Where to See Fireworks in Georgia this Summer

It’s a rite of summer. Relaxing on a blanket spread out on a grassy lawn, while the kids run around with glowing jewelry around their necks, waving sparklers. The little ones jump as caps explode near them. The evening culminates in a fiery show in the nighttime sky, accompanied by lots of ooooos and ahhhs from spectators. There is nothing quite like a Fourth of July fireworks display, except maybe a fireworks display that is NOT in July. Here are five places to see fireworks in Georgia through the summer, not just in the first week of July.

Stone Mountain Park

Photo courtesy Stone Mountain, Facebook.

Photo courtesy Stone Mountain, Facebook.

The Stone Mountain Laser Show Spectacular in Mountainvision is an Atlanta-area tradition that includes not only an impressive laser show, but state-of-the-art digital graphics, fire effects and fireworks in a multitude of colors. New this year, a segment called Drone Wars: The Mountain Awakens. It features two-dozen drones and tells the story of a galaxy far, far away. The entire laser show spectacular is set to music and is free with the $15 parking. Enjoy all the attractions at Stone Mountain before the laser show at a discount with the Sunset Adventure Pass.

Savannah Riverfront

Photo courtesy of Savannah Waterfront, Facebook, and Pablo and Britt Photography LLC

Photo courtesy of Savannah Waterfront, Facebook, and Pablo and Britt Photography LLC

Fireworks over the water are especially spectacular. Celebrate the end of the week and the beginning of a new month with the First Friday Fireworks on historic River Street in Savannah. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.

Ritz Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee

Photo courtesy Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, Facebook

Photo courtesy Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, Facebook

The Ritz Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee combines fireworks with a summer concert series. Beginning May 29 and running through Sept. 4, on select Sundays enjoy the sounds of bands like Sixty Four, Pete Mayer, Cissy Crutcher, Jason Eskridge, Jackson Well and Pop Rox followed by an awesome fireworks display.

Baseball Games

Photo courtesy Atlanta Braves, Facebook

Photo courtesy Atlanta Braves, Facebook

Fireworks are as American as apple pie and baseball, and if you select the right game, you can combine at least two of these famous pastimes. The Atlanta Braves are in their final season at Turner Field. They are celebrating each Friday home game with an amazing display in the stadium. The Gwinnett Braves also host fireworks on Friday home games. The Augusta Green Jackets light up the night on Memorial Day with post-game mega Memorial Day fireworks. May 27 is when the Rome Braves host a post-game display. The Savannah Sand Gnats are waiting until June 4 to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the National Parks with a post-game display.

Village Green in Smyrna

Most people celebrate a birthday with cake. In Smyrna, Ga., they celebrate with a fun-filled festival, a giant birthday cake by McEntyre’s Bakery AND fireworks on Aug. 6, 2016.

SueSue Rodman is Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer and the editor and publisher of the award-winning family travel blog Field Trips with Sue. Click here for more Smart Travel content from Sue.

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Locally Grown Food Destinations in Oconee County

Homemade, fresh, locally grown: Explore Oconee County’s food destinations from local farms to markets and restaurants. Feast your eyes upon these endless food options grown from and raised on Georgia soil.

Farms

Washington Farms strawberries. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

Washington Farms strawberries. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

Washington Farms, located in Bogart, is one of the largest strawberry farms in Georgia. Hundreds visit the farm each month to pick fresh berries and other seasonal crops grown by the Washington family. In the spring and summer, sweet strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are available to pick or buy pre-picked, and beginning in September you can pick out the perfect pumpkin for the fall season.

During the spring and summer, you will also find customers stopping by Thomas Orchards for scoops of their famous homemade peach ice cream. Thomas Orchards is an orchard, nursery and greenhouse famous for its freshly picked peaches. Owned by the Thomas family, the garden and greenhouse are filled with a variety of beautiful and bright flowers and plants.

Photo courtesy of Pastures of Rose Creek.

Photo courtesy of Pastures of Rose Creek.

Just five minutes from downtown Watkinsville sits Pastures of Rose Creek, a four-generation family-owned farm specializing in grass-fed, hormone-free cattle. The farm opens a stand where shoppers can purchase beef and fresh eggs from their egg-mobile each Sunday.

Markets

From the farm to the market, a spread of locally grown food fills the Oconee Farmers Market each Saturday from April to November. Hosted in downtown Watkinsville, shoppers choose from more than 20 vendors and 60 products — including breads, vegetables, fruits, seasonings, nuts and meats — from surrounding communities each weekend.

Oconee Farmers Market. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

Oconee Farmers Market. Photo courtesy of Oconee County Welcome Center

Like the farmers market, the fruit and vegetable stands that line Hwy 441 in Bishop feature food grown on local land. The crops that fill the stands travel only a few miles before arriving to their destinations along Macon Highway.

Restaurants

From Oconee’s farms and markets to its restaurants, Oconee County is filled with delicious food grown locally. Chops and Hops partners with local farmers to serve up delicious and quality dishes. The popular restaurant in downtown Watkinsville uses locally baked brioche to top off its fine burgers and incorporates locally grown and raised foods into its daily specials each week.

You can choose from some of the freshest food options in Georgia when traveling to Oconee County. Whether you enjoy picking your own fruit, buying your eggs from a farm stand or dining at a fine restaurant, Oconee has the freshest picks for you.

raquel-cobb-crop2Raquel Cobb is the marketing coordinator for the Oconee County Welcome Center and the voice behind Oconee’s social media channels and travel blog. Having grown up a few miles outside of Oconee County, Raquel enjoys the small-town charm Watkinsville and her hometown offers.

Camping Within an Hour of Atlanta

You don’t have to go very far outside of Atlanta for terrific camping opportunities. Pack up your gear and head to these four campgrounds for a few nights under the stars.

Camping at Stone Mountain Park. Photo by Candy Cook.

Camping at Stone Mountain Park. Photo by Candy Cook.

Stone Mountain Park

Playing the day away at Stone Mountain Park is an Atlanta tradition. The park is an endless playground with nature hikes, exciting attractions and classic family fun. The Stone Mountain Park Campground offers nearly 500 campsites that range from full-service RV hookups to primitive tent sites along beautiful Stone Mountain Lake. “Ready, Set, Camp” is a program aimed at providing first-time campers with a brand new tent and sleeping pads set up and waiting for campers to arrive! Grab an Adventure Pass to experience all the attractions, including the Scenic Railroad, Skyhike, Summit Skyride, and more.

Leaf Watching at Red Top Mountain State Park

Red Top Mountain State Park

Red Top Mountain State Park

This popular park is ideal for weekend camping escapes. Located on Lake Allatoona, Red Top Mountain State Park features more than 15 miles of hiking trails, a sandy swimming beach and great fishing. Rent a kayak for a lake paddle or bring your mountain bike to tackle the Muddy Spokes Club’s Iron Hill Trail. The campground includes 36 sites with full hookups and 52 primitive tent sites.

Paddling at Sweetwater Creek State Park. Photo by Candy Cook.

Paddling at Sweetwater Creek State Park. Photo by Candy Cook.

Sweetwater Creek State Park

Perfect for quick and easy nature getaways, Sweetwater Creek State Park accommodates overnight guests with rustic yurts. Glamping in the yurt village offers cozy beds, shared restrooms, picnic areas and a playground on George Sparks Reservoir. A bait shop supplies fishing needs, as well as rentals for kayaking, canoeing and paddleboarding. The park’s hiking trails explore miles of natural wonders and historic ruins along the banks of Sweetwater Creek.

High Falls State Park

High Falls State Park. Photo by Candy Cook

High Falls State Park

With two campgrounds and a primitive paddle-in site, High Falls State Park offers a choice between lake or riverside camping. The 650-acre High Falls Lake is known as one of Georgia’s top spots for fishing hybrid and white bass, while hikers enjoy views of the tumbling Towaliga River on 4.5 miles of trail. Visitors can rent boats or kayaks to explore on the water and enjoy outdoor fun like swimming and geocaching.

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.

Explore Georgia’s Heartland for Free or Cheap

The Earth Lodge at Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, Georgia.

The Earth Lodge at Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, Georgia.

Looking for a fun way to explore Georgia’s Historic Heartland region – affordably – this summer? Here are eight ways to pinch a penny without sacrificing any fun with the family.

Dauset Trails Nature Center (FREE). Visit the animal trail and the barnyard animals. Enjoy hiking or mountain biking on over 20 miles of trails (dogs welcome.) Don’t skip the Wonder Room of animals located under the visitor center. More info on our visit here.

Go Fish Education Center ($5 per person – less for kiddos). See trout, bass and more in the large freshwater aquariums. Watch alligators and turtles, try out the interactive exhibits, and catch fish in the stocked pond.

High Falls State Park in Jackson, Ga.

High Falls State Park in Jackson, Ga.

High Falls State Park ($5 per car or FREE with a Friends of Ga State Park Pass). Hike the trail along the falls, or follow the History Falls Trail for beautiful views of the ruins. Our favorite part? Staying in one of the yurts with a view of the lake. More pictures from our stay here.

Lane Packing Line Tour and Peach Ice Cream ($2 per person). From May through August, you can tour Lane Southern Orchards, which has been growing peaches and pecans for over 100 years. Don’t miss their delicious peach ice cream.

Ocmulgee National Monument (FREE). This park and museum are dedicated to preserving the mounds of the Mississippian Culture, built around 900. Families can climb stairs to see views from the tops of several mounds and walk the trails, which include a boardwalk section over the wetlands filled with wildlife wonders.

Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, Ga.

Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, Ga.

Museum of Aviation (FREE). Do you have a want-to-be pilot in your life? The Museum of Aviation at Warner Robins will elicit a full day’s worth of grins and giggles. It is one of the largest aviation museums in the U.S. See over 90 different aircraft, spread over four hangers and 51 acres. More pictures from our first visit.

Covington Self-Guided Movie Tour (FREE). From Dukes of Hazzard to In The Heat Of The Night, you can tour numerous television and movie locations by picking up a map at the Clark Street Visitor Center.

Uncle Remus Museum ($5 per person – less for kiddos). My kids love Uncle Remus; we carry his books in our pack to read on the trails when we hike. If your littles love them too, then head to this museum honoring author Joel Chandler Harris. While you’re there, take a hike at nearby Rock Eagle.

LesliLesli Peterson is Georgia’s official Family Explorer and the owner of 365AtlantaFamily, which offers a daily dose of inspiration for metro-area families. Click here for more Family content from Lesli.

Four Things You Can Only Do in Savannah

Savannah

Savannah

The moss-draped trees, the Southern charm, the quirky past — they’re just a few of the things that make Savannah such a fun city to visit. But what makes a visit to Savannah different than any other Southern port city? Here are four things you can only do in Savannah.

Tybee Island Pirate Fest

Tybee Island Pirate Fest

Visit the Admiral Benbow Inn

It’s not often you can visit the site of your favorite fantasy book in real life. The Pirates’ House restaurant is rumored to be the inspiration for the Admiral Benbow Inn in Robert Lewis Stevenson’s famous pirate book Treasure Island. Framed on the walls are rare editions of the book. Costumed tour guides take diners on a colorful tour of the establishment where Long John Silver is said to haunt the halls. Maybe he’s looking for some of the delicious fried chicken. For more modern day pirates, make plans to visit Tybee Island during the Pirate Festival in October.

The Hamilton-Turner Inn. Photo from Facebook.

The Hamilton-Turner Inn. Photo from Facebook.

See the Original Haunted Mansion

Savannah is so much fun, no one ever wants to leave, even the dead. It seems every house, park and hotel has a story about the ghosts that live there. It’s widely accepted that the Hamilton-Turner Inn was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Disney decided to go with the playful ghosts he encountered on his stay in Savannah rather than a more traditional scary experience.

Chocolat by Adam Turoni. Photo from Facebook.

Chocolat by Adam Turoni. Photo from Facebook.

Sample Life’s Chocolates

Savannah’s squares are even more famous than their ghosts. At one time, there were 24 squares, but through the years they have been eaten up by development or redesigned for more usability. Chippewa Square is probably the most well-known. It’s where Forrest Gump sat on the bench equating life to a box of chocolates. Although you won’t sit in the bench occupied by Tom Hanks in the movie, you can sit in the square and sample a box of chocolates from Savannah’s own chocolatier Adam Turoni.

Tybee Island Lighthouse

Tybee Island Lighthouse. Photo by Darryl Brooks.

Go Back in Time

Just 20 minutes outside of Savannah is Tybee Island, known as Savannah Beach. Go back in time to Colonial Georgia at the historic Tybee Island Lighthouse. It is one of only seven lighthouse complexes in the country that remain from that timeframe. You’ll get a workout climbing the 178 steps to the top of the lighthouse, but you’ll be rewarded for spectacular views of the island. Fast forward to the 1800s and the Civil War, and learn why they stopped building brick fortifications at Fort Pulaski. Or, lose time completely by taking a kayak tour through the salt marshes with Sea Kayak Georgia.

SueSue Rodman is Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer and the editor and publisher of the award-winning family travel blog Field Trips with Sue. Click here for more Smart Travel content from Sue.

Click here to order Sue’s book, 100+ Things to Do in Atlanta.

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