Say Hello To Lauren Cleland, The Voice Behind @ExploreGeorgia

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Every Thursday, Say Hello To America will be LaurenonJekyllIslandGA showcasing the voices behind official Twitter accounts of destinations all across the United States and the city they represent. This week, say hello to Lauren Cleland from @ExploreGeorgia. She is a life-long Georgia peach having been born in Duluth, attending college at the University of Georgia in Athens and now calls Midtown Atlanta her home. She loves all things southern, Coca-Cola products, saying “Hey y’all,” Scarlett O’Hara quotes & anything peach-flavored. Lauren has been the voice of Explore Georgia on social media since September 2012.

1. What time of the year is best to travel to Georgia? Milledgeville, GA

Every season is beautiful in Georgia, but I’m quite partial to springtime! The azaleas are in bloom, it’s finally warm enough to sit on the front porch with an ice cold glass of sweet tea, there is a festival every weekend, Georgia state parks are brimming with spring activities to partake in and, my personal favorite, baseball season begins (GO BRAVES)!

2. How would you describe the people of Georgia?

The people of Georgia are full of southern hospitality! Georgians will smile at you and treat you like a friend no matter if they’ve just met you or if they have known you for 25 years. They’re also proud of where they come from. They embrace their roots and never hesitate to celebrate the fact that they are Georgian, and I just LOVE that.

3. What is Georgia’s most famous landmark or attraction?

Georgia’s most visited attraction is Stone Mountain Park. Guests can visit year-round and hike up the mountain, explore Stone Mountain Village, catch the famous laser show during the warmer months and even tube down a mountain of snow during the winter!

Stone Mountain Laser Show

4. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about Georgia?

My favorite thing about Georgia is the diversity of this state. We have bustling cities with high-rise building, stunning mountain ranges, beautiful beaches, rolling farmland – you name it, we’ve got it.

5. Name one “secret” location that a traveler must visit. Altamaha River Hazlehurst

I always suggest people pay a visit to Georgia’s Altamaha River. Known as one of the “Last Great Places” in the world, the Altamaha River offers a visitor a chance to get back to nature. For miles it’s just you, your canoe the river, turtles, herons and, in some cases, a manatee!

6. Is there any festival or event in Georgia that a traveler should specifically plan a trip around?

People may be shocked to learn that I am quite the sci-fi/fantasy nerd which means, I am a huge Dragon*Con fan. Dragon*Con is the world’s largest fantasy/sci-fi convention and is held every Labor Day weekend in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. I encourage everyone to experience Dragon*Con at least once. My personal favorite part of the four-day event is, hands down, the parade! Where else can you see Ghostbusters, Disney princesses, characters from Harry Potter and Mr. Spock all in one place?

7. What are the best family-friendly attractions that Georgia has to offer?

Georgia has so much to offer when it comes to family-friendly activities! We have great museums, state parks, festivals, concerts, all-inclusive resorts…I could go on for days.

8. What is Georgia’s signature food that every visitor has to try? Georgia Peaches

You absolutely have to try a Georgia Peach (I’m partial to those that come from Lane Southern Orchards in Fort Valley), but you also need to try one of our famous sweet Vidalia onions and learn the history of this Georgia treat at the Vidalia Onion Museum in Vidalia, Georgia.

9. If I only had one day to explore Georgia, where MUST I go?

My goodness, that is a seriously tough question! However, if you really had only one day to explore our fine state & experience Southern culture, I’d suggest visiting our “Historic Heartland” region. Cities like Madison & Milledgeville, Georgia are filled with beautiful Antebellum homes, historic buildings and quaint downtown areas filled with smiling faces and delicious restaurants serving Southern staples like pimento cheese sandwiches and fried green tomatoes.


Georgia Visitor Information Centers
Augusta– I-20 West, GA/SC Line
Columbus – 1751 Williams Road | Columbus, GA
Kingsland – 100 St Marys Road | St Marys, GA
Lavonia – 938 County Road 84 | Lavonia, GA
Plains – 1763 U.S. Hwy. 280 | Plains, GA
Ringgold – 2726 I-75 South | Ringgold, GA
Savannah – I-95 South, Mile Marker 111 | Port Wentworth, GA
Sylvania – 8463 Burton’s Ferry Hwy. | Sylvania, GA
Valdosta – 5584 Mill Store Road | Lake Park, GA
Tallapoosa – I-20 East, GA/AL Line | Tallapoosa, GA
West Point – I-85 North, GA/AL Line | West Point, GA

Connect with Explore Georgia
Website: Explore Georgia
Twitter: @ExploreGeorgia
Facebook: Explore Georgia
YouTube: Explore Georgia

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