By Mary Catherine Gaston and Jessica Akins
From the northeast corner to the southwest corner and everywhere in between, there’s a whole lot to love about rural Georgia. On this day of love, we’ve put together a list of some of the sweetest spots on the map—offering history, events and natural beauty for the entire family to enjoy. Which of these towns will you be visiting next?
Blue Ridge, Georgia: Located in northwest Georgia, Blue Ridge offers beautiful mountain views and is home to part of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Blue Ridge offers sights and activities for both those looking for an adventure with white water rafting or those looking for rest and relaxation nestled away in the mountains in a cozy cabin. Read more at https://www.blueridgemountains.com/.
Sumter County, Georgia: If you love historic sites, Sumter County is the place for you. In addition to the Habitat for Humanity world headquarters in Americus, Plains and Andersonville offer national historic sites that are fantastic. The Georgia Rural Telephone Museum in Leslie is a hidden treasure as well. Find out more at www.visitamericusga.com.
Jewell, Georgia: Jewell is certainly one of rural Georgia’s gems and another town history buffs will enjoy exploring. The Ogeechee River meanders near Jewell and provides beautiful views for nature lovers. URL: https://www.exploregeorgia.org/city/jewell
Round Oak, Georgia: Named for an ancient tree that served as a gathering spot for Native Americans, Round Oak lies near the 35,000-acre Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge and the Chattahoochee Oconee National Forest. Find out more at https://www.exploregeorgia.org/city/round-oak.
Thomasville, Georgia: Located in the southwest corner of the state, Thomasville offers an award-winning downtown in addition to historic sites and some of the South’s favorite annual festivals. See what Thomasville has to offer at https://thomasvillega.com/calendar
Donalsonville, Georgia: If you are a bass angler, you'll want to make your way to Donalsonville's Lake Seminole. The 37,500-acre lake offers endless opportunities for fun on open water as well as numerous inlets and coves. URL: https://www.exploregeorgia.org/city/donalsonville
Waycross, Georgia: Across the state in southeast Georgia, Waycross's quaint hospitality and charm offer a true true Southern experience. Enjoy a variety of food and plan a visit to one, two or all three of the town’s museums. Waycross is also just north of the Okefenokee Swamp Wildlife Refuge for those in search of outdoor adventures. Find out more at https://www.exploregeorgia.org/city/waycross
Cornelia, Georgia: If you are planning a trip along the U.S. 441 Heritage Highway, add Cornelia to your list of stops. Cornelia hosts several events each year and has a vibrant downtown. Situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Cornelia’s beautiful natural surroundings and historic sites are a big draw as well. Plan your visit at www.discovercornelia.com.
Dahlonega, Georgia: Also in the northeast part of the state, Dahlonega has been the set for several Lifetime Christmas movies. This rural town hosts a number of events throughout the year and is known as the Heart of Georgia Wine Country. Dahlonega was the site of the first major US gold rush, and today, the town is still pure gold! URL: www.dahlonegadda.org; https://www.exploregeorgia.org/city/dahlonega.
Swainsboro, Georgia: Set in the rolling hills and sandy soils of east Georgia, Swainsboro is an outdoorsman's dream. Three rivers flow nearby, and the region is home to many of the state’s rare, native plants and animals. Read more at www.cityofswainsboro.org.