Family Road Trip - Scenic Drives in Georgia

6 Dreamy Scenic Drives in Georgia

A nice, relaxing scenic drive is the perfect way to take in the nature around you and enjoy the small details that a state has to offer without breaking the budget with a full-blown vacation/getaway.

When I think of Georgia, I think of small-town southern living filled with beautiful sunshine and picturesque scenery. The state has so much to offer its visitors, and a scenic drive will provide everything you need for a getaway that will leave all your cares and stress slipping away. 

Georgia is a state that provides a variety of different landscapes, including mountain areas as well as views of the Pacific Ocean, as it has a small border on the coast.

We have put together a guide filled with 6 of the best scenic drives in the state of Georgia. If you will be visiting Georgia or are in the area and looking for a nice day trip/weekend getaway idea, be sure to check out one of the following:

1. Scenic Drives in Georgia: Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway

  • Distance: 41 miles
  • Time Needed: 1 Day

The Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway takes you through Blairsville, GA, where you will drive on a winding road through the Chattahoochee National Forest within the southern Appalachian mountains. 

USA Scenic Drives in Georgia - Brasstown Bald

Along the drive, you will be engulfed in the beautiful nature around you, including trees and plant life in the forest, breathtaking waterfalls, and many other beautiful landscapes. As you make the drive, you can take the time to pull over and hike among the trails of the mountains or enjoy other outdoor activities.

The most notable highlight of this drive is the stop at Brasstown Bald Overlook, the highest point in the state of Georgia. Make a stop at the visitor center to learn more about the history of the area and take the shuttle to the top of Brasstown Bald.

There are plenty of beautiful picnic spots to enjoy a scenic meal with your family, so don’t forget to pack a meal! (Note: Admission to the visitor center is $8.00 per person, this includes entrance and your shuttle ride)

When to go: While this would be a beautiful drive at any point of the year, it is a particularly special experience to watch the beautiful leaves change colors from the top of Brasstown Bald during the Fall season.

2. Scenic Drives in Georgia: Coastal Highway U.S. 17

  • Distance: 124
  • Time Needed: 2-3 Days

If you are a beach lover, this is the drive for you! A long drive down Coastal Highway U.S. 17 will take you through a number of cities offering several beach stops with incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean. 

USA Scenic Drives in Georgia - Jekyll Island

During your drive, you will have the chance to stop at four different islands, including Butler Island, St. Simons Island, Sea Island, and finally Jekyll Island. Each island offers its own set of amenities, including golf courses, water parks, delicious restaurants, and more, making any of these stops the perfect choice for a weekend getaway.

In addition to the many islands that you will enjoy along the way, another can’t-miss stop includes the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, where visitors can see and enjoy a number of wildlife species. 

When to go: Due to the time you will likely spend on the beach during this drive, it will likely be best to visit during the summer when the weather is warm and sunny. 

3. Scenic Drives in Georgia: Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway

  • Distance: 56 miles
  • Time Needed: 1-2 days

This drive is another that will take you through the Chattahoochee National Forest, but you will see a different side of the forest, and you will also have the chance to travel through several other towns with many interesting stops along the way. 

USA Scenic Drives in Georgia - Fort Mountain State Park

The Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway takes you from Cohutta, Georgia, all the way to Ellijay, George, and in just a 56-mile span, you would be surprised at the number of can’t-miss stops and experiences along the way.

Popular stops include the Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery, where visitors can take a deep dive into the education behind fish and other wildlife while even participating in fishing events throughout the year.

Prater’s Mill Historic Site is a 19th-century gristmill and cotton gin where you can enjoy fishing, walking the trails, and even make a visit to the general store. Finally, stop at Fort Mountain State Park, where visitors can take in the beautiful nature around them with outdoor activities such as mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, and lounging on the lakeside beach.

When to go: This trail is best taken during the Summer months of the year. This allows for the most benefits in enjoying the outdoor activities offered at the stops along the trail. 

4. Scenic Drives in Georgia: Meriwether-Pike Scenic Byway

  • Distance: 55 miles
  • Time Needed: 1 Day

The Meriwether-Pike Scenic Byway is named due to the two counties that you will pass through on your drive. The area that is considered the byway is a 55-mile loop that was established in 2005 by the Georgia Department of Transportation and is also known as the Cove. 

USA Scenic Drives in Georgia - Red Oak Creek Covered Bridge

This byway is probably most well known for the legacy of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that it represents. Your drive will start at Warm Springs, where Roosevelt was known to frequent and even built a home that is known today as The Little White House. The Little White House stands today as a National Historic Landmark where visitors can take guided tours, enjoy a nice picnic, and take in the nature and sights around them.

In addition, Roosevelt’s Little White House, another highlight worth making a pitstop for, is located in Woodbury, and it is the Red Oak Creek Covered Bridge. The Bridge attracts hundreds of visitors annually and is the oldest and longest-covered wooden bridge in Georgia. 

When to go: Weather does not play a role in the ability to enjoy any of the activities along this drive, making it the perfect drive to take at any point during the year. 

5. Scenic Drives in Georgia: Ridge and Valley Scenic Byway

  • Distance: 51 miles
  • Time Needed: 1-2 Days 

As we mentioned above, Georgia offers a variety of terrain, and driving along the Ridge and Valley Scenic Byway will allow you to enjoy the beautiful mountain land of Georgia. The drive will take you through rural towns, where you will see beautiful farmland and scenic views.

USA Scenic Drives in Georgia - Blue Ridge Mountain

While you can certainly make the drive in just one day, don’t hesitate to take a couple of days to camp and enjoy the nature around you. 

Along the way, there are a number of outdoor activities to enjoy, such as hiking, fishing, camping, and more. Noteworthy stops include Keown Falls Scenic Area, where travelers will enjoy a number of walking trails that are suitable for the whole family, and the John’s Mountain Overlook and Wildlife Management Area, a nearly 25,000-acre property offering nearly any outdoor activity that you can imagine including hiking trails, hunting opportunities, and more. 

When to go: While you can take this drive at any time, you may want to note that some trails close during the winter months, which may limit your opportunities. 

6. Scenic Drives in Georgia: Woodpecker Trail

  • Distance: 204 miles
  • Time Needed: 2-3 Days

The Woodpecker Trail makes history as it is one of the oldest planned tourist routes not only in the state of Georgia but throughout the entire United States. This trail will take you down Georgia State Route 121 and got its name from the abundance of woodpeckers that live in the area. 

USA Scenic Drives in Georgia - Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

The drive is long, and there are a number of stops along the way that will be sure to enhance your trip.

Some noteworthy stops include the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, where visitors have the chance to see a variety of unique species, including woodpeckers, robins, hawks, and the mascot of the United States, bald eagles, and Guido Gardens, the perfect for a spot to enjoy the calm and tranquility of your surroundings.

Guido Gardens is open 24 hours a day and offers its visitors a meditation garden, a prayer chapel, and beautiful views of waterfalls. (Bonus fact: The garden is absolutely INCREDIBLE during Christmas, decorated with almost 2,000,000 Christmas lights and other holiday decorations).

When to go: This trip makes for an excellent choice at any point during the year, but as we mentioned above, the chance to see Guido Gardens during the holiday season makes for a pretty convincing reason to wait until Winter.  

Fun fact: The Woodpecker Trail’s official mascot is none other than the famous cartoon character Woody Woodpecker. 

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