Travel

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
Pine Mountain RV Resort
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
Nutwood Winery
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
Hills & Dales Estate
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
Mare Sol
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
LaGrange Art Museum
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
Pine Mountain RV Resort
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.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor for Thrillist.

Travel

Airbnb’s New Tool Makes it Easy to Discover Homes You Didn’t Know Existed

And provides comprehensive protection in travel, included for free with every stay.

airbnb new features

We’re living in a new world of travel, which means we’re looking for new destinations and new ways to find places to stay. Airbnb is one of the most popular booking platforms for travellers, and for the first time in a decade, they’ve launched their biggest change yet.

The new tools help travellers find unique homes and provide more options for longer stays.

“The way people travel has changed forever. We’re introducing the biggest change to Airbnb in a decade,” said Brian Chesky, CEO and Co-Founder of Airbnb.

Airbnb Categories

Millions of people are now more flexible about where they live and work. But travel search has been the same for 25 years—you enter a location and dates into a search box. Most of us can only think of a few dozen cities to type into the search box, but there are Airbnbs in 100,000 towns and cities worldwide.

When you open Airbnb, you’re presented with 56 categories that organize homes based on their style, location, or proximity to a travel activity. When you search for a destination, your search results are also organized by categories relevant to that destination. As you view different categories, the map intelligently zooms to show you where the homes are located.

Airbnb Categories uses machine learning to analyze titles, written descriptions, photo captions, structured data from Hosts, and reviews from guests. Airbnb’s curation team members review listings and hand-pick featured photos—so if a listing is in the Amazing Pools Category, the first photo shows a pool. Then, each category goes through a final check to help ensure consistency and photo quality.

The 56 Airbnb Categories include more than 4 million unique homes that are made possible by Hosts all around the world. Airbnb Categories organize homes by what makes them unique, which helps people discover places they wouldn’t have otherwise found. This can help alleviate over-tourism by redistributing travel to new locations beyond the same popular destinations.

Split Stays

In the last three months, nearly half of the nights booked on Airbnb were for a week or more trips. Split Stays is an innovative new feature that splits your trip between two homes. With Split Stays, you will typically see around 40% more listings when searching for longer stays.

When searching a specific destination, Split Stays automatically appear in your search results. They also appear within 14 categories—including Camping, National Parks, Skiing, and Surfing—to inspire you to stay in two destinations as part of a longer trip. For example, when browsing the Skiing Category, Split Stays might suggest a pair of homes near Thredbo and Mt. Hotham.

When viewing Split Stays on a map, an animated line visually connects the two homes to show you the distance between them and the sequence of the stays. Once you select a Split Stay, you’re guided through an easy-to-use interface to book each stay, one home at a time.

MORE: These Are Australia’s 10 Most Wishlisted Airbnb Stays

Aircover for Guests

This northern and southern winter, millions of people will travel for the first time since the pandemic’s start. AirCover is the most comprehensive protection in travel. AirCover is always included and always free, and it represents the biggest upgrade to Airbnb customer service in a decade.

With AirCover, you’re covered by four protections every time you stay on Airbnb:

  • Booking Protection Guarantee – In the unlikely event a Host needs to cancel your booking within 30 days of check-in, Airbnb will find you a similar or better home or refund you.
  • Check-In Guarantee – If you can’t check into your home and the Host cannot resolve the issue, Airbnb will find you a similar or better home for the length of your original stay or get a refund.
  • Get-What-You-Booked Guarantee – If at any time during your stay you find your listing isn’t as advertised—for example, the refrigerator stops working and your Host can’t easily fix it, or there are fewer bedrooms than listed—you’ll have three days to report it and Airbnb will find you a similar or better home or refund you.
  • 24-hour Safety Line – If you ever feel unsafe, you’ll get priority access to specially-trained safety agents, day or night.

AirCover has been designed directly into the Airbnb app and website, making it easy for you to contact an agent and resolve issues quickly. There is a team of specially trained agents for last-minute rebooking assistance. Airbnb also has significantly expanded its 24-hour safety line to cover 16 languages.

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