Like a Southern belle with a split personality, this grand historic town revolves around formal antebellum architecture and unbridled public debauchery. It sits alongside the Savannah River, about 18 miles from the coast, amid Lowcountry swamps and mammoth live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss.
Georgia is a massive state, and this region is a kind of catch-all for everything that’s not metro Atlanta, mountainous north Georgia or swampy Savannah-centric south Georgia. The remaining area feels rustic and Southern; it’s the difference between suburban living and country living. You’re apt to see open fields and red clay along the side of the road.
A beery, artsy and utterly laid-back college town roughly 70 miles east of Atlanta, Athens has an extremely popular football team (the University of Georgia Bulldogs), a world-famous music scene (which has launched artists including the B-52’s, REM and Widespread Panic) and a burgeoning restaurant culture (featuring star chef Hugh Acheson and his dynamite eatery Five & Te.