Zipline over the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, Georgia. Photo by Ben Galland

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

Newnan

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.

Downtown Senoia, Georgia
Downtown Senoia, Georgia

Senoia

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.

More: See Where The Walking Dead Was Filmed in Georgia

Columbus

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

Jimmy Carter's Boyhood Farm near Plains, Georgia
Jimmy Carter's Boyhood Farm near Plains, Georgia

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.

To visit a number of small towns — including Plains, Americus, and more — hop on the Historic SAM Shortline Railroad, a train dubbed Georgia's only moving state park.

Things to see & do

Pasaquan in Buena Vista, Georgia. Photo by @lesliegeerdesign
Pasaquan in Buena Vista, Georgia. Photo by @lesliegeerdesign

Pasaquan

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.

More: The 16 Most Instagrammed Places in Georgia

F.D. Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain, Georgia
F.D. Roosevelt State Park in Pine Mountain, Georgia

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 in The Rock, Georgia
Conestoga Wagon camping at The Rock Ranch in The Rock, Georgia

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.

More: 10 Awesome Places to Spend the Night

Callaway Resort & Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia
Callaway Resort & Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia

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.

More: Spring Break Vacations that Won't Break the Bank

Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park in LaGrange, Georgia
Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park in LaGrange, Georgia

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.

Historic Westville in Columbus, Georgia
Historic Westville in Columbus, Georgia

Historic Westville

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 in Senoia, Georgia
Nic & Norman's in Senoia, Georgia

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.

More: Restaurants in west Georgia

Richland Distilling Company in Richland, Georgia
Richland Distilling Company in Richland, Georgia

Richland Rum

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).

More: Things to do in west Georgia

Ask a local

Susu Burt and her husband, Sunny, own Daphne Lodge in Cordele. The restaurant has been a family business since 1952.

Georgia Veterans State Park golf course in Cordele, Georgia
Georgia Veterans State Park golf course in Cordele, Georgia

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.

Historic SAM Shortline Railroad
Historic SAM Shortline Railroad

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.

Published: February 2020