What do outdoor enthusiasts, film buffs, culture lovers and those with refined taste all have in common? They consider Douglas County, Georgia, their destination of choice. Less than 30 minutes west of Atlanta, you’ll find the freedom to explore outside the lines here. Spend an afternoon, a weekend or a week here and you’ll discover that there’s more than meets the eye in this corner of the Peach State. However, if you’d like the inside scoop on some of the area’s best-kept secrets, here are 10 hidden gems worthy of your time in Douglas County.
1. Sweetwater Creek State Park
As Georgia’s most visited state park, Sweetwater Creek State Park not only sets a high bar, but delivers. This gorgeous 2,500-acre wilderness paradise draws visitors year-round to fish, kayak, hike, camp, gather and play.
We highly recommend participating in one of the guided hikes by park rangers to better understand the flora, fauna and history of the park. Plus, guided hikes are one of the only opportunities to see inside the New Manchester Manufacturing Company ruins, a textile mill burned during the Civil War.
2. The Clinton Nature Preserve
If you prefer your parks au naturale, stop by The Clinton Nature Preserve. Donated to Douglas County by Ms. Annie Mae Clinton with specific directions to remain in its natural state as much as possible, you’ll find 200 acres of relatively untouched beauty.
For the history lovers, it’s only about a mile’s hike into the preserve to see Carnes Cabin, a Civil War residence listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But you’ll also find 10 miles of premium mountain biking (or hiking) trails, if that’s more your speed. Visiting with kids? Be sure to make your way to the Junior League ADA accessible playground, the first of its kind in Douglas County.
3. DC Butterfly Trail
You may know that butterflies are beautiful, but did you know they’re also essential? In addition to bees, wasps and flies, butterflies are pollinators, which the world’s food supply depends on. However, since 1990, 970 million butterflies have vanished due to herbicides. The DC Butterfly Trail is a unique way to not only preserve and protect them but give you the chance to experience them up-close in their natural habitat.
Douglas County currently has 10 public butterfly gardens that are recognized and registered with the National Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail. Whether you want to visit from a scientific perspective, or simply take a show-stopping selfie, you’re welcome to explore the trail.
4. Pine Mountain Gold Museum
There’s gold in them there hills! Commercially mined off and on for over 100 years, the Pine Mountain Gold Museum in Villa Rica is one of the longest running mining operations in the entire state. Young or old, everyone’s blood gets pumping when they think of what might lie just below.
As Georgia’s only gold museum located on the site of an actual gold strike, this is a fun way to experience local history and folklore at the same time. Besides walking through the 4,800-square-foot museum, you can pan for gold and gemstones, visit the petting zoo and even take a trip around the 27-acre park by train.
5. Foxhall Resort
If you’re more of a glamper than a camper, Foxhall Resort will be just your speed. As a “refined retreat for outdoor pursuits,” Foxhall Resort is less rustic, and more refined, than your typical walk in the woods.
The 1,100-acre estate features elegant accommodations, farm-to-table cuisine and a variety of sporting activities such as bass fishing, clay shooting ground, ATV rides and archery. Think of it like a summer camp for adults.
6. Douglas County Museum of History and Art
Local history comes alive at the Douglas County Museum of History and Art. Formerly the county courthouse, this unique building was re-purposed to highlight exhibits that reflect the life and times of its mid-20th century style, as well as items of regional and cultural significance.
Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to its distinctive architecture, the museum houses 12 exhibition rooms, a courtroom, conference room, gallery and gift shop. Past displays have included a tribute to veterans, a personal collection of Coca Cola articles, black history education and artifacts from early Georgia settlers.
7. Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville/Douglas County
For over three decades, the Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville/Douglas County has provided residents and visitors with high-quality events that deepen one’s love for the visual and creative arts. With a hefty mix of activities, programs, exhibits and classes, the hardest decision you’ll make is which to attend first.
The permanent collection showcases various mediums in the gallery and on the grounds, meaning you’ll always have something striking to look at when you stop by. Of course, the full calendar of events will also keep you busy, whether you’re in the mood for a book signing, concert, tea party, photography class or beer or wine tasting.
8. Champ’s Clock Shop & Museum
It’s always a great time to visit Champ’s Clock Shop & Museum! With the world’s largest and finest selection of clocks, this Douglasville curiosity is part store, part museum and part tourist attraction. Will time stand still or fly by as you walk through the aisles? You’ll have to tell us!
Browse, buy or get a much-needed repair, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another place quite like Champ’s Clock Shop & Museum. Delighting people since 1967, you can see the world’s largest real cuckoo clock, an 1865 tower clock, a 10-foot grandfather clock and, oh so much more. Be sure to stick around for the top of the hour!
9. Boundary Waters Park
The playground you didn’t know you were looking for, Boundary Waters Park is recreation heaven for individuals, families and groups. With athletic fields, horse trails, swimming pools, a fitness center and more, it’s a 500-acre wonderland for the active and those who want to be.
When the weather is good, saddle up a horse or lace up your shoes. Either way, get outside and enjoy it. Cold or rainy? The heated competition pool or therapeutic pool are just the ticket. This incredible facility will be one you’ll want to return to again and again.
10. Douglas County Film Trail
Douglas County has become a hub for the country’s television and film industry. In fact, over 700 movie and television productions have been filmed here! If you’re passionate about either the big or the small screen, you’ll want to explore the Douglas County Film Trail.
This self-guided tour features 11 locations that have been utilized over the past 40 years. In addition to some of the fantastic sites mentioned above, you’ll see an old jail, a mall, and a restaurant, among others. Are you a fan of “Stranger Things,” “The Walking Dead,” “Hunger Games” or “Ozark”? This excursion might be your next binge-watch.