Conveniently right off I-75 and almost midway between Chattanooga and Atlanta, the city of Calhoun, Georgia, is the perfect stop for your next road trip. It has plenty of family-friendly fun, from farms to the historic downtown to one of Georgia’s coolest roadside attractions, and you won’t have to blow your vacation budget, either.
Here’s what you can’t miss when you’re in town.
Copper Creek Farm
If you’ll be in Calhoun during the summer or fall, you’ve got to visit Copper Creek Farm.
Their summer Sunflower Festival features fields of yellow blooms towering above you, for u-pick or just cool family photos. You can enjoy a taste of farm life, browse the old-timey general store and catch fireworks on select nights. Plus, there are plenty of kids’ activities: pig races, pony rides, an animated chicken show, corn pit, petting barn, slide and gem mining, among others.
In late September, the Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch opens. It includes many of the same activities as in the summer with some tweaks, such as a pumpkin cannon instead of a watermelon cannon and corn mazes and a pumpkin patch instead of sunflowers. If you’re traveling with teens, take the hayride to the back of the farm for the haunted corn maze, and be ready to scream.
New Echota Historic Site
This state historic site marks the beginning of the Trail of Tears, often discussed in history books but sometimes hard for kids to grasp. New Echota makes it real with restored and reconstructed buildings that show you the capital of the Cherokee nation as it was in the early 1800s. There’s a print shop, a courthouse, a store, barns and more.
Check out the film and exhibits in the visitors’ center. Then set off to explore the nature trails and historic sites. You can even go fishing.
Kids will be enchanted with this miniature creekside village featuring elaborate stone buildings, some taller than them. Adults, meanwhile, will have fun recognizing global landmarks like the Roman Colosseum and Notre Dame and taking lots of photos. There are even miniature people if you look closely.
The Rock Garden is located behind the Calhoun Seventh-Day Adventist Church and easy to find with GPS. There’s a gazebo and benches if you want to relax for a while, and volunteers are still working on the garden, so it’s different every time you go.
This is one of Georgia’s best roadside attractions, and it’s completely free to visit. A must when you’re in Calhoun!
Get a taste of the season (and show the kids food doesn’t come from the grocery store) with a stop by Fox Farm. It all starts with strawberries in the spring and continues with tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, zucchini, peaches, watermelon and more throughout the summer. Cooler weather brings pumpkins, mums and fall veggies like collards and cabbage.
In December, Santa makes an appearance alongside rows of picture-perfect Christmas trees awaiting their final home.
The Harris Arts Center
Located in a renovated 1930s hotel downtown, Calhoun’s art center offers up a host of artsy fun families can enjoy. There are theatrical productions, free exhibits and the incredible Roland Hayes Museum, which tells the little-known story of the gifted child of former slaves who grew up to become the first internationally-renowned African-American singer.
Parents traveling with younger kids can check out Toddler Friday at the Harris Arts Center for storytime, art projects and music. Other special events include the Festival of Trees at Christmas and the whimsically themed Children’s Tea Party in the spring.
Save some time to walk around historic downtown Calhoun. There are lots of great restaurants and shops plus seasonal decorations and events, depending on when you go.
Where to Stay
With all there is to do, you might want to extend your trip for a few days and explore more of the natural beauty of North Georgia. If so, the Holiday Inn Express Calhoun South is a great place for the family to relax and refresh. It’s just a few minutes from downtown and right off the interstate.
The hotel has all the amenities to make you comfortable: free Wifi, fitness center, heated indoor pool, laundry and, our favorite, the breakfast buffet with their mega cinnamon rolls. They’re also pet-friendly if Fido is road-tripping with you.
BBQ Boogie and Blues Festival
Usually a springtime affair, the 9th annual BBQ Boogie and Blues Festival was rescheduled to late September this year.
It includes a barbecue competition sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, family-friendly entertainment, arts and crafts, live music, plenty of food (of course) and more. Barbecue lovers can’t miss the People’s Choice BBQ Tasting on Saturday.
About the Author
Cheryl Rodewig is storyteller, marketer, and award-winning feature writer specializing in travel. Her Venn diagram includes minimalism, waterfalls, French, and the em dash. Find her at cherylrodewig.com or on Twitter at @cherylrodewig.