Berry picking at Paulk Vineyards in Wray, Georgia. Photo by Ben Galland

Berry picking at Paulk Vineyards in Wray, Georgia. Photo by Ben Galland

Best Things to Do in South Georgia

From local food to historic sites and wildlife, this region is full of surprising finds.

South Georgia is chock-full of natural beauty. Whether you're splashing around the Ocmulgee River or taking in a sweeping farmland vista in Vidalia, your eyes can feast on Mother Nature's bounty. And your stomach can, too! Come hungry to this region, where you'll find some of the state's best produce.

The region's fun, family-friendly events and attractions speak for themselves, drawing countless visitors each year to enjoy the region's shops, farms, and superb restaurants. If you're looking for a taste of the real Georgia, look no further.

Taste local flavors

Blueberries
Blueberries

Farms

Cruise the countryside along Georgia Grown Trail 1, a route that runs between Augusta and Folkston on Highway 1. Along the way, stop for everything from pecans (Southern Nuts) and peaches (Southern Peach Plantation) to blueberries (The Blueberry Barn) and olive oil (Terra Dolce Farms).

If you're traveling in the area with kids, be sure not to miss Popell Farms in Odum. This family-friendly working farm goes all out in the fall — think hayrides, a pumpkin patch, and a haunted maze.

Restaurants

Company Supply in Dublin, Georgia. Photo by James Scarboro Photography
Company Supply in Dublin, Georgia. Photo by James Scarboro Photography

Dublin's Company Supply specializes in rotisserie chicken and indulgent pub grub. Can't-miss dishes include the chicken nachos and the pulled chicken plate, which comes with a choice of two sides. Got room for dessert? Round out your meal with a slice of decadent sweet potato cheesecake.

Top off your drive with a bite at a local eatery, like Elements Bistro and Grill or Hardware Pizza, both in Lyons.

More: Places to eat in south Georgia

Things to see & do

WWII Flight Training Museum in Douglas, Georgia. Photo by @paigemindsthegap
WWII Flight Training Museum in Douglas, Georgia. Photo by @paigemindsthegap

World War II Flight Training Museum

This Douglas treasure trove once housed cadets learning to fly. If you're lucky, you may be able to snap a photo with a vintage aircraft undergoing restoration in the hangar at the WWII Flight Training Museum.

Wild Georgia Safari Park in Metter, Georgia
Wild Georgia Safari Park in Metter, Georgia

Wild Georgia Safari Park

Hop off Interstate 16 in Metter to visit this informal petting zoo. Its adorable residents — goats, sheep, llamas, pigs, and more — will give you plenty to smile about.

Train mural in Fitzgerald, Georgia. Photo by @dylanrossart
Train mural in Fitzgerald, Georgia. Photo by @dylanrossart

Train Mural

Artist Dylan Ross added a pop of color to downtown Fitzgerald with this railroad mural. The bright blue-and-gold sunburst stands out in any photo.

More: Cool Murals and More Curious Public Art in Georgia

Georgia Southern University Center for Wildlife Education in Statesboro. Curator Scott Courdin with a Eurasian Eagle Owl.
Curator Scott Courdin with a Eurasian Eagle Owl at Georgia Southern University Center for Wildlife Education in Statesboro

Center for Wildlife Education

Education meets fun at the Center for Wildlife Education that supports Georgia Southern University's environmental programs. The center is home to three eagles (Georgia Southern's mascot is the eagle), as well as hawks, falcons, and a 14-foot-long Burmese python. Learn about them, and many more critters, during the center's wildlife programs.

More: Guide to Statesboro

Jesup Drive In in Jesup, Georgia
Jesup Drive In in Jesup, Georgia

Jesup Drive In Theater

It doesn't have to be #ThrowbackThursday to enjoy Georgia's oldest drive-in movie theater, Jesup Drive In. Built in 1948, it still has the original screens. To add to the nostalgia, carhops straight out of the 1950s (with outfits to match) take food and drink orders directly from your car.

More: 5 Georgia Drive-In Theaters You Can't Miss

Vidalia Onion Museum in Vidalia, Georgia
Vidalia Onion Museum in Vidalia, Georgia

Vidalia Onion Museum

The Vidalia onion is world-famous, but it only grows here. You can learn all about the sweet onion's history at the 1,300-square-foot Vidalia Onion Museum in Vidalia, where it all began. For example: Did you know that this particular onion is sweeter because it grows where the soil has low sulfur and the winters are mild?

More: Things to do in south Georgia

Places to stay

Little Ocmulgee State Park & Lodge in McRae-Helena, Georgia
Little Ocmulgee State Park & Lodge in McRae-Helena, Georgia

Hit the hay at Paulk Park RV Campground, near County Lake in Fitzgerald, or at Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge. You'll find the latter tucked away in the pines, along with the 265-acre Little Ocmulgee Lake, a golf course, and the Fairway Grill, which serves up such Southern classics as fried green tomatoes, pecan pie, and chicken and waffles.

Get back to nature at Towns Bluff Park and Heritage Center. Set on the Altamaha River, just north of Hazlehurst, this park has abundant wildlife. Keep binoculars handy for spotting bald eagles, swallow-tailed kites, deer, and turkey. (Fishermen may see catfish, bream, and bass.) Snag a campsite or book a yurt to enjoy nature alongside some of the comforts of home: a bed, outdoor sink, and — mercifully in hot Georgia summers — air conditioning.

More: Places to stay in south Georgia

Tips from a local

Laura Franklin Cooke, @hlfhealthyhoney, is founder of H.L. Franklin's Healthy Honey. She and her family call Statesboro home.

Hunter Cattle Company in Brooklet, Georgia
Hunter Cattle Company in Brooklet, Georgia

What's the one thing all visitors to your region must do?

There are so many farms that are fun to visit, and the kids love them. Hunter Cattle Company in Brooklet has something for everyone: horseback riding, a petting zoo, and a farm tour.

Brisket sandwich and beer at Eagle Creek Brewing Company in Statesboro, Georgia
Brisket sandwich and beer at Eagle Creek Brewing Company in Statesboro, Georgia

What's your favorite restaurant or place to go?

Eagle Creek Brewing Company has really good food. Try their shrimp and grits, which won first place at the Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival recently.

Splash in the Boro water park in Statesboro, Georgia
Splash in the Boro water park in Statesboro, Georgia

Where would you recommend someone go with kids?

Splash in the Boro, a huge water park with a new wave pool, lazy river for tubing, a FlowRider for surfing, mat racer slides, and tons of options for all ages.

Cotton field near Fitzgerald, Georgia
Cotton field near Fitzgerald, Georgia

What’s something surprising about your region?

People would be surprised by the natural beauty of our region. I so love driving down a dirt road and taking in the country air along with the beauty of cotton fields, cut grass, and green peanuts.

What do you love most about living here?

I love the sense of community and how my children are enjoying an extended childhood — I don’t want them growing up too fast!

Published: February 2020