Agricultural mural in Colquitt, Georgia. Photo by Ben Galland

Agricultural mural in Colquitt, Georgia. Photo by Ben Galland

Best Things to Do in Southwest Georgia

Great food, agricultural attractions, and rich history are some of the highlights you'll find in this region.

Peaceful gardens, stunning estates, and surprising (silo) art await. Take a stroll through the mansions in this region, and hear stories of a different era. New and old traditions meet here. Go quail hunting by day, and explore the bustling culinary and arts scenes at night.

Southwest Georgia is known as the country's quail hunting capital, thanks to its premier plantations, but this region is no one-trick pony. It also boasts marvels like Radium Springs and a rich cultural heritage. Enjoy the beauty — inside and out — in southwest Georgia.

Great places to eat and drink

The best way to explore a new place is through its food, and in southwest Georgia there are plenty of delicious eats to try. An explosion of culinary hot spots has hit the scene, so come hungry.

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

Friends Grille + Bar

For dining that's a bit upscale, look to Friends Grille + Bar in Albany. The restaurant highlights seasonal produce in dishes like the pan-seared snapper with heirloom tomato sauce and the fettuccine with bacon, corn, and mushrooms.

The Local

The Local in Tifton is a popular, no-frills joint with something for everyone. Popular dishes include the angry mussels and pulled pork.

Ray's Millpond Cafe

For some down-home cooking and a side of country charm, stop by Ray's Millpond Cafe in Ray City. The restaurant sits on a 3,500-acre pond with a stunning vista of cypress trees. The menu includes classics like oyster stew, fried pickles, and fried alligator.

The Catch

If you can't get enough seafood, head to The Catch in Albany where you'll find crab cakes and lobster pizza.

Liam's

Liam's in Thomasville is a gem with shareable plates. Try the tomato and blue crab bisque and the toasted cavatelli with maitake and locally foraged chanterelles.

Pretoria Fields Collective beer in Albany, Georgia. Photo by @pretoriafieldscollective
Pretoria Fields Collective beer in Albany, Georgia. Photo by @pretoriafieldscollective

Pretoria Fields Collective

Part brewery, part farm, Pretoria Fields Collective grow their own heirloom grains and hemp. Snap a photo of one of the beers in their stylish taproom in downtown Albany.

Find more restaurants in southwest Georgia

Things to see & do

The Big Oak in Thomasville, Georgia. Photo by @whighamimages
The Big Oak in Thomasville, Georgia. Photo by @whighamimages

The Big Oak

You'll find the Big Oak in Thomasville's Elizabeth Ireland Poe Park. It makes quite a backdrop, standing 68 feet tall with a limb span of 165 feet.

Belle's Flower Truck in Tifton, Georgia. Photo by @exploregeorgia
Belle's Flower Truck in Tifton, Georgia. Photo by @exploregeorgia

Belle's Flower Truck

Is there anything more darling than a rusted blue truck retrofitted to be a flower shop? We didn't think so. Find Belle's Flower Truck in Tifton.

Boating on the Flint River
Boating on the Flint River

Flint River

The Flint River stretches from Hapeville to Bainbridge, where it flows into Lake Seminole. This picturesque waterway is one of only 40 rivers in the United States to flow for 200 miles without the impediment of dams or other man-made systems. Fishing enthusiasts love to stand along the banks and fish for shoal bass. Not into fishing? Soak up the scenery from the vantage point of one of the railroad bridges spanning the river in Albany or Bainbridge.

Strawberry picking at Calhoun Produce in Ashburn, Georgia. Photo by @calhounproduce87
Strawberry picking at Calhoun Produce in Ashburn, Georgia. Photo by @calhounproduce87

Calhoun Produce 

Calhoun Produce specializes in beans, but there’s so much more to the farm. It’s a destination for the whole family, with a myriad of activities including pig racing, wagon rides, and farm animals. If all the fun works up an appetite, visit the deli for a quick bite.

Valdosta Wake Compound in Valdosta, Georgia. Photo by GL Johnson
Valdosta Wake Compound in Valdosta, Georgia. Photo by GL Johnson

Valdosta Wake Compound 

If you love a good thrill, look no further than Valdosta Wake Compound. It sits on 30 acres and features custom-built ponds and a lake. Stand up on water skis and try to hang on as a cable pulls you along.

Feeding a giraffe at Wild Adventures Theme Park in Valdosta, Georgia. Photo by @julianna_collett
Feeding a giraffe at Wild Adventures Theme Park in Valdosta, Georgia. Photo by @julianna_collett

Wild Adventures Theme Park 

Rides, animals, and shows — oh my! This theme park in Valdosta has it all. Spend the day (and night) exploring Wild Adventures, where rides range from the daring, gravity defying Aviator to the sweet and tame Bee Bop, with everything in between.

Freedom Singers at Albany Civil Rights Institute in Albany, Georgia. Photo by @visitalbanyga
Freedom Singers at Albany Civil Rights Institute in Albany, Georgia. Photo by @visitalbanyga

Freedom Singers 

The Freedom Singers formed in Albany in the 1960s. The a cappella group traveled throughout the country to educate communities. Now, you can hear their beautiful voices at the Albany Civil Rights Institute on the second Saturday of the month. Rutha Harris, an original member and soprano, still lives in Albany and performs.

Find more things to do in southwest Georgia

Tips from a local

Haile McCollum, @hailemccollum, is owner of Fontaine Maury, a branding studio in Thomasville.

Live oaks on W. Society Ave. in Albany, Georgia. Photo by Philip Wages
Live oaks on W. Society Ave. in Albany, Georgia. Photo by Philip Wages

What's the one thing anyone who visits your region should do?

Explore the back roads. It's worth a detour to drive down a red-clay road lined with live oak trees and tall pines.

What is your favorite restaurant?

For "date night" without the kids, you can find my husband and me having dinner at the Chop House. It’s known for its steaks, but I tend to order the fish dishes. They have great oysters and grouper.

Flint RiverQuarium in Albany, Georgia
Flint RiverQuarium in Albany, Georgia

Where would you recommend someone go with kids?

One of our favorite things about where we live is the access to parks, rivers, woods, and wildlife. The Flint RiverQuarium and Chehaw Park are two of our favorites.

Due South music festival in Thomasville, Georgia
Due South music festival in Thomasville, Georgia

What is something surprising about your region?

The arts and culture scene is thriving! Two events we love are Due South, a music festival held in Thomasville's downtown outdoor amphitheater in April, and the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival in November.

What do you love most about living here?

I really appreciate our dedication to historic preservation and the vibrancy of our downtown.

Published: February 2020