The Big Oak in downtown Thomasville, Georgia. Photo by Bri Whigham, @whighamimages
Guide to Thomasville
Once known as the Winter Resort of the South, Thomasville remains a premier destination in southwest Georgia for all of its things to do, places to stay, great restaurants and signature events.
Thomasville, Georgia's Rose City, is certainly a place apart. It’s where you can stroll along the historic bricks that were once walked on by guests during the city’s heyday as the "Winter Resort of the South." There is history around every corner, from the expansive Pebble Hill to the 330-year-old Big Oak. Experience a large selection of local stores and restaurants to peruse downtown or the historical homes and museums tucked around every corner. We promise you’ll feel all at once out of town, yet right at home.
Things to Do
Begin your trip by strolling the historic brick streets in downtown Thomasville. With more than 100 independent merchants and restaurateurs, you will find something to delight everyone in your party.
Hunt the Lost Quail
While you’re downtown, don’t miss the opportunity to Hunt the Lost Quail. This quail hunt is right in the heart of downtown, no hunting equipment required! Eighteen bronze quails are hiding high and low, just pick up a map at the Visitor’s Center to get started.
The Big Oak
Have your picture taken beside The Big Oak, a live oak tree that is more than 327 years old and has been visited by notable guests like President Eisenhower. Let the Big Oak Cam take a photo of you and your group, then download it from the internet to share!
The Rose Garden & Cherokee Lake Park
Keeping with the outdoors, find your way to The Rose Garden, where more than 1,500 roses bloom throughout most of the year due to the extended warm weather. Take pictures of the topiary and sit for a spell in the pollinator garden, or head to Cherokee Lake Park for a walk around the lake. There is a perfect playground for the kids, plenty of shade and restrooms available.
Take a 10-minute drive from downtown to tour Pebble Hill. The 77 gorgeous acres are open and waiting for you to explore, or take a guided walk through the neo-classical style winter retreat, built at the turn of the century. There, you will find one of the largest private Audubon collections, as well as original furnishings and fixtures, giving a glimpse of the sporting lifestyle from long ago.
Jack Hadley Black History Museum
Be amazed by the number of artifacts waiting at the Jack Hadley Black History Museum, which tells the stories of African American Heritage. Take a tour and leave with a deeper knowledge and facts that you never knew!
Thomasville History Center & Lapham-Patterson House
Continue the museum tours at the Thomasville History Center, where you will find several historic buildings depicting the life of Thomasville’s earliest residents and those that vacationed here during the winter resort era. Exhibits cover the Civil War, West Point’s first African American graduate and the Victorian resort town. While at the Thomasville History Center, ask about taking a tour of the Lapham-Patterson House. Built with few right angles and oddities aplenty, this home tour is not one to be missed.
Country Oaks Golf Course
Head back outdoors for all the golfing you could ever want! At the Country Oaks Golf Course, enjoy 18 holes in a tranquil wooded setting. Country Oaks is also home to the only certified FootGolf course in the area, sporting nine holes to enjoy. From there, grab your Frisbees and go to MacIntyre Park for an exhilarating round of disc golf on the scenic 12-hole course.
Taste of Thomasville After Hours Tour
Finish off the day with a Taste of Thomasville After Hours Tour, sampling and sipping your way through some of downtown’s most flavorful locations. Time your trip just right for one of the First Friday Sip and Strolls, where you can take a cup of beer or glass of wine down to The Ritz Amphitheater and enjoy a night filled with music and fun! This free concert series lasts from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the first Friday of the month.
Where to Stay
Lay your head at one of Thomasville's many accommodation options.
Cozy up in the rooms at The Paxton, a restored Victorian mansion with a carriage house and garden cottage, pool house and private baths. Guests enjoy gourmet breakfasts, personal attention and a convenient location just steps away from Thomasville's downtown restaurants and shops.
Thomasville Bed and Breakfast
Thomasville Bed and Breakfast also welcomes guests to a grand Queen Anne Victorian home surrounded by majestic oak trees. Rooms have high ceilings, private bathrooms and WiFi, while the space also has a dining room, formal parlor, cozy library and a media room. Breakfast and parking are included.
Located 10 minutes from downtown, South Eden has five-star facilities, including 27 luxurious guest rooms on 38 acres. It also has an indoor heated pool, dining facilities, a theater and live music on weekends.
Baymont Inn and Suites
Baymont Inn and Suites offers free daily breakfast, free WiFi, a fitness center and pool, and in-room televisions. It’s also pet-friendly!
Best Western Plus
The Best Western Plus is a smoke-free hotel with more than 60 rooms and suites. All have rain shower heads, microwaves, refrigerators and coffee makers. Guests have access to free hot breakfast daily, an indoor swimming pool and sauna, and a fitness center.
Hampton Inn Thomasville
Guests of the Hampton Inn Thomasville are located a mile from the famous Rose Garden. The hotel has more than 60 rooms with an outdoor swimming pool, complimentary daily breakfast, a fitness center and free WiFi.
Holiday Inn Express and Suites
The facilities at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Thomasville set it apart with a grand lobby and amenities like free high-speed Internet, free breakfast, a fitness center and an indoor pool.
Where to Eat
Chow down at one of the town’s top-notch restaurants.
Jonah's Fish & Grits
Jonah's Fish & Grits offers delicious seafood and more made fresh daily and served in a family-friendly, alcohol-free environment. While all of their seafood dishes will amaze you, the signature shrimp and grits has received national notoriety, and for good reason.
Chop House on the Bricks
Providing an upscale ambiance as a platform for their New South cuisine and libations, Chop House on the Bricks has certainly made a name for itself. Each plate crafted by Owner and Chef Matt Hagel results in a culinary experience your taste buds will thank you for. Reservations are encouraged for lunch or dinner.
While So.Ho may be shortened from “Southern Hospitality,” this local restaurant is certainly not short of it. Their plates are curated with locally and regionally sourced ingredients to bring you the freshest dining experience possible. So.Ho’s unique fusions of Southern comfort food with an Oriental flair resulted in the highly acclaimed Pimento Cheese Wontons, which are not to be missed!
Sweet Grass Dairy and Cheese Shop
If you are looking for a lighter bite, Sweet Grass Dairy and Cheese Shop is your place. Their charcuterie boards feature a variety of their award-winning cheeses, plus other locally produced treats. With salads, small plates and eight taps bringing you the best in small batch brews, Sweet Grass Dairy is a solid stop at any time of day.
If coffee is the key to your soul, Grassroots Coffee is the place for you. Small batches are roasted and ground in-house to ensure the optimal cup of freshly brewed coffee. Add in their great selection of breakfast and lunch items with weekly specials and from-scratch soups, and you have the perfect place to get your caffeine and a bite to eat, too.
The Sweet and Savory Sisters may have learned a few tips and tricks from famous chefs, but make no mistake, the sisters have made a name for themselves here in South Georgia. Housed in the Historic Train Depot, Sass! serves up Southern and Cajun cuisine like no other. Menu staples such as sweet tea brined fried chicken, jambalaya and the most mouthwatering beignets will have you come back for more every time.
Liam's Restaurant Lounge and Cheese Shoppe
Liam’s Restaurant Lounge and Cheese Shoppe is devoted to serving simple curated plates that are packed with flavor and flair. It has served them well over the years in their warm and rustic downtown location. Customers, both local and visiting, find themselves returning time and time again not just for the cuisine, but the handcrafted cocktails expertly served in both their restaurant and lounge.
Plan your trip to Thomasville around the annual events.
Bring your loved ones along as you step back into a bygone era for Victorian Christmas. With lights in the trees, carols filling your ears, and the delicious smells of the season wafting up and down the streets, you won’t be able to help but get into the Christmas spirit! All of the vendors everywhere you look are adorned in Victorian clothing waiting with treats and goodies to bring you delight. Storefronts are decorated with care to add to the magic, as well. There is also a live nativity, carriage rides, authentic live entertainment, shopping and dining, and appearances by St. Nicholas.
Rose Show and Festival
Held in historic downtown Thomasville, the Rose Show and Festival has been a southwest Georgia tradition since the 1920s. Featuring several flower shows, parades, community events, concerts and more, the Rose Show and Festival is fun for the whole family. Start by shopping and dining in downtown Thomasville before the kick off Thursday evening with the Rose Bud Parade. Friday is home to the official Rose Parade and Street Dance that follows, while Saturday boasts Art in the Park, and one of the Southeast’s largest car and truck shows.
Wildlife Arts Festival
For more than 20 years, the Wildlife Arts Festival (WAF) has developed a reputation as a premier celebration of arts and culture in the Red Hills region of south Georgia and north Florida. Each November, sporting and wildlife enthusiasts and fine arts connoisseurs alike enjoy a variety of WAF events. The festival has established a devout following of artists and patrons that value the beauty and bounty of this unique corner of the world. All festival proceeds benefit Thomasville Center for the Arts and its ongoing commitment to serve as a catalyst for artistic expression, arts education, and creative economy in Thomasville, Georgia.