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Local Seafood Restaurants Rule Georgia and South Carolina Coasts

Both the Georgia and South Carolina coasts boast countless reasons to visit and local seafood continues to be one of the biggies. Although the serene beaches, wildlife, and cushy resorts in both areas lure the vacationing masses, don’t underestimate the power of grub. The beach-minded should not only bring their sunscreen, but also their appetites along for the ride.

We gathered a quartet of local seafood restaurants that serve as purveyors of some of the most popular dishes on both coasts. Are you hungry enough to try them all?

She-Crab Soup

If Charleston, SC’s local seafood restaurants and dining scene had a virtual lifeblood, she-crab soup would likely course through its veins. The secret to the creamy concoction comes in the form of crab eggs, not to mention a healthy dose of cooking sherry. For one of the best in town, some point toward Hyman’s Seafood, a multigenerational business that’s been functioning in one form or another in the same location for nearly 120 years. Since 1986, it’s been the home of both Hyman’s Seafood and Aaron’s Deli. The latter lays claim to an award-winning she-crab soup.

Fried Shrimp

Battered shrimp that see a second life swimming in the deep fryer remain a beach town staple. The fried shrimp served at Iguanas Seafood Restaurant, nestled in the Pier Village on St. Simons Island, regularly pops up on area best-of lists. The reason can be found in its signature batter, a thoughtful conglomeration of seasoning and spices that helps differentiate it from schools of competitors. The eatery’s choice location means diners can take an after-dinner walk to the pier to see the catches of the day. But don’t do it before indulging in a complimentary bowl or two of soft serve ice cream.

Shrimp and Grits

The southern coastal delicacy of shrimp and grits end up on countless menus in both Georgia and South Carolina. However, nowhere celebrates the dish like Jekyll Island, a legendary stretch of Georgia real estate located on the coastline midway between Savannah, GA. and Jacksonville, FL. The 11th annual Shrimp & Grits Festival runs from Sept. 16–18, 2016. Area restaurants set up shop beneath tents attempting to outdo each other with their take on the recipe and other seafood delights. The guests, however, prove to be the winners, getting to sample the wares amid live music, arts and crafts vendors, and more.

Lowcountry Boil

Lowcountry boil, also known as Frogmore Stew, typically fills bellies with a special union of shrimp, potatoes, corn on the cob, onion, and sausage. The Creole-like Gullah cooking style can be seen in Frogmore Stew, which many people credit to Richard Gay of Gay Fish Company, a still-operating fish market in the Frogmore community on St. Helena Island. Dye Scott-Rhodan leans on her Gullah heritage when creating her version at her Hilton Head Island restaurant, Dye’s Gullah Fixins. Shrimp, country smoked sausage, egg, potatoes, and onion—all steamed in Gullah seasoning—make up Scott-Rhodan’s take on the classic. The dish only hits tables on Friday and Saturday nights, and all diners must make a reservation in advance.

Like the variety of marine life swimming in the sea, an even wider range of seafood options can be caught on the Georgia and South Carolina coasts. Raw and cooked oysters, crab bisque, seared swordfish, crab cakes, salmon croquettes, and more pop up on area menus. Simply cast a net and belly up to the table.

Six Fun Ways to Beat the Heat in Georgia This Summer

With temperatures already climbing well above 90 degrees, it’s safe to say that this summer will be just like all the others in Georgia: Hot. Two easy ways to escape the brutal Georgia heat during the summer are to either hop in your air-conditioned car and go for a drive or jump into the nearest convenient pool.

However, there are also more fun and adventurous ways to beat the heat this summer. As temperatures rise, take a break from your usual activities and cool off by exploring one (or all) of these picturesque destinations in Georgia.

1. LanierWorld

Located just forty-five minutes away from Atlanta, LanierWorld is home to a number of family-friendly water park activities, from the South’s largest wave pool, Wild Waves, to the Raging River, and a collection of other rides, slides, and dining options. If your family loves to spend time cooling off outdoors during the summer, you can purchase day passes or season passes, which come with a number of great benefits for both adults and children.

2. Lake Chatuge

Lake Chatuge is located in Hiawassee, GA, near the North Carolina State Line. If you’re looking for a great reservoir that offers a variety of water activities, then this is the place for you. With 132 miles of shoreline to explore, you have the option to go swimming, boating, hiking, water skiing, and more. Use one of the many public boat ramps to launch your boat for a morning of water skiing before heading over to the Towns County Recreational Beach to swim along the shore, visit the playground, or have a scenic picnic in the cool mountain air.

3. Robin Lake Beach at Callaway Gardens Pine Mountain

Located just over an hour away from Atlanta, Callaway Gardens Pine Mountain is a great choice for family vacations. With miles of nature trails, swimming, world-class tennis facility, golf courses, a butterfly center, and more, there is something for every taste and personality. Plus, this destination boasts a unique attraction with the white-sand beaches of Robin Lake Beach. Between tubing, zip lining, wakeboarding, water skiing, and spa packages, your entire group will have more than enough to keep them busy for a day or weekend trip.

4. Edge of the World

Hidden away along the Amicalola River Trail outside of Dawsonville, GA is a beautiful swimming hole known as the Edge of the World. This picturesque swimming spot has a number of natural water slides and rapids that you can tube down, as well as calm pools of cool, clear water for a relaxing swim on a hot day. When it starts to get sweltering hot this summer, put on your swimsuit, pack up some lunch, and take a day trip with your family or a group of friends to the Edge of the World.

5. Wild Adventures

Wild Adventures is an all-in-one theme park, water park, and animal park located in Valdosta, GA. This park offers a variety of thrilling roller coasters and water rides loved by kids and adults alike. Plus, you can take a break to take in one of the park’s all-star concerts and see hundreds of exotic creatures from around the world. Because it’s also affordable to visit Wild Adventures, this is a great choice for a family activity during the summer.

There are endless ways to escape the heat the summer heat—the Aquarium, the World of Coke, and of course, Six Flags are also great ideas for you and your family! What is your favorite way to beat the summer heat?

Four Educational Museums in Georgia

The great thing about raising a family in Georgia is that there’s never a shortage of fun and educational activities. From the grand and cultural Tubman Museum to the Georgia Aquarium and its aquatic splendor, there are always new, exciting opportunities to learn and grow.

Here are four museums in Georgia to add to your list of family adventures that offer educational opportunities for parents and kids alike.

1. Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Well-known for its delightful exhibits, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta is an ideal museum for children in elementary school. With displays about wildlife, gardens, birds, nature, and more, it offers a captivating experience. Between the world’s largest dinosaurs exhibits and the IMAX theater, there’s something every member of your family will enjoy for hours. Keep an eye on the rotating monthly special exhibits and events.

2. Museum of Aviation

Home of the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame, the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins is an aerospace museum with an impressive collection that spans generations and features way more than just military airplanes. Wandering around the four exhibit hangars, you’ll see a World War II B-17 bomber, Vietnam War Huey helicopters, a B-29 Superfortress, and an SR-71 Blackbird that literally flew faster than a speeding bullet. The museum also has many interactive exhibits, giving your kids the chance to experience what it’s like to be inside both historical and modern air crafts—and best of all, this museum has free admission.

3. Center for Puppetry Arts

Located in Atlanta, the Center for Puppetry Arts is not only an educational museum for families with young children in elementary school, but it’s also incredibly fun. Through a mixture of educational resources, performances, and storytelling, children learn about different types of puppetry from around the world. Museum-goers have a host of puppet shows and educational performances to choose from that are sure to entertain. In addition to housing most of Jim Henson’s beloved Muppets, the center also offers a film series to enjoy with the whole family.

4. Savannah Children’s Museum

With plenty of outdoor space and interactive exhibits, Savannah Children’s Museum is a great place for kids to learn and discover. The little ones will love the exploration maze and the sensory garden. Housed next to the Georgia State Railroad Museum in Savannah’s Tricentennial Park, the children’s museum offers daily and weekly rotating themes, such as weather, space, plants, vegetables, and local history. Once the kids have sufficiently explored the exhibits, the entire family can sit down together to listen to good story in the reading nook.

This is just a small sample of the many museums in Georgia. Be sure to consider one of these options the next time you’re looking for a fun and educational experience to share with your kids.

Four Reasons to Visit South Carolina on Your Next Road Trip

South Carolina is a state brimming with Southern charm and character. As a road-trip destination, especially from Georgia, there are plenty of reasons to visit the Palmetto state.

Of course, Charleston is a popular destination for travelers from all over the country, but there are other little-known spots where you can also get historic charm and unique experiences. Here are just a few of the places that should give you reason enough to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and visit South Carolina.

1. Edisto Island, SC

Nestled in the Lowcountry between Hilton Head and Charleston you’ll find the beautiful Edisto Island. This is a great destination for short weekend road trips since it’s under 300 miles from Atlanta and will only take about five hours. This secluded spot is a laid-back destination with a picturesque landscape. The island has a rich cultural history and offers plenty of outdoor activities, not to mention some fantastic seafood.

2. Beaufort, SC

Beaufort is not only the second oldest city in South Carolina, but it was also named by National Geographic as seventh best waterfront adventure town. During your visit, you can soak up the beautiful waterfront views and take advantage of a variety of different festivals and cultural attractions. Located just off Hilton Head Island, this is a great road-trip destination since it’s just about 270 miles from Atlanta, which you can do in about four and half hours.

3. Georgetown, SC

Brimming with shops, historic attractions, and more than fifty antebellum mansions, Georgetown is a delightful look into a different time, making it a great place to escape modern life. Each antebellum home offers a unique experience for visitors. Plus, you can enjoy a day of golf, sailing, deep-sea fishing, and historic sight-seeing.

The other benefit to road tripping to Georgetown is that you have easy access to Charleston, which is only sixty miles away and takes about an hour and half, and you can easily visit Myrtle Beach, too, as it is only about thirty-five miles away, which is less than an hour drive.

4. Greenville, SC

Boasting two beautiful state parks and plenty of shops and restaurants, Greenville is a great town to visit for a quick getaway. Between the Reedy River Falls and the Greenville Zoo, this city will make wonderful road-trip choice for families and outdoorsy types alike, especially considering it’s only about 160 miles away from Atlanta.

Next time you’re looking for a last-minute weekend road trip from Georgia, consider the Palmetto State. Of course, there are many more attractions and towns that give people reason to visit South Carolina, offering a range of options for every taste and traveler.

South Carolina Attractions: Hidden Gems

Burn enough gas throughout the expanse of South Carolina, and you’ll soon discover it teems with unique attractions. Yet even natives of the Palmetto state may not be familiar with some of its most glistening hidden gems. So roll out your map and get ready to stick pins in the following not-to-miss South Carolina attractions.

Boneyard Beach

Hop aboard the Bulls Island Ferry in Awendaw for a quick jaunt to Bulls Island. This South Carolina barrier island, known for its untouched environs and thriving wildlife, lays claim to Boneyard Beach, located on its northeast end. Call it a Gothic paradise, the three-mile sandy expanse proves to be what some people describe as a “Dali painting come to life.” Thanks to the island’s changing shoreline, hundreds of oak, cedar, and pine trees have been frozen in twisted webs. Bleached by the sun and saltwater, the trees have been smoothed by the ocean tide. While kids often take to the climbs of this natural playground, seabirds can be found perched high above for a literal bird’s-eye view of their next potential meal. Make sure to arm your camera with a fully charged battery as photo-ops abound.

Approximate mileage from:

  • Columbia — 280 miles round trip
  • Augusta, GA — 360 miles round trip
  • Myrtle Beach — 160 miles round trip

Congaree National Park

Just outside of Columbia, Congaree National Park may not be the most high-profile among South Carolina’s array of national park attractions, but its collection of natural wonders certainly demands a visit. More than twenty-five miles of hiking trails and over two miles of boardwalk allow visitors the chance to soak up picturesque surroundings. The forest offers up its star attraction: primeval old-growth trees known as the champions. They make up the tallest deciduous forest in the country and loom high above the winding trails. Keep an eye out for massive turtles, deer, river otter, and sizable spiders. You might even gander at a gator or two. The park allows camping, in addition to canoeing and kayaking in the adjacent Cedar Creek.

Approximate mileage from:

  • Greenville — 260 miles round trip
  • Charleston — 220 miles round trip
  • Augusta, GA — 190 miles round trip
  • Myrtle Beach — 280 miles round trip

Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden

Topiary artist Pearl Fryar regularly wows visitors who peruse his handcrafted garden. More than 300 plants, many plucked from the compost pile of area nurseries by Fryar himself, serve as living works of art. With clippers in hand, Fryar has a penchant for turning shrubs, trees, and more into abstract shapes that look as if they sprang from the pages of a Dr. Seuss book. His found-object statues, made from discarded metal, glass, and more, display messages of love, unity, and peace.

Approximate mileage from:

  • Columbia — 100 miles round trip
  • Greenville — 310 miles round trip
  • Charleston — 250 miles round trip
  • Augusta, GA — 250 miles round trip
  • Myrtle Beach — 210 miles round trip

H.L. Hunley Submarine at Warren Lasch Conservation Center

Have you ever been curious about what a submarine that was used in the Civil War might be like, look no further than the H.L. Hunley. It holds the distinctive honor of being the first combat submarine to sink a warship. The USS Housatonic took the hit in Charleston’s outer harbor; the Hunley, however, sunk shortly thereafter. Yet it wasn’t until 1995 that researchers recovered the vessel. In fact, some of the same folks involved in recovering the Titanic helped snag the Hunley. Today, visitors can take a look at the Hunley as it sits inside a conservation tank located at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center on the old Charleston Navy Base.

Approximate mileage from:

  • Columbia — 240 miles round trip
  • Augusta, GA — 310 miles round trip
  • Myrtle Beach — 210 miles round trip

Next time you’re planning a road trip, check out one of these four South Carolina attractions, which are so hidden some Palmetto state natives don’t even know about them.

Four Spectacular Museums in Georgia

From the internationally renowned World of Coca-Cola to the High Museum of Art and the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta is home to some of the most notable attractions in the state.

But what you may not know is that there are ample opportunities outside of the city to discover unique attractions and educational museums in Georgia, where you can reap the benefits of lower ticket prices, beautiful scenery, and fewer crowds.

Next time you’re looking for a weekend adventure, check out these four museums and attractions located throughout Georgia.

1. Georgia Sports Hall of Fame

Location: Macon, Georgia

Macon’s 43,000-square-foot hall of fame is the largest state sports museum in the country, commemorating the history of Georgia-based athletics. Given the size of the museum and the caliber of athletes honored, this is a great stop for sports fans and history buffs alike. While you’re there, be sure to stop by the 200-plus-person theater to see the exposed steel trellises modeled after those used for Ponce de Leon Park, long-time home to the former Atlanta Crackers’ baseball team.

2. Telfair Museums

Location: Savannah, Georgia

Founded in 1883 by Mary Telfair, a prominent Savannah philanthropist, Telfair Museums is one of the oldest art museums, not only in Georgia but in the entire South. Telfair left her home and all of its furnishings to the Georgia Historical Society with instructions to open it up to the public. Since then, the museum has expanded significantly and now consists of three separate buildings full of art.

3. Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History

Location: Augusta, Georgia

An inductee into the Georgia Women of Achievement, Miss Lucy Craft Laney was an iconic and influential educational leader who started a school, established the first African American kindergarten in the United States, and founded the first nursing school for African Americans in the United States. Many years after her death, her house was restored and preserved as a local museum. You’ll be led through both permanent and rotating exhibits by a guide well versed in local African American history. Don’t miss the beautiful butterfly gardens.

4. Boyhood Home of Woodrow Wilson

Location: Augusta, Georgia

The Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson is an educational historical site and museum honoring the twenty-eighth President of the United States. The home has been carefully preserved and filled with both original and restored furnishings. Open three days a week, volunteer docents give tours that delve into Wilson’s childhood, life in Georgia during the Civil War, and the widespread impact of the Battle of Atlanta, one of the most significant events of the time period.

These four museums in Georgia offer an educational experience and a chance to learn more about the long history of the Peach State in a variety of ways.

How to Battle Traffic in Atlanta without Going Insane

Despite all of Atlanta’s perks, its oft-loathed traffic emits an exhaust cloud of dread to commuters and visitors alike. But the automotive logjam isn’t unbeatable. Consider the following tips, tricks, and suggestions for dealing with traffic in Atlanta.

Take Alternate Routes

Rush hour traffic on I-285 remains one of the most hated experiences on Atlanta roadways. Consider the following back-road alternatives during peak hours.

  • A total of 5 two-lane roads, Mt. Vernon Road, Dunwood Club Drive, Winters Chapel Road, Oakcliff Road, and Northcrest Road, run almost parallel to I-285 between Dunwoody and Doraville. Although they can also get crowded, they provide a swift escape if you hit them at the right time.
  • Although it’s also known as H.E. Holmes Drive, James Jackson Parkway, and South Cobb Drive, the entire stretch is called Highway 280. Need to travel from I-20 to Marietta, but the west side I-285 looks horrific? This alternate route runs alongside 285.
  • If I-285 gets jammed on either side of town, some recommend taking I-75/85 through Atlanta. Although folks often flock here when trouble arises on I-285, this downtown connector can be quicker than some surface streets.

Check Traffic Reports

WSB Radio, available on 95.5 FM and on 750 AM, continues to be one of the more popular ways for Atlanta commuters to score up-to-the-minute traffic details, including twenty-four-hour traffic information, incident reports, and approximate trip times.

Georgia 511 is also a wealth of information, either through the website or mobile app, which is the official traffic application of the Georgia Department of Transportation. Be sure to pull over or pass your phone to a passenger when you check for traffic updates.

Entertain Your Ears

If you’re alone, the time spent in traffic may be an opportunity to escape the stress of the day through music, audio books, or podcasts. Independent station AM 1690 has an eclectic playlist that runs the gamut from classical to country to vintage soul to early rock. Among its shows, Mike Holbrook’s Radio Free Radio rises to the top. Special guests, including outlaw country icon Billy Joe Shaver, have been known to drop in.

The Atlanta-based daily talk show Comcastro, hosted by Maximüs Groves, puts the spotlight on a variety of professionals in and around the Big Peach. Politicians, scientists, filmmakers, comedians, and a many others talk shop during their respective interviews. Topics range from comic book writing to the art of crowd funding.

Wait Out Traffic

If you can’t stand sitting in the car any longer, Atlanta offers many opportunities to wait out traffic doing something fun. Slingshot Entertainment has 130,000 square feet of action, including high-powered indoor go-kart racing, a swanky fourteen-lane bowling lounge, American Ninja Warrior–style obstacle courses for grown-ups and tots, and an on-site restaurant.

Golfers who are getting antsy waiting in their vehicle, can duck off of a gridlocked 400 and experience Topgolf Alpharetta, a competitive driving range with targets.

If you’re stuck on 285 with impatient kids at rush hour, the Disney Store at Perimeter Mall may be the swankiest of its kind in town, with interactive bells and whistles, and ‘toons on the big screen.

While it can be tough dealing with traffic in Atlanta, indulging in entertaining activities, strategically using traffic reports, and taking alternate routes can help you beat the bottleneck.