Georgia's diverse landscapes provide the perfect escape for all four seasons ©People Images / Getty Images / iStockphoto
From its marshy barrier islands to its rolling hills, Georgia’s landscapes draw a mix of seasonal visitors throughout the year.
When visitors and residents aren’t in the great outdoors to enjoy the best the weather has to offer (think gushing waterfalls in the spring, relaxed waterfront activities in the summer and scenic mountain drives in the fall), they pack into the cities or welcoming mountain lodges for festivals or holiday merriment.
Here’s our guide to the best times to visit Georgia.
High season is the best time for water activities (March to August)
The Southern coastal state draws crowds in the warmer months, even as the humidity reaches near-intolerable levels at the peak of summer. Booking accommodations at the beaches of Tybee Island, Savannah, Jekyll Island or Brunswick can be a challenge, as visitors flock to the shores to for sun and ocean breezes. Hotel rates are highest in April, when the temperatures are just right, the flowers are in bloom and major cities host large-scale outdoor events.
As the heat and humidity rise during Georgia’s summer months, water activities like boating on Lake Lanier beckon © Marilyn Nieves / Getty Images
Low season is the best time for cozy cabin escapes (December to February)
Nippy winter months usher in low temperatures, cloudy skies and damp weather. Since snowfall is rare and unpredictable, residents and visitors alike travel farther north to Blue Ridge or even Tennessee to get their fill of wintry activities.
This is the best time to book a snug mountain chalet in Blue Ridge or the North Georgia Mountains. The best deals on cabin rentals can be found after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with our weekly newsletter.
Shoulder season is the best time for festivals (September to November)
Crisp temperatures, relatively radiant skies, favorable weather, the draw of numerous nationally known events and the lure of foliage colors make fall a standout time to visit Georgia. This is also an ideal season for snagging some of the best deals on accommodations, with room rates at their most reasonable.
Best hikes in Georgia
January is for playing in the snow
This is typically the coldest month, and offers the best chance for seeing snow. Heavy snowfall occurs in the state once every few years or so, and while snow events with even a few inches have proved debilitating in recent years, newly set up resources like salt trucks let regular activities happen even on frosty snow days.
Key events: Atlanta Wedding Extravaganza, Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations and parades
Avoid the crowds in February
Temperatures stay low, and a noncommittal sun peers from behind the clouds more frequently, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Key event: Georgia National Rodeo in Perry
March is the best time to go for a hike
The official start to spring heralds the first blush blossoms of Robinson crabapples and a dusting of dogwoods; pleasant temperatures and clear skies; and the beginning of outdoor excursions. Hikers trek to waterfalls in North Georgia and the Blue Ridge Mountains as streams surge with snowmelt.
Key events: Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Festivities, Savannah Music Festival, Conyers Cherry Blossom Festival, Macon’s International Cherry Blossom Festival
The 7 best state parks in Georgia
April is the best time for art festivals
As spring peaks, cities come to life. Open-air markets and patios begin to swarm with patrons, and weekend art festivals fill small-town squares with vendors and food stands. Even those uninterested in hitting the links find it impossible to resist the draw of the first major golf tournament of the year.
Key events: Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Atlanta Film Festival
May is a perfect time for picnics
Cue the start of balmy months and take to Georgia’s coasts and waterways. Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of picnics in the park and beach getaways, as families spend more time outdoors to enjoy the surf and sun.
Key event: Atlanta Jazz Festival
At the peak of the Georgia summer, the coolest place to be might be in a tube on the Chattahoochee River © Paul Hakimata Photography / Shutterstock
In June, take to the water
As temperatures begin to rise to uncomfortable levels, the best way to cool off is in the water – we especially love tubing or rowing down the Chattahoochee River. Peaches, for which the state is known, are at their ripest at this time, making them an ideal treat for a boost of hydration and energy while floating down a creek.
Key event: Georgia Peach Festival
The best free things to do in Georgia
July is boating season
’Tis the season for roasting, as the heat and humidity hit their highest levels. Boating trips and cold beverages are a must for Fourth of July festivities; Lakes Alatoona, Lanier and Oconee all deliver on waterfront fun for the family.
Key events: Fourth of July parades, fireworks and festivities everywhere
Head to a water park in August
Savor the last sizzling month of summer before schools are back in session. This sweltering month is a good time to splash around in one of the state’s water parks – from Valdosta’s Wild Adventures to Margaritaville at Lanier Islands.
Key event: Macon Film Festival
Every September, crowds (and headliners) flock to Music Midtown festival in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park © Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock
September is the best time for a trip to Atlanta
Nationally renowned events make the start of fall the best time to visit the state capital and largest city. Top performing artists such as Eminem, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Maroon 5 headline Atlanta’s Music Midtown festival in expansive Piedmont Park. Meanwhile, the city also draws an animated crowd for its annual Dragon Con pop-culture convention. Outside of Atlanta, Oktoberfest revelry kicks off in the Bavarian-style village of Helen, complete with beer, brats and lederhosen.
Key events: Atlanta Music Midtown, Atlanta Lantern Festival, Dragon Con, Helen Oktoberfest
October is for pub crawls
Brisk air sweeps the state, making October ideal for sipping brews at outdoor pubs and breweries. Visits to area farms for corn mazes and pumpkin-patch fun are popular this time of year. Toward the latter part of the month, leaves will start to get golden. This is also an ideal time to go apple picking in the state’s many orchards: Georgia varieties include Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith.
Key events: Atlanta Pride Festival, Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay, Helen Oktoberfest (continued)
Take a scenic road trip to the Georgia mountains in November
The early part of this month is the best time to see bursts of color in Georgia mountains. Take a scenic drive to some of the highest points in the state such as Brasstown Bald and Fort Mountain. Or explore the gulches of Tallulah Gorge and Cloudland Canyon to see the colors close-up.
Key events: Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens, Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival
Catch a football game in December
Illuminated parks, skyscrapers and homes make early winter a festive time to visit, even if the weather remains mostly gloomy and gray. Metro Atlanta bustles with holiday visitors and activities, and lodging and transportation prices soar. An additional draw is the annual SEC championship game, which takes place annually at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. For football enthusiasts in these parts, this event rivals the NFL’s Super Bowl.
Key events: SEC Championship Game, Garden Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Atlanta Downtown Peach Drop, Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain, Savannah Christmas Market
You might also like: