Six Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day Outdoors

Celebrate mom with Mother Nature this Mother’s Day weekend!

Panola Mountain State Park

Panola Mountain State Park

Panola Mountain Hike, Saturday, May 7

This naturalist-led hike ascends to the protected summit of Panola Mountain. Hikers enjoy scenic views along one of the most amazing trails in the Atlanta area. The monadnock shares many of the same features as Arabia and Stone Mountain, with conservation efforts that have preserved thick, colorful blankets of lichen and moss.

New Manchester Mill Ruins at Sweetwater Creek State Park.

New Manchester Mill Ruins at Sweetwater Creek State Park.

Sweetwater Creek Kayaking & Candlelight Hike, Saturday, May 7

Kick off Mother’s Day weekend with a morning paddle exploring Sweetwater Creek State Park by kayak. Kayaking the reservoir is exciting and easy for beginners. The park offers single and tandem kayaks. As evening falls, experience the magic of nature along a half-mile out-and-back hike to the mill.

Richard B. Russell State Park

Richard B. Russell State Park

Hidden Gem History at Richard Russell State Park, Saturday, May 7

Moms meet at the disc golf parking area at Richard B. Russell State Park for a fun, naturalist-led hike through living history of the park’s past homesteads. This hike is part of Georgia State Parks’ Hidden Gems series.

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Cloudland Canyon State Park. Photo by Candy Cook.

Cloudland Canyon’s Sunset Point Hike, Saturday, May 7

One of Cloudland Canyon‘s best kept secrets, a short walk leads hikers to Sunset Point for gorgeous views of Lookout Valley as the sky puts on a colorful twilight show. Moms should meet at the West Rim Access Parking Lot to experience this hidden gem.

High Falls State Park

High Falls State Park. Photo by Candy Cook

High Falls Paws on the Falls, Sunday, May 8

A special surprise awaits each pup who comes out to hike the High Falls State Park Trail. This dog-friendly hike follows a relatively easy trail for a tail-wagging good time with Mom’s Best Friend. Share your pictures from your hike on social media using #exploregeorgiapup!

Chattahoochee Nature Center.

Chattahoochee Nature Center. Photo by Candy Cook.

Chattahoochee Nature Center, Sunday, May 8

Pack a picnic and bring mom to the Chattahoochee Nature Center for free admission on May 8 (only moms get in free). Enjoy a short film about our treasured Chattahoochee River, a Wildlife Walk, animal encounters, and register by May 5 for the Mother’s Day Canoe Paddle!

candycookCandy Cook is Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer and the author of the blog “Happy Trails Wild Tales.” Click here for more Outdoor content from Candy.

Vote for the Winner of the #GeorgiaMusicBackstagePass Contest


Pick your favorite photo & story out of our five #GeorgiaMusicBackstagePass finalists. You can vote once a day until Friday, April 22. We will announce the winner on Tuesday, April 26. Scroll to the bottom to cast your vote!

THE #GEORGIAMUSIC BACKSTAGE PASS GRAND PRIZE WINNER WILL RECEIVE:
  • Round-trip air transportation to/from Atlanta
  • Hotel accommodations (eight nights) in Atlanta, Athens and Macon
  • Rental car
  • Music-focused tours and experiences in Atlanta, Athens and Macon
  • Two VIP tickets to the Shaky Knees Music Festival in Atlanta (May 13-15)
  • Daily stipend of $150

One (1) runner-up will win two tickets to the Shaky Beats Music Festival, taking place May 20-22 at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. Shaky Beats features more than 40 top electronic, indie and hip-hop acts across three stages.


Neil

Ashley

Corinne

I love #GeorgiaMusic, because of moments like this. My friend Steve Dezember has been living with Lou Gherig’s Disease (ALS), and has gotten to a state in which he is confined to his bed, only really able to move not much more than an eyelid, and unable to get out and about anymore. (You can read more about Steve here, and please #prayforsteve @hopeforsteve) Music is something important to him and his wife @hopieannc, and in situations like theirs, it’s so helpful and uplifting. Georgia musicians like @theearthlingsmusic and others have on multiple occasions brought the music to Steve’s back porch, making the time even with scheduled shows miles away. Having once worked at a place where magic happens every day (hint: it’s run by a mouse), it’s not as easy to find in everyday life, but musicians like this, full of heart and southern hospitality, make it possible. Georgia music isn’t just notes, beats, and words, it’s family and it’s love. #georgiamusicbackstagepass

A photo posted by Corinne (@corinnekellyb) on

Jennifer

Guide to Holiday Shopping Events in Georgia

Downtown Thomasville decorated for the holidays

Shop downtown Thomasville during two festive events: Small Business Saturday Nov. 28 and the Victorian Christmas Festival Dec. 10-11.

Find unique gifts for everyone on your list at these special holiday shopping events throughout Georgia. Stroll through historic downtowns filled with boutiques, specialty stores and galleries while the sounds of the season fill the air. Shop for handmade crafts and gifts you can’t find anywhere else, and treat yourself to a bite in a local café. Make holiday shopping a merry event this year in Georgia!

Nov. 24: Candlelight Shopping on the Square, Historic Downtown Washington

Nov. 26: Christmas in Possum Snout, Tallapoosa

Nov. 28: Christmas at the Art Center, Blue Ridge

Nov. 28: Small Business Saturday in Downtown Thomasville

Nov. 28-29: Mistletoe Market & Sugar Plum Tea Room, North Georgia Technical College Campus, Blairsville

Nov. 28-Dec. 20 (weekends): Dublin Christkindlmarket (Traditional German Christmas Market), Dublin Carnegie

Nov. 30-Dec. 15: Christmas at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, Atlanta

Dec. 1-4: Holiday Book Sale, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens

Dec. 3-4: Christmas Extravaganza, Downtown McRae

Dec. 4: First Fridays in Historic Downtown Brunswick

Dec. 4: First Friday, Downtown Valdosta

Dec. 4: Friday Night Live: Christmas in Downtown Woodstock

Historic Olde Town Conyers business district

Find special sales and promotions in the historic Olde Town Conyers business district during the Dec. 4 Christmas Party.

Dec. 4: Olde Town Conyers Christmas Party

Dec. 4: Downtown in December, Jefferson

Dec. 4-5: Christmas on the River, Savannah

Dec. 4-6: Art Dublin Holiday Gala & Show, Dublin-Laurens Museum & Cultural Center, Dublin

Dec. 5: Christmas in the Mountains, Downtown Cleveland

Dec. 5: Holiday Open House and Christmas Parade, Valdosta

Dec. 5: Back to Nature Holiday Market and Festival, Chattahoochee Nature Center, Roswell

Dec. 5-6: Home for the Holiday Expo, Gwinnett Center, Duluth

Dec. 5-6: Victorian Christmas Open House, National Civil War Naval Museum, Columbus

Dec. 5-13 (weekends): 8th Annual Christkindlmarkt, Helen

Dec. 5-19 (Saturdays): Georgia Winery’s Christmas Open House, Ringgold

Dec. 10: 13th Annual Hometown Christmas, Downtown Warrenton

Dec. 10: Girls’ Night Out, Valdosta

Children visit with Santa in Thomasville

Take the kids to visit with Santa in Thomasville during the Victorian Christmas Festival Dec. 10-11, 2015.

Dec. 10-11: Victorian Christmas Festival, Thomasville

Dec. 11-23 (select dates): Dinner & Shopping in Truett’s Barn, The Rock Ranch

Dec. 12: Nacoochee Village Christmas, Helen

Dec. 12: Christmas Cookie Walk, Good Samaritan Catholic Church, Ellijay

Dec. 17: Christmas in Royston

Through Dec. 22: Mistletoe Market, Arts Clayton Gallery, Jonesboro

Through Jan. 9: Holiday Show and Sale, The Art Center, Blue Ridge

Looking for more unique shopping destinations in Georgia? Read Shopping for Kids this Holiday Season, visit the ExploreGeorgia.org Shopping Trip Ideas page, and find many more holiday events on the ExploreGeorgia.org Events page. Subscribe to the Explore Georgia email newsletter to receive the latest events and deals directly in your inbox!

Things to Do on Labor Day Weekend in Georgia

Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens

Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens, Labor Day Weekend

As the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day signals the upcoming season of fall festivals, football, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, apple picking and brilliantly colored scenery. Don’t miss the chance to squeeze in one more summer blast at these Georgia Labor Day events! Find more information about these and many more things to do in Georgia on ExploreGeorgia.org.

Food & Drink

Sept. 4: Food Truck Friday, Duluth

Sept. 4-5: Bacon Fest, Savannah

Sept. 4-5: 33rd Annual Kingsland Catfish Festival, Kingsland

Sept. 5: Grape Stomping Festival, Blairsville

Sept. 5: Boos and Brews Pub Crawl, Dahlonega

Sept. 6: August Wine Cruise Series, Lake Lanier

Follow Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer Jennifer Hill Booker for fall recipes and culinary trip ideas, and follow Georgia’s official Festival Explorer Eileen Falkenberg-Hull for more fall festival trip ideas!

At the State Parks

Sept. 4: Labor Day Twilight Paddle, Fort Yargo State Park, Winder

Sept. 4-6: Laborless Day, Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge, Helena

Sept. 5: Red Fox Fun Run, F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain

Sept. 5: Labor Day at Jarrell Plantation, Juliette

Sept. 5: Labor Day Face Painting, Fort Mountain State Park, Chatsworth

Sept. 5: Labor Day Celebration, Fort McAllister State Park, Richmond Hill

Sept. 5: Dirty Spokes Trail Run, Hard Labor Creek State Park, Rutledge

Sept. 5-6: Wild Cave Tours, Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn

Sept. 5-6: Labor Day Weekend Night Kayak, Hard Labor Creek State Park, Rutledge

Sept. 5-6: Tightrope Lessons, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Tallulah Falls

Sept. 5-6: Twilight Night Paddle, High Falls State Park, Jackson

Sept. 5-7: Holiday Gorge Floor Hike, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Tallulah Falls

Sept. 5-7: Tools and Skills That Built a Colony, Wormsloe Historic Site, Savannah

Sept. 5-7: Labor Day on the Lake, Florence Marina State Park, Omaha

Sept. 7: Labor Day at Fort King George, Darien

Sept. 7: Labor Day Commemoration, Fort Morris Historic Site, Midway

Follow Georgia’s official Outdoor Explorer Candy Cook for more outdoor trip ideas this fall!

Family Fun

Sept. 4: Hot Rods on Main Cruise-In, Douglasville

Sept. 4: Dive In Movie, Atlantis, Lake Lanier

Sept. 4-5: Fiddlin’ Flea Market & Family Festival, Newnan

Sept. 4-6: Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain

Sept. 4-6: Stone Mountain Park’s Labor Day Weekend Celebration, Stone Mountain

Sept. 5: Dive In Movie, Finding Nemo, Lake Lanier

Sept. 5-6: St. Simons Island Antique Show, St. Simons Island

Sept. 5-7: Labor Day Weekend at the Zoo, Cleveland

Sept. 6: Tybee Island Labor Day Beach Bash, Tybee Island

Follow Georgia’s official Family Explorer Lesli Peterson for more family-friendly fall trip ideas!

Free Things to Do

Sept. 4: 1st Friday Concert, Rome

Sept. 4: Friday Night Live: The Great Downtown Tailgate, Woodstock

Sept. 4: First Friday Fireworks, Savannah

Sept. 4: First Friday: The Benders, Thomasville

Sept. 4: First Friday Concert Series, The Swingin’ Medallions, Monroe

Sept. 4: First Friday Concert Series, Top 40 Pop Night, Dublin

Sept. 4: First Fridays, Historic Downtown Brunswick

Sept. 4: First Friday, Valdosta

Sept. 4: First Friday Fest in the Northeast Georgia Mountains, Clayton

Sept. 5: Good Life Drum Circle, Albany

Sept. 5: Buchanan Cruise Night, Buchanan

Sept. 5: Bluegrass on the Square, Tallulah Falls

Sept. 5: First Saturday Programs, Andersonville

Sept. 5-6: Perspectives 2015 – Georgia Pottery Invitational demonstrations and gallery talks, Watkinsville

Follow Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer Sue Rodman for more inexpensive fall trip ideas!

Sports & Racing

Sept. 4-6: IPRA World Championship Fall Rodeo, Cumming

Sept. 5: South Hall Rotary 5K, Gainesville

Sept. 5: 21st Annual Duck Race, Glenwood

Sept. 6: Callaway Gardens Family Fitness Series Triathlon, Pine Mountain

Last Chance! Events Ending Labor Day Weekend

Through Sept. 7: Summer Music Weekends, Lookout Mountain

Through Sept. 7: Blue Star Museums, Albany

Through Sept. 8: Festival Springs Fountain, Albany

Opening Labor Day Weekend

Sept. 1-Sept. 30: Blue Morpho Butterfly Month at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain

Sept. 4-Oct. 30: Augusta Canal Moonlight Music Cruise, Augusta

Sept. 5-Oct. 11: Blue Ridge Mountains Photographers National Juried Show, Blue Ridge

Find special offers and discounts on great places to stay in Georgia on the ExploreGeorgia.org Deals page.

32 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Georgia

Fort Mountain State Park

Fort Mountain State Park

With Valentine’s Day on a weekend this year, you have lots of time to celebrate with your special someone. Make a date with your sweetie to check out these festivals, plays, concerts, art exhibits and activities in Georgia.

Atlanta Metro

Feb. 13: Big Band Valentines Dance at Stardust Ballroom Dance Club in Fayetteville 

Feb. 13-14: “The Elephant Man” at Act3 Playhouse in Sandy Springs 

Middle Georgia

Feb. 13: Southern Soul & Song: Sam Bush at The Imperial Theater in Augusta 

Feb. 13-28: “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” at Warner Robins Little Theatre 

Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day Wagon Ride at Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge

Feb. 14: Kiss My Grits! at George L. Smith State Park in Twin City

Feb. 14: Family Day: Love and Lerda at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens

North Georgia

Feb. 13 – March 15: Winston Churchill Art Exhibition at Berry College in Rome

Feb. 13-14: Valentine’s Dinner at Barnsley Resort in Adairsville

Feb. 13-15: Valentine’s Marriage Retreat at Lanier Islands Resort in Gainesville

Feb. 13-21: “Antigone” at UNG-Gainesville’s Ed Cabell Theatre in Oakwood

Feb. 14: 5th Annual Fire and Ice in Blue Ridge

Feb. 14: Fasching – German-style Mardi Gras in Helen

Feb. 14: Neil Berg’s “102 Years of Broadway” at Brenau University in Gainesville 

Feb. 14: Reserve the Valentine Package at Don Carter State Park in Gainesville

Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day Celebrations at Hightower Creek Vineyards in Hiawassee

Feb. 15: Behind the Scenes Tour at North Georgia Zoo & Farm in Cleveland

South Georgia

Feb. 12: “Back on Broadway” at the Georgia Southern University Performing Arts Center in Statesboro

Feb. 13-15: Dublin Farm’s Valentine’s Day Weekend Celebration in Dublin 

Feb. 13-15: “The Importance of Being Earnest” at the Averitt Center for the Arts in Statesboro 

West Georgia

Feb. 12: Cocktails & Acrylics at the Albany Museum of Art

Feb. 13-14: Dance The Night Away in Albany

Feb. 13-22: “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” at Theatre Albany 

Feb. 14: Music City Hit Makers at the Bill Heard Theatre in Columbus 

Feb. 14: “Notes from the Balcony: Romeo and Juliet in Music” in Thomasville 

Feb. 14: Under the Night Sky – Valentine’s Day Hike at Chattahoochee Bend State Park in Newnan 

Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day Dinner at The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain

Georgia Coast

Feb. 12-14: 7th Annual Mardi Gras Tybee on Tybee Island

Feb. 13-14: Valentine’s Dinner Cruise in Savannah 

Feb. 14: Mardi Gras Festival in St. Marys

Feb. 14: Mardi Gras Ball in St. Marys 

Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day Weddings in the Davenport House Garden in Savannah