History Trails

Georgia's rich history is worth preserving and sharing with everyone.  Perhaps one of the best ways to share our history is through a hands-on learning experience at a Georgia State Historic Site. Uncovering legacies left by influential leaders and heritages of the past help us better understand our culture and world today. Join us as we open this window to the past. 

Native American heritage, historic homes, plantations, Civil War history, coastal forts, colonial Georgia, and the great gold rush are the pillars of Georgia’s history and southern culture. The events and people who were central to these stories played significant roles in shaping the foundation of our nation’s history. Today, we are able to visit these historic treasures and unlock these gateways to the past.

The Dahlonega Gold Museum takes you to 19th century Georgia during a time when thousands of prospectors flocked to the Cherokee Nation in north Georgia, marking the true beginnings of our country’s first gold rush. Dahlonega thrived and a U.S. Branch Mint opened in 1838, coining more than $6 million in gold before closing in 1861.

Unfortunately, the nation’s gold rush ultimately led to the Trail of Tears. The Trail of Tears officially began at the Cherokee Capital, New Echota. New Echota was the site of the first Indian language newspaper office, a court case which carried to the U.S. Supreme Court, one of the earliest experiments in national self government by an Indian tribe, the signing of a treaty which relinquished Cherokee claims to lands east of the Mississippi River, and the assembly of Indians for removal west on the infamous Trail of Tears.

During your visit to New Echota, you’ll want to stop at the Chief Vann House Historic Site. James Vann became a Cherokee Indian leader and wealthy businessman. You’ll see the largest and most prosperous plantation in the Cherokee Nation! Other historic homes include Traveler's Rest State Historic Site in Toccoa, FDR’s Little White House State Historic Site in Warm Springs and Hardman Farm in Sautee Nacoochee. 

Sacred to the Native American culture are their earthen mounds. Etowah Indian Mounds in Cartersville and Kolomoki Mounds in Blakely hold these protected treasures and artifacts giving us clues to cultures past. From temple mounds to burial mounds, find out who built these incredible earthen mounds and how they were used. 

While visiting Etwoah, stop by Pickett’s Mill Battlefield in Dallas and pay tribute to soldiers of the past. Pickett’s Mill is one of the best-preserved Civil War battlefields in the nations. Walk the same ravine where hundreds died and see the earthworks constructed by these men. 

As you make your way south, visit AH Stephens then Fort McAllister for your tour of Civil War sites. Once you reach the coast, take a step back to antebellum times at Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation in Brunswick and see the home furnished with antiques and the museum showcasing fine silver. While you are enjoying coastal Georgia, visit Fort King George Historic Site in Darien and Fort Morris State Historic Site in Midway for a taste of colonial Georgia, coastal forts and tabby ruins. 

From the mountains to the coast, Georgia is covered in valuable history and Georgia’s state historic sites are your opportunity to unlock this history through hands-on experiences. Grab your calendar, check the map, and start making your plans!