Compared to the rest of GEORGIA, the largest of the Southern states, the bright lights of its capital Atlanta are a wild aberration. Apart from some beaches and towns on the highly indented coastline, this rural state is composed of slow, easy-going settlements where the best, and sometimes the only, way to enjoy your time is to sip iced tea and have a chat on the porch.

Settlement in Georgia, the thirteenth British colony (named after King George II), started in 1733 at Savannah, intended as a haven of Christian principles for poor Britons, with both alcohol and slavery banned. However, under pressure from planters, slavery was introduced in 1752 and by the time of the Civil War almost half the population were African slaves. Little fighting took place on Georgia soil until Sherman’s troops advanced from Tennessee, burned Atlanta to the ground, and, in the infamous “March to the Sea”, laid waste to all property on the way to the coast.

Today, bustling Atlanta stands as the unofficial capital of the South. The city where Dr Martin Luther King, Jr was born, preached and is buried bears little relation to Gone With the Wind stereotypes and its forward-thinking energy is upheld as a role model for the “New South”. The state’s main tourist destination, though, is the coast, stretching south from beautiful old Savannah via the sea islands to the semitropical Okefenokee Swamp, inland near Florida. In the northeast, the Appalachian foothills are fetching in autumn, while the college town of Athens is known for its offbeat rock heroes R.E.M. and the B-52s.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

10 places where you can see America's fall foliage at its finest

10 places where you can see America's fall foliage at its finest

As fall takes hold, a magnificent blanket of gold and amber leaves begins to descend across the USA. Misty morning walks and roaring fires start to bec…

21 Sep 2017 • Phoebe Tatham insert_drive_file Article
Beer and bison burgers: a foodie's guide to Denver

Beer and bison burgers: a foodie's guide to Denver

Countless cities are credited with a burgeoning food scene – but Denver, the Wild West capital of Colorado, stands out from the crowd. In 2016, a stagger…

19 Sep 2017 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month