Still stumped for what to do on Mother’s Day this year? Make some memories with your mom this Mother’s Day by giving her the gift of your time and a little adventure. Garden strolls, short river cruises, easy hikes and more: here’s a roundup of Mother’s Day Adventures your mom will love (Lunch suggestions included).
What mom doesn’t like a nice garden- and it can be so much more enjoyable when someone else tends it! Bring the bug spray or sunscreen if you need it, a stylish floppy straw hat and something cool to quench your thirst and ramble on!
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
- Amble through the bamboo forest and through the botanical wonders of Florida at Gainesville’s Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, from herb gardens to cacti, stocked Koi ponds and more, then head over for a dinner celebration at Mark’s Prime Steakhouse (4 pm to 8 pm), fine dining in downtown Gainesville. Call ahead for reservations: 352-336-0077.
Cedar Lakes, Woods, and Gardens
- Take mom to Cedar Lakes, Woods, and Gardens, a hidden wonder deep in the heart of small town Williston in North Central Florida. Paths wind down and around into a series of limestone pits re-imagined into unique Japanese botanical gardens with waterfalls, Koi fish ponds and even a pair of resident swans! Afterward, enjoy a special Mother’s Day Luncheon at the historic Ivy House in downtown Williston. Reservations are a must. Call 352-528-5410 for details.
- Explore the extensive Azalea gardens, the Hydrangea gardens and pioneer log cabin at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Then mosey on over to their Mother’s Day Brunch on site at the Piedmont Dining Room in the Lodge & Spa. (12pm to 4pm) Reservations required 1-855-421-4233. The Gardens Restaurant in Callaway Gardens is also holding a Mother’s Day special with a Prix fixe menu (11;30 am to 3 pm) Call for reservations: 706-663-6734. The Country Kitchen, another on-site restaurant will be open for Mother’s Day as well with no reservations required (11:30 am to 8 pm).
Historical Places & Spaces
For the mom who loves history, whether she was a Downton Abby fan or just enjoys history and architecture, take her somewhere special.
The Biltmore Estate
- Treat mom to the coolest castle on the East coast: the Biltmore Estate. Mom’s receive $25 admission with the purchase of an adult/youth admission on Mother’s Day. Explore the hallowed halls of the Vanderbilt family, the alluring manicured gardens and sample the wines straight from their own vines. Then enjoy the delectable delights at the Deerpark, the Biltmore’s farm to table on site restaurant. Special Mother’s Day menu. (10 am to 3 pm) Call for reservations: 828-225-6260
- Hop on a Red Train Tour for a ride around the oldest city in America. Hop off to explore Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, the coquina fort built to protect the ancient city against marauders. Then head over to The Raintree Restaurant for a fantastic meal. Open all day, choose from brunch (9.30am to 1:30 pm), Mother’s Day Lunch (11am-2pm), or Dinner (4pm- 8pm) Call for reservations: 904-824-7211.
- Learn the history of Savannah in the air conditioned comfort of an Old Town Trolley Tour. Hop off to explore the galleries and cobblestone streets of Savannah’s Riverwalk district and later enjoy some sweet tea and a leisurely southern Mother’s Day meal at The Lady & Sons. Reservations a must: 912-233-2600 (11 am – 9 pm)
A walk in the woods can be a great way to spend the special day and work up an appetite as well!
- Take mom for a stroll out on the north rim of Paynes Prairie State Park on La Chua Trail, or take the walk above nature on the boardwalks of Sweetwater Wetlands Park, then head over for a special Mother’s Day Brunch at the Victorian bed & breakfast only 5 blocks from the heart of downtown Gainesville. Sweetwater Branch Inn. Reservations are required for this brunch (11am-2pm) 352-373-6760.
- Take a hike along the water at Crystal River Preserve State Park (bring the sunscreen!), Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge and then swing over to Kings Bay to enjoy a seafood lunch at Charlie’s Fish House (full menu 11 am to 9 pm) No reservations required. 352-795-3949. Head out to Fort Island Beach after dinner to catch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.
Leisurely Train Ride
Make the day special with am epic train ride (no western hold-ups on this train!) through the Smokey Mountains.
Great Smokey Mountain Railroad
- Take a serene ride deep into the heart of the Nantahala Gorge on the Great Smokey Mountain Railroad. Waterfalls, lakes and a run that follows the Nantahala River. Combine with a whitewater rafting trip or take the return rail ride back to Bryson City. Then round up the day with a special dinner at Jimmie Mac’s Restaurant in downtown Bryson City. (11:30 am to 9 pm). Though they don’t take reservations, you can call ahead to put your name on their wait list if they are busy. 828-488-4700.
Soak up the rays, hit the surf or hunt for seashells with mom this weekend.
- Take a leisurely morning stroll along the beach to hunt for sharks teeth in Fort Clinch State Park before heading over to the Ritz-Carlton for a luxurious Mother’s Day experience at Salt (11 am to 3 pm). Reservations required 904-277-1087. Coast in the Ritz Carlton is also serving up a special southern Mother’s Day brunch (11:30 am to 3 pm). Call to reserve your table. 904-277-1087.
- Spend the morning beachcombing on the white sands of St. George Island, near Apalachicola and then head over to Port St. Joe for a casual, laid-back dinner at the Indian Pass Raw Bar. Afterward, catch the amazing sunset on the beaches of St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.
- Catch the waves near Savannah on Georgia’s Tybee Island on their 5 miles of beaches. Explore the historic lighthouse and check out the trails from nearby Fort Pulaski and then head over for a leisurely laid-back seafood meal at AJ’s Dockside Restaurant. (11 am to 10 pm full menu). No reservations required. Flip flops encouraged. Hang out on the deck for the ultimate sunset experience. 912-786-9533.
Thrill Seeking Fun
Get your hearts pounding and adrenaline surging with some aerial thrills (not for the faint-hearted).
- Have a wild and crazy mom? Test your level of fear on the roller coasters at Tampa’s Busch Gardens from the easy Cheetah to the hair-raising Falcon’s Fury. Later relax in the historic Columbia Restaurant in nearby at Ybor City. Operated by the same family for 110 years, round up the feast with a famous caramel flan. Reservations necessary: 813-248-4961 (11:30am to 9pm).
- Let mom Soar like an Eagle or Twist like a Tornado on the roller coasters at Pigeon Forge’s Dollywood. Cool off on the Raging rapids and head over for a late dinner at the historic Old Mill Restaurant for some sweet Smokey Mountain cuisine. Reservations: 865-429-3463 (8am- 9pm).
Zip the Canyons
- Let mom find her inner Wonder Woman on a heart-pounding zipline adventure at Canyons Zipline & Canopy Tours in Ocala Florida. Built around former limestone pits, these zip lines have you soaring off cliffs, across canyons and over lakes, all in the heart of North Central Florida. Try the Super Zip to fly like Super Girl (no hand-holds required. Afterward, head downtown for a special Mother’s Day meal at Mark’s Prime Steakhouse & Seafood Restaurant (4 pm to 8 pm). Reservations required. 352-402-0097.
Alternately, you can take a picnic to any of these adventures for a cozy family lunch for mom. Chances are mom may enjoy these adventures any day of the year- so don’t just wait for Mother’s Day to give your mom that special treat! (Hint Hint!)
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