Aerial view of downtown Greensboro, Georgia

Downtown Greensboro, Georgia

5 Small Town Getaways Perfect for Families

Georgia’s small towns aren’t just for grown ups. They’re also great for families and pint-sized travelers with plenty of things to do, places to stay, and restaurants to enjoy. Pack up the group for one of these memorable getaways.

The Children's Garden at the State Botanical Garden in Athens, Georgia
The Children's Garden at the State Botanical Garden in Athens, Georgia

Athens

Things to Do

The Classic City is great for families because of the abundance of free and cheap attractions. The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is a 300-acre site with numerous display gardens, including a children’s garden. Stroll the five miles of nature trails, looking for birds and other wildlife. Bear Hollow Zoo has 120 non-releasable animals, including bobcats, white-tailed deer, river otters, owls, and a bald eagle. The Tree That Owns Itself is another quirky attraction kids will enjoy.

Places to Eat

Grab a bite at the outpost of The Varsity, the famous Atlanta-based drive-in, for hot dogs and hamburgers with frozen drinks. Mama’s Boy is open for breakfast, lunch, and brunch, known for its Georgia peach French toast. Set in a former grocery store, White Tiger Gourmet has popular barbecue sandwiches and daily specials.

Where to Stay

Stay the night at the Graduate Athens, located right outside of campus with an in-house spa, coffee shop, music venue, and decor inspired by its college town surroundings. The Hotel Indigo Athens is another favorite, inspired by the area’s covered bridges.

Visit Athens

White Tiger Gourmet in Athens, Georgia
White Tiger Gourmet in Athens, Georgia

 

Wander North Georgia in Clayton, Georgia
Wander North Georgia in Clayton, Georgia

Clayton

Things to Do

The North Georgia town of Clayton is great for outdoors enthusiasts. Your first stop should be Wander North Georgia, a family-owned outdoor store that carries hiking and camping gear but also offers expert guidance on what to see and do in the region. Then, wander the trails of Tallulah Gorge State Park or walk across the suspension bridge. Dillard House Stables offer scenic horseback rides of varying length for all ages.

Places to Eat

Dine in one of historic Clayton’s locally owned restaurants. Clayton Cafe has been open for more than 60 years with Southern dishes like meatloaf and sandwiches. Fortify Pi serves Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizzas with your choice of toppings, ideal for sharing.

Where to Stay

Use your time in town to connect with nature by staying at one of the area’s campgrounds. Tallulah Gorge State Park and Black Rock Mountain State Park have campsites where visitors can spend the night. River Falls at the Gorge has RV and tent campsites along the Tallulah River as well as “glamping” in tiny houses and treehouses.

Visit Clayton

Black Rock Mountain State Park in Mountain City, Georgia. Photo by @doodleandthehound
Black Rock Mountain State Park in Mountain City, Georgia. Photo by @doodleandthehound

 

Downtown Greensboro, Georgia
Downtown Greensboro, Georgia

Greensboro

Things to Do

The charming town of Greensboro may not have traditional “things to do,” but visitors can spend their days on nearby Lake Oconee. In nearby Union Point, Durhamtown Off Road Resort has outdoor adventures for older kids like fishing, paintball, and ATVs.

Places to Eat

Enjoy homemade soups and sandwiches at Ripe Thing Market, where local produce is always in season and you can also pick up jams, jellies, snacks and more. Only open on weekends, Holcomb's Bar-B-Que is the best place around for chopped or sliced pork plates and sandwiches, Brunswick stew, and coleslaw.

Where to Stay

Camp under the stars at the 55-acre Lake Oconee KOA, with a seasonal swimming pool, clubhouse, and lake access. It has tent and RV sites as well as 23 boxcars where guests can stay, complete with full beds and kitchens.

For a taste of luxury, stay at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, a AAA Five Diamond Resort with more than 250 rooms, a lakefront pool, and activities like kayak rentals.

Visit Greensboro

Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia
Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia

 

Indoor water park at Great Wolf Lodge in LaGrange, Georgia
Indoor water park at Great Wolf Lodge in LaGrange, Georgia

LaGrange

Where to Stay

The southwest Georgia community of LaGrange is fun for young travelers. Book your stay at the Georgia outpost of Great Wolf Lodge, which boasts an indoor water park, onsite accommodations, character encounters, kids activities, and multiple dining options. Alternatively, the Highland Marina Resort on West Point Lake has RV sites, cottages, cabins, and chalets.

Places to Eat

The kids will love a hot dog and vintage drinks like the lemon sour at Charlie Joseph’s, a LaGrange icon since the 1920s. Brickhouse Grille is another favorite in town for its burgers and Southern dishes. Wind down with a pint at Wild Leap Brewery on the outdoor patio that looks over a downtown plaza.

Things to Do

For historical excursions, visit Hills and Dales Estate, once the home of textile magnate Fuller E. Callaway Sr. It offers tours of the historic home, its 1841 gardens, and museum exhibits. At the Biblical History Center, visitors can learn about life in ancient times through artifacts and even share a Biblical meal.

Visit LaGrange

Wild Leap Brew Co. in LaGrange, Georgia. Photo by @jcolbymoore
Wild Leap Brew Co. in LaGrange, Georgia. Photo by @jcolbymoore

 

Aerial view of downtown Thomasville's water tower
Aerial view of downtown Thomasville

Thomasville

Things to Do

Thomasville, the “City of Roses,” allows visitors to connect with nature like at The Rose Garden and The Big Oak, an oak tree that’s more than 300 years old. Then, learn about the town’s history at the Thomasville History Center, which has exhibits on the Civil War, West Point’s first African American graduate, and the Victorian resort town.

Where to Eat

The kids can enjoy grilled Thomasville Tomme sandwiches at Sweet Grass Dairy and Cheese Shop, a local institution. For the parents, there are salads and small plates along with a selection of wine and beer.

Where to Stay

The entire family can spend the night at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Thomasville, which has amenities like free high-speed Internet, free breakfast, a fitness center, and an indoor pool.

Visit Thomasville

Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop in Thomasville, Georgia
Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop in Thomasville, Georgia

< Escape to Georgia's Small Towns

Published: July 2020
Written by: Caroline Eubanks