Georgia’s best kept travel secrets

These secret places and hidden gems are worth a visit

Many Georgians aren't aware of Providence Canyon It's situated in an outdoor recreation area that encompasses 1,103 acres and 16 canyons The canyons were formed by poor farming practices during the 1800s, when farmers taking no steps to avoid soil erosion The state park has 10 miles of trails to hike, with all beginning and ending at the visitor's center You can camp overnight at Providence Canyon by making a reservation at one of three pioneer or six backcountry campsites It costs $5 to park at Providenc

Georgia is home to charming beach towns, beautiful mountain communities, amazing cities and gorgeous natural forests. For those more fascinated by the path less traveled, the Peach State has even more to offer.

Here are Georgia’s best kept travel destination secrets that even some locals don’t know about.

Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon

Known as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon,” Providence Canyon State Park is one of the South’s most fascinating wonders. Filled with unusual geological formations caused by the erosion of the coastal plain, the park features miles of sandy nature trails and unforgettable views.

“Georgia’s ‘Little Grand Canyon’ is a testament to the power of man’s influence on the land,” The Georgia Department of Natural Resources reported. “Massive gullies as deep as 150 feet were caused simply by poor farming practices during the 1800s, yet today they make some of the prettiest photographs within the state. The rare Plumleaf Azalea grows only in this region and blooms during July and August when most azaleas have lost their color. The canyon soil’s pink, orange, red and purple hues make a beautiful natural painting at this quiet park.”

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

Just outside of Atlanta, Lilburn is home to BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir — a inspiringly beautiful Hindu place of worship made of Turkish limestone, Italian marble, and Indian pink sandstone. Constructed from more than 34,000 pieces of stone, each hand carved in India and shipped to Lilburn to be assembled using 1.3 million hours of volunteer labor, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is a beautiful work of craftsmanship unlike anything else in the South.

“Enjoy hours of beauty, peace, and discovery at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Lilburn, GA – a masterpiece of exquisite Indian design and workmanship,” the temple’s website said. “Marvel at the intricate marble carvings, participate in Hindu rituals or learn about the world’s oldest living faith – Hinduism. Whatever you prefer, you can plan and prepare for your visit here.”

Audio tours are available and visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Visitors should remember that this is an active place of worship.

Expedition: Bigfoot! The Sasquatch Museum

There are few experiences quite as uniquely adventurous and fun as visiting North Georgia’s “biggest” family attraction — Expedition: Bigfoot! The Sasquatch Museum. From the bigfoot butt print to the enthralling tale of Teddy Roosevelt’s run-in with an alleged bigfoot witness, the hour-long self-guided tour is a must-visit for any traveling to the Georgia mountains.

Admission to the museum is $8 for anyone 13 or older, $6 for children 5-12 and both active military and children under five get in for free.

Atlanta Alpaca Treehouse

Named one of the best treehouse rentals in the country by Vice, the Atlanta Alpaca Treehouse is a bamboo forest retreat worth visiting. The rental property was featured on Netflix’s “Love is Blind” and “World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals,” so potential visitors can get a good look of the place before booking their stay.

Nestled in a certified wildlife habitat, visitors will be able to see alpacas and a number of other creatures roaming the forest floor from their treehouse stay.