2023 Adventure Guide
We scoured the Southeast for the best heart-fluttering, intriguing places to visit on your next sojourn from home. No matter if you want to come face-toface with a few hundred pound cat, spend the day in off road vehicles, or take a kayak trip into rarely seen places, this list is meant for those people looking for something different to add to their daily to-dos.
This list is meant for those people looking for something different to add to their daily to-dos.
1. Center Your Animal Spirit (Statesboro, GA)
Founded after a turkey vulture was misidentified as a bald eagle during a Georgia Southern football game, this facility now holds more than just indigenous Lowcountry birds. A leader in environmental education, this center opened upon the principle that school children and citizens alike should be able to encounter these magnificent creatures. And speaking of creatures, they have everything from raptors to amphibians to possums, and they even have a fourteen-foot Burmese python. At 3:30pm everyday, varying programs and lectures are held to educate the community about nature and its inhabitants so make sure to keep up with those activities.
2. Be a Beach Bum (Hilton Head Island, SC)
The ocean is calling and it wants you to bring your bike! Join Hilton Head Running Company for their annual Beach Bum Triathlon (or duathlon if swimming isn’t your gig.) Even better, round up your friends and get a team together! The race culminates in an award ceremony where the coveted coconut monkeys are distributed. This race is particularly special because of the swim portion – it’s an ocean swim! You won’t stray far from the sand during the other portions of the race though; the run and bike portions are also on the beach. What a view to have while getting in those steps and cycling away.
3. Olive You (Glennville, GA)
The welcome sign to this olive farm claims to have the “World’s Best Olive Oil” and in terms of extra virgin olive oil, they might just be correct. Take a tour through 300 acres of olive groves and even learn about freshwater wildlife from the ponds on site. Tasting the olive oil is also part of the experience. Learn how to taste olive oil (similar to wine tasting) and become familiar with the unique differences found in real extra virgin olive oil versus the oils sold at big box stores. Take home a bottle of their award-winning olive oil and wow your friends with your new knowledge!
4. Outside Brands Outback Trip (Savannah, GA)
If you’re looking to experience the Lowcountry in a brand new way, look no further than a trip with Outside Brands. The outback trip departs from Savannah and heads to the tucked away outpost of Page Island. From there, embark upon a kayak tour around Daufuskie Island and revel in the natural beauty and wildlife that surrounds you. If people are looking for something more adventurous than milling the streets of Savannah, this is the excursion for you. The trip is complete with an expert captain to guide you through spaces that few people get to see. When you’re finished, head up to the retail store to grab some gear for all your upcoming adventures.
5. Dude Ranching, Reimagined (Madison, GA)
The perfect hybrid of bed and breakfast meets downhome, dude ranch. This experience will be unlike other horse riding excursions. The team at Southern Cross believes that spending time with your chosen horse is beneficial to both the rider and the horse and leads to a more fulfilling adventure. Stay in one of their many guest rooms on the ranch and choose from a variety of sleeping arrangements for any size party. Trail rides are conducted in smaller groups to account for range in rider experience levels and for a more customized experience. At the end of the day, cozy up in comfortable digs and enjoy dinner and a cold beverage to round out the day.
6. Reach new Heights at the National Fairgrounds (Perry, GA)
Returning to the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter this fall is “something for everyone…from eight to eighty!” Livestock shows, carnival rides, fair food, and live music are just a few of the events that will be held at this year’s Georgia National Fair. The 33rd annual extravaganza begins on October 5th and will run through October 15th and features everything anyone could ever desire at the fair. Enjoy Robinsion’s Racing Pigs as they have been since the inaugural fair and don’t forget about all the other events for the little ones. The concert lineup will be revealed this summer so keep an eye out for that announcement filled with premier performers.
7. Catty Shack (Jacksonville, FL)
Aside from the incredible business name, this establishment is dedicated to educating the community about big cats as well as some “honorary cats” that include foxes and coatimundis. They offer day tours through the facility as well as events like nighttime feedings. This wildlife sanctuary focuses on rehoming big cats in dire situations and providing them with a loving forever home. The ranch is run by an elite team of veterinarians and dentists and a group of volunteers who care deeply about these animals. Make a trip to this refuge to view and learn about the beautiful, endangered animals that now call the Catty Shack their den.
8. White Oak Pastures (Bluffton, GA)
Welcome to “radically traditional farming” in a way that you’ve never seen before. Their animals are raised humanely in a “regenerative manner…living in symbiotic relationships with each other” so as to further the natural life cycles of the environment. The farm processes their own meat with state-of-the-art technology and the same holistic mindset that they raise their animals with. Take a walking tour with one of the exceptional staff members, shop in their general store, or dine at their restaurant onsite. To top it off, this haven offers cabin rentals on the farm to really take in the whole experience and get closer to the place that’s revitalizing Southern Georgia, step by step.
9. Durhamtown Off Road Resort (Union Point, GA)
Guests at this all-things-off-road resort will have met their match in terms of finding a highly suitable adventure. With glorious one-way trails for unabashed riding and rumbling, this facility is completely prepared for your every backroad whim. Stay in one of their many cabins on-ground or rent an RV site for the weekend and make sure to bring friends and family. With over 5,000 acres of land and 100 miles of trails and tracks, taking your ATV out for a romp has never been so fun. Feel free to use dirtbikes or SxS at this resort as well! Come discover this “off-road paradise” located just outside Augusta and get ready to whoop with glee.
10. Smash it to Smithereens (Savannah, GA)
Sometimes there’s nothing better than taking your frustration out in an intentional, explosive way. If that looks like smashing breakable objects with hammers, mallets, bats, and crowbars, Smithereens in Savannah has you covered. This premier smash room has everything you need to break and shatter your way to bliss. With protective suits from size small to 6X, Smithereens is an inclusive space that also supports and partners with other local businesses. They even feature artists and source the smashables locally. Smithereens offers three smash rooms, depending on how many people are in your group and on how long you desire to break things into as many pieces as possible. Happy smashing!
11. Stumphouse Park (Chattahoochie National Park, GA)
The main attraction at Stumphouse park is the unfinished railroad tunnel that remains a cool 50 degrees year round. Construction began on the tunnel pre-Civil War using hand tools as a way to connect the Coastal Empire with Midwestern train routes. The tunnel was never finished (although it was used as a cheese cave by Clemson University for decades before building their own facility) but approximately 1/4 of a mile is open to the public for walking and viewing. A short jaunt away is Issaqueena Falls, with a beautiful and accessible overlook mere steps away from the parking lot. There are myriad other hiking and mountain biking trails as well, so no matter what the interest is, Stumphouse Park can deliver.
12. Valdosta Wake Compound (Valdosta, GA)
Two wakeboard aficionados formulated a business plan for a wakepark and what they came up with will have you on the edge of your seat…or board, more like. The 30-acre waterpark (not the kind with slides and wave pools) is replete with a cable and tower system as well as jumps and other fun obstacles for wake-athletes. The compound welcomes expert riders and rookies alike, so even if you’ve never been out on the water, a professional instructor will walk you through how to get up on the board and ride around like a pro. Competitions and summer camp workshops are also available so keep an eye on this place for upcoming events and offers.
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