This Low-Key Georgia City Has Natural Beauty, Wineries, and a Water Park

If you’re looking for a quick getaway from Atlanta, consider LaGrange, Georgia for your next day trip that’ll feature natural beauty, breweries and wineries, and laser tag.

Pine Mountain RV Resort

Whether you’re nearing the end of school, patiently awaiting your summer vacation, or itching to use some of that precious PTO to get some peace of mind, now is the perfect time to get out of Atlanta for a little bit—and much like Helen, Georgia and Blue Ridge, Georgia—LaGrange, Georgia makes for one of the coolest in-state summer getaways.

Tucked away near the Georgia-Alabama border, LaGrange is a small yet growing city with an estimated population of 30,000 people. It’s long been best known for being the home of LaGrange College and popular 2000s rapper Bubba Sparxxx, but LaGrange has gained a lot of popularity for its gorgeous outdoor recreation areas, intriguing museums and other cultural attractions, nearby wineries, multiple breweries, a formidable antique shop scene, and plenty of thrilling activities. LaGrange is a little over an hour away from Atlanta, but given the vast number of food options, you’d almost think that the county seat of Troup County is actually one of the OTP Metro Atlanta Area suburbs. From water parks and RV resorts to tactical outdoor laser tag and outdoor amphitheater concerts, the West Georgia city has plenty to do, and its distinct vibe makes it the perfect place for a nearby retreat.

If you’re already considering LaGrange for your next road trip, here are all the reasons why you should go ahead and hop on 85 South and drive there this summer.

Nutwood Winery

LaGrange has plenty of booze

A getaway is only as good as its spirit, and fortunately, LaGrange has its fair share of places where visitors can really enjoy some locally sourced adult beverages. Wine lovers can stay in town and enjoy a trip to the 10-acre Nutwood Winery. The nearly 200-year-old winery boasts centuries-old pecan trees (hence the name), a spectacular 6,000-square-foot tasting room and vineyard cafe, and a historic manor home. Nutwood Winery is only open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, but it stays open pretty late (until 9 pm on Thursdays and 10 pm over the weekend), making for a great evening stop when first arriving in LaGrange. In addition to Nutwood, there are also multiple breweries in LaGrange. At Beacon Brewing Co, you can taste beers—like the Pucker Up Baby! Tropical Sour, the BOM Black Galaxy IPA, or the LaGrange LimeLight—and snack on some lite bites in their taproom, screened-in patio, or in their lush beer garden. Another brewery that’s worth visiting is Wild Leap Brewery because, in addition to its own line of exceptional beer, it also pumps out its own Wild Leap Vodka. Between those three spots, you’ll probably be able to find everything you need, but if you are interested in hitting up another winery, you can make the 20-minute drive to River's Bend Winery And Vineyard in West Point.

Hills & Dales Estate

You can get lost in LaGrange’s beauty

One of the reasons why LaGrange is such a great getaway destination during the summer is because it is just downright stunning, with plenty of gorgeous outdoor recreation areas, nature trails, and photo opp-friendly landmarks. For Atlantans who can't get enough of the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Midtown, LaGrange’s Hills & Dales Estate is definitely worth visiting. In addition to being able to tour the incredible Georgian Italian villa, visitors can embark on a self-guided tour of the wonderfully preserved pre-Civil War gardens. About 1.5 miles away in the heart of historic downtown LaGrange is the Sweetland Amphitheatre, where there will be live outdoor musical performances all summer long from artists and bands such as George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Grace Potter, and Jimmie Allen. LaGrange is also extremely close to West Point Lake, so if you’re down for a picnic, some hiking alongside the lakeside nature trails, or other fun waterfront activities, a day on the lake is only 8 - 9 miles away. Before you leave LaGrange, you have to go on the quintessential outdoor journey and find the Callaway Memorial Tower, where you can take an epic picture in front of the tower—which is named after LaGrange-born textile manufacturer Fuller Earle Callaway—and its beautiful surrounding scenery.

Mare Sol

There’s a bounty of food options

LaGrange is surprisingly a place where an epicurean can go to live their best life, with numerous and diverse food options sprinkled throughout the city. To kick off your self-guided Taste of LaGrange Tour, you can hit tenured local eateries like Charlie Joseph's and Gus's Grill, where you can enjoy classic diner food and a customization-friendly menu, respectively. After you dine at the legendary spots, there are several flavorful directions that you can go in, such as the Italian cuisine at Venucci, the Mediterranean dishes at Mare Sol, or the Mexican food at Juanito's Mexican Restaurant. You can also indulge in Korean food from Keum Soo Kang Korean Restaurant, sushi from Bull's Hibachi Express, or some homestyle barbecue from Hog Heaven & Red Rooster—and if you can’t choose between those three restaurants, there’s also Yama's, which specializes in Korean BBQ and sushi. For Southern-style eats, you can hit up Fried Tomato Buffet or Taste of Lemon Restaurant, and if you’re looking for lunch or late-night bites, there are plenty of bars, pubs, and restaurants where you can chow down on classic American meals, including Main Street Pub, Brickhouse Grille, 505 Eats, and The Cart Barn Grill. Those who need their coffee even when on vacation can get their caffeine fix at Local Groundz Coffee Co., and although The Medicine Cabinet is a real-deal pharmacy, its Soda Shoppe is surprisingly home to ice cream sundaes and some of the best cold treats in the city. Depending on how long you’re in LaGrange, you may not be able to hit up all of these restaurants, cafes, bars, and eateries, but before you go, make sure you close out your trip with a mouthwatering meal from LaGrange’s renowned upscale steakhouse—C'sons Restaurant.

LaGrange Art Museum

There are some pretty unconventional attractions

If you somehow find yourself bored in between all of the outdoor activities and incredible food options, you won’t be bored for long because LaGrange has some very interesting, as well as pretty unconventional, attractions. History and art buffs will be thrilled to learn that LaGrange has a long list of museums and cultural attractions, including Troup County Archives and Legacy Museum On Main, LaGrange Art Museum, Biblical History Center, and the Historic Bellevue Mansion. And on the more quirky tip, you can literally go digging for treasure at Hogg Mine, and although you will be required to bring your own tools (including a pick, a shovel, a rock hammer, gloves, safety glasses, and more), you’ll still be able to mine natural gems—like Beryl, Star Rose Quartz, Black Tourmaline, and Aquamarine—with your own hands and take them home with you. Access to pre-scheduled public digs is just $35 for adults 17 years old and up, and if you bring your kids with you, they get to dig for free. If you’ve been wanting to give axe throwing a shot for longer than you can fathom, LaGrange’s Timberwolf Axe Throwing is the perfect place to try it out. Then, there’s Combat Zone, which combines the excitement of outdoor paintball shooting and airsoft competitions with the painless fun of Laser Tag. Combat Zone’s fun brand of tactical outdoor laser tag isn’t something that you come across often, so don’t hesitate to try it out the next time you visit LaGrange.

Pine Mountain RV Resort

The unique lodging options are even more fun

Last but not least is LaGrange’s incredible lodging options. For a place where you can rest your head in town, look no further than Great Wolf Lodge Georgia, which is home to a bevy of its own fun attractions as well. Staying at Great Wolf Lodge also means having access to an indoor waterpark, a Topgolf Swing Suite, an on-site bowling alley, mini-golf, a rock-climbing wall, an arcade, and more. With its current Spring Into Summer promotion, now is an even better time to visit LaGrange and book a stay at Great Wolf Lodge because guests can save up to 30% on a one-night stay, up to 40% on a two-night stay, or up to 50% on a three-plus-night stay. For those who are comfortable with sleeping outside of the city limits of LaGrange, Pine Mountain RV Resort is also worth considering, especially if you’re traveling with a close friend group. Lodging options include glamping tents, cabin rentals, tents, yurts, and RV sites, and in addition to still being 16 - 18 miles away from all of the fun that LaGrange has to offer, you’ll be able to enjoy Pine Mountain RV Resorts’ amenities, including complimentary Wi-Fi, a large swimming pool, a decked-out lounge, fire pits, and more. Depending on what you’re interested in doing while in LaGrange, either Pine Mountain RV Resort or Great Wolf Lodge Georgia will be the perfect home base for your summer getaway.

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Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor for Thrillist.
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