather!” 960 1280

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Tulum, Mexico

Tulum, Mexico

This ancient city, one of the last inhabited and built by the Mayans, appeals to Ingber for many reasons: “The ruins and the blue of the ocean. The open-night sky. This spot is a dream … we were at a private estate. Heaven.” 960 1280

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Sha Wellness Clinic

Sha Wellness Clinic

This medical and luxury spa, overlooking Spain’s Costa Blanca coastline, also makes Ingber’s shortlist. A big draw is the surrounding natural beauty; the resort is situated in the Sierra Helada Natural Park, home to protected areas of plants as well as vibrant marine wildlife such as bottlenose dolphins. 960 1280

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Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence

This region in southern France is another personal favorite; Ingber stayed at a private estate in the country. “We had fresh eggs from the chickens on the property and practiced yoga daily,” she says. “A little sweaty in the summer, but with a farmers’ market and incredible architecture!” 960 1280

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Pranamar Villas and Yoga Retreat

Pranamar Villas and Yoga Retreat

This posh oceanfront hotel, built on a stretch of sand near the Costa Rican town of Santa Teresa, came recommended by a friend. “It’s on my wish list,” says Ingber. With 2-story villas built around a saltwater pool, a restaurant with organic fruits and veggies, and tropical gardens, we can see why. 960 1280

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Encore at Wynn Las Vegas
Encore at Wynn Las Vegas

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas

Opened in December 2008, the 2,034-room Encore is all about pure opulence, including the gorgeous European Pool. The classically elegant pool surrounds a unique outdoor casino. 960 1280

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Mondrian Los Angeles

Mondrian Los Angeles

This ornately designed Sunset Strip hotel has an exclusive pool and poolside lounge, and more scene than even the Sunset Marquis. The Mondrian Los Angeles’ white walls and hanging potted plants gives this pool a beachy feel -- despite it being several stories above bustling Sunset Boulevard. 960 1280

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La Reunion Golf Resort & Residences

La Reunion Golf Resort & Residences

La Reunion Antigua Golf Resort is an outstanding luxury pick, located in the shadow of 4 volcanoes -- 2 of them active -- about 30 minutes from the colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala. Rooms have private patios with infinity-edge swimming pools, but the resort also has a main pool as well as a separate kiddy pool. These gorgeous volcanic views are hard to beat. 960 1280

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Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

The Gansevoort Turks and Caicos is without a doubt the sexiest resort on Grace Bay, and a large part of its appeal is thanks to its stunning pool surrounded by palm trees. The pool features 4 hard-decked islands. 960 1280

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The Joule

The Joule

The Joule is one of the coolest -- and most luxurious -- hotels in Downtown Dallas. And it features one of the most talked about pools in the states. The Joule's cantilevered pool juts out over Main Street, so swimmers can get a glimpse of pedestrians below. 960 1280

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Biltmore Coral Gables

Biltmore Coral Gables

Built in 1926, the iconic Biltmore, a national landmark, brings timeless luxury to Miami’s hotel scene. Though far from any beaches, it offers -- among many other luxuries -- an amazing pool. This 22,000-square-foot pool is the largest in the continental U.S. Actor Johnny Weissmuller, better known as Tarzan, was a swimming instructor at the pool many years ago. 960 1280

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Gansevoort Park Avenue

Gansevoort Park Avenue

This 249-room hotel with flashy decor, lots of bars, and an outdoor pool is the uptown sister to the original, once wildly popular Hotel Gansevoort. The Gansevoort chain knows how to do their pools. One of only a handful of rooftop pools in New York, this is the only one that features a sexy pin-up mural. Plus, the pool has an underwater sound system and is a popular scene during the summertime. 960 1280

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Ventana Inn & Spa

Ventana Inn & Spa

Situated on more than 200 acres of picturesque land -- in Big Sur, CA -- , the Ventana Inn & Spa looks like a rustic cabin nestled in the woods -- yet it features a long list of on-site amenities, including 2 pools. This pool is in a secluded spot for a reason -- it's the resort's clothing-optional pool. So forget your bathing suit and enjoy a dip au naturel. 960 1280

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Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa

Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa

The beautifully designed, 780-room Grand Wailea has one of the top US spas, a prime location on one of the best US beaches, and 9 pools -- including arguably the best one in Hawaii. The massive main pool has several fun features, including volleyball nets, a waterslide, and a rope swing. Dive in! 960 1280

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Four Seasons Maui

Four Seasons Maui

An immaculate, art-filled property fronting Wailea beach, the Four Seasons Miami stands at the pinnacle of the area's resorts, offering spacious rooms, a top-notch staff and a slew of amenities, including three high-design pools. The poolside cabana staff refills guests' free glasses of ice water, and employees patrol the lounge chairs with cold towels and spray-bottles of Evian to spritz guests' faces. 960 1280

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Royal Corin Resort

Royal Corin Resort

For Costa Rica’s Royal Corin Resort & Loto Spa, this 54-room boutique hotel has a lot to offer, including great views of Arenal volcano, a lovely spa, a bar with an outdoor terrace, an on-site restaurant and a beautiful pool. This hot springs pool features natural thermal waters that help guests relax and take in the scenery. 960 1280

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The Raleigh Hotel

The Raleigh Hotel

Some things at the Raleigh Hotel are vintage-bordering-on-dated, but not the stunning free-form pool. This pool became a Miami landmark when former swimmer and movie star Esther Williams leapt from its waterfall diving board in a sequined bathing cap. 960 1280

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12 Amazing Pools  12 Photos

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Southern Soul Barbeque

Southern Soul Barbeque

This BBQ joint has put St. Simons on the culinary map, not only earning noteworthy applause from Garden and Gun Magazine and Southern Living, but also landing spots on TLC’s “BBQ Pitmasters” and Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Fame hasn’t changed the way owners Giffin Bufkin and Harrison Sapp have always made good food: slow, steady, and in full southern style. Their rubs are made from scratch daily, they bottle their own sauces and they cook in an outdoor pit using only wood. Pulled pork and sweet ribs coated in brown sugar and tupelo honey rank among the favorites, but the Brunswick stew, homemade pimento cheese and smoked chicken salad can’t be overlooked. Meat and three? Yes, please.

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Andrew Thomas Lee  

Halyards Restaurant St Simons Island Georgia

Halyards Restaurant St Simons Island Georgia

This restaurant seamlessly blends laid-back island environment with upscale food. Owner and Executive Chef Dave Snyder consistently impresses guests with creative dishes thoughtfully—and locally—sourced. Chef Snyder recognizes that Georgia is home to some of the best family-owned farms and dairies, and with an entire ocean at his front door, his food brings new meaning to fresh and farm-to-table. The wild Georgia shrimp and grits is a must-have, and there’s a good reason why the recipe for the creamy blue crab bisque has remained the same for decades: if it ain’t broke...

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The Darkroom Photography  

Palmer’s Village Café

Palmer’s Village Café

“The place” for breakfast, this local hot-spot, inconspicuously nestled in the The Village and tucked behind unassuming wooden doors, is home to five-star Chef John “JB” Belechak and his mind-blowing culinary creations. But it’s entirely without pretension. The playful menu features everything from poached eggs over collard greens and house-made tomato jam to what’s known as The Local (aka “The Islander”), an artistically designed egg white tri-fold with avocado, cheese and bacon served with seared tomatoes and arugula topped with cucumber ribbons. Yes, ribbons. Breakfast is so popular here, it’s served all day. But Chef JB—whose resume includes Blackberry Farm and The Cloister at Sea Island—offers an entirely new dinner menu every week based on what’s in season from local and regional farmers. You know, to keep things fresh.


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Palmer's Village Cafe  

Palm Coast Coffee, Cafe and Pub

Palm Coast Coffee, Cafe and Pub

As the name indicates, this unassuming little yellow house has it all. In addition to being an authentic island coffee house offering homemade sweets and an open mic, Palm Coast transforms every weekend into one of the island’s most popular outdoor music venues for local and regional talent. The outdoor patio and courtyard is pet-friendly and home to a few Palm Coast fur babies itself. An affordable menu (the most expensive being the popular seared Ahi tuna wrap for a mere $13) and an extensive and constantly evolving craft-brew menu keeps customers coming back for more.

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Palm Coast  

4-Hour Music Fest

4-Hour Music Fest

For four years running, Palm Coast Coffee, Cafe and Pub has played host to four hours of non-stop rocking revelry at this intimate musical celebration on Labor Day weekend. From 8 p.m. until midnight, audiences fill the outdoor courtyard and patio, tossing back craft brews and cocktails, and keeping time with the tunes from local and regional talent. Seven bands play everything from Celtic folk to acoustic rock, delighting concert goers with an authentic, grassroots music festival—for nothing more than a cover charge.

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Anthony Stubelek  

A Little Light Music

A Little Light Music

Each year the Coastal Georgia Historical Society releases the lineup for its summer concert series, A Little Light Music. The season runs May-September, so it’s easy to catch any one of the concerts that fall on select Sundays each month. Taking place on the seaside lawn of the historic St. Simons Lighthouse, musicians from around country entertain crowds from the outdoor gazebo with classic rock, Motown, blues and more, depending on the day. Concert goers are encouraged to bring their own beach chairs and blankets to beat the evening breeze, as well as pack picnics and libations for an easy-going experience for the whole family.

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Eliot VanOtteren, Coastal Georgia Historical Society   

Sounds by the Sea

Sounds by the Sea

Rounding out the calendar of summertime music-going experiences is this summer concert series presented by the Golden Isles Arts & Humanities. On alternate Sundays of A Little Light Music, Sounds by the Sea takes place on the expansive lawn (the “casino”) of St. Simons’ most popular ocean-side park, Neptune Park. Concert goers spread out their beach chairs and coolers under the live oaks to enjoy any one of the five concerts specifically scheduled during high tide for a bug-free evening of music with a welcoming ocean breeze.

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GoldenIsles.com   

Local Talent Phil Morrison

Local Talent Phil Morrison

A bevy of skilled musicians continue to breathe life into the Island’s live-music scene. These talents include none other than bassist/songwriter Phil Morrison. Known best as a member of the late ‘60s and ‘70s electric jazz group Stark Reality, Morrison has also played with the great Dizzy Gillespie and Freddy Cole (Nat’s youngest brother). As both a world-class musician and a Golden Isles resident, he and his jazz ensemble are a crowd favorite and often headline the island’s summer concerts. Morrison even wrote the official song of the Golden Isles, “Take me to the coast of Georgia.”

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Anthony Stubelek  

St. Simons Food and Spirits Festival

St. Simons Food and Spirits Festival

For five days during the first week of October, the Food and Spirits Festival transforms the island into a non-stop drinking and dining extravaganza that showcases the area’s top culinary talents. The main event, Tastings Under the Oak, which offers hundreds of food and drink tastings, takes place in the historic—and breathtakingly scenic—Gascoigne Bluff Park. Festival goers enjoy dozens of additional events across the Golden Isles like the Chef Showdown, Farmers and Artisans Market, oyster roast and even a Kids Zone. In its fourth year, the festival is quickly becoming a culinary destination event.

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Benjamin Galland  

“The Marshes of Glynn”

“The Marshes of Glynn”

“Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and free
Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea!”


These lyrics make up part of an 1878 poem titled “The Marshes of Glynn,” by the renowned poet and former Confederate soldier Sidney Lanier. The poem, which pays tribute to Lanier’s beloved South, reveres the breathtaking expanse of grasslands in Glynn County, Georgia, that extend toward the mainland. The piece was part of an unfinished compilation titled, “Songs of the Marshes,” yet it succeeded in unveiling the beauty of the coastal marshes to the rest of the world.


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GoldenIsles.com  

Cannon's Point Preserve

Cannon's Point Preserve

Though the most heavily populated of the Golden Isles, St. Simons has made strides in protecting its natural history, and none have been more noteworthy than the protection of Cannon’s Point. St. Simons Land Trust acquired the 608 acres of undeveloped land in 2012. In addition to containing the island’s last intact maritime forest—a quickly diminishing habitat along the Atlantic Coast—the site also boasts the ruins of a plantation home and the site of several slave quarters on which many archaeological investigations continue to take place.

An exceptional day trip, Cannon’s Point is open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays for biking, hiking and picnicking.

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Cassie Wright  

Little St. Simons Island

Little St. Simons Island

The least populated of the Golden Isles is the privately owned Little St. Simons Island. Reachable only by boat—and only then if you have a reservation—the 10,000-acre island is virtually undeveloped, save the 6 cottages that form the Lodge, a modest compound that houses no more than 32 overnight guests. Little St. Simons was a family’s private retreat from 1908 until 1979. Today, the island is revered as a model for conservation. Naturalist-led excursions by foot, bike, boat, kayak or canoe treat visitors to abundant populations of rare and threatened wildlife and the serenity of fully intact natural habitats. Thanks to the island’s owners, Little St. Simons will be preserved for generations to come; in 2015, they donated a conservation easement to The Nature Conservancy on the entire island.

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Cassie Wright  

Birding

Birding

Georgia’s barrier islands host a number of native and migratory birds, but Little St. Simons’ rich, undisturbed ecosystem makes it ideal for birding enthusiasts. More than 330 species have been identified on the island, from spoonbills and warblers to herons and eagles. Mapped locations that include observation towers, ponds and trails, indicate the best locations for visitors to see various species. Because of Little St. Simons’ thriving bird population, it has been named an important birding area by the American Birding Conservancy; consequently, a number of avian research partners study migration patterns and rare species sightings. And you can study right alongside them.


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Cassie Wright  

Sea Turtles

Sea Turtles

Georgia’s beaches are key nesting grounds for loggerhead turtles—some 2,000 nests, in fact. Therefore, it’s very possible to stumble upon nesting females, which can weigh in at more than 300 pounds, or tiny hatched turtles scampering toward the ocean. What’s more difficult is to leave these magnificent creatures alone. But because they’re endangered species, we have to do just that. During the nesting season, which runs May and mid-August, residents of the Golden Isles know to keep their eyes open, noise to a minimum and their lights out to give the Loggerhead population a fighting chance.


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Cassie Wright  

Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Six of the seven species of sea turtles worldwide are either threatened or endangered. The source of their dwindling numbers? Us. Pollution, development, poaching and entanglement are constant threats to sea turtle populations. In response, Jekyll Island opened Georgia’s only sea turtle hospital in 2007 as a long-term care and rehabilitation center. The center provides visitors with a viewing area to watch doctors and nurses operate and care for these amazing creatures, in addition to interactive, hands-on exhibits. Whenever healthy sea turtles are ready to be released from care, the center invites the public to cheer these survivors out to sea.

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Johnson Pictures Inc., GoldenIsles.com  

Southeast Adventure Outfitters

Southeast Adventure Outfitters

With year-round warm temperatures, sandy beaches and diverse populations of sea life, St. Simons Island is a dream for aquatic explorers. Launch your adventure directly from the Pier Village, where the locally owned and operated Southeast Adventure Outfitters takes you by boat, kayak or paddleboard to experience first-hand an unspoiled view of coastal living—from the water side.


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Michael Gowen/Southeast Adventure Outfitters   

Captain Gabby

Captain Gabby

Often referred to as the “mothership,” this former shrimp boat was creatively converted into a fully equipped charter vessel that can sleep up to six guests. If this 42-foot wooden trawler could talk, she’d spin countless tales from her hand-built, hardworking beginnings in 1977 in St. Augustine, Florida, to today, where she takes outdoor enthusiasts on relaxed, customized chartered cruises ranging anywhere from 2-hours to 2 weeks.

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Michael Gowen/Southeast Adventure Outfitters   

Kayaking

Kayaking

Exploring the Intracoastal waterway or ocean by kayak is one of the most serene experiences to be had on St. Simons Island. Besides views of scenic marshlands and sandy beaches, a quiet paddle will put you within arm’s length of sociable sea life. From dolphins and sea turtles to right whales and manatees, the winding waterways through the Golden Isles are rich with encounters landlubbers never get. A guided kayak tour will put visitors in the right spot at the right time.

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Cassie Wright  

Stand-up Paddleboarding

Stand-up Paddleboarding

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) requires little more than a board and a healthy sense of adventure. Okay, a good sense of balance doesn’t hurt. Islanders have embraced the relatively new sport with zeal, making the Golden Isles a destination for SUP enthusiasts who ride the gentle currents of the Altamaha River or test the ocean waves. The area’s predictable currents and tides eliminate the element of surprise. What might surprise you? The killer core workout you get without even noticing—thanks, in part, to the breathtaking views.


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Michael Gowen/Southeast Adventure Outfitters  

Fishing

Fishing

St. Simon’s Pier in the heart of Pier Village is a popular fishing and crabbing location for visitors, but locals will tell you that island fishing is a lot like a “choose your own adventure.” From fly-fishing to offshore angling, the size of the catch and the scope of the experience is entirely up to you. And while plenty of folks will fish conventionally—from the shore or boat—you’re just as likely to see locals casting a line from a paddleboard or kayak. Want a (true) fish story? Hook up with any one of the handful of skilled fishing charters for local knowledge.

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Benjamin Galland, GoldenIsles.com  

10 Photos

Enjoy the city lights of Atlanta's skyline at dusk. 960 1280

  

Art aficionados should make a trip to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. 960 1280

  

Explore the Margaret Mitchell House, the home of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author who penned Gone With the Wind. 960 1280

  

Figures of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis are carved into the bas-relief of Stone Mountain. 960 1280

  

Visit Turner Field to catch an Atlanta Braves baseball game. 960 1280

  

The Wren's Nest is the home of Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Brer Rabbit and Uncle Remus tales. 960 1280

  

World of Coca Cola

World of Coca Cola

One of Atlanta's main attractions, the World of Coca Cola attracts over a million visitors each year. Get a look at Coke bottles from around the world, learn about the soda’s secret formula, watch the bottling process, sample all of Coca-Cola’s products and check out the Pop Culture Gallery full of memorabilia. 960 1280

Allee Sangiolo  

Centennial Olympic Park

Centennial Olympic Park

Centennial Park was built for the 1996 Summer Olympics. It is now host to special events, including Family Fun Days. 960 1280

Allee Sangiolo  

Atlanta Aquarium

Atlanta Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the world, and it has attracted more than 6 million visitors. 960 1280

Josh Hallett, flickr  

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Atlanta Botanical Garden, a 30-acre garden in Midtown Atlanta. Get a look at the trees and plants from 40 feet in the air on the 600-foot-log Kendeda Canopy Walk. 960 1280

David Berkowitz, flickr  

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