Published: October 2009
Valdosta, Georgia
Plan a long weekend getaway with our Valdosta adventure guide, featuring great outdoor escapes, where to stay, and where to eat. Then chime in with your picks.

Pop. 48,547
GPS: 30°51'N 83°17'W

Genteel "Azalea City" is the unlikely launchpad for the Okefenokee Swamp: a 700-square-mile blackwater refuge for gators, endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers and Florida soft-shell turtles that’s crisscrossed by 120 miles of paddling trails.

Your Turn: Tell us about your favorite Valdosta adventures, restaurants, and hotels in the comments section below.

Brave? Sign up for an overnight paddling excursion through the evergreen bog lands, cypress forests, and reptile habitats. Okefenokee Adventures offers guided trips that last up to five days (from $295 per person;

You may be in the swamps, but you’re still in BBQ country. And Smok'n Pig BBQ has got all the trimmings—fried okra, Mama June's sweet potato soufflé, fresh collard greens—to accompany its award-winning pulled pork (

Fairview Inn, a bed and breakfast in the heart of Vandosta's 1800s-era neighborhood, is within walking distance of downtown museums (doubles from $85;