Georgia is filled to the brim with hidden gems that bring a sense of wonder, beauty, and magic to our lives every time we visit them. But how about those special places that are not only hidden, but also hold an important part in our state’s history? We’ve found quite a few of those gems scattered about Georgia, and are certain you’ll want to add some to your summer bucket list after reading this.
1. The Old Jail—Warthen
A small, handmade log jail was built, measuring about 12 square feet, after it was decided that the area had a need for law and order in 1784. The tiny jail’s most famous occupant was Aaron Burr, after he was arrested in Mississippi for treason, and traveled to be tried in Richmond. The timber jail is still standing strong and open to the public.
2. Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo Island
Many people travel to Sapelo Island in order to relax on the beach and absorb the summer sun. However, did you know that Reynolds Mansion on the island has tons of history? In fact, at the very north end of Sapelo Island, you can tour Chocolate Plantation, as well as see Native American rings made of shell, which date back more than 4,500 years.
3. The Lover’s Oak—Downtown Brunswick
Located in historic downtown Brunswick, there is a beautiful Oak Tree which dates back to the 12th century. It is labeled The Lover’s Oak, and according to local legend, Native American braves and their fair maidens would meet under the mesmerizing branches of this large tree. Ahh, romance.
4. Alexander’s Mill Ruins—Lithia Springs
There are a lot of wonderfully historic parts of Lithia Springs that are hidden gems worthy of checking out, especially Alexander’s Mill Ruins in Sweetwater Creek State Park. If you travel downstream along the creek, you’ll find the ruins of the mill, with a lush view of the park.
5. Moonshine Truck—Amicalola Falls State Park
There is an abandoned blue tanker truck, hidden along the trail to the waterfall in Amicalola Falls. The truck is from the Prohibition Era, when drivers used to speed away from the Revenuers. Unfortunately, this truck fell about 200 feet, and couldn’t be pulled from the Poplar Trees that cushioned its fall.
6. Broxton Rocks—Coffee County
This ancient rock preserve is unlike any other place in the state. One of the many impressive features include the roaring waterfall, which cascades off rocks and crevices standing at 30 feet high. The historic beauty of this preserve is that it was formed ages ago, as part of the 15,000 square mile band of sandstone which ran under the flatter, coastal part of Georgia. If it weren’t for erosion, none of this would have happened.
7. Eagle Watch—Chattahoochee Bend
There is a place in Chatthoochee where you can see one of the rarest and historically prominent representatives of this country—the bald eagle. By just taking a short, off-trail hike led by the ranger, you’ll be able to reach the viewing point and get a glimpse at an actual Bald Eagle nest.
8. Elijah Clark State Park
Many people visit this park every summer because of the sandy swimming beach and the great fishing opportunities. However, the park is named after a very important Georgia war hero. In fact, you can even visit the log cabin replica of Clark’s house with his wife, as well as view their grave sites.
9. Greasy Creek Falls—Black Rock Mountain
Have you ever stumbled upon a waterfall that isn’t necessarily on any map? Greasy Creek Falls in Black Rock Mountain State Park can’t be found on any brochures or park maps. But traveling through the lush, green forest will eventually land you at a beautiful cascading fall into a pool below. Note, you may need a guide to get you there, but it’ll be well-worth the trip.
10. Panola Mountain Cemeteries & Abandoned Whiskey Stills
What can be more “hidden gem” than a secret off-trail cemetery and whiskey stills? If you take one of the more strenuous tours offered at Panola Mountain State Park, you’ll be able to go off-trail and see a few pieces of history that remain unknown to most.
Have you ever been to one of these secret, historical gems? Share with us your experience!