Family at Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia. Photo by @benjamingalland
Guide to Cartersville
A must-see town off I-75 north of Atlanta, Cartersville is filled with things to do, places to stay, great restaurants and unique events.
The area now known as Cartersville was the home to Native American tribes dating back thousands of years. Settled by European immigrants in 1854, the city became the county seat after the destruction of nearby Cassville during Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign during the Civil War. Located a short drive from downtown Atlanta, the area has outdoor attractions like Lake Allatoona and the trails at Red Top Mountain, as well as a thriving downtown with shops, restaurants and museums.
Things to Do
The Booth Museum
Spend some time learning about Cartersville's cultural offerings at The Booth Museum, a 120,000-square-foot Smithsonian affiliate with Western artwork, presidential portraits and Native American artifacts related to the American West. Open since 2003, it boasts the largest permanent collection of Western art in the nation.
Savoy Automobile Museum
Savoy, which opened in December 2020, connects visitors with the history of the automobile and the artistic beauty of these magnificent machines. Offering a variety of automobiles with rotating exhibits, as well as original works of art, Savoy has something for everyone from the serious car enthusiast to those who are just curious about cars.
Tellus Science Museum
Another local gem is the Tellus Science Museum, a Smithsonian-affiliate science museum with four galleries, including fossil, mineral and science & motion galleries. The digital planetarium offers shows throughout the day. Kids especially love the My Big Backyard and the 80-foot long Apatosaurus.
Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site
The Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site was where thousands of Native Americans lived between 1000 and 1550 AD. Today, the 54-acre site includes six earthen mounds from the Mississippian culture, a grass plaza, village site, borrow pits and defensive ditch. Visitors can watch a 15-minute film, learn about the Indigenous people who lived in the area, and walk throughout the cultural landscape.
Red Top Mountain State Park
Popular for its boating and hiking, Red Top Mountain State Park has a sand beach, marinas, picnic shelters, rental cottages and even yurts. There are more than 15 miles of trails within the park as well as a reconstructed 1860s homestead.
Bartow History Museum
The Bartow History Museum interprets the history of the region, starting with the Cherokee tribes, the Civil War, and the present day with interactive exhibits and artifacts. They also have an impressive collection of photographs, documents and oral history interviews.
Rose Lawn Museum
Home to evangelist Sam Jones, for whom the Ryman Auditorium was built, the Rose Lawn Museum is a restored Victorian mansion on the National Register of Historic Places. It contains exhibits on Jones’ life and career.
Old Car City USA
In nearby White, roam the aisles of rusting machinery at Old Car City USA, the world’s largest old car junkyard. Set on 34 acres with more than 4,000 cars dating between the 1920s and 1970s, this site is a photographer's dream.
Terminus Wake Park
At the Terminus Wake Park, visitors can participate in watersports without a boat, including wakeboarding, wakeskating, knee boarding and water skiing. The park contains sliders and other features not found elsewhere in the country.
High Adventure Shooting Grounds at Barnsley Resort
The High Adventure Shooting Grounds at Barnsley Resort bring together John Burrell’s High Adventure Company, America’s leading outfitter, for the South’s premier quail hunting. Boasting more than 3,000 acres, the resort also has a shop where you can pick up the essentials and a sporting clay course for practice.
LakePoint Sporting Community
LakePoint Sporting Community in Emerson is the region’s state-of-the-art sporting facility for traveling teams. Set on more than 1,000 acres, there are multiple venues, onsite hotels, retail, restaurants, bowling, water parks and more.
African American Heritage Trail
From George Washington Carver Park to Summer Hill and Noble Hill Rosenwald School to the Euharlee Black Pioneer Cemetery, Cartersville-Bartow County has many sites important to African-American history. Spend the day swimming at George Washington Carver Park or walk the African American Heritage Trail to learn more.
Spend the night at one of Cartersville's plentiful accommodations.
Barnsley Resort is located on the grounds of a 19th century manor ruins with a 55-room inn and cottages. Onsite amenities include a spa, horseback riding, golf, fly fishing, clay shooting, paintball and multiple dining options.
Courtyard by Marriott Cartersville
Opened in September 2020, the Courtyard Cartersville offers 118 rooms, including four suites. All rooms have a mini-fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, 55” flatscreen TV & free wi-fi. King rooms also have a twin-sized sleeper sofa. The hotel also has an on-site Bistro, Bistro Bar, outdoor patio with firepit and outdoor pool. It is located off I-75 at Exit 290, adjacent to the Clarence Brown Conference Center.
Comfort Inn & Suites Cartersville
The renovated Comfort Inn & Suites Cartersville offers rooms with two queen beds or one king bed, free hot breakfast, free wi-fi and an indoor pool. The hotel is pet-friendly and is easily accessible off of I-75 at Exit 290.
Hampton Inn Cartersville
The renovated Hampton Inn Cartersville offers standard and accessible rooms with sleeper sofas, flat-screen televisions, mini fridges and microwaves, and free WiFi. Enjoy free hot breakfast daily as well as the fitness center, business center and outdoor pool.
Hilton Garden Inn - Cartersville
Located one mile from downtown Cartersville, the Hilton Garden Inn - Cartersville offers guests contemporary king or queen beds, complimentary WiFi, meeting space, a business center, outdoor pool, fitness center and a full-service restaurant.
Fairfield Inn & Suites
The Fairfield Inn & Suites is right off the highway, with an indoor pool, fitness center and their signature complimentary hot breakfast daily. The location makes it ideal for those passing through nearby Atlanta or visiting businesses like Anheuser Busch and Komatsu.
Home2 Suites by Hilton Cartersville
Ideal for business or pleasure, Home2 Suites by Hilton Cartersville has separate living and sleeping areas with full kitchens in all of their suites. Guests have access to free breakfast daily, laundry and fitness facilities, a business center, indoor pool and free WiFi.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Cartersville
Constructed only a few years ago, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Cartersville is the perfect base for adventures around Cartersville with comfortable guest rooms, free WiFi, a business center, fitness center, indoor pool, guest laundry and free breakfast.
Tru by Hilton Cartersville
Cartersville’s newest hotel, the Tru by Hilton Cartersville opened in spring 2021, and is located off of I-75 at Exit 288. It offers rooms with two queen beds or one king bed, free hot breakfast, connecting rooms, free wi-fi, and an outdoor pool. The hotel is also pet-friendly.
Best Western Allatoona Inn & Suites
Each room at the Best Western Allatoona Inn & Suites comes with a microwave, coffee makers, mini fridge, television and Internet. Guests also have access to complimentary daily breakfast, fitness center and the outdoor swimming pool.
Lake Allatoona Inn B&B
Located in a restored 1893 Victorian mansion, Lake Allatoona Inn B&B has rooms furnished with antiques, including some with Jacuzzis. Full breakfast is served daily, and the inn also has kayak rentals, stables and special events facilities.
Cottages at Red Top Mountain State Park
The Cottages at Red Top Mountain State Park offer a respite away from the city noise with more than 90 powered sites for tents, trailers and RVs, a pioneer campground, 18 cottages and even a yurt! Cottages have two bedrooms and a bathroom, accommodating up to eight guests.
Pine Acres Retreat
Pine Acres Retreat is Bartow County’s newest property on Lake Allatoona. The 210-acre retreat setting has event venues, guest lodging with cottages tent campsites and bathhouses, a large swimming pool, picnic shelters, a swim dock and hiking trails to enjoy. It is open to the public with advanced reservations and is perfect for group getaways, family reunions, company picnics, corporate retreats and more.
Chow down at one of Cartersville’s downtown restaurants.
Drowned Valley Brewery
Cartersville’s first craft brewery, Drowned Valley Brewery is located in the historic Carlton building. While tasting the delicious beers, you can relax by the outdoor firepit or participate in one of the several games offered. A variety of food trucks and live music will also enhance your experience. It is also a dog-friendly taproom. Check their calendar for details on food trucks and live music.
Appalachian Grill is a local favorite since 2001, serving dishes like savory pecan-crusted chicken, filet au poivre and grouper.
The City Cellar
The City Cellar incorporates fresh and seasonal ingredients for dishes like their signature non-traditional shrimp and grits, Southern fried chicken, sandwiches and burgers. Pair with a cold drink for the full experience.
Maine Street Coastal Cuisine
Offering the best seafood in town, Maine Street Coastal Cuisine sources sustainable ingredients and local produce in their dishes. Menu highlights include the wild Georgia jerk shrimp tacos, North Georgia trout and the classic lobster roll.
Praised for its classic and modern dishes, Table 20 is a farm-to-table eatery in historic downtown Cartersville. Try the spicy fried chicken and grits, Korean barbecue burger, and brown butter Georgia trout.
Known for its healthy and hearty options, Swheat Market has a daily menu of soups, salads and sandwiches. The deli even has vegetarian-friendly options like the black bean burger, which was named one of Explore Georgia's 100 Plates Locals Love.
Moore's Gourmet Market
Moore's Gourmet Market is open daily for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, serving items like gourmet burgers, po' boys and pasta dishes.
Set on the lake, Allatoona Grill is the perfect spot to gather for a drink and meal as the sun goes down on the water. Open for lunch and dinner most days, menu highlights include burgers, seafood, steak and even sushi.
Ate Track Bar & Grill
The rock-and-roll themed Ate Track Bar & Grill is decorated with vintage posters and stereos from the 1960s and 1970s. Chow down on sandwiches, burgers and tacos, paired with the full bar menu.
Taverna Mediterranean Grill
Named for the gathering place in Greek culture, Taverna Mediterranean Grill features local cuisine and imported wines for a taste of the Mediterranean. Enjoy traditional dishes like stuffed grape leaves, lamb meatballs and baklava.
Armando's Italian Restaurant
Every town needs a pizzeria, and Armando's Italian Restaurant is Cartersville's. Build your own pizza, or choose from one of their creations. If you're in the mood for something different, they also have pasta and seafood dishes.
There's always something happening in downtown Cartersville.
Rose Lawn Arts Festival
The Rose Lawn Arts Festival has been going on for more than 40 years every September, featuring the work of artists from around the region. Browse for oils, watercolors, sculptures, and hand crafted items before taking a tour of the majestic Rose Lawn Museum.
Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium
Every October, the Southeastern Cowboy Festival & Symposium descends upon the Booth Western Art Museum for gunfight re-enactments, Native American dancing and art-related events. It’s the region’s largest Western-themed event.
The Georgia Steeplechase is a springtime tradition bringing together thousands of equestrian enthusiasts and organizations since 1966. Referred to as “the best lawn party in Georgia,” the event includes local bands, food trucks, shopping, wine tastings and a hat parade.
Held at the Tellus Science Museum, Rockfest is one of the region's largest rock shows, featuring rare and exotic jewelry, ancient fossils and rocks for purchase. There are also demonstrations, fossil identifications, a silent auction, activities and prizes.
Cartersville Bluegrass & Folk Festival
Cartersville Bluegrass & Folk Festival in October brings in regional performers on two stages for a weekend of music. A kids area features face painting and games, while the grown ups can browse the food, drink and arts booths.