Booth Western Art Museum
Travel the Wild West in Georgia
Plan an Old West-themed trip in Georgia with cowboys, canyons, stagecoach inns and even a gold rush or two!
No need to purchase a plane ticket to visit the Old West, Georgia has canyons, outlaws, stagecoach inns, cowboys and even a gold rush or two. Here are 10 places to experience the Wild West in Georgia.
Aubri Lane's Restaurant, Milledgeville
You can't visit the Old West without a bank heist. Aubri Lane’s in Milledgeville was once the Milledgeville Banking Company. The original hammered tin ceiling and bank vault have been incorporated into the restaurant design. Aubri Lane's has been featured in Georgia's "100 Plates Locals Love," and their crispy calamari is a favorite with locals and tourists. Diners can even enjoy a delicious chef-inspired classic Southern meal in the old bank vault. However, we do suggest you go ahead and pay.
Booth Western Art Museum, Cartersville
No Wild West tour of Georgia would be complete without a visit to the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville. This world-class museum of Western art includes an exhibit on Western movie posters, a presidential exhibit, and a very hands-on indoor playground for kids where they can ride in a stagecoach or cook at the chuck wagon.
Doc Holliday Driving Tour, Griffin
The famous Wild West gunfighter, gambler and Wyatt Earp pal was born and raised in Griffin, Georgia. Take a self-guided Doc Holliday driving tour that includes seven markers around town that introduce you to young John Henry Holliday. Afterward, stop at the Doc Holliday Saloon for a shot of whiskey and some vittles.
Glen-Ella Springs Inn, Clarkesville
This bed and breakfast in Clarkesville is located on Bear Gap Road. The road was originally called Old Stagecoach Road. Travelers used it to travel from Clayton to Athens. Today, the Glen-Ella Springs Inn is family-owned and operated by the Kivetts. Stay the night, or just go for dinner in the award-winning restaurant.
Historic Westville, Columbus
(reopening in fall 2018)
Travel back in time to an authentic 1850s community, and learn what life was like for the Creek Indians, the frontier settlers, rural farmers and townspeople. Historic Westville, a living history museum, is expected to open to the public in fall 2018. So, mark your calendar. The buildings in Westville are being moved from the museum's original location in Lumpkin to Columbus.
New Echota, Calhoun
Visit New Echota State Historic Site in Calhoun and learn about the Native American tribe, the Cherokee. New Echota was the capital of the Cherokee nation and includes government buildings, as well as the newspaper office where The Phoenix, the first Cherokee newspaper was printed. This is also the beginning of the Trail of Tears. In addition to life in the Cherokee nation, learn about the forced removal of 16,000 Cherokee from Georgia to Oklahoma in the 1830s.
Pine Mountain Gold Museum, Villa Rica
Dahlonega isn't the only site of a gold rush in Georgia. Native American legends tell of gold near present day Villa Rica. Spanish explorers came searching for it, but the first documented account was recorded in the mid-1820s. Since then, 19 commercial gold mining operations have been recorded in the town.
The Pine Mountain Gold Museum pays tribute to the mining industry in the area and includes exhibits, a documentary on the history of the Villa Rica mines, and a place to pan for your own gemstones. Two highlights within the complex are the authentic 19th century gold stamp mill, and the Pine Mountain Scenic Railroad that takes guests on a tour around the mountain.
While you are in Villa Rica, be sure to visit Wick's Tavern c.1830. It's the oldest commercial structure in Carroll County and has been turned into a living history museum.
Providence Canyon, Lumpkin
Known as Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon, Providence Canyon in Lumpkin is a group of massive gullies, as deep as 150 feet, that were caused by poor farming practices in the 1800s. The result is a gorgeous canyon with striations of orange, salmon, red, white, purple and pink soil layers. Hike the rim, or head down into the canyon.
SAM Shortline Train, Cordele
If you didn't have a horse, the best mode of transportation in the Old West was by train. In Cordele, board the SAM Shortline Train, Georgia's only rolling state park, for a trip through Georgia’s Southwest corner. Be sure to sample the peanut ice cream in Plains, and don’t miss the Rural Telephone Museum in Leslie, which has a very unique take on the history of communications from the Creek Indians through modern day telephones.
Traveler's Rest, Toccoa
This National Historic Landmark in Toccoa was once a stagecoach stop on the Unicoi Turnpike. Visitors can tour the house that has many of the original artifacts and furnishings. For an added treat, visit Traveler's Rest during Pioneer Days in October and learn skills needed to be a pioneer in the 1800s.