Along the backroads of southeastern Georgia, the Magnolia Midlands travel region are a vast fertile plain of uncrowded highways taking travelers to small Southern towns at a slow and simple pace. Rich in agricultural heritage, beautiful rivers and lakes, abundant wildlife, shopping, and small town festivals, you will want to spend a day (or longer) in the real Georgia where life is back to basics.
Explore the Magnolia Midlands for food finds, Georgia-grown products, and unique works of art. And, complementing the region’s rich culinary treats are winding byways boasting shops, attractions, and real southern charm and hospitality. Here are ten reasons to visit Magnolia Midlands, where great vacation memories are meant to be made.
Alma, the Blueberry Capital of Georgia
Alma is one of the friendliest and most-hospitable communities in southeast Georgia with plenty of places to stay, shop, eat, and play. Blueberries and pecans are always available in Alma. You can shop for (and pick when in season) at the Blueberry Barn, or gorge on Rockingham Fried Pecans. If that’s not enough blueberries, the Georgia Blueberry Festival is held here on the first weekend of each June. Get some rest and relaxation—along with a few rounds of golf—at The INN at Blueberry Plantation Golf & Country Club, which is the perfect spot for a country wedding. For fresh coastal seafood, chow down at Joedy’s Seafood where you can also find homemade desserts on the menu. Alma also honors its local veterans with a memorial wall, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and Goldwasser Park are perfect recreational venues.
Douglas, a foodie’s paradise
They say that in Douglas, you’ll experience Southern hospitality at its best, and that means bona fide Southern cuisine. You can always find farm-fresh goodness at one of the local farms or the Farmer’s Market, and it’s hard to resist a melt-in-your-mouth donut from the local bakery. Dine with the locals while savoring Tomato Pie, or sample fresh-off-the-grill barbecue during the South Georgia BBQ & Outdoor Festival held in September. Once you’re stuffed, discover hidden treasures at one of the specialty shops or the Southern Home Vintage Market. Perfect for families (and botanists), experience the natural wonder of Broxton Rocks where plants native to the tropics and the Appalachian Mountains abound, or get back to nature at General Coffee State Park. If you are a history buff, step back in time at the Heritage Station Museum, or tour the one-of-a-kind World War II 63rd Flight Training Airbase.
Craft beer at Eagle Creek Brewing Company
Located in beautiful downtown Statesboro, this is your chance to taste local Georgia beer, meet the people who made it, and see how the process works. Eagle Creek Brewing Company‘s Praline Brown Ale, Spot Tale, Tea Party Amber, and Y2B Anniversary Brew are just some of the taproom favorites that you can sample while taking a tour of the brewery. Their CEO Franklin, brewmaster Dustin, and “yeast wrangler” Spencer will give you a quick educational session on how beer is made. After the tour, the outdoor patio is an amazing place to relax, enjoy a great local brew (or two), and watch the sunset over downtown Statesboro.
Onions, onions, onions in Vidalia
When anyone mentions Vidalia, the first thing most people think of is the onion. But there’s more to Vidalia than just onions for sale—although, there are plenty of those. Begin your visit at the Onion Museum with a guided tour of the onion’s humble beginning, hear what makes a Vidalia® Onion so sweet, learn about protecting the name, and what it takes to produce these prized onions. Kids will enjoy seeing the real thing during growing season in the smallest registered “field” at the museum. Don’t miss the Instagram photo opportunity at the Vidalia Onion Fountain in City Park. Then, shop in the historic downtown and grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant serving Vidalia’s during season. Need to cool off? Get your feet wet in the splash pad, then head to a local farmer’s market to load up on the famous onions and more delicious local produce before you head home. Don’t forget the Vidalia Onion Festival, always held the last full weekend in April.
Get back to nature in Wheeler County
Wheeler County is the home of Little Ocmulgee State Park, located just off Highway 441. The lodge offers hotel-style guest rooms and a restaurant with golf-course views. There are ten lakeside cabins, 60 lodge rooms, and 55 tent/trailer/RV campsites with cable and TV hookups. The park boasts the 18-hole Wallace Adams Golf Course, selected as the Reader’s Choice golf course in Georgia Magazine. Other outdoor activities for the entire family abound, including miniature golf, volleyball, bike and canoe rentals, a 2.6-mile hiking trail with vulture roost and board walk, fishing, birding, and children’s playground with splash pad. The park also hosts its annual Spanish Moss Festival each September. This arts-and-crafts festival has a wide variety of vendors offering something for everyone along with food, live entertainment, rides, Friday-night concert at the amphitheater, and much more. Leashed pets are welcomed.
Get a dose of “medicine” for what ails you
The Magnolia Music and Medicine Show is a unique event that is staged six times per year in the Magnolia Theater. Focusing on family-friendly entertainment, the Magnolia Theater has a history rich in radio-inspired skits and musical innovation. Located in the heart of historic downtown Eastman, the Magnolia Theater has hosted most of the South’s great musical acts and comedic talents. The Magnolia Sisters, Shannon Whitworth, the Honeycutters, and Grammy Award winners Tim O’Brien and Mike Farris have all performed in the theater. Each show offers two hours of family entertainment that includes talented local Americana musicians, a Moment of Reflection by local pastors or priests, the Magnolia Players, a group of creative individuals recreating the atmosphere of radio skits from times past, and the house band the Medicine Men.
Taste H.L. Franklin’s Healthy Honey
Providing 100% pure, raw, unfiltered honey from eight different floral sources growing in Georgia, their premium honey offers powerful enzymes, pollens, and anti-microbial properties that are said to be good for your body. Although each honey has a very different and distinct taste, color, and texture, no flavors are infused into any of the honey; it’s all a direct result of the specific floral source. H.L. Franklin’s Healthy Honey is a Georgia Grown member and family-owned-and-operated business based in Statesboro, Georgia. Working closely with several beekeepers allows them to choose the quality of honey they collect and have an extended range of floral sources so the bees can produce a variety of honey. You can schedule a individual or group tasting by calling 1-800-260-4995.
Wide-ranging fun in Statesboro
The perfect blend of southern heritage and college-town tradition, Statesboro is a vibrant city bustling with activity. Home to first-class outdoor recreation facilities, live-music venues, top education institutions, and numerous shopping and dining opportunities, the Statesboro community thrives off a unique culture that appeals to families, individuals, and groups of all ages. As a premiere destination in South Georgia for all seasons, there is always something exciting going on in Statesboro. Splashing at the water park, playing the perfect round at one of the golf courses, feeling the wind in your hair racing go-carts, sipping wine or craft beer at a local vineyard or brewery, enjoying a musical or concert at the historical theater or performing arts center, or enjoying exhibits at one of the four museums—you never have to look far for fun in Statesboro!
Acclaimed eats and events ahead in Dublin
Located off exit 51 on I-16, Dublin stays ahead of the curve with nationally-acclaimed downtown dining at Deano’s Italian, engaging history at First African Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his first public speech, and a rich offering of events all year, including Georgia’s longest St. Patrick’s Festival in March. Experience an era of bygone graciousness at Page House Bed & Breakfast, savor gourmet Italian food at Dublin Farm, and explore the great outdoors at River Bend Wildlife Management Area. Take in a concert at Theatre Dublin, pick local produce at TroupCorn and R & G Farms, or relax in one of the modern hotels. If you have a dog, bring your furry friend along to romp in I-16’s only dog park at Dublin’s pet-friendly visitors center where free coffee, Wi-Fi, and locally-made treats await.
See soccer stars of the future in action
Tormenta FC in Statesboro is southeast Georgia’s fastest-growing minor league soccer franchise and part of the Premier Development League (PDL), which has 67 teams in the United States and Canada. Experience an attacking brand of soccer featuring players from all over the world. The season from May to August is the perfect time to visit South Georgia, and Tormenta FC also has exciting events throughout the year that include four-team tryouts, tournaments, and fan events. The stadium on a Tormenta FC game day has an electrifying night atmosphere with flags and banners blowing in the wind in the historic Erk Russell Athletic Park located at Georgia Southern University. Tormenta FC provides exciting amenities including live music, a VIP hospitality tent, Kid’s Zone, pre-game youth clinics, halftime shows, and a super jumbotron – the perfect storm for a night to remember.