ATLANTA — Have cabin fever? Are your kids restless? Seems everyone's saying they need a change of scenery, but clearly summer vacations will be different this year because of coronavirus.
With people reluctant to fly, Channel 2 anchor Justin Farmer learned on Friday that Georgia’s tourist towns better get ready for an influx of people this summer.
Jennifer McLain says she has been enduring a really tough run working at a Publix store in Flowery Branch.
"It's been really scary. It's hard to be afraid to come to work," McLain said.
Like so many of us, she and her family need a break and will be heading out of town soon.
"Our go-to place is Savannah. We love Tybee Island. We're lucky to have a family member who has a condo on North Tybee," McLain said.
There will be many Georgians like the McLains -- reluctant to fly and ready for some place drive-able. It's what we saw a decade ago during the Great Recession -- a spike in local tourism.
"That was our experience during the Great Recession when people were forced to cut back, when the economy was taking a lot of hits. I think a lot of people, for example, for metro Atlanta and some of the metro areas in the state, started looking at closer-to-home options,” said Georgia House Speaker David Ralston said.
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From downtown Atlanta, you're only 93 miles to the mountains of Blue Ridge.
About 70 miles away puts you in the wonderful small town of Rome.
Savannah's just 248 miles or about three-and-a-half hours, and if you want to do some agricultural tourism on a farm, Thomasville is peaceful and beautiful.
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"You look from the mountains of Blue Ridge to the beauty of Savannah, but also you look at our state parks that are literally in every coroner of the state and offer very different experiences," said Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Wilson reminds us Georgia has 60 state parks, historic sites and properties for exploring.
Even more than just the fresh air, McLain says she's ready to smartly support businesses.
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"We have to support everybody that took a hit when everybody had to stay home, and those are people in our communities, be it here in Flowery Branch or in Tybee Island. You have to support them so that they get back on their feet and be there for our kids and our kids-kids. It's a generational thing," McLain said.
Remember, if you're on hiking trails or on beaches, health officials still want you to give people who aren't in your household some space.
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For a great resource for planning your next in-state adventure, check out ExploreGeorgia.org.
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