If you haven't considered Columbus, Ga
., as a vacation destination, it's time take another look at the city. Columbus is one of those rare destinations in the South that can be "whatever you want it to be."
Even though its Georgia's third largest city, it still retains a small town feel. The downtown area is very walkable, the attractions are plentiful and entertaining as well as easy to get to; and as for the culinary scene, well, you'll just have to come and taste for yourself, but let's just say that you won't leave disappointed.
Here are a few ways you can build a fun
as well as a memorable
experience for yourself in Columbus.
Get on the Water
... It is finally here, Whitewater Columbus GA
, the longest urban white water course in the world. At 2.5 miles on the Chattahoochee River, the two courses offer seven to eight rapids, ranging from Class II to Class IV. Word of advice, watch out for Cut Bait rapid (Class III -to IV on average.) Check out Whitewater Express
to arrange a trip time.
... If water isn’t your thing, but being outside is, you are in luck when you are in Columbus. Rent a bike
and explore Columbus Fall Line Trace
, which is situated on an abandoned railroad route; or head out on the 15-mile Chattahoochee RiverWalk
. Both are great ways to explore the city at a different pace.
Take a deep breath and exhale as you commune with nature at OxBow Meadows
. Want a little adventure thrown in as well? Gain a new perspective of the land along the TreeTop Canopy Trail
. Don’t miss visiting the learning center to view the different displays on animals found in the region.
Learn Some History
...Did you know the National Civil War Naval Museum
is home to the largest display of Civil War Naval Flags
. It is also the only museum in the world dedicated to educating the public on the Naval story of the Civil War. Among its many exhibits
is the cutter from the USS Hartford
. What is fascinating about this cutter is that it possibly transported Admiral David Farragut, who is remembered for uttering the famous words, "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead," at the Battle of Mobile Bay. Any ghost-hunters out there? If so, don’t miss the museum’s ghost tour
, typically held on the last Thursday of each month.
Since Fort Benning is home to the National Infantry, it would make sense for the National Infantry Museum
to be located in Columbus. What sets this museum apart from others is that you feel as if you are part of the signature exhibit, the “Last 100 Yards
” ramp. It features realistic life-sized displays infused with technology that depicts significant battles in the Infantry's history. When you are coming up the ramp, you are going through 237 years of history of all ready fought battles, and when you reach the most recent battle, you notice the soldiers are moving on toward battles yet to be fought. Don’t miss viewing other exhibits
, such as the Fort Benning Gallery
, the Cold War
Patronize the Arts
...Catch a performance at the Springer Opera House
. Designated as the state theater of Georgia by then-governor Jimmy Carter in 1971, the theater was built in 1871 and was considered as the nicest theater between New Orleans and New York City. Some famous and infamous people to perform at the opera house include Edwin Booth (brother of John Wilkes Booth), John Phillip Sousa, Walter Winchell, ‘Ma Rainey (Columbus native), Will Rogers and Truman Capote. You can learn more about the history by taking a 30-minute tour
offered on Mondays and Wednesday. Plan your visit to Columbus right, and you can also take in a show at RiverCenter for the Performing Arts
As one of the region’s largest museums, The Columbus Museum
features everything from America paintings, sculptures and decorative arts spanning over 200 years to the Chattahoochee Legacy Gallery, focusing on the history of Chattahoochee Valley area. The museum also houses different temporary exhibits
...Whether by foot, in a car or another mode of transportation, check out Midtown Columbus
followed by Uptown Columbus
, or reverse. Whether you explore one or both, you’ll discover shops, attractions, eateries and the characters that make up this city. When you are Uptown, be sure to visit Coca-Cola Space Science Center.
Eat Often, and Well...
Like any Southern city worth its salt, Columbus provides many memorable dining options. If you are looking for something upscale, EPIC
, an intimate 72-seat restaurant with an eclectic menu, design and outlook, fits the bill. If you are looking for something a little more southern for your palate, head to Uptown’s location of Country’s Barbecue
. You can’t miss it, it’s the refurbished Greyhound Bus
Station. If you can’t decide what to choose from the menu, go for The Patriot. Don’t leave without trying any one of their desserts. Enjoy a lunch of lighter fare at The Deli at Meritage
. Start your evening off with a Peach Martini at Downstairs at the Loft
. Satisfy your sweet tooth in the morning with Cap’n Crunch French Toast at Ruth Ann’s Restaurant
. You can not leave Columbus without trying the “Almost World Famous Scrambled Hot Dog” served up in a banana split dish at Dinglewood Pharmacy
Columbus has ties to Coca-Cola. The original formula was developed here by local pharmacist Dr. Pemberton. He would later sell this formula. You can see his house at Heritage Corner
at 7th and Broadway. He is buried in Linwood Cemetery
, along with about notable Columbus residents.
Where to Stay, Where to Stay...Columbus offers a wide range of accommodations suitable to every budget and taste.
photos personal collection