Rafting with Whitewater Express in Columbus, Georgia

Rafting on the Chattahoochee River with Whitewater Express in Columbus, Georgia

8 Adventures You'll Be Surprised to Find in Southwest Georgia

Southwest Georgia may be the least populated part of the state, but it packs a whole lot of fun. Whether you are the outdoorsy type, a foodie, or love art and history, you can find it in this little corner of the state. Below we’re dishing on eight of our favorites.

Providence Canyon in Lumpkin, Georgia

Providence Canyon

Photo by @capturecalliope

Providence Canyon is located south of Columbus and west of Americus and Cordele. It is known as "Georgia's Little Grand Canyon" because of a group of massive gullies, as deep as 150 feet, that were caused by poor farming practices in the 1800s. It's also one of the most photographed locations in Georgia and one of Explore Georgia's 16 Most Instagrammed Spots in the state.

Stay for the weekend: Book a cottage or campsite at nearby Florence Marina State Park, or book a hotel in Columbus, and go whitewater rafting the next day. Plan your trip with this Guide to Providence Canyon.

Visit Providence Canyon

Rafting with Whitewater Express in Columbus, Georgia

Whitewater Express

Visitors to Whitewater Express in Columbus can enjoy 2.5 miles of whitewater rafting and kayaking -- the longest urban whitewater trail in the world. It's so awesome that USA Today calls Whitewater Express the best man-made whitewater on the planet and one of the top 12 man-made adventures in the world. If that's not enough excitement for you, Whitewater Express also rents bikes to explore the Chattahoochee RiverWalk, and manages the Blue Heron zip line, where you can watch the rafters as you zip over the river.

Make it a long weekend: Continue your adventures by ziplining, swimming and biking at nearby Callaway Resort & Gardens.

Raft with Whitewater Express

SAM Shortline train in Cordele, Georgia

SAM Shortline

The SAM Shortline is Georgia's only rolling state park. In addition to enjoying the rich history of the train cars and the path through southwest Georgia, you experience the history of Crisp and Sumter counties, with people and events that have impacted Georgia and the nation. Stops include Americus, where you can visit the historic Windsor Hotel; and the tiny town of Leslie with the quirky Georgia Rural Telephone Museum. The highlight of most trips is a stop in Plains, Georgia, home of former President Jimmy Carter.

Make it a weekend: Book a room or cabin at Lake Blackshear Resort & Golf Club, and go kayaking or golfing the next day.

Ride the SAM Shortline Railroad

Roosevelt's Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia. Photo by Katie Garcia, @smallmexican

Roosevelt's Little White House

Photo by Katie Garcia

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt built the Little White House while he was still governor of New York in 1932, and he continued to visit throughout his presidency until his death in 1945. FDR found that swimming in the natural springs at nearby Warm Springs brought great relief from his polio, and that’s one of the reasons he loved this area so much. Now, Roosevelt’s Little White House is a historic site and museum, and visitors can tour his home, which has been meticulously preserved, as well as the historic pools.

Make it a weekend: Go camping at nearby F. D. Roosevelt State Park and hike to Dowdell's Knob, one of FDR's favorite overlooks.

Visit Roosevelt's Little White House

Bobwhite Quail

Quail Hunting

Southwest Georgia is known as the quail capital of the world, so to experience the area like a local, you could do a little quail hunting. If you don't want to shoot birds, however, you can stroll the brick streets of downtown Thomasville "hunting" for lost quail.

While you're in town: Stop into downtown Thomasville to shop for new gear, have a great meal and have your picture taken at The Big Oak.

Visit Thomasville

Outdoor dining at Jonah's Fish & Grits in Thomasville, Georgia

Food Tours

Most people think of Atlanta as the capital of culinary prowess in the state, but the small southwest town of Thomasville has restaurants that could take on the best Atlanta has to offer … and maybe even win. The best way to sample the delights here is via the Taste of Thomasville Food Tour. Not only will you sample some of the best places to eat in Thomasville, Georgia, but you'll hear a good bit about the history that makes this town such a unique destination.

Make it a weekend: Book a room at one of Thomasville's B&Bs or hotels, and join a Saturday morning bike ride along red clay roads with Hubs and Hops.

Take a Food Tour

Pasaquan in Buena Vista, Georgia. Photo by Tropico Photo, @tropicophoto


Photo by @tropicophoto

Folk artist Eddie Owens Martin (St. EOM) created this unique art installation/collection in middle Georgia. Pasaquan is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it's considered among the most important visionary art environments in the United States. This colorful attraction is also one of Explore Georgia's 16 Most Instagrammed Places.

Make it a weekend: Stay in Columbus or Americus, where you can tour the painstakingly restored Rylander Theatre.

Visit Pasaquan

Flint RiverQuarium in Albany, Georgia

Flint RiverQuarium

The Flint Riverquarium in Albany was borne from a flood that devastated the area in 1994. A visit here is an opportunity for children (and adults) to use all their senses to understand the importance of the natural resources in the area, and the uniqueness of the Flint River watershed. Learn about Blue Holes, watch alligator feedings, peer at shark eggs and walk with birds through the aviary.

Stay for the weekend: Book a hotel in Albany, and see more animals like camels, cheetahs, zebras and meerkats at Chehaw Park.

Visit Flint RiverQuarium

Published: April 2021
Written by: Sue Rodman
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