We might live where everyone else vacations, but that doesn't mean we don't get bored of the Sunshine State's beautiful paradise. Okay, maybe "bored" is a strong word. But everyone could do with some time away from home once in a while.
Floridians are lucky to have a nearby escape in our gorgeous neighbor, Georgia. From national parks and spiritual islands to artsy cities and mega shrines, the Peach State holds a lot of hidden gems that every Florida resident should see at least once.
Grab your friends, load up the car, and head to Georgia for your next vacation with one of these 22 places you've got to see for yourself.
Saint Simons Island Tree Spirits
Where: St. Simons
This Peach State island is known for its sizeable oak trees, which leave a lasting impression on visitors. None, however, are as impressive and magical as the island's "spirit trees." You can even go on a scavenger hunt to find all the faces. The race is on!
Where: St Marys
These ruins are all that remains of the Carnegie Mansion. The family owned 90 percent of the island where the estate's ruins sit. They abandoned it during the Great Depression where it decayed and eventually set on fire in 1959. You can travel to the island by ferry or single-engine plane today to check out the remains of this "winter getaway."
The Paris Market
Day trip to Paris? Yes, please! This quirky curiosity shop in Savannah was inspired by the famous Parisian flea market, Marchet aux Puces. The market's history is just as interesting as the objects found within it, with everything from taxidermy to embroidered throw pillows available for adventurous shoppers.
Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area
No need to head to Nevada for the Grand Canyon; Georgia's got their own right around the corner. Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area is often touted as one of the state's "Seven Natural Wonders," but there's actually nothing natural about this place. Farming in the 1800s caused Providence Canyon to plunge 150 feet into the earth. While it's not the same caliber as the Grand Canyon, it's definitely a beautiful place to visit and is guaranteed to earn you some love on the gram for the pictures you'll take here.
Where: outside Buena Vista
No, you're not tripping. Although Pasaquan's bright and colorful grounds might have you believe otherwise. This folk art compound was built by a fortune teller, who was instructed to do so by three people from the future.
During a fever dream, fortune teller St. EOM (Eddie Owens Martin) was visited by "three beings" who claimed they had come from a place called Pasaquan. They told him to go to Georgia and "do something." He did something, alright: he built six buildings and covered them with his psychedelic art. Check out the grooviness for yourself on your next trip.
Doll’s Head Trail
This creepy collection of found art exists on a trail that cuts through Constitution Lakes Park. The short hiking trail was designed as a found art installment by local carpenter, Joel Slaton. I guess found art translates to doll heads in DeKalb County, since most of the "exhibits" there are just that. Have fun never sleeping again after taking a stroll through this strange neck of the woods.
Tiny Doors ATL
Be sure to keep your eyes down when in Atlanta — you'll be glad you did. Tiny Doors ATL is an art movement in the city, which was started by Karen Anderson. The tiny doors are hidden in plain sight throughout Atlanta (15 of them so far). Keep your eyes down to catch a glimpse of these curious little treasures and let your imagination run wild.
While cemeteries aren't usually a place you want to be, this one contains one of the most impressive structures in the American southeast — and the world. The West View Abbey Mausoleum is the largest structure of its kind ever built under one roof, while Westview Cemetery as a whole is one of the largest nonprofit cemeteries in the United States.
Where: Stone Mountain
Stone Mountain is one of the most iconic landmarks in Georgia and lays claim to beautiful hiking trails, lush picnicking areas, a scenic railroad, and an aerial tramway. It's also home to the largest bas-relief sculpture in the world, which would be way more impressive if it weren't created to honor white supremacy. Checkered past aside, Stone Mountain is still an amazing place to visit with a breathtaking view at the top that goes on for miles.
Atlanta Botanical Garden
A trip to the Atlanta Botanical Garden is a must! You will instantly feel as though you've been transported to an Edward Scissorhands-style exhibit as dragons, goddesses, and other impressive sculptures block your view to the outside world. Check the Garden's website to build a custom itinerary for your visit.
Atlanta White House
Have you ever imagined yourself living in the White House? So has Fred Milani. He did what any reasonable person would do and built himself an exact replica at 3/4 the size after getting rich off the housing bubble in the early 2000s. Unfortunately, that bubble popped and with it went Milani's dream house, which has since been foreclosed upon and is now a private home to some other lucky (p)resident.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Atlanta
This massive Hindu temple is the largest in the world outside of India. Each piece was carved by hand and shipped over from India bit by bit. The pieces were carved as a sort of puzzle to help ease the process of rebuilding overseas.
The Dwarf Castle
You can't gain access to this private home, but you can admire one man's dedication to his wife from afar. Rudy McLaughlin promised his wife a castle and that's exactly what he built for her! The two-bedroom, 1,400-square-foot home has two garages and a swimming pool that doubles as a moat. Garden gnomes are seen all around the property, which is why it's named the Dwarf Castle. Don't you wish you had a Rudy in your life, ladies?
Old Car City
One of the largest automobile junkyards in the world is also a self-proclaimed "photographer's paradise" — and for good reason. Mother Nature has reclaimed the rusty cars that live here, growing trees through sunroofs and fashioning interiors with a fresh coat of moss. The contrast between the decaying machinery and thriving plant life makes for some truly incredible pictures.
The Tree That Owns Itself
That moment when a tree has property rights but you're still stuck living under a bridge while you pay off your student loans. After his death, James Jackson deeded the tree an eight-foot plot of land because he loved it so much. This is very much the ending we were all hoping for when we read The Giving Tree in elementary school.
The School Bus Graveyard
In case you didn't get enough rusted metal at Old Car City, Georgia also has the School Bus Graveyard where old school buses go to be reborn as quirky art pieces. Every year, local artists come to paint over the iconic yellow buses and transform them into amazing works of art. You've got to see it to believe it.
The Sasquatch Museum
Where: Cherry Log
You'll have a hard time not believing in Bigfoot after a trip to this museum. Expedition: Bigfoot is touted as the largest collection of genuine Bigfoot artifacts in the country. Do you believe?
Arguably one of Georgia's most controversial and interesting attractions is the Georgia Guidestones. No one knows the identity of the man who commissioned the monument to be built, but one thing's for sure: These massive stones are as creepy as they are huge. With such commandments as "Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature," it's no wonder conspiracy theorists the world over believe the man was an Illuminati member. What other explanation could there possibly be?
Rolling Thunder River Company
Get all the thrills Space Mountain wishes it could give you at the Rolling Thunder River Company. Let one of their experienced guides navigate you down the Ocoee and Toccoa Rivers for an incredible adventure you'll never forget. Find out why this company has been the last word in white water rafting for over 40 years.
Where: Walker County
This cave drop is the deepest in the continental U.S. With a depth of 586 feet, it is almost as tall as the Seattle Space Needle and is about twice the height of the Statue of Liberty. Located in Ellison's Cave, this pit can only be accessed by the most experienced spelunkers. If caving is a bit out of your comfort zone, take a hike up Pigeon Mountain where Ellison's sits and take in the amazing Peach State views.
Where: Lookout Mountain
Rock City is one of Georgia's most amazing road trip attractions with a fairytale vibe you just can't get anywhere else. Rainbow Hall, Fairyland, and Mother Goose Village are just some of the features that make this place so magical. Located at the top of Lookout Mountain, you can also see all seven surrounding states from the special vantage point.
Toccoa River Swinging Bridge
Where: Blue Ridge
This massive swinging bridge is the longest in the eastern U.S. It's called a swinging bridge, but locals agree it's more bouncy than swingy. A quarter-mile hike will take you to your destination where you can look out on the Toccoa River and take in Georgia's natural beauty.
When the Sunshine State just isn't cutting it anymore, a quick trip to Georgia will satisfy your soul. Everyone needs some time away from home — especially when the snowbirds start to take over.