Southern Pacific

Named by its Irish founders in 1812, Dublin (pop. 16,104) continues to celebrate its Irish heritage with shamrocks painted on the center dividers, and an all-out St. Patrick’s Day festival that lasts most of a month. The historic district is centered along Bellevue Avenue, where you can note the prominent Confederate Memorial, glimpse the town’s many graceful old homes, and look inside the local historical museum (702 Bellevue Ave., 478/272-9242, Tues.-Fri. 10am-5pm, free) at Bellevue and Academy Streets.

Southeast of Dublin, around 24 miles south of I-16, Vidalia (pop. 10,703) is known to food-lovers around the world as the home of the delectable Vidalia onion, so sweet it can be eaten raw, like an apple. In late April and early May, follow the scent to the Vidalia Onion Festival (912/538-8687) for taste treats.