The Florida-Georgia line isn’t the most obvious vacation destination, but Valdosta – one of Georgia’s fastest growing cities – will surprise you. Its Southern beauty has a calming effect, whether presented in the form of blooming fuchsia azaleas or Spanish moss-laden live oaks. Head to its octagon-shaped landmark to get a feel for its history: the Crescent House was built in 1898 by U.S. Sen. William Stanley West. Thirteen colonial style white columns encircle its veranda to represent the 13 original colonies, as if designed after the stars in America’s first flag. Its green manicured lawns give testament to its current inhabitants: Valdosta’s garden clubs.
A host of historic homes and buildings decorate Valdosta’s streets, but you would be remiss to think that this city is living in the past. It’s hard to find a more modern establishment than a theme park, and Valdosta has a thrilling one. Wild Adventures has hands-on animal encounters, daily shows and more than 40 family and thrill rides. From a 90-foot-tall wooden roller coast and a looping coaster with six inversions to Dizzy Dragons and Smash Attack bumper cars, there’s a ride for everyone. A Birdhouse and Butterfly Garden allow guests to get up close and personal with winged creatures while the Tigers of India shows off giant cats from an appreciated distance. The park and the connecting Splash Island also have soaking water rides. On a hot summer day, you’ll be hoping for big waves on the Tasmanian River Rapids!
Theme parks can sap your energy so set aside a day to relax in Valdosta, too. Browse art at the Annette Howell Turner Center of the Arts, catch a play at Peach State Summer Theatre or enjoy a concert by the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra. Breathe in fresh meadows as you play 18-holes of golf at Stone Creek Golf Club’s championship course, and spot waterfowl from your canoe at the Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area. After a day of activities, eat up Southern charm at Steel Magnolias, Smok’n Pig B-B-Q or Bubba Jax Crab Shack. Comfort food, azaleas and roller coasters welcome you to Valdosta.