Below you will find a listing of area attractions and outdoor adventures.
Altama Museum of Art & History
The Altama Museum collection is housed in the neoclassic-style Brazell House, built in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Best-known for its Libby Collection of Staffordshire porcelain dating from the 1800’s with over 260 pieces and 210 different patterns. Permanent exhibits also include 18th – 19th C. European prints, the Aldridge Antique Clothing Collection, the Victorian Parlor and Bedroom, vintage Vidalia photographs and a large reasonably priced Sale Gallery. The Girl Scout room, dedicated to Girl Scouts of all ages, exhibits scouting memorabilia dating back to 1929. Admission is free, thanks to the City of Vidalia and Altama members. Call 912-537-1911 for more information.
Downtown Historic District
Shopping is a pleasure in downtown Vidalia along shaded sidewalks that will take you thru the Historic District and to unique shopping. Stop in for a sweet treat and coffee at the corner coffee chop. Browse the ladies boutiques and gift shops, children’s boutique, jewelry stores, interior design studios and more. Stop for lunch or dinner at one of the downtown restaurants.
Downtown Parking on the street is limited to 2 hours but is unlimited in the parking lot behind City Hall at 114 Jackson Street.
Ladson Genealogical Library
While downtown, visit the Ladson Genealogical Library. What started as Mr. Ladson’s hobby and passion now sees on average 4,500 visitors a year. Trace your family’s history and enjoy thumbing through more that 30,000 books, pamphlets, manuscripts, periodicals, and microfilm. The library specializes in materials on Georgia, the South, and the Eastern Seaboard. The Ladson Library’s normal hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10am-1pm, and 2pm-5pm, Saturdays 10am-1pm. Call 912-537-8186 for information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to visit their website. Located at 125 Church St., Suite 104, Downtown Vidalia
Kiwanis Onion Run
Held on Saturday morning during the Vidalia Onion Festival and drawing people of all ages, the run consists of a 5K and 10K onion run and walk and a one-mile fun run and walk. An estimated 1,500 people participate in this annual event. Whether you are a runner or just prefer to take a brisk walk, the Kiwanis Onion Run is sure to please. Visit www.vidaliaonionfestival.com for more information.
Under renovation, reopening in November 2017.
Paul Anderson Youth Home
Paul Anderson was known as the “World’s Strongest Man.” He is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records, as well as Famous First Facts, for lifting an incredible 6,270 pounds, the greatest weight ever raised by a human being. He was the last American to win the Olympic Gold medal in the Super Heavyweight division, in 1956. Paul’s legacy continues to live at the Christian home that he and his wife established for troubled teens. Purchase souvenirs, including books, weightlifting materials, and a line of Vidalia Onion sauces. www.pahy.org, 800-559-PAYH.
Swift Creek Wings
Are you a sportsman looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Hop on the quail buggy and enjoy a whole or half-day professional bird hunt with a personal guide. Prices range from $450-950.
Located on Loop Rd. in Vidalia. Call 912-537-0523 for more information.
Vidalia Onion Festival
Each spring, Vidalia anticipates the harvest of Georgia’s Official State Vegetable, the internationally known, Vidalia Sweet Onion. Since 1978, we have celebrated this special occasion with an array of fun-filled events.
Pre-festival events include the Culinary Extravaganza and Vidalia Onion Pageants. Carnival starts on Wednesday; Thursday, enjoy the Children’s Parade, performances by local dance and gymnastics groups and Movie Under the Stars. Friday brings the Vidalia Onion Festival Opening Ceremonies, Street Dance and Fireworks where you can enjoy time with friends and neighbors. On Saturday, enjoy the Recipe Cook-Off and Public Tasting, the Kiwanis Onion Run, the Saturday Night Concert, the Chuck Wagon Cook-Off, and Arts & Crafts which continues on Sunday. On even-numbered years beginning in 2020, attend the Vidalia Onion Festival Air Show at the Vidalia Regional Airport for dynamic aerobatic acts, pyrotechnics, warbirds, static displays and more.
For more information, call 912-538-8687 or visit www.vidaliaonionfestival.com
Vidalia Onion Fountain
A great stop for a photo! Located behind City Hall directly in front of the Stage at City Park on the corner of Hwy 280 W and Durden Street. This local landmark made its debut in the Spring of 2015 and was dedicated by Mayor Ronnie Dixon during the Vidalia Onion Festival. The 6-foot stainless steel structure was designed and built by local artist and welder, Ruth Williams English. The onion is located in a 20′ basin designed by Greg Goff, with a center water feature in the onion and 10 individual pumps around it. At night, visitors can be entertained with the multi-colored lights and water that dance to the sounds of music playing in the park.
Vidalia Onion Museum
Discover the story behind the Vidalia Sweet Onion! The Vidalia Onion Museum provides guests with an interactive, historical experience. The 1,300-square-foot space is filled with an array of educational exhibits that highlight the sweet onion’s economic, cultural and culinary significance. The museum is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and is just off Highway 280, beside Southeastern Technical College and behind the Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce. Call 912-538-8687 for more information.
The Stage at City Park
Completed in 2014, the Stage sits opposite the fountain and is a beautiful venue for outdoor performances and community events. As annual events at this venue like the Vidalia Onion Festival’s “Movie Under the Stars” Opening Ceremony and Street Dance, a concert series, monthly “Cruise-In for a Cause” car shows, the Downtown Fall Festival, the city Christmas tree and tree lighting ceremony continue to increase, the Stage at City Park will continue to be one of “sweetest” things in Vidalia since the onion! And twice a year this is the best place for fantastic firework shows, during the Vidalia Onion Festival and on July 4th.
Vidalia Splash Pad at Ben Smith Park
In late 2015, the city turned on the new Vidalia Splash Pad, a water feature in downtown that is sure to make quite a splash with children and families. The park surrounding the pad provides shade and seating and is walking distance to shops and restaurants. The splash pad is activated by a push-button control built into the gently sloping bowl area surrounding the water outlets. Press the button and enjoy a three-minute program of various heights and sizes of mini-fountains from tall and short and from inside and outside rings of outlets that are also lit at night. A great way to keep cool in the hot summers of South Georgia. the splash pad is open daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
Scenic Montgomery County is home to Ailey, Georgia – which some say is reminiscent of a New England town. From T.A. Blocker’s, continue on Highway 15/29 toward Tarrytown and Soperton. Turn left at the next road – County Highway 227. Follow Co. Hwy 227 along its 7 mile stretch of blue skies, green timber forests and dainty wildflowers to Ailey. Each road that intersects with downtown Ailey meets Highway 280 West, so you can easily explore Ailey. Be sure to look for the original Ailey Jail when you turn left at the downtown intersection. This one-room jail cell once helped keep the peace, and now it maintains its place on the National Register of Historic Places.
Farming is a family tradition at Braddy Farms. They grow onions, soybeans, and field corn. They delight in providing seasonal crop tours! Pick up a bag or box of Vidalia Onions before leaving! Located on Highway 221 North, about five miles north of Mount Vernon. Schedule a tour at 912-583-4414.
Historic Village at Brewton-Parker College
Just a few blocks from Highway 280 is the Historic Village at Brewton-Parker College. Follow the signs from Louisville Road just off of Highway 280 for the Cooper-Conner House (c. 1798) and the Thompson House (c. 1842). Take a stretch while walking through the grounds of this historic village. The Cooper-Conner House is considered the oldest house in Montgomery County. It was originally built by slave labor on Old River Road by the Dead River (near the fork of the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers) in 1779 for Richard Cooper. Cooper was a Revolutionary soldier and was buried in the Dead River Cemetery in 1821. The Cooper-Conner House was once being torn down by hunters to fuel their campfires, so it was moved to the Brewton-Parker College campus, and restored with handmade nails, wooden pegs, and hewn with hand axes. The holes in the walls were designed to use guns for protection from Indian attacks if necessary. Often in conjunction with Alumni Day at Brewton-Parker College and during the Vidalia Onion Festival , activities such as soap making, syrup boiling, cane grinding and open-fire baking are demonstrated at the house. On these special occasions, costumes and music from the period are featured attractions. For more information, please call 912-583-2241.
Buckhorn Creek Ranch
Come enjoy wagon ride while feeding over 100 exotic and domestic animals such as bison, Watusi cattle, and Moulfon sheep on Buckhorn Creek Ranch. Take a walking tour to hand feed animals such as “Baby” the camel, “Prissy” the miniature horse and “Dolly” the mule. Let the kids grind corn to throw to the chickens and turkeys hoping to pull a few tail feathers as souvenirs. Minimum $40 for 1-5 people, $8/person for larger groups. From Hwy 280 between Vidalia and Mt. Vernon, turn south on Hwy 135. Buckhorn Creek Ranch is 3.5 miles on right hand side of road. Call 912-583-2737 or 912-245-4042 to schedule your tour.
C & C Stables
If your idea of heaven is astride a saddle, schedule a horse riding lesson. Lessons are $30/hour and by appointment only. On Highway 280 East to Lyons, turn right onto Bulldog Road, go about 8 miles and turn right at the white sign, “Cooper’s Towing and Trailer Sales.” Take the second driveway with the white fence. Contact 912-526-8406 or 912-293-3708 for more information.
Long Pond Community
Established in 1877, Long Pond Community is located in Montgomery County, on Highway 221 South. Long Pond is a place of quiet beauty nearly frozen in time. The community is home to the Long Pond Methodist Church, the Long Pond Baptist Church, the old Long Pond School, the McAllister Cemetery, the Peter Johnson house, and Uncle Bruce’s old store.
Lyons Post Office
This ordinary Post Office houses a very extraordinary piece of history. The Lyons Post Office is home of one of the very few remaining sculptures commissioned by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. Once considered to be white-collar work done by boondogglers, the artwork and murals that still exist are modern-day treasures. Turn to the right when you enter the Post Office, the sculpture is hanging on the wall.
Montgomery County Courthouse
See a radio from the early 1900s, a silver penny and a gun that was actually used in the Civil War. The Courthouse showcases historical documents, photos, artifacts, and weapons, not to mention rare money, antiques, and farm supplies. Located just 15 minutes from Vidalia, the Montgomery County Courthouse is a must-see for the history lover. Established in 1793, Montgomery County was named for Continental Army general Richard Montgomery, who was mortally wounded during the American Revolution in the attack upon British Quebec in 1775. In 1813, Montgomery County was designated a county seat, and the courthouse was built. Despite being originally a wooden structure, this courthouse has never seen a fire – quite amazing since it had four woodburning furnaces and paper-wrapped wiring. The magnificent brick, neoclassical revival structure that you see today was designed by Alexander Blair and built in 1907.
Open Creek Farms
Learn all about pesticide-free organic gardening at Open Creek Farms. Before you leave, be sure to fill a bag or two with fresh-picked produce to take home at the fresh food market on site. Located at 236 Ziegman Whonic Road in Lyons, just off of Highway 147. Contact 912-565-9394 or 912-293-2397 for more information.
Located in the City of Lyons, Partin Park features a skate park, walking trails, ball fields, and playgrounds for the kids. This is a great place to picnic with the family, exercise, or just take a stroll. Four indoor facilities in the park can be rented for parties, meetings, family reunions and more. Call 912-526-3084 for rentals and for group shelters.
Altamaha, Ohoopee, Ocmulgee, Oconee…plan an entertaining day along one of our picturesque rivers. We have just the ticket for your outdoor adventure! Whether you enjoy kayaking, canoeing, camping, or fishing, we can outfit your family with all the essentials needed for an exciting river trip. Call Three Rivers Outdoors at 912-594-8379 for more information. www.explorethreerivers.com
Rose Allen Plantation
Enjoy a quail hunt with friends or introduce your children to game hunting! Choose from many hunting and fishing packages, including day hunts or individual and corporate packages. Packages vary according to preferences. Contact 912-293-5014 or visit www. roseallenplantation.com for more information.
Santa Claus, Georgia
Did you know that there are only two cities in the world named Santa Claus? Georgia has one of them! Santa Claus, Georgia is located only 15 minutes from Vidalia. Santa Claus boasts Christmas themed streets, such as Candy Cane Lane and Reindeer Street, a beautiful garden surrounds the tiny chapel built by local volunteers and Santa Claus City Hall sits at 25 December Drive. Give your friends and family a treat by bringing your Christmas cards to Santa Claus City Hall to have them postmarked. Just drop them off and Santa’s elves will do the rest! While in City Hall, tell them you want to visit the Christmas Gift Shop and Museum. All it takes is a please and thank you!
Browse the shops of downtown Lyons and historic Montgomery County. Downtown districts feature coffee shops, jewelry stores, gift shops and restaurants. With so many choices, these downtown stores are sure to please! Looking for a special gift? Contact us to discover just the place to find it. Call Lyons Main Street at 912-526-6445, and Historic Montgomery County at 912-583-4676.
Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby
The Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby takes place in Lyons, Georgia every May. Thirty-five to forty participants compete every year in this event that draws 200- 300 spectators. The participants race down Derby Hill in Partin Park in Lyons for a chance to win the first place trip to Akron, Ohio to compete in the Soapbox Derby World Championship finals. Click here for information. or visit them on Facebook at Southeast Georgia Soap Box Derby. Call 912-526-6445 for more information.
Tales from the Altamaha
This Georgia folk-life play draws from the writings of Colonel T. Ross Sharpe, who wrote more than 300 essays depicting the history of the area in a column for the Lyons newspaper, from 1955 to 1965. His stories bring to life colorful characters from the past, the regional settlers of a five-county radius. Each April, the Lyons Main Street selects a different set of stories and creates a brand new experience on the stage at the Blue Marquee Theater. Call 912-526-6445 or visit www.talesfromthealtamaha.com for more information.
The Blue Marquee Theater
The Blue Marquee, built over 70 years ago, came equipped with a stage, orchestra pit area and good acoustics – ideal for live performances. Three-hundred and twenty seats, a movie screen, state-of-the-art sound equipment, and over-head projector make the facility ideal for meetings. The theater has become the cornerstone of Lyons revitalization and serves as an anchor to the economic and cultural base. New businesses have opened and numerous historic buildings have been restored. For more information, please contact Clint Williams at 912-526-8106.
The second weekend in October, professional bbq teams travel to Lyons to compete in a KCBS sanctioned contest for $20,000 in prize money. Amateur teams compete in downtown Lyons on Friday, where the public is invited to enjoy a street dance along with great bbq, a classic car cruise-in and fireworks. On Saturday come to Partin Park and watch the professionals compete. Activities include a classic car show, kid’s creative play area, arts and crafts, an Indian artifacts show, Native American Southeastern Encampment and dog show. Enter “The Pig Jig” traditional music contest for all ages and levels, join in free music workshops and jam sessions! For more information, call 912-526-6445 or visit therealsqueal.com. Like us on Facebook at The Real Squeal: Lyons Barbeque & Music Festival
Three Rivers Outdoors, Inc.
Experience the peacefulness and serenity of Southeast Georgia’s beautiful rivers! Three Rivers Outdoors can outfit your family or group with all of the essentials needed for an adventurous day along one of our three rivers. Three Rivers Outdoors provides canoe or kayak rentals, guided tours, and an area history lesson. Oconee, Ocmulgee, Altamaha – the choice is up to you! Packages start at just $25 per person.
To schedule your river adventure, contact Three Rivers Outdoors at 912-594-8379.
UGA Vidalia® Onion and Vegetable Research Center
Ever wonder what makes a Vidalia Onion a Vidalia? Visitors to the Research Center will gain insight into vegetable crop plot research. Seasonal onion tours of the Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center are available from late April through mid-June. Other crop research tours are available throughout the year. Open Monday through Friday, from 8 am until 5 pm; tours are free. On Highway 178, near the Georgia State Prison, about 15 miles south of Lyons. Call 912-565-7822 to schedule your tour.
Yamassee Bicycle Trail
Montgomery County’s 17-mile bicycle trail offers an opportunity for you and your family to enjoy the countryside of southern Georgia. The path is “billboard free” and filled with beautiful farms, historic churches, and huge forests. You will be riding parallel to the beautiful Oconee River. Just downstream, the Oconee meets the Ocmulgee River to form the Altamaha River. The land between the Oconee and the Ocmulgee is called “Tama Country,” and once served as the location for the 1700’s trading post owned by Mary Musgrove, an interpreter to James Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia.
A particular point of interest along the route is the Long Pond Community, established in 1877. It is here that Peter Johnson, a Confederate War hero, built his postwar dwelling. The colonial style house still stands, and is as beautiful as it is historic. Other high points include the rural communities of Uvalda and Alston.