Zipline over the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, Georgia. Photo by Ben Galland
Best Things to Do in West Georgia
From the home of The Walking Dead to Georgia's largest state park, this region delights visitors with endless variety.
Travelers seeking respite from the everyday hustle will find it in west Georgia. Take a stroll along the RiverWalk, which hugs the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, or brush up on your Georgia history in LaGrange, where you can step into the shoes of some of the people who helped shape this great state.
President Jimmy Carter grew up in Plains, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt built his Little White House in Warm Springs. Learn about these leaders as you explore the region's small towns. And be sure to stop by some of its indoor attractions, too. This region has a landscape like nowhere else in Georgia.
Explore historic and modern small towns
The small cities and towns of this region are experiencing a rebirth. Newnan, for example, faced economic hardship during a recession in the 1970s. But now, thanks to the National Main Street Center (a nonprofit), local volunteers, and businesses, Newnan's downtown is thriving. Take a stroll down Main Street then drive around the six historic districts to see antebellum and Victorian homes.
In nearby Senoia, new life was breathed into the city thanks to the state's booming film industry. "The Walking Dead" is filmed here, and you can tour some of the hit TV show's filming locations.
Head farther south to see what's happening in Columbus, home to the longest urban whitewater course in the world. It's also home to the RiverWalk, a 15-mile linear park that runs alongside the Chattahoochee River.
More: Guide to Columbus
Plains & Americus
Finally, nothing lends prominence to a small town like being the home of a beloved former president like Jimmy Carter. See his boyhood home in Archery, near Plains, and learn about an organization close to his heart at the Habitat for Humanity Global Village & Discovery Center in Americus.
Things to see & do
There's no shortage of photo ops on this colorful, seven-acre compound in Buena Vista. Nearly every inch of every surface at Pasaquan is filled with zany, bright-hued patterns.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park
To call Georgia's largest state park picturesque is an understatement. For the ultimate shot at F.D. Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain, head to Dowdell's Knob, which has a sweeping view of Pine Mountain Valley.
Conestoga Wagon Camping at The Rock Ranch
Not only is camping in an old-fashioned Conestoga wagon fun, but these wagons set against the backdrop of a sprawling green meadow and blue skies at The Rock Ranch also make for the perfect pastoral shot.
Callaway Resort & Gardens
Callaway Resort & Gardens is set in the gently rolling foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. There's something for everyone here: watersports, hiking, biking, and zip lining — just to name a few of the available activities. Callaway is also home to one of North America's largest tropical butterfly conservatories. Visiting around the holidays? Don’t miss Fantasy in Lights, one of the best light displays in the South.
Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge in LaGrange features an indoor water park packed with slides and pools. The water is kept at a comfortable 84 degrees all year long, so you can enjoy it any season. Don't miss the 10 delicious dining options, too! It's not all for kids. Parents can indulge in craft beers and cocktails.
The closest you'll get to time travel is a visit to Historic Westville in Columbus. This museum recreates a historic village with restored buildings and homes representative of the late 19th century. Besides exhibits, there are demonstrations, hands-on activities, and opportunities to interact with the different types of people who would have called the town home.
Nic & Norman's
This Senoia restaurant is the brainchild of Greg Nicotero and Norman Reedus, who work together on "The Walking Dead." Enjoy some brisket nachos and pickle fries as you watch new episodes at Nic & Norman's. Reedus recommends the veggie burger; Nicotero prefers the one with blue cheese.
The only single estate rum distillery in the United States can be found in Richland, Georgia. This means that every step of the rum-making process is done in one place. Tours of Richland Rum are offered Monday through Saturday and include a tasting (for adults 21 and older).
Ask a local
Susu Burt and her husband, Sunny, own Daphne Lodge in Cordele. The restaurant has been a family business since 1952.
What's the one thing that anyone who visits your region should do?
Come out to Georgia Veterans State Park. It has a golf course, big lake, fishing, boating, and a resort.
What is your favorite restaurant?
My own restaurant, Daphne Lodge. It's very welcoming and a meeting place for everyone in the area. The food is good and consistent.
What would you recommend someone with kids do?
We have the SAM Shortline Railroad and a railroad museum. Kids love riding the train, and the museum is unique.
What is most surprising about your region?
Just how many different types of things are grown here, like watermelons [Cordele is known as the Watermelon Capital of the World].
What do you love most about your region?
I love knowing all of the people. We've known each other for generations.