Athens is perfectly positioned for quick and easy excursions to nearby areas that showcase the best of Georgia's natural resources, attractions, and Southern culture and heritage. Extend your stay in Athens by a day or two, and take time to explore the surrounding area!
Georgia's Antebellum Trail (South)
Athens is the northern gateway to the Antebellum Trail, which winds south on the Hwy. 441 Heritage Corridor through Watkinsville, Madison, Eatonton, Milledgeville, Old Clinton, and Macon. Each community is renowned for antebellum architecture, beautiful gardens, and Southern tradition. Lake Oconee offers great water recreation and the state's best golf courses. One of Georgia's most popular tourist routes, the 100-mile Antebellum Trail offers an important glimpse of life in the South before the American Civil War.
Oconee County (South)
In neighboring Oconee County, downtown Watkinsville features quaint specialty shops and galleries, and is proud home to the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (http://www.ocaf.com/), which hosts a continuous schedule of exhibitions in a restored 1902 school building. Elder Covered Bridge is one of only 10 covered bridges left in Georgia. The Oconee Welcome Center (706-769-5197) and Eagle Tavern Welcome Center, an early Georgia stagecoach stop with late 18th-century furnishings, are great stops for visitor information.
Northeast Georgia Mountains (North)
Head north on Georgia's 441 Heritage Trail into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest. Recreation, nature, and heritage meet beautifully, with world class trout fishing, stress-free canoeing on peaceful mountain lakes, whitewater rafting on rushing rivers, horseback riding, and hiking. From Anna Ruby Falls (White Co.), to Tallulah Gorge (Habersham and Rabun Co.), to the quaint Bavarian village of Helen (White Co.), adventure is easy to find and hard to forget!
Heartland of the Confederacy Trail: Leaders, Life, Legacy
Over four dozen sites in and around Athens reveal the many stories of the lives and legacies of the men and women who shaped the Confederacy. Visit the fascinating Crawford W. Long Medical Museum in Jefferson. Then head to Washington to experience a working plantation and hear the legend of the lost Confederate gold. Self-guided regional tour maps are available for download, or pick up a brochure and map at the Athens Welcome Center or other sites along the trail.
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