Written by David Rice
It’s a great time of year to visit the locales that make the Peach State the “Empire of the South.” The best part? You can get to all these destinations on one tank of gas (or less).
Why go? The National Park Service operates three sites in honor of Dr. King, including his birth home, the church in which the legendary civil rights leader was ordained a minister and his tomb where he is buried with his wife.
Insider Tip: Any child between the age of 9 and 12 can be a “Junior Ranger” at these historic sites. They are required to complete the “Official Activity Booklet” and promise to live by Dr. King’s Six Principles of Nonviolence.
Must Do: Visit the burial site at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, where King and his wife rest on a brick island in the center of a reflecting pool.
The Fine Print: Admission to this site and parking are free. Most of the tour is self guided, however, birth home tours require registration, which happens on a first come-first serve basis. (Get there early.)
131 Church St.
Why Go? Take a one hour, fully narrated tour of this historic southern city while riding aboard a trolley with the kids. See the area’s antebellum homes, Downtown Square and the battlefields of Kennesaw Mountain.“Marietta has a lot history from the Civil War as the city was very much shaped and influenced during that period,” Business Development Manager Collin Cash says.
Insider Tip: Some tours do involve walking, so bring comfortable footwear. If you require assistance for people with disabilities, call ahead so the staff can prepare.
Must Do: Marietta is home to three stages of live theatre producing Broadway caliber shows year round, so be sure to check out a local show.
The Fine Print: Tour times are at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 1 and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. Adult tickets are $20 while students and seniors are $18. Bring the young ones as kids age 4-12 get in for just $12 and kids under the age of four get in free.
50 Upper Alabama St.
Why go? Travel back to Atlanta’s beginnings as a railroad time and a supply depot for the confederacy during the Civil War. Hear tales of the city in the decades and centuries after the war, a time that saw Atlanta serve as the setting for Gone With the Wind, cultivate one of our nation’s greatest leaders in Martin Luther King Jr. and host the Olympic games. “Underground is where the city of Atlanta actually began,” Director of Marketing for Underground Atlanta Michelle Lawrence said. “We have great guided and self guided history tours that detail the history of the whole city.”
Insider Tip: The tour is designed for both adults and children and culminates with an incredible view of downtown.
Must Do: Bringing a group? Ask about scavenger hunts and dining vouchers.
The Fine Print: Reservations are required.
1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. SW
Why Go? One of the few Queen Ann Victorian style homes left in Atlanta, The Wren’s Nest has been home to writers and storytellers since the late 19th century.
Insider Tip: If you’re bringing a group of 10 or more people, book your own storyteller.
Must Do: Storytelling Saturdays take place at 1 p.m. and make a fun day for the whole family. Listen to a Wren’s Nest Rambler spin yarns and take you back in time with entertaining tales.
The Fine Print: Closed on Sundays and Mondays; open 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. every other day of the week. The cost of walk-in tours and group tours varies with pricing available for children, seniors, students and adults, but all are under $10 per person.