Dublin, GA: The Family Vacation Destination

Dublin, GA: The Family Vacation Destination

Take the family on a long weekend trip to Dublin, where you can make lasting memories without emptying your savings. 

Words by Laura Drummond

Looking for a weekend getaway that’s fun for the whole family but won’t break the bank? Look no further than Dublin, Georgia. Busy families can embrace the slower pace of small-town living while enjoying outdoor recreation, indoor amusements, and lots of casual dining options. Here are our top picks for a family trip to Dublin that supplies affordable summer fun for all ages. 

All-Day Water Play

Splash into Dublin and beat the Georgia heat at the water park.

Southern Pines Water Park has it all–swimming pools, water slides, a splash pad, and a lazy river. The cost of admission—only $10 per person—gives you all-day access, so you can come and go as you please or make a day of it. There are concessions and cabana rentals available. 

The Great Outdoors

From fishing and hiking to boating and kayaking, there’s so much of the natural world explore in the Emerald City. 

The Hugh Gillis Public Fishing Area has a 109-acre lake that’s carefully managed with a bounty of fish. Anglers of all ages can try their hand on the water or along the bank, as there’s a boat ramp, canoe access, and a fishing pier. 

If you’re looking for a true outdoor adventure, explore River Bend Wildlife Management Area. Trek the many hiking trails through coastal plain swamp, scope out the best birding spots, and take in the breathtaking views and wildlife sightings. There’s also fishing and camping available. 

Rainy Day Recreation 

If the forecast gets in the way, plan an indoor day. 

Turn a gutter ball of a day into a strike at the Shamrock Bowling Center. The whole family can play the lanes and then take a turn around the arcade. To sweeten the deal, they offer Summer Dollar Days through August 15–children under the age of 14 bowl for just $1 a game, and their adults pay $2 per game.  

Throughout the summer, the historic Theatre Dublin opens its doors to kids of all ages, showing familiar, family friendly favorites on the big screen. Catch the Too Cool 4 School Summer Movie Series every Thursday morning and afternoon. Ticket prices are reasonable and include admission, popcorn, and a drink. 

Downtown Delights 

On the weekend, visit historic Downtown Dublin for free family friendly events. 

First Friday Downtown Concert Series features live music at the Market on Madison amphitheater on the first Friday of each month through October. Bring lawn chairs or a picnic blanket and settle in for a night of entertainment under the stars.

On Saturday mornings through October, peruse the Market on Madison Farmers Market in the heart of historic downtown Dublin to pick up local produce and ready-made artisanal foods for a picnic that’s farm fresh. With more than 30 vendors, you can also collect handmade souvenirs from local craftsmen and artists. Throughout the season, the open-air market also offers Little Sprouts events to entertain the youngest visitors.

The Kids Gotta Eat

You truly can’t go wrong with any restaurant in Dublin. Most of the eateries are family owned and operated, and their Southern hospitality extends to families of all sizes and age groups.  

Mama P’s Kitchen is one of those warm and welcoming establishments. Serving Caribbean soul food inspired by owners-and-husband-and-wife-duo Pauline’s Jamaican and Chris’s Trinidadian roots, each dish is cooked with love. Whether dining indoors or on their deck, the whole family will walk away with full bellies and full hearts. 

If everybody’s hangry, then turn to the pros at Minute Grill. As the name suggests, this family-owned institution knows how to get your food to you fast. Sit at the counter of this All-American burger joint and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time. 

Their tiny establishment may not look like much, but with more than 70 years of experience slinging burgers and dogs, Jack’s Hamburgers also knows how to serve a quick meal. Grab a sack of Jack’s and enjoy a picnic at nearby Stubbs Park.