If you are looking for a short weekend getaway in the South, Thomasville, Georgia is a great choice! This is a small town that is quaint and adorable, but with enough culture and things to do that you can easily fill a weekend. And these things to do in Thomasville, Georgia can guide you through a great weekend escape!
Thomasville, Georgia is known as Georgia’s “Rose City” because of their annual Rose Show and Festival that has been happening since 1922. But even if you can’t visit during the Spring, a visit to Thomasville will be wonderful any time of year. (Except maybe not mid-summer, when the heat and humidity of the South can be a little…unbearable.)
I’ll just be honest here. I’m not sure I ever would have had Thomasville on my radar if it wasn’t for Annie B. Jones at The Bookshelf. YEARS ago, Annie and I became friends online, and her always raving about Thomasville made me want to visit. And I am so glad I finally did because we loved it and founds so many great things to do in Thomasville, Georgia!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase using a link, I may get a commission at no cost to you.
Take a Taste of Thomasville Food Tour
Let’s be honest, one of my favorite things to do when I’m traveling is to eat. And taking a food tour is a great way to get acquainted with a city’s local restaurants and dishes without committing to one choice.
In Thomasville, you can take a Taste of Thomasville tour that will take you through some of Thomasville’s best restaurants while also teaching you a bit about the town’s history. There are two main tours to choose from: the Taste of Thomasville Tour and the Taste of Thomasville After Hours Tour (which includes drinks).
They also offer a tour for kids that highlights some of the town’s kid-friendly foods. And during December they offer the Victorian Sweet Treats Tour that shares local desserts and drinks.
You can book your tours online on the Taste of Thomasville website.
Eat at Great Southern Restaurants
Even if you don’t go on a food tour, Thomasville is full of fantastic food. Here are a few of their most popular restaurants:
- Jonah’s Fish and Grits — Southern seafood, and seriously the best hush puppies I’ve ever had in my life.
- Liam’s — Shareable plates and fresh, sustainable, Southern food.
- AJ Moonspin Pizza & Pasta — Gourmet pizza made with a more than 100 year-old sourdough starter.
- Empire Bagel — From scratch bagels. I don’t even love bagels all that much and these are delicious. Get the Empire Egg Sandwich on the French Toast Bagel. Trust me. (Also my mother would like me to give her credit that she is one who ordered this and shared with me.)
- Sweetgrass Cheese Shop — Thomasville has its own delicious cheese maker, and they serve so many great dishes at their restaurant.
- Grassroots Coffee — If you are a coffee drinker, this is where you will want to go.
- Sass! — Known for their Cajun-style Southern food.
- George & Louie’s — You’re actually pretty close to the coast down in Thomasville, and this is the place to get fresh seafood + a little Greek flair.
- Savannah Moon Bakery & Cafe — Where to go for classic breakfast dishes and a sandwich for lunch.
- Chop House on the Bricks — Where to go for your nice date night.
- Sweet Cacao — Truffles, pastries, gelato, and more, here’s where to get dessert. Pro-tip: They might run out later in the evening, so if you see something you want (like, speaking from experience, a particular ice cream sandwich) go ahead and get it when you see it if you can.
Visit The Bookshelf
Of course with a travel blog for bookworms, the independent bookstore is going to get it’s own section. I’ve followed The Bookshelf for a long time online now, and they have created such a cozy book-loving community, and this absolutely shines in their store.
Their shelves are filled with fantastic book selections, plus they have other great gift merchandise. And there is the cutest little children’s section in the back. If you are a book lover, you will truly want to stay for hours. And if you are looking for a great book recommendation, you won’t find many better recommenders than The Bookshelf staff.
Of course, in addition to The Bookshelf, Thomasville has so many other amazing boutique shops. Whether you are shopping for clothes, home décor, kitchen items, gifts, or children’s items, there is a store for pretty much everything. And every store is so friendly too, and happy to help you out. Shopping in Thomasville really is Southern hospitality at its finest.
Take a Historic Walking Tour
Thomasville may be a small town, but they have a big history! Take a historic walking tour and learn all about it. It includes a lot of figures you might not expect (we’re talking Presidents and First Ladies), interesting architecture decisions (not interesting meaning tacky or ugly, but interesting like it is truly interesting how the look of the town evolved), and even some ghosts.
We took a tour with Mike from Local Strolls and he knew so much fascinating Thomasville history. You can really tell he loves sharing it, and it seemed like every time we asked a question or pointed out something we saw, he thought of a new story about Thomasville to share with us. We really enjoyed it so much!
And if you don’t have the time for a guided tour but want to know a little about Thomasville landmarks, they have an online self-guided tour you can also check out.
See the Big Oak
Perhaps THE Thomasville landmark you have to see is The Big Oak. This live oak is over 300 years old! Which means it is obviously pretty big! In fact, it’s so big they have recently added supports to some of the branches (we were told it was to provide extra support when they were facing a hurricane a few years ago).
You will definitely want to stop and get your picture taken at The Big Oak, which is just a few blocks away from the main area of downtown Thomasville.
“Hunt” for Quail Downtown
Thomasville is in an area of Georgia famous for its quail hunting. But if you don’t actually want to go hunting, you can go on a scavenger hunt for quail downtown! Scattered throughout the downtown buildings are little quail statues mounted in various places. You can get a map with hints on their locations from the Thomasville Visitor’s Center, or just see which ones you can spot as you are strolling through downtown. (Make sure to look up high!)
If you are traveling with kids who may not find the historic tours and shopping of downtown the most exciting, this is a great activity for them to enjoy while you go throughout your day in Thomasville!
For more Southern getaways near the Gulf Coast, explore St. George Island!
Visit the Lapham-Patterson House
The Lapham-Patterson House is one of Thomasville’s most famous buildings. Built by a shoe merchant from Chicago in the 1880s, this Victorian house has a lot of interesting architectural features than make it a popular place to visit. If you love historic houses, you will definitely want to make time for a visit to the Lapham-Patterson House. But keep your eyes and ears peeled, because locals say it is haunted!
Note that they are only open for tours on Fridays and Saturdays. Find more information about tour times and costs on their website.
Visit the Jack Hadley Black History Museum
Thomasville’s Jack Hadley Black History Museum houses over 4,000 artifacts from Black history in the Thomasville area as well as national Black history. There are items from slavery, Buffalo Soldiers, Black Americans in the military, sports history, and more.
The Black History Museum is actually housed in a former school, a Black school that was segregated from 1902-1970. As with any Southern city, Black history is an important part of Thomasville, so stop by this museum to check it out! And with admission at just $5 for adults, this makes for an easy stop.
Tour Pebble Hill Plantation
Visiting Pebble Hill Plantation is probably one of the most popular things to do in Thomasville, Georgia. While it first began as a typical Southern Plantation growing crops and using enslaved people, in the late 1800s the estate was transformed into a hunting estate.
After the original house burned down in 1934, a new house was built in 1936, which is the house there today.
At Pebble Hill, you can visit the Main House and the grounds, which includes a variety of buildings.
I do want to be super honest and transparent about one thing here: I didn’t have time to go. So while I definitely wanted to mention it here as a thing to do, I can’t give you my thoughts or observations. I just wanted to put this disclaimer out because I know how important it is to consider how Southern Plantations treat their history, especially their treatment of enslavement, and I don’t know how Pebble Hill does it. Judging from the research I’ve done on their website, they definitely recognize it. But I don’t know about visiting in person, so just know that going in!
Wander Through the Rose Garden
Thomasville is known as Georgia’s Rose City, so of course we have to include seeing some roses in our list of things to do in Thomasville! If you are visiting in late April, you may be able to attend the Thomasville Rose Show & Festival. But if you are visiting at other times, you can still visit the Rose Garden. (Of course, keep blooming season in mind though…generally spring into summer and early fall.)
The Thomasville Rose Garden hosts a huge variety of beautiful roses with fun names and beautiful blooms. It’s also not extremely big, so it is easy to stroll through without committing a lot of your time to it.
When you visit, make sure to note the names of the flowers! They are all sorted into themed beds, including movie stars, holidays, heroes, and more.
The Thomasville Rose Garden is located in Cherokee Lake Park. Admission is free and it is open all day.
Go Birdwatching and Hiking at Birdsong Nature Center
If you are looking for an outdoor adventure in Thomasville, head to Birdsong Nature Center. Here you can hike on 12 miles of nature trails. And since this is “Birdsong” Nature Center, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, especially birds. In fact, there are several specific places to stop and watch for birds including a Listening Place and a Bird Window. But the whole area provides a unique place to experience nature in South Georgia!
Thomasville, Georgia may be a small town, but it offers so much to do, including great food, culture, and shopping. If you are looking for a perfect Southern weekend getaway, I don’t think you can go wrong with Thomasville.
One thing to note: we are in the South here, so several things will be closed on Sundays. But that is a perfect time to enjoy some of the outdoor offerings like the Rose Garden or Birdsong Nature Center!
We really loved our short trip to Thomasville. It was full of warm hospitality + lots of fun + learning opportunities, and I really hope I can go back one day!