10 Prime Picnic Spots in Georgia

Grab your blanket and head to these prime picnic spots in Georgia. Food just tastes better outdoors! 

Piedmont Park photo courtesy of atlanta.net.

Piedmont Park. Photo courtesy of atlanta.net.

Piedmont Park in Atlanta: Piedmont Park has hundreds of great picnic spots, including pavillions, brickstands, tables and more. Want to grill? There are 22 grills provided throughout the park for your use and enjoyment.

Forsyth Park. Photo courtesy of visitsouth.com.

Forsyth Park. Photo courtesy of visitsouth.com.

Forsyth Park in Savannah: This beloved 30 acre park is nestled in the heart of Savannah’s Landmark Historic District, making it the perfect Savannah picnic locale.

University of Georgia. Photo courtesy of Online Athens.

University of Georgia. Photo courtesy of Online Athens.

University of Georgia North Campus in Athens: Spread out a blanket underneath a magnolia tree or next to Legacy fountain on this historic college campus.

Manchester Railfan Platform in Manchester: This picnic locale was made for train enthusiasts! Each picnic table provides an excellent view of the North-South and East -West mainlines and comes equipped with a scanner, rail line map and electricity.

Augusta Canal. Photo courtesy of Georgia Tourism.

Augusta Canal. Photo courtesy of Georgia Tourism.

Augusta Canal National Heritage Area: After walking, biking, canoeing or kayaking through the Augusta Canal National Heritage area, stake out a picnic spot for a peaceful lunch by the water.

Dodge County Public Fishing Area in Eastman: Work up an appetite while fishing this 104-acre lake stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill (bream), redear sunfish, crappie, and channel catfish. Picnic areas are a short walk from the pier.

Help yourself to a drink of delectable water flowing from this cave, and take a tour inside.

Cave Spring. Photo courtesy of J. C. Boehm, Tumlin House.

Rolater Park in Cave Spring: Enjoy a picnic lunch next to a natural limestone cave and the city’s namesake mineral spring. No need to pack a beverage in your picnic basket, Cave Spring is known for its 99.9 percent pure water. Learn more about Cave Spring here.

Lake Chehaw in Albany: The Georgia Power Dam, built in 1921, forms this 1400 acre lake. After canoeing Lake Chehaw, enjoy a picnic lunch by the lake in the covered picnic area.

Watson Mill Bridge. Photo courtesy of Sussman Imaging.

Watson Mill Bridge. Photo courtesy of Sussman Imaging.

Watson Mill Covered Bridge in Comer: Eat alongside the longest covered bridge in the state which spans 229 feet across the South Fork River. Find more Georgia covered bridges here.

Georgia State Parks: All 63 of Georgia’s state parks and historic sites offer perfect picnic spots.

LaurenLauren Cleland is the voice of Explore Georgia on social media. She loves ice cold sweet tea, anything peach flavored, channeling Scarlett O’Hara in her daily life and sharing the wonders of her beloved Georgia with all of you!

Where to Eat Pecan Pie in Georgia

Gooey, crunchy and packed full of nuts — pecan pie hits all the right spots. Whether you prefer classic pecan pie, served à la mode or with a special kick, Georgia has a slice that won’t disappoint.

Fox Brother’s Bar-B-Q in Atlanta: The chocolate pecan pie at Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q is topped with cinnamon whipped cream and served warm.

Photo courtesy of Ellis Bros. Pecans

Photo courtesy of Ellis Bros. Pecans

Ellis Brothers Pecan Farm in Vienna: These folks know pecans – and their pies prove it. Their pie features caramelized pecans atop a filling that is gooey, sweet, and rich with flavor.

Jaemor Farms in Alto: Visit the pie kitchen at this 350-acre family-owned and operated farm for a dessert that will make you squeal with delight.

Chester Brunnenmeyer’s in Blue Ridge: Order their Southern Bourbon Pecan Pie if you prefer your desserts with an extra kick.

The Olde Pink House. Photo courtesy of http://flavorsforfriends.com/

The Olde Pink House. Photo courtesy of http://flavorsforfriends.com/

The Olde Pink House in Savannah: This beloved Savannah restaurant serves up slices of pecan pie that will make you come back for more…and more…and more!

Dovetail in Macon: The Cracked Pie features a crust made of fresh baked oatmeal cookies that is filled with pecan filling and topped with home made salted caramel ice cream.

Burt’s Butcher Shoppe & Eatery in Columbus: Get a $2 slice of perfect pecan pie (yes, you read that correctly – only $2) at this Columbus institution.

Pecan pie & lemon cupcake. Photo courtesy of Lisa M. via Yelp.

Pecan pie & lemon cupcake. Photo courtesy of Lisa M. via Yelp.

Smallcakes: A Cupcakery in Evans: Get your pecan fix with this pecan pie-inspired cupcake. The cream cheese icing is light and the cake is deliciously moist – a true pecan lover’s dream.

The Pie Hole in Roswell: This downtown Roswell pie shop offers pecan, of course, but they also have variations: lemon pecan, orange pecan, and pineapple coconut pecan.

Chophouse on the Bricks in Thomasville: Although thinner than more classic versions, this Thomasville treat packs a flavor punch – especially when accompanied with cinnamon ice cream.

Bay South Restaurant in Statesboro: Call ahead to make sure this nutty treat is on the menu before you visit this meat and three restaurant.

LaurenLauren Cleland is the voice of Explore Georgia on social media. She loves ice cold sweet tea, anything peach flavored, channeling Scarlett O’Hara in her daily life and sharing the wonders of her beloved Georgia with all of you!

Five Must-Try Food Delivery Services in Atlanta

By Kate Parham Kordsmeier

Never worry about putting dinner on the table again with these five must-try food delivery services.

Photo courtesy of Fresh Harvest

Photo courtesy of Fresh Harvest

Fresh Harvest: If you’re like me, getting to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings isn’t always in the cards. But I still like to support local farmers and eat humanely and sustainably-raised/grown food. Enter Fresh Harvest. The company partners with local, organic farmers, delivering baskets of fresh produce directly to your doorstep. Much like a CSA, this subscription service emails you every week to let you know what produce you can expect in your basket, which can be customized to your tastes. In fact, baskets come in a variety of sizes, like standard (typically contains 4-6 different fruits and 6-8 different veggies), family, mini (perfect for singles or young couples), and even fruit-only or juicing baskets. You can also add artisan items (think snacks, dairy and eggs, meats and fish, breads and pantry staples like peanut butter) to your delivery every week, and they even sell recipe kits to make dinner a breeze.

Local Roots: Similar to Fresh Harvest, Local Roots is essentially a farmer’s market on wheels, as the service directly connects users with local food producers (in fact, every producer is within 50 miles of Atlanta). Rather than get a curated basket every week, you will be alerted when a farmer or artisan is visiting your neighborhood, and you place an order for exactly what you want through the Local Roots app, where you also pay for the products and schedule delivery right to your door.

Photo courtesy of Instacart

Photo courtesy of Instacart

Instacart: If you prefer something with less commitment than a subscription service and more options than a local farm delivery, consider Instacart, a grocery delivery service providing products from Whole Foods, Kroger and Costco (no expensive membership required!). Simply do all of your grocery shopping online, and pay as little as $3.99 to have your items delivered right to your door (the delivery charge jumps to $7.99 if you spend less than $35). Instacart claims the prices are usually the same as what you’ll find in the store, but in some cases, items are marked up 15 percent. The price you pay for convenience.

Caviar: For nights when you’re craving a restaurant-quality meal, but would rather not leave the house, order delivery with Caviar, a brand spanking new delivery service providing hungry Atlantans with delicious, high-quality meals from top restaurants around town, like Makan, Empire State South, Chai Pani and BLT Steak. Their delivery radius just covers midtown and downtown, but new restaurants are being added regularly. Kiss greasy Chinese food goodbye, and place an order with Caviar online (or through their app)—you can even view the status of your order and follow along the delivery route via Caviar’s built-in GPS tracking feature.

Photo courtesy of Garnish & Gather

Photo courtesy of Garnish & Gather

Garnish & Gather: If you’ve ever been unsure of what to do with that obscure veggie in your CSA basket, or if you love to cook but simply don’t have the time for recipe planning and grocery shopping, you need to try Garnish & Gather, a gourmet dinner delivery service built from local, seasonal ingredients. Different from these other options, G&G harvests, preps and delivers the exact quantity of farm fresh ingredients you need to make their recipes (some are even from Atlanta’s hottest restaurants, like Gunshow and St. Cecilia, as part of their “Be the Chef” series). Simply choose from their weekly menu of five recipes and a dinner kit will be provided—all you have to do is assemble the meal, which is always cooked in 30 minutes or less. There’s also an extensive local market section where you can stock up on locally sourced pantry staples, like eggs, bread, coffee, milk and snacks. For even quicker meals, check out their “Sous Chef” series, which provides meals from local artisans that take less than 10 minutes to assemble (think short rib pasta from Storico Fresco) or the market for items like fresh pressed organic juices from Bamboo Juices, vegetable burgers from Cafe Sunflower, fresh baked goodies from The Little Tart Bakeshop.

KateKate is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and a freelance food and travel writer for more than 100 publications. Click here to read more culinary content from Kate

12 Georgia Adventures for Tweens and Teens

The Painted Pin Bowling Lane 4In addition to my two young boys, I have two bonus-kiddos who are 17 and 19. As we prepare to send the youngest to UGA this fall to be with his sister, Sue Rodman’s article The Lie of 18 Summers rings true. Don’t let another summer go by without taking some risks and exploring more of Georgia. Here are 11 memory makers for you and your tweens and teens.

Victory Tour with Atlanta Movie Tours. Any Hunger Games fan in your household?? The Victory Tour of Atlanta shuttles you to the areas of town where filming took place for Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1. The tour guides are phenomenal, sharing all the latest Y’allywood tidbits. See more details about our tour here: 365atlantafamily.com/HungerGamesTour

Historic Banning Mills. The world’s largest canopy line tour! What’s not to love about that.  Make a weekend of it by staying in one of the Treehouse Cottages. There is also a climbing wall, GPS Adventure Challenge, Power Free Fall and more.

Six Flags Over Georgia. You’ve probably taken your kiddos to Six Flags well before their teen years, but it’s time to go again. The experience is completely different when your children reach the age that allows them to experience the park in its entirety – monster coasters and all.

Photo courtesy of @danoid via Instagram

Photo courtesy of @danoid via Instagram

Overnight Wilderness Camping at Okefenokee. One, two, three and four night paddle trips through the backwaters of Okefenokee leave you with views of alligators, herons, bears and cypress forests. Travel 7-12 miles each day, camping at one of seven overnight shelters in the swamp’s interior.

Caving at Cloudland Canyon. Georgia Girl Guides offer multiple tours into the caves of Cloudland Canyon. Enjoy 1-, 2- or 4-hour cave tours. Be prepared to get muddy, climb around on your knees and come out a changed person.

Durhamtown Plantation. Rent dirt bikes, ATVs and Side x Sides for a full or half day of adventure over 14 tracks and 150 miles of trails. No gear? No problem. Safety gear is included with every rental. Lodging, RV and tent camping sites are available, as well as Bev’s Kitchen for dining.

Eddie’s Attic. Eddie’s Attic is an intimate live music venue featuring local and nationally known musicians. Georgia-grown talents like John Mayer, Sugarland and Shawn Mullins performed at Eddie’s well before they were nationally famous. Unless indicated, Eddie’s Attic is an Under 21 venue, allowing you to unwind with your kids in a mature but safe environment.

Len Foote Hike Inn. Hike five miles into the Inn, with gorgeous views and inescapable peace. Dine communally with other hikers, tour the grounds, check out the composting worms…and then stay in the unique bunk house. It’s an unforgettable family experience. Read more about our Hike Inn stay here: 365atlantafamily.com/LenFoote

Road Atlanta. Road Atlanta is a 2.54-mile, 12-turn racing course, home to the Petit Le Mans and AMA Motorcycle racing. Other events throughout the year include amateur sports car racing, driving schools, motorcycle races and more. It’s recognized as one of the world’s best road courses by Car and Driver, and an incredible experience for your moto-minded teen.

Photo courtesy of @erbearwiebe via Instagram

Photo courtesy of @erbearwiebe via Instagram

Snorkel at Georgia Aquarium. The Georgia Aquarium is the only place in the world where you are guaranteed to dive or swim with whale sharks, manta rays and more. Not everyone has a diving certificate, but that isn’t necessary for a fun in the water. Suit up and snorkel with the gentle giants.

The Painted Pin. The Painted Pin is an upscale bar, bowling and entertainment location in the heart of Buckhead’s Miami Circle. 20 full service lanes along with iconic games, great cuisine live music on Wed-Sun makes it a fun scene and a very popular spot. All ages are welcome on Saturdays and Sundays and all games (aside from bowling) are free. Enjoy pingpong, bocce, shuffleboard tables, oversized pop-a-shots, skee, Southern Skittles, giant jenga, ring toss and more.

LesliLesli is the 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.

Georgia Summer Camps for Tweens and Teens

summer camp

Summer Camp is around the corner; classes are filling up quickly.  If your tween or teen is looking for something exciting, we’ve got three ideas for you here!

UGA Summer Academy Youth Camps

Summer Academy Youth Camps are designed to allow kids to live out their dreams. Middle and High School students get hands-on, concrete experience in such areas as comic book design, video game development, sewing and more.  Many classes are full already, so be sure to sign up soon, and bookmark the site for next year! Click here to read more about some of the UGA summer camp programs: 365atlantafamily.com/UGASummerAcademy

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Camp Kingfisher

Camp Kingfisher offers programs for ages 4 and older. Rising 8th and 9th graders head over to their travel program! New for 2015 campers can choose the Made for the Mountains woodland excursion or the Riverbank Adventure trek for a wet and wild time. Both options include an offsite overnight stay at a Georgia State Park or in the Chattahoochee National Recreational Area. Whether your kiddo enjoys caving or river snorkeling, mountain biking or kayaking, the Kingfisher travel program is for them! You can read more about Camp Kingfisher’s seven unforgettable summer camp experiences here: 365atlantafamily.com/CampKingfisher

IMG_4738Peacebuilders Camp

If your kiddo is 11-14 and has a passion for peace and social justice, then head to Peacebuilders Camp at Koinonia Farm in rural South Georgia. Koinonia Farm was a critical site during the Civil Rights Movement. It continues to inspire social change through its example of community and its innovations in sustainable agriculture. In this setting Peacebuilders Camp welcomes youth from all over to learn, play, live, and serve together for a week overnight camp.

Peacebuilders Camp fosters rich discussions of global issues while tackling the same issues at the local level, and consistently applying the concepts to the campers’ own lives. They teach this through conversations, games, activities, stories, field trips, and service projects, but also recognize that much of the learning at camp happens organically as a result of our campers’ diversity and their own interest in reaching across lines of difference.

If this appeals to your teen who is older than 14, I encourage them to reach out to Peacebuilders as well…they are seeking teen leaders.

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If you are looking for additional Summer Camp ideas, please check out my 2015 Summer Camp Guide, with over 350 camps listed.

LesliLesli is the 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.