Steel Magnolias rooftop in downtown Valdosta, Georgia

Steel Magnolias rooftop in downtown Valdosta, Georgia

Guide to Valdosta

A thrilling destination on I-75 in south Georgia, Valdosta is brimming with things to do, places to stay, great restaurants and events.

This city has long welcomed visitors looking for thrill rides, animal encounters and outdoor recreation. Nicknamed the “Azalea City,” the city was settled in 1860 as a stop along the railroad and continues to be a popular destination for travelers.

Things to Do

Exotic animals at Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia
Exotic animals at Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia

Wild Adventures Theme Park

People love to visit the 170-acre Wild Adventures Theme Park to experience the thrill rides, see exotic animals and watch jaw-dropping performances. The expanded Splash Island Waterpark has been rated one of the "top 30 in the U.S.A." by U.S. News and World Report.

Georgia Beer Co.

Take a guided tour of Georgia Beer Co., the first brewery in south Georgia, to see how they use many local ingredients like pecans, peaches, blueberries, watermelon and honey to make their beer unique.

Grand Bay Wetland Education Center

Walk the half-mile boardwalk through wetlands to the 54-foot observation tower at the Grand Bay Wetland Education Center. Nature-lovers can climb to the top of the tower to see spectacular views of the surrounding area, made up of more than 2,000 acres.

Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum

The history of Valdosta comes alive in the 10,000-square-foot Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum. People are encouraged to take their time as they look at photographs and documents from the past to the present. Outdoor displays include a train caboose, belfry, and an old-fashioned log transport cart.

Valdosta Wake Compound

Try your hand at watersports at Valdosta Wake Compound built by riders for riders. It's a thrilling experience. The 30-acre facility has custom-developed ponds and a six-tower, full-sized cable system.

The Crescent at Valdosta Garden Center in Valdosta, Georgia
The Crescent at Valdosta Garden Center in Valdosta, Georgia

The Crescent at Valdosta Garden Center

Built in 1898, The Crescent at Valdosta Garden Center has been part of the National Register of Historic Places since 1980. The historic home gets its name from the 13 columns representing the colonies. Numerous events like flower shows and antiques sales are held here every year.

Peach State Summer Theatre

Every year since 1990, the Peach State Summer Theatre has presented a selection of three summer musicals. The season lasts for 10 weeks and brings in world-class talent from all over the country.

Art gallery at Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, Georgia
Art gallery at Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, Georgia

Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts

Six galleries showcase regional and international works of art at the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts. Included in the permanent exhibits are East African art and European porcelains. There are 30 different exhibits displayed every year, and they are rotated to ensure patrons are always seeing something new.

South Georgia Pecan Company

Business began small in 1913 for the South Georgia Pecan Company and expanded into four pecan plants located within a one-and-a-half-mile radius in Valdosta. Each plant does something different, including cleaning in-shell pecans, shelling pecans, packaging and grinding. People can stop in and purchase nuts and other items from the gift shop during their visit to the Azalea City.

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Where to Eat

Steel Magnolias shrimp and grits
Steel Magnolias shrimp and grits

Steel Magnolias

Steel Magnolias takes classic Southern cuisine and looks at them in a new way. The restaurant supports local farmers and artisans to become a supporting element in the community and drive the “eat local, be local” philosophy.

Mom and Dad's Italian Restaurant

Mom and Dad’s Italian Restaurant has been serving fresh, authentic Italian food in Lowndes County and the surrounding areas since 1986. Menu highlights include chicken marsala, cannelloni and minestrone.

Cheese plate at Friends Grille + Bar in Valdosta, Georgia
Cheese plate at Friends Grille + Bar in Valdosta, Georgia

Friends Grille + Bar

Everyone is a friend at Friends Grille + Bar, a locally owned neighborhood restaurant specializing in modern, laid-back Southern cuisine that reflects the very best the area. They strive to use local, seasonal produce, all-natural meats and the freshest seafood.

306 North Restaurant

Looking for a wonderful dining experience? Look no further than 306 North Restaurant. They are a locally owned restaurant that features a blend of Southern sophistication in a classic and comfortable environment. Enjoy great food made from locally sourced ingredients, including fresh produce, cheeses and farm-raised meats.

Austin's Cattle Co.

Specializing in steak, seafood and prime rib, Austin’s Cattle Co. is the type of restaurant to visit on an empty stomach. The dishes are generous in both size and flavor. Austin’s in-house butcher cuts the steaks fresh daily, ensuring that none of their beef is ever frozen. Seafood enthusiasts will appreciate the vast selection of fresh catches available each day.

Empanadas and More

Loved for its crisp empanadas packed full of flavor, Empanadas and More is the perfect stop for a quick and tasty snack, simple lunch or delicious Saturday brunch. Caribbean and Colombian variants of the empanadas are available and come stuffed with a choice of beef and potato, shredded chicken, ham or cheese.

The Bleu Cafe

The Bleu Cafe features some of the best atmosphere, beer and food from the area. Grab a bite at this popular downtown eatery and listen to live music.

The Salty Snapper

Some of the best seafood in south Georgia can be found at The Salty Snapper. The seafood restaurant’s main goal is to provide a great experience through food, drinks, service and atmosphere. This is the place for exceptional oysters and shrimp!

Smok'n Pig BBQ

Smok'n Pig BBQ

Home of the brisket sandwich, Smok’n Pig BBQ uses the finest-quality pork, chicken and turkey. All of their barbecue is slow-cooked each day with pecan wood. It has even been named as one of the top 10 barbecue joints in the country.

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Events to Plan Your Trip Around

Azalea Festival in Valdosta, Georgia
Azalea Festival in Valdosta, Georgia

Azalea Festival

Held each March, the Azalea Festival is a colorful celebration of south Georgia’s best bloomers and features authentic local cuisine, music and crafts. Lumberjack shows and raptor demonstrations are just a few of the entertainment selections that are sure to wow.

South Georgia Film Festival

For three days each spring, Valdosta State University hosts a slew of amateur filmmakers from across the region for the South Georgia Film Festival.

Wild Adventures Christmas

During December, Wild Adventures Theme Park transforms into a winter wonderland. The event features the largest animated Christmas tree in the South, and daily snow showers are guaranteed.

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Places to Stay


Valdosta has chain hotels with breakfast buffets, swimming pools, fast Wi-Fi, fitness centers and kitchenettes, including the Drury Inn & Suites ValdostaHoliday Inn Valdosta Conference CenterHampton Inn and Suites Valdosta Conference CenterHilton Garden Inn Valdosta, Best Western Plus Valdosta Hotel and Suites, and Comfort Suites.


River Park R.V. Park is a good spot to spend the night if you're traveling with your camper. They have more than 50 paved full hookup sites with WiFi and cable TV. The site also has a bathhouse, laundry room and dog park.

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Published: July 2022
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