1. Get your sweet onion fix in Vidalia: Explore the history of “America’s favorite onion” at the Vidalia Onion Museum. Adults can discover the economic impact of this famous Georgia vegetable, while children can learn to sort onions and even color their own picture of Vidalia’s mascot, Yumion the Onion. Don’t forget to pick up a bag of onions during the Vidalia onion season (April through July) because once they’re gone, these sweet onions won’t be back until 2014!
2. Experience “Southern Fusion” dining in Lyons: What began as the first movie theatre in Lyons, Georgia, is now home to Elements Bistro & Grill, a unique fine dining experience in the middle of small-town South Georgia. The menu is full of mouth-watering dishes, but I highly suggest that you order the buffalo quail. Your taste buds will thank you.
3. Buy local in Statesboro: Like fresh produce? Then you’ll love the Mainstreet Farmers Market in Statesboro! Open every Saturday from early April to the end of November, this market is the place for fresh local fruit and vegetables, meats and dairy, preserves and baked goods. Be sure to stop by the Garden Table, where you can watch local chefs prepare dishes made with produce from the market.
4. Go just around the riverbend in Uvalda: Experience not one, not two but three rivers when you visit the Magnolia Midlands. Kayak or canoe along the Oconee, Ocmulgee and Altamaha rivers with the help of Three Rivers Outdoors, Inc. They can help you plan any river trip – whether you want it to last two hours or two weeks!
5. Spend the night in a barn loft in Brooklet: On the hunt for an authentic farm experience? Look no further than Hunter Cattle Company in Brooklet. Feed the animals, collect eggs, swing on the front porch and spend an evening in a comfortable barn loft when you visit this family-owned and -operated farm.
6. Get a green thumb in Metter: With its cascading waterfalls, shimmering streams, flowering plants and quiet paths, it’s no wonder that people often visit Guido Gardens to find peace. Guided tours of the gardens are offered Monday through Friday, and admission is always free!
7. Discover natural wonders in Douglas: Located within Georgia’s sandy, coastal plains, the Broxton Rocks offer more than 500 species of rare plant life, cave-like crevices and a roaring waterfall. Keep your eyes peeled for unique wildlife, including flying squirrels, the threatened indigo snake and gopher tortoise.
8. Sip wine at sunset in Statesboro: Does the idea of sipping a delicious glass of Muscadine wine as the sun sets over rural Georgia appeal to you? If you said yes, then you need to plan a trip to Meinhardt Vineyards in Statesboro. Whether you prefer red or white, Meinhardt has a wine to suit all tastes. My personal favorite? The peach Muscadine — it tastes like Georgia in a bottle!
9. Fly high in Douglas: Visit the site where 10,000 young men learned how to fly in the PT-17 Stearman at the WWII Flight Training Museum in Douglas. It’s the most intact, complete and original school left in the United States with 13 original buildings still standing, including one that houses the WWII Flight Training Museum, which tells the important and often unknown story of wartime aircrew training.
10. Feed the animals in Nicholls: Kids (and adults) will love the opportunity to feed the animals at General Coffee State Park’s Heritage Farm. Animals on the property include sheep, goats, chickens, donkeys and more! Insider tip: Be sure to buy some farm-fresh eggs while you’re at the park.
Lauren 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!