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Five exits that will add interest and excitement to your boring drive on that long lonely stretch of I-75 in South Georgia.


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5 Boredom-Busting I-75 Exits in South Georgia


As much as we prefer taking the scenic route on the backroads, sometimes the highway is a necessary evil. Such is the case when we make the 9-hour drive between our home in Central Florida to Pinebox, a rustic log cabin that is our home-away-from-home in the North Georgia mountains. The driving route is Interstate highway the whole way. We drive I-4 to I-75 to I-575 northbound and the reverse when we head back south.

When Jerry and I make the trip together, we usually take our time and make lots of stops along the way. But when I make the trip alone, I’m like a horse headed for the barn. I am grateful for the Interstate system when I just want to get there! Unfortunately, that long stretch of I-75 in South Georgia between Lake Park and Atlanta can get mighty boring, even when you’re listening to great music or an audiobook. Luckily, I have discovered a few interstate exits worth taking to break the monotony of the long drive.

(All photographs were first shared on Backroad Planet’s Instagram.)


$3 Book Sale and Book Warehouse


Book Sale Lake Park, Georgia

$3 Book Sale Warehouse Lake Park Georgia.JPG

$3 Book Sale and Book Warehouse
Exit 5 – SR 376/Lakes Blvd. – Lake Park, GA

UPDATE: I visited this location in August 2019, and learned that the $3 Book Sale has closed permanently. Book Warehouse is still open.

I have been stopping by the $3 Book Sale and Book Warehouse for more years than I can remember, and I have found many literary treasures there. Located just north of the Florida/Georgia state line, these two connected bookstores are a great distraction from the highway doldrums. All the books are remainders, and all profits from sales benefit cancer research at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The $3 Book Sale is the larger of the two stores, and no book in the store is priced over $3.00. Many go for just $ .99. The more upscale Book Warehouse, a short walk down the strip, sells every book at 50% off the cover price or lower. If you take your receipt from $3 Book Sale to the Book Warehouse, you can select a free book from the book table and vice-versa. A bibliophile’s dream!

Click here for Lake Park, Georgia, lodging options on TripAdvisor!


Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site


Jefferson Davis Capture Site

Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site
Exit 78 – SR 32/Jefferson Davis Hwy. – Irwinville, GA

Although I was always curious, I passed the interstate sign pointing to Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s capture site for many years before I visited the park. The reason for my delay was probably because the site is a 14-mile one-way drive from Exit 78. One summer, however, I made time to visit the spot where Jefferson Davis was captured by Union cavalry on May 9, 1865, and I’m glad I did. The video, museum, and monument are features no history buff would want to miss. Although you could easily spend an hour or two going through the museum and roaming the 13-acre grounds for a nominal fee, you may also stop by long enough to visit the monument and then move on your way. A rare piece of South Georgia history!

Click here for lodging options in nearby Tifton, Georgia, on TripAdvisor!


Smoakie’s Bar-B-Que


Smoakie's BBQ Barbecue

Smoakie’s Bar-B-Que
Exit 102 – Corner of E. 8th Ave. and S. Greer St. – Cordele, GA

UPDATE: Smoakie’s has relocated to the west side of I-75. It is literally one block west on the corner of E. 8th Ave and S. Greer St. Unfortunately, they have not updated their web site, nor has Google Maps changed their address.

Located just around the curve at a fork in the road on the east side of Exit 102 (old address) is a southern BBQ place like I remember from my youth. It is nothing fancy, but the 1/2 lb. chopped pork BBQ sandwich with pickles, waffle fries or onion rings, and coleslaw will, as my dad says, “Make your tongue slap your brains out!” Smoakie’s has a convenient drive-through window, but I do not recommend driving while holding that big ole sandwich together. I’ve tried it, and it is a losing battle trying to keep chopped pork from falling all over your lap with one hand on the wheel. Better to plan on stopping for lunch and enjoying the unpretentious atmosphere of an authentic southern BBQ joint. Just don’t get your mouth fixed for BBQ and be disappointed like I was on my last trip. They are closed on Sundays. Hope you are near Exit 102 around lunchtime!


Ellis Brothers Pecans


Ellis Brothers Pecans Vienna Georgia

 
Ellis Brothers Pecans
Exit 109 – SR 215/Union St. – Vienna, GA

South Georgia is known far and wide for its peaches, but it is also notorious for its peanuts and pecans. Ellis Brothers sells these southern nuts in every form and flavor imaginable, both in the shell and out. They feature every kind of roasted, salted, flavored, candied, chocolate-covered nut under the sun. My personal favorites are the hickory and garlic flavored pecans and the mixed roasted nuts. Although they are not native to South Georgia, the macadamias and cashews in the mixed nuts are to die for. Now for the best part: You can sample everything before you buy! No, I’m not making this up. There are sample containers of virtually everything they sell. It is like a pecan buffet! Of all the South Georgia interstate exits, this is one not to be missed . . . .

Click here for nearby lodging options in Cordele, Georgia, on TripAdvisor!


High Falls State Park


High Falls State Park Georgia

High Falls State Park
Exit 198 – CR 277/Highfalls Rd. – Jackson, GA

We had also seen the signs pointing to High Falls State Park for several years before we decided to check it out on a drive south last summer. If we had known it was located less than two miles east of Exit 198, we probably would have stopped by sooner. The North Georgia mountains have waterfalls everywhere, but I had never heard of falls located south of Atlanta.  But sure enough, they are there and quite spectacular at that! You can see a wide manmade waterfall from the road, but the natural falls are located just a short hike below the bridge. Although the name is a misnomer when compared to North Georgia falls like Amicalola and Toccoa, these cascades are definitely a beautiful site to see. Even if you don’t have time for swimming, picnicking, camping, or a ranger-led hike, it is worth it to pay the $5.00 parking fee and hike down to the falls.

Note: Traditionally, parking at Georgia State Parks has been free on Wednesdays. I have not verified that lately, but I did find this thrifty feature on the Georgia State Parks website. “If you have a library card from a Georgia public library, you can check out a ParkPass and Historic Site Pass, just like you would check out a book. You’ll enjoy free parking at Georgia’s State Parks and free admission to State Historic Sites.”

So, if you happen to find yourself driving that long, boring stretch of I-75 in South Georgia, why not take one of these exits to bring a little fun into the drive, and be sure to share with us more cool exits you have found in the comments below . . . .

Click here for lodging options in nearby Locust Grove, Georgia, on TripAdvisor!


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Helpful Links


$3 Book Sale and Book Warehouse

Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site

Smoakie’s Bar-B-Que

Ellis Brothers Pecans

High Falls State Park

 

IMG 3105 Version 2 - 5 Boredom-Busting I-75 Exits in South Georgia
Howard Blount is founder and co-owner of the travel blog BackroadPlanet.com. He has traveled internationally since boyhood and lived abroad in Mexico, Chile, and Paraguay. Now his passion is navigating the roads-less-traveled of this amazing planet in search of anything rare and remote. On the stuffy side, “Mr. Blount” has been a writer, consultant, and published author with the likes of Simon & Schuster and McGraw-Hill. Although his road trips are financed by his day job as a middle school teacher, Howard would much rather be doing anything that includes mountains, waterfalls, dachshunds, gospel choirs, books, restored classic movies on Blu-ray, HDTV, autumn, sandhill cranes, hot springs, Florida springs, rain and other gloomy weather, log cabins, cracker shacks, abandoned sites, unearthed history, genealogy, museums, documentaries, To Kill a Mockingbird, scenic and historical sites, castles, cathedrals, the Civil War, cold sheets, National and State Park Passports, quotes, the Rambos, Dionne Warwick, Steely Dan, Doobies, Diet Pepsi, Fish City Grill, anything Apple, all things British, Jesus, and lists. And on a random note, Howard is a fourth cousin once removed to Truman Capote.

 

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