Heritage Tourism

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Photo:  Hay House in Macon, Georgia

Heritage tourism


Heritage tourism is the perfect way to introduce children to their family, city, state and country’s history.

Heritage tourism is all about family, communities, culture and history. When we talk about heritage tourism and our family history, it includes the people, events, and communities of our family line. But while heritage tourism is about our personal families it also extends to people and places all around our country – and the world. Connecting with culture, people, places, and history are becoming a very popular theme in tourism.  More than just a historic site, heritage tourism is about a personal connection to traditions, events, people and cultures in a city or community.

Heritage tourism

 – Provides an authentic experience for tourists. It is a walk down memory lane for travelers who may have lived in the area and a wonderfully unique experience for holiday makers wanting to explore and learn about new historic locations. There is a strong desire for people to learn more about their ancestry and family legacy. Uncovering details helping them understand more about their ancestors and what life was like for them.  There are any number of services available for people to plug in names, dates, and cities to find more information about their family history. Discovering your heritage can lead to visits – and heritage travel. During the holiday season, it is a great time to start the conversation about family legacy and history. Around the dinner table are elders and cousins who know many details that will help uncover the olden times.

Heritage tourism and your family history

Discover your family legacy while visiting during this holiday season.  Excursions like this provide a view of what life was like for those who grew up in the are and how it is a part of the family legacy.  Here are some ideas:

  • A trip to visit family –  can include touring the city and areas where elders grew up or where they live now.
  • Visiting old home sites, schools and places of employment.
  • Take advantage of other relatives visiting to share stories about the family, sharing photos for a journey down memory lane. Add a visit to some of the places in the photos to bring this history to life
  • Visit museums in the cities which are part of your family legacy

Savannah offers an extensive selection of heritage sites and experiences. Try a river boat ride on a historic steamboat.

City, State, and International Heritage Tourism

Practically everywhere you travel there is an opportunity for an authentic legacy experience.  Some ideas are:

  • Battlefields
  • Courthouses
  • Historic downtowns
  • Historic neighborhoods
  • Military forts
  • Museums
  • Native American sites
  • Plantations
  • Railroad depots
  • Agricultural sites
  • Schools and universities
  • Local industries

Learn about historical events that may change what you thought you knew. First U.S. gold rush in Georgia, not California!

Who is interested in Heritage Tourism?

Everyone is!  According to Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Heritage Tourism is most popular with tourists between ages 45 and 65.  They are looking for experimental tourism and are more likely to spend more, stay longer and visitor more historical and cultural sites. Georgia DNR states that visitors of historical and cultural sites are likely to pay about $62 more per day than other visitors.  They are interested in purchasing antiques, art, gourmet food, wine and enjoying outdoor experiences related to heritage and culture. Travelers interested in Heritage Tourism are more likely to want to learn about and sample local cuisine. Interest in local gastronomy has created themed travel around culinary and cooking classes.  In recent years, this has become a favorite theme for tours and cruises. The benefits of Heritage Travel extends past the tremendous economic impact. According to Georgia, DNR tourist spent $20,8 billion in 2008 on travel and tourism activities; including heritage tourism. Tourism supports over 241,000 jobs! Tourism is big business! Heritage Tourism also brings awareness for historic properties and sites, highlighting the importance to the preservation and maintaining our history. Not associated with tourism are the renovation, increased property values and other aspects of property ownership.


Generations of islanders on Sapelo have harvested whelks along the shore.

Suggested spots for Heritage Tourism inGeorgia

Georgia historic sites: Pebble Hill Plantation – Thomas County – a public museum Savannah – Historic District Savannah Forsyth Park, Dahlonega Gold Museum – Lumpkin County, Etowah Indian Mounds – Cartersville, Historic Homes – Gainesville, Macon Fort King George – Darien, McIntosh County – Reynolds Mansion – Sapelo Island Hay House – Macon Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm – Jefferson Southwest Georgia Excursion Train, River Queen River Boats, Sunflower – Ruthledge Georgia Jugfest – Crawford County Uncle Remus Museum,  The King Center,  Clock Tower – Rome Courthouse – Covington Noble Hill School, Georgia Capito,l Fox Theatre, Seabrook Village – Midway, Tybee Island Lighthouse

Ocmulgee Lantern Tour

Visit some of the many historic sites around Georgia. Photo: Ocmulgee Natural History Center

  Links for Heritage Tourism

www.georgia.org www.heritagetravelinc.com www.travelsouthusa.com www.preservationnation.org www.georgiaencyclopedia.orgwww.civilwar.org www.crossroadsofconflict.org
National Civil War Naval Museum Columbus, Muscogee County www.portcolumbus.org Atlanta History Center Atlanta, Fulton County www.atlantahistorycenter.com Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War Museum Atlanta, Fulton County www.atlantacyclorama.org Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History Kennesaw, Cobb County www.southernmuseum.org Stone Mountain Park and Museum Stone Mountain, DeKalb County www.stonemountainpark.com Washington Historical Museum Washington, Wilkes County www.historyofwilkes.org
Heritage trails Civil War Heritage Trails www.gcwht.org The Blue & Gray Trail www.blueandgraytrail.com



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