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Off-Road: 5 Unique Places to Explore Near Atlanta

With the year of staying put in our rear-view mirrors, nothing could be more exciting this summer than exploring some off-the-beaten-path destinations close to Atlanta. So save our in-town favorite spots like Fernbank, the Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, and the Children’s Museum of Atlanta for a weekend when you want to stick closer to home, and buckle up for an adventure at a local Stonehenge, a little White House, and a general hospital for Cabbage Patch Dolls. Keep reading on the scoop on these unique places to visit from Atlanta, and more, below.

Georgia Guidestones, Elberton

Giant slabs of stone with different languages written on them standing upright in the middle of the countryside? Stonehenge, right? Nope! Elberton. A mysterious person under the name of R.C. Christian hired Elberton Granite Finishing Company to build the structure, which has 10 guidelines or rules in 8 different languages. You'll find these guidelines in English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. To the left of the stone there is a tablet that states the astronomical features of the tablet and an apparent time capsule buried 6 feet below the monument. Also, on the tablet, it says “Let these be guidelines to the age of reason” and around it has 4 different ancient writing languages including Babylonian, Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian. So go. Check it out. You'll leave scratching your head but it's certainly a fun mystery to experience. 1031 Guidestones Rd. Elberton, GA 30635 706-283-2551 Online: exploregeorgia.org

Old Car City

Old Car City is “the largest open-air classic car museum in the world” which started as a car dealership in 1931 and is now a post-apocalyptic forest of rusting vehicles. While it doesn't sound classically beautiful, the mixture of rust, reforestation, and occasional surprises of vibrant vinyl or car paint combines to make an altogether unusually pretty (and cool) environment to explore. You can also find funky signs and a large styrofoam cup art gallery. Definitely head here if you're in the mood for a little bit of quirk, but expect to pay a bundle. Guests can be charged up to $30 to enter, depending on your age and whether you want to take a photo while there. 3098 Hwy. 411 NE White, GA 30184 770-382-6141 Online: oldcarcityusa.com

Little White House

In Atlanta, there is a house that is exactly identical to the White House in Washington D.C. Built buy Fred Milani, this 3/4-scale model of the White House was his tribute to democracy and the United States, his adopted home after fleeing from Iran in 1979. With a replica of the Oval Office, a movie theater, a replica of Lincoln's bedroom, and a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, this real-estate novelty was foreclosed upon in 2011 but still stands in Druid Hills. 3687 Briarcliff Rd NE Atlanta, Georgia, 30345 Online: atlantaobscura.com

Babyland General Hospital

Head to North Georgia to see the hospital where all Cabbage Patch Dolls get their starts. Babyland General Hospital was created when doll creator Xavier Roberts converted a former clinic into the original hospital space. Now, you can meet the hospital staff, watch a cabbage patch doll be born in the patch, and adopt your own doll during your visit. 300 NOK Dr. Cleveland, GA 30528 706-865-2171 Online: cabbagepatchkids.com

The Rock Garden, Calhoun

This volunteer-build roadside attraction offers 50 structures made out of tiny stones, shells, and fragments of pottery for visitors to marvel at behind the Calhoun Seventh Day Adventist Church. You'll find Cinderella's castle, the Coliseum, Notre Dame cathedral, houses, and more. It's a lot like seeing a sandcastle, but off the interstate, and made out of rocks.  

1411 Rome Rd. SW
Calhoun, GA
Online: exploregeorgia.org

Featured image via iStock.

—Shelley Massey

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