Macon, Ga., has come a long way since musicians Otis Redding and the Allman Brothers Band put it on the cultural map in the 1960s and 1970s. It celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2023 and today boats the world’s largest indoor pickleball complex, a growing local economy, new hotels and more.

Now, Macon is making waves outside the state. Travel+Leisure magazine included the city in its “50 Best Places to Travel in 2024."  AARP listed it as one of the “8 Affordable U.S. Destinations for 2024."  And Southern Living’s “12 Southern Trips We Can’t Wait to Plan” features a stop in Macon, too.

The Georgia city, located 84 miles southeast of Atlanta is a top spot for easy access to recreation, waterways and music history. But its Ocmulgee National Historic Park is attracting global recognition and travel buffs. 

“After such a successful effort in 2023 in response to Macon’s bicentennial celebration, pending developments in the region’s efforts for Ocmulgee Mounds to become a National Park, and the revitalization efforts of our beautiful Downtown, we knew that topping such a banner year was not going to be an easy achievement,” Gary Wheat, President and CEO of Visit Macon, said in a statement. “But, I am thrilled to report that 2024 is off to a fantastic start!  Thanks to the efforts of our fantastic partners, businesses and the hundreds of people who embody the civic pride and spirit required to move Macon into its brightest future possible…  the buzz surrounding Macon, Georgia isn’t going to stop anytime soon!”

Visit Macon, the city's tourism office, said its 2023 media coverage generated 52 stories with a total ad value equivalent exceeding $8.8 million nationwide, a $2.4 million increase over 2022, thanks to coverage in The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure, Bloomberg, Garden & Gun, and The Daily Beast as well as on Discovery Network’s Destination America: Lost In! TV series and the show CBS This Morning.

As NPR reported last month, Georgia’s senators, along with U.S. House representatives, both Republicans and Democrats, are in the process of drafting legislation to make the Ocmulgee Mounds in Middle Georgia a U.S. National Park. Bills in the House and Senate will likely go through in the early part of 2024. 

The new national park would be the first in the state and bring even more attention to Macon.