Georgia has a wide variety of terrain, from the high Appalachian mountains to a coastline made up entirely of barrier islands, with rolling plains and foothills in between. Such diversity of landscape lends itself to seriously unique places to stay, the kind of destination unto itself spots where you won’t want for anything. If you’re looking for a place to really unwind, offering everything you need without having to get back in the car until check-out, there are many in far-flung places around the Peach State. Here are some worthy of consideration.
Unique Places to Stay in Georgia: 6 Hotels Worth a Trip in the Peach State
Head to This Georgia Mountain Meadow Inn That Seems Straight Out of a Storybook
In the highlands of North Georgia, there’s a road you drive until the pavement ends, and then you keep driving to reach the remote and idyllic mountain meadow that’s home to Glen-Ella Springs Inn. The property is so romantic that people often get married here and book all the rooms for their wedding guests, who stay the entire weekend.
The bed-and-breakfast-style inn also has one of the best dining establishments in the region, the Glen-Ella Springs Restaurant. Even locals drive through the woods down Bear Gap Road for an exquisite gourmet dinner in a refined, but homey setting.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 16-room inn is a wooden structure that retains much of its original heart pine and has been restored to reflect a rustic mountain elegance. Outside the rooms are covered porches with rocking chairs for relaxing and taking in a view of the meadow and adjacent gardens. Enjoy a swimming pool during the warmer months and gather by the fire pit in the meadow on cool evenings to relax and stargaze at a night sky free of light pollution.
Glen-Ella Springs Inn
Splurge at This Posh Resort in a Rural Lakeside Georgia Setting
The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee isn’t your typical Ritz-Carlton property. Sure, it’s posh like any Ritz-Carlton, but it’s also a destination unto itself with everything you need for a luxurious vacation that includes lots of outdoor fun. The rural lakeside setting makes it a true getaway from the city. It’s also where country music superstar Carrie Underwood got married.
Lake Oconee is one of Georgia’s largest lakes, much of it surrounded by forested shorelines. Eighty minutes from Atlanta, the resort beckons couples, families, even those traveling with pets. This is a dog-welcoming property and the pet-friendly rooms are on the ground level, with a patio door in the room so there’s no long walk down a hallway to get outside.
Enjoy swimming and lounging on the beach or by the vanishing horizon pool next to an open-air bar. Take a jet ski out for a spin on the lake for a more active afternoon. Dine at one of the three restaurants on-site, including a high-end steakhouse, or gather around the fire pit for the nightly s’mores roast to meet fellow travelers.
However, what really sets the resort apart is the golf. Link hounds come from around the globe for the chance to play one of the five award-winning, expertly-designed championship courses available to guests at the adjacent Reynolds, Lake Oconee golf club community.
The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
Frolic Where the Rockefellers Once Did at This Georgia Historic Island Resort
A truly unique and landmark property in Georgia, Jekyll Island Club Resort is a coastal sanctuary on Jekyll Island, part of Georgia’s Sea Island chain of barrier islands. It’s a historic place – the club was founded in 1888 as a private winter retreat for the moneyed elite of the Gilded Age, people with surnames like Morgan, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt.
In 1910, it’s where the draft legislation was hatched that created a centralized banking system in the U.S. In short, this is where the Federal Reserve was conceived. The club closed during World War II, but decades later, the abandoned property was restored to its former Victorian-era glory and opened to the public as a resort.
Today, a causeway connects the island to the mainland. Travelers come from all over to stay at the resort that’s now a part of Jekyll Island’s National Historic Landmark District. The hotel sits on the riverfront side of the island with marsh views framed by ancient oaks dripping Spanish moss. Guests have access to miles of white-sand beach on the ocean. Play croquet on the lawn in front of the historic Island Club, golf on four courses, go horseback riding on the beach, and peddle the island’s 22 miles of paved bike trails, easily the best way to tour Jekyll.
Hotel Jekyll Island Club Resort
Get Away to an Uncrowded Lakeside Oasis in the Georgia Mountains
A mountain lodge tucked away on a hillside on the shores of a remote mountain lake, Lake Rabun Hotel has been welcoming guests since 1922. Once you see the lodge with its stone chimney and old timber accents, you’ll know you’ve found a true hideaway in the mountains. The place oozes rustic woodsy charm while providing the best in luxurious modern comfort and impeccable service.
The on-site farm-to-table restaurant has a spacious outdoor dining area on decks shaded by old-growth trees on the forested banks of the historic lake. Lake Rabun, one of Georgia’s oldest manmade reservoirs, has long been a getaway spot for wealthy Atlanta families who have second homes there. It’s an uncrowded waterside oasis for boating, swimming, and getting away from the city. The hotel also has cabins available at its Lake Rabun Fish Camp for those who really want to get away from it all.
Stay and Play at This Favorite Georgia Countryside Retreat
Modeled in the style of an English manor countryside estate, Barnsley Resort has 3,000 acres to stay and play on. What would have been the manor house in olden times is now an Instagram-worthy red brick, ivy-covered ruin where special events are held. Guests stay in the adjacent village at an elegant inn and a collection of modern cottages centered around the village green.
With all that room, outdoor activities abound at Barnsley. Golf the 18-hole championship course designed by Jim Fazio and take in the splendid lake, forest, and mountain vistas from the fairways. Other favorite activities are horseback riding through the fields and woods, archery, axe throwing, and the sporting clays at the Baretta Shooting Grounds.
Rejuvenate with one of the many treatments offered at the full-service spa near your accommodations, then unwind at the Beer Garden – a casual, inviting outdoor space serving regional craft beers and comfort food like pizza and barbecue. For finer dining, the resort has an excellent culinary program spearheaded by Executive Chef Nicolas Lebas, a native of France who puts his French spin on Southern classics at the Rice House, a gourmet restaurant in a restored 19-century farmhouse. The Woodlands Grill overlooking the golf course features fancy burgers, as well as exquisite seafood, steak, and chicken entrees.
Gaze at Georgia's Highest Waterfall Steps Away From These Unique Accommodations
If you love nature, hiking, and seeing magnificent waterfalls, check-in to Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge in the mountains 70 miles north of Atlanta. Accommodations include cabins in the woods or by a creek, and a modern lodge perched near the top of Georgia’s highest waterfall – the 729-foot cascade of Amicalola Falls. The lodge has a restaurant and a bar on-site and most rooms have mountain views. Great for families and larger groups are the loft rooms that can sleep six and feature a loft space with a full-sized bed.
The upper falls are steps away from the lodge. The cascade is so big that you can’t take all of the falls in from one vantage point. Observation platforms are located at the top and at the base of the falls with a steep staircase running between them offering even better views.
Also next to your accommodations are some of the best hiking trails in the region, including the eight-mile access trail leading to the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail on Springer Mountain. Shorter loop trails are also available. Other fun activities in the park are shooting a bow and arrow at the archery range and whisking through the treetops on a zip line course. Take a one-hour guided hike with a staff member to get a good introduction to the park and all its natural wonders.
Amicalola Falls Lodge
Featured image from Glen-Ella Springs Inn.