Welcome sign entering Tybee Island near Savannah. Image credit zimmytws via Shutterstock.

8 Cutest Small Towns In Georgia To Visit In 2024

For anyone looking to experience the deep South, look no further than the sweet state of Georgia. From the charming southern accents to the taste of soul food, the southern hospitality here feels like a warm hug as soon as you cross the state line. The towns are teeming with historic character, and the antebellum homes and old plantations will take you back to another time. Tradition runs deep here, and there's quite a bit of southern pride. You'll likely hear stories about how Georgia is the last of the original 13 colonies to be established and now is the largest state east of the Mississippi River. There's enormous African American and Native American heritage here and hundreds of historic sites that capture the culture and past. One can explore 11 National Parks in the state and countless pristine lakes and rivers. As travelers seek more authentic experiences, the historic little towns of Georgia have become the ultimate destination. Discover the eight cutest towns to visit in Georgia in 2024!

Tybee Island

Aerial shot of Tybee Island Beach, featuring the lighthouse in Tybee Island, Georgia, USA.
Aerial shot of Tybee Island Beach, featuring the lighthouse in Tybee Island, Georgia, USA.

A short drive from historic Savannah, Georgia, one will find the adorable community of Tybee Island. This colorful and eccentric town is one to put on your bucket list. From gorgeous beaches to historic sites, there’s plenty to do and see here. A popular stop is Tybee Island Light Station, the oldest and tallest lighthouse in the state. Visitors can climb to the top and learn how it still provides light for boats at the entrance of the Savannah River. About 5 miles from there is Fort Pulaski, where the Union Army successfully tested a rifled cannon in the American Civil War. Visitors can learn how this marked the end of brick fornications as a means of protection during battle.

For a day trip, you can head to Savannah, a place overflowing with southern charm and history. A notable stop is the First African Baptist Church, which played an important role in the Underground Railroad and holds courageous stories about the road to freedom.

Surf Song Bed and Breakfast is a great place to stay on Tybee Island. The Victorian beach house is over a hundred years old, and the classic wraparound porch is an idyllic spot to relax in a rocking chair while enjoying a nice cold glass of sweet tea. There are spectacular seaside views, and guests have the luxury of having their own private beach entrance.

Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge Lake in Georgia, USA.
Blue Ridge Lake in Georgia, USA.

Blue Ridge is a small mountain town in Northern Georgia located within the Chattahoochee National Forest and rests within the southern reach of the Appalachian Mountains. The area is the starting place of the Appalachian Trail, and backpackers from afar come here with high hopes of completing the entire stretch, which ends in Maine. The pristine Toccoa River goes through town and is known for excellent trout fishing. A great way to see the river is to board the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, which follows the watershed and winds through lush forests and hills. Plus, you will be able to experience a passenger rail service and see how trains used to operate. Afterward, you can wander through the timeless historic downtown. If you feel like a movie night later on, head to the Swan Drive-In, one of the last five drive-in theaters in Georgia.

While in the mountains, there’s no better feeling than resting in a cozy cabin. There are plenty of them to choose from in the Blue Ridge area, many of which are along the river. To see what’s available, North Georgia Blue Ridge Cabin Rentals is a great resource to check out.


Diners in the historic public square of Dahlonega, Georgia. Editorial credit: Jen Wolf / Shutterstock.com
Diners in the historic public square of Dahlonega, Georgia. Editorial credit: Jen Wolf / Shutterstock.com

Resting in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains, Dahlonega is a gorgeous town known for its ridge-top views and storied past. Before California’s gold rush, people traveled to this area first in hopes of striking rich. With that said, there's a deep Native American history here, riddled with the displacement of the Cherokee Indians. One can learn about the Trail of Tears, the route taken by Native Americans forced off their land when settlers arrived. A point of interest is the Chief Vann House State Historic Site, the first home built in the Cherokee Nation. The museum inside tells the story of James Vann, who brought missionaries to Cherokee land to build schools. A good place to learn about the full scope of the mining boom and what that era was like is the Dahlonega Gold Museum.

Besides history, the area is known for its wineries. With ideal growing conditions, this part of Georgia has the highest concentration of grape vineyards in the state, with eight wineries and twelve wine-tasting rooms throughout the region. To make a day of it, you can book a wine trail tour to try all the best spots.

Dahlonega Square Hotel and Villas is a great place to stay. It will take you back to the 18th century, and there's a tasting room on the property where you can sample the local wines while talking about the glory of the South.

Cumberland Island

Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum, via EWY Media / Shutterstock.com
Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum, via EWY Media / Shutterstock.com

Cumberland is a large barrier island off Georgia’s southeast coast with miles of protected beach and forests. You must take a ferry to get to this gorgeous island, but the effort is well worth it. Believe it or not, wild horses still run free here, and loggerhead sea turtles also wander the untouched beach shorelines. There are numerous historic sites to visit, such as The Dungeness ruins. The site holds the remains of a sprawling mansion built by Thomas Carnegie, brother of steel businessman Andrew Carnegie. Another interesting point of interest is the Ice House Museum. It functioned as a place to store large quantities of ice brought in from the northeast for the Carnegie mansions.

Despite its remoteness, visitors can absolutely stay on the island. A great spot is the Greyfield Inn, where you don’t have to worry about much during your trip. There are three meals served daily and tours you can take, highlighting different parts of Cumberland Island.


Historic downtown Madison, Georgia, USA.
Historic downtown Madison, Georgia, USA.

Named one of the prettiest towns in the world, Madison is the quintessential southern community to visit. Charming storefronts line the streets; you'll find sweet magnolia trees everywhere. It is located in northeast Georgia, about 60 miles east of Atlanta. Once you get settled in, there’s quite a bit of historic architecture to explore. You can tour Heritage Hall, a Greek Revival-style mansion that gives a peek into the past and how some wealthiest people lived before the Civil War. Plus, for anyone who likes a good thrill, there are stories about the haunted mansion. You’ll likely hear about the tale of a ghost that lives in one of the upper rooms. Madison is also home to the Morgan County African American Museum. The museum is located in the former tenant house of John Wesley Moore, born in the last years of slavery. There are interesting artifacts and displays that illustrate the deep African American heritage and history.

A fun place to end your day is at the Farm House Inn. It’s located in the countryside of Madison, and you can stay in a cottage or barn loft. There are farm animals you can greet on the property and short hiking trails to explore.

Fort Valley

A strawberry pickers runs the green rows at Lane Southern Orchards in Fort Valley, GA.
A strawberry pickers runs the green rows at Lane Southern Orchards in Fort Valley, GA. Image credit Larry Porges via Shutterstock.

Located in the state's center, Fort Valley is considered the peach capitol of Georgia. The state is one of the top four peach producers in the country, and half of that share is harvested right here. During peach season, roads are dotted with fruit stands as locals sell the fresh fruit. A fun event to attend in the summer is the Georgia Peach Festival.

Besides peaches, Fort Valley is full of history, much like the rest of the state. Built in 1855, the Troutman House is a local treasure. It has Greek Revival architecture and is described as one of the larger homes of that time. There’s also quite a bit of railroad heritage here that played a major role in the town’s growth. You can visit the historic freight depot, which resembles the Postbellum American Railroad Style of the late 1800s. Only a handful have been preserved in the state of Georgia.

The Inn on Anderson is a lovely spot to stay and is ideal for a large family gathering. You can rent a bed and breakfast for events or family reunions and feel right at home. It's quite charming and has a historic southern feel and flare.


Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia. Editorial credit: The Toidi / Shutterstock.com.
Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia. Editorial credit: The Toidi / Shutterstock.com.

Situated between Atlanta and Augusta, Greensboro is the perfect small town to visit while still having close access to city life. There’s a strong sense of community and southern hospitality here; people come just for the antiquing. You can scavenge for treasures from a different time at the Greensboro Antique Mall. The shop is housed at the historic Big Store, which used to be the main emporium for purchasing goods. Other notable historic sites nearby include the Old Gaol, which is said to be the oldest existing jail structure in the state. About 15 miles from there is the Historic Scull Shoals Mill Village, where you can learn about Georgia’s first paper mill in 1811.

To experience true southern cooking, stop at Yesterday Café, a darling spot known for its buttermilk pie. As for places to stay, there are several resorts on Lake Oconee, one of the most beautiful lakes in Georgia. You can fish, swim, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings after a fun day in town. A popular resort here is The Lodge on Lake Oconee.


Downtown Washington, Georgia's Commercial Historic District.
Downtown Washington, Georgia's Commercial Historic District.

With old general stores offering grits and boiled peanuts, Washington is a town that will surely capture your heart. It has several antebellum homes from the 18th and 19th centuries, some of which you can tour. The Robert Toombs House reveals the town's significance during Civil War times. You can also visit the Callaway Plantation and see what a working plantation looked like in the rural south. Beyond historic architecture, you can pay a visit to the Kettle Creek Battlefield. The site highlights an important Revolutionary War battle, the first major victory for Patriot forces against the British.

In the historic square, you can stop at Fievet Pharmacy and get an old-fashioned Coke and even drink it with a straw. You can travel to the famous Twelve Oak Bed and Breakfast for a memorable night. The home has a storied past dating back to the 1830s, and the setting now is inspired by the movie Gone With The Wind.

From Tybee Island's seaside shores to Blue Ridge's mountaintops, Georgia is charming and gorgeous. The southern hospitality here will make you feel right at home, and the comfort food is cooked with so much love. The old oak trees hold stories of the past, while the antebellum homes give a peek inside what it was like to live in that time. The South is teeming with history, and one could spend weeks learning about the Underground Railroad or the Trail of Tears. As the desire to invest in experience over material items gains more traction in 2024, these small towns of Georgia will be well worth a visit.

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