A Guide For Tourists In Valdosta (Azalea City), Georgia: All That You Can Do (2022)
Also known as “Azalea City”, Valdosta is a popular South Georgian city. Even when most of the other Georgian cities weren’t settled, Valdosta was busy welcoming travelers from across the west. This attractive small city has a seasonal charm, and during the spring, you can find it covered in beautiful colors of nature. Every corner of Valdosta turns into bright shades of pastel pink along with orange and yellow. And to celebrate the same, Valdosta has been organizing the annual festival for quite a long time now.
However, it doesn’t limit Azalea City to a seasonal affair since its year-round craze is still much alive. Boasting a thriving downtown, numerous indoor attractions, outdoor playgrounds, rich cultural heritage, and world-class adventure, Valdosta offers an array of options, despite one’s preference. Let’s plan a quick trip to Valdosta with no excuse for boredom.
A Guide For Tourists In Valdosta (Azalea City), Georgia: All That You Can Do
The list below will help your find the popular attractions and activities to enjoy in Valdosta. Have a look:
1. Begin With Driving Through The Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area
Encompassing 2,623 acres, the Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area is just 15 minutes drive away from downtown Valdosta. This huge outdoor playground offers a wonderful nature getaway full of adventure, recreation, and rejuvenation. The wildlife area is divided into different sections, including hardwood forests, cypress wetlands, upland pines, an extravagant swamp, abundant flora, and fauna, along with easy-to-traverse trails and boardwalks. Visitors from all across Georgia and other parts of the United States come here to learn more about wetlands and wildlife. Or, enthusiasts who add Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area to their itinerary are probably adventure junkies. Fun and adventure outdoor activities here include Canoeing, Kayaking, lake fishing, wildlife viewing, picnicking, trekking, and hiking.
NOTE: When done with that all, consider climbing the 54-foot tower in the park and grab an astounding bird eye view of the entire region.
2. Check Out The Downtown Valdosta
Valdosta is a fantastic city with a stunning backdrop, beautiful streets, and a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly downtown. Any guide for the tourists in Valdosta will suggest taking a walk in the downtown area. And why not? You will find plenty of amazing and exciting opportunities to enjoy authentic city life here. The most interesting segments of Downtown Valdosta are undoubtedly the historically significant buildings, many from the post-Civil War era. Some majestic amongst them include the Lowndes County Courthouse, Dosta Playhouse, and an Old Post Office. The majority of the downtown Valdosta region is made up of pedestrians-only lanes, which keep vehicles out and the crowd at bay. While exploring on foot, you will come across an array of Art galleries, Boutique shops, well-preserved buildings, Great cafés, and Restaurants. The best time to approach Downtown Valdosta is during evening hours when entertainment is at its peak.
3. Go Adventurous At The Wild Adventures Theme Park.
Of all that you can do in Valdosta, do not miss the thrill at the Wild Adventures Theme Park. Operating for over 25 years now, this 166-acre theme park is an insanely fun place that overflows with thrills and captivating attractions. Just 5 miles from downtown Valdosta, the theme park features everything from huge waterslides to thrilling roller coasters, adventure rides, and a small exotic zoo. It even features a Discovery Outpost that kids can enjoy while being extra safe for young children. Wild Adventures Theme Park offers fun-packed entertainment for an entire day by combining eight major roller coasters and multiple thrill rides. For getting up close and personal with the Zoo animal, the park also runs a Safari train facilitating both kids and adults. Once done with all kinds of adventure and fun, visit the on-site concession stands for refreshments, snacks, and light meals.
4. Visit The Town During Valdosta’s Annual Azalea Festival
Undoubtedly the highlight of Valdosta is the Annual Azalea Festival, all thanks to its reputation as the ‘Azalea City’. For over two decades now, Valdosta’s Annual Azalea Festival complements the city during March, probably during the second weekend. About 200 vendors from across Georgia gathered at many city parks in Valdosta, bringing different cultures and vibes together alive. This two-day festival includes an art and craft show, six stages featuring live music, social and cultural events, races, and an array of food offerings. The event begins sharply at 10 am and goes all the way through 6 pm on both days. Initially, it began as a community event; however, today, it is the biggest public celebration in and around Valdosta. Increasing tourism and enhancing the area’s cultural dynamics, the Annual Azalea Festival is an excellent event to visit in Valdosta.
5. Explore ‘The Crescent’
The Crescent is a popular historical and architectural landmark to visit in Valdosta. In the city’s historic downtown area, Crescent is a 19th-century mansion known as the ‘Most Beautiful Mansion in Georgia’. This 3-story Neoclassical house covered with Spanish moss and gigantic live oaks has everything eye-catching. From the outside, 13 massive columns, one for each of the original founding colonies, look mesmerizing. Whereas from inside the period, antiques and eye-catching original furnishings adds to the mansion’s glory. Self-guided tours are available for individuals who want to observe the historical elements from close. Other than the obvious mansion affair, there are a few extensive gardens, a small chapel, and the octagon-shaped schoolhouse as well. Exploring them will easily take half an hour to 45 minutes, though all of it is worth it.
6. Take A Tour Of The Lowndes County Courthouse
The Lowndes County Courthouse is another exciting historic mansion to explore when in Valdosta. This three-story Neoclassical architectural landmark is one of the most attractive administrative buildings in South Georgia. Dominating the public square in the heart of the city, the Courthouse has been the backdrop for several popular events in Valdosta. Its lawn is a popular event spot where everything from free concerts to cook-offs is hosted. In contrast, architecture admirers can explore the Courthouse with special appointments. The Neoclassical façade with four tall Corinthian columns, a large central dome, elegant double staircases, and an elaborate portico are too exciting. Besides, that one can notice several other interesting monuments, including a memorial marking the events of 9/11, a monument for those lost during the Civil War, and more.
7. Check Out the Valdosta State University
Also known as VSU or Valdosta State, the State University is a great spot to visit when in Valdosta. It though is an educational/ institutional landmark but also quite popular amongst tourists. The delightful park-like university campus is home to multiple academic buildings, green spaces, and visit-worthy spots. For instance, Peach State Summer Theater, Bailey Science Center, and Copeland African American Museum are some excellent attractions to check out. Or venture out and follow the extensive trial system of the university. Either cover the Whitehead Camellia Trail between the fall and spring seasons. Or, consider the VSU Scenic Route and soak into the aromatic beauty around. Valdosta State University’s outdoor spots are undoubtedly photogenic and would make you stop and observe. Individuals who want to make it an easy and informative way can go for the free guided tours where a staff member will lead you to all popular places inside the university.
8. Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts
Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts is a small local facility but undoubtedly a gem to explore in Valdosta. Operating since 1903, this fine art place hosts a mix of permanent and temporary displays through seven huge galleries. Every year, the facility host 30 unique exhibits inviting art enthusiasts from all across Georgia. Their permanent collection includes 600 East African Artworks along with 30 antique European Fine Porcelain. Once done with the indoor tour, admire the elaborate sculptures on the museum’s lawns. It is better to check the Art Centre’s official website for more specific information before actually visiting the place. The art center also organizes concerts, book festivals, events for kids, art talks, culinary programs, and other fun workshops.
9. Barber-Pittman House
The Barber-Pittman house is a 1915 mansion that is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The work of architect Lloyd Barton Greer was built for one of the first bottlers of Coca-Cola and is an ideal spot for history buffs. Back in the day, it was popular for flaunting wealth and opulence and was one of the most expensive buildings (in the city). Today though, the building is home to Valdosta’s Chamber of Commerce and stands as a fine example of Southern Nee-classicism. Every weekend, the Barber-Pittman House organizes self-guided public tours where enthusiasts can uncover its beguiling history. The original and pristine features inside the house are admirable. All thanks to the beauty of the mansion, presently, it has also become a hot spot amongst Instagrammers and photographers.
Popular Places To Eat in Valdosta
- Mom and Dad’s Italian Restaurant: Visit this fourth-generation family restaurant to taste some of the best authentic Italian food in the town. Their pasta is truly amazing but for something less obvious, try chicken marsala, cannelloni, and minestrone.
- 306 North Restaurant: Another local restaurant in Valdosta’s historical downtown, 306 North Restaurant is popular for serving laid-back Southern cuisine. The casual upscale environment and fresh farm-to-table dishes are definitely to try.
- The Salty Snapper Seafood & Oyster Bar: Salty Snapper is a popular joint in Valdosta that serves the best seafood in entire South Georgia. It is popular for serving exceptional oysters, shrimps, and great drinks. Besides, their service, hospitality, and atmosphere are worth checking out.
- Empanadas and More: This Latin American restaurant in Valdosta is among the town’s best eateries. Do try their Caribbean and Colombian variants or visit during lunchtime for a healthier alternative.