Thomasville, a quintessential charming Southern town, is only a few hours north of Florida’s beautiful beaches and 45 minutes from Tallahassee. Years ago, during a road trip, I passed through and stopped for a delightful lunch at Jonah’s Fish & Grits. As I roamed downtown, I quickly found myself captivated by the allure of Thomasville. This enchanting place has kept me coming back numerous times, drawn by its delectable cuisine, locally-owned quality shops, and unique accommodations. I am thrilled to share my ultimate guide to Thomasville, Georgia, for those considering a visit.
Best Things to See and Do in Thomasville
Welcome to Thomasville, Georgia—a city full of culture, history, and charm! This southern town will surely capture your heart with its 19th-century Victorian buildings, small shops clustering the brick-lined downtown area streets, and hospitable locals. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Thomasville that we always enjoy.
Taste of Thomasville Food Tour
The Taste of Thomasville Food Tour is an exciting opportunity to explore downtown Thomasville, Georgia, while immersing yourself in its rich history. Indulge in a variety of delectable dishes from local restaurants and gain insight into the captivating past of Thomasville with Debra Smith, a retired educator and spectacular tour guide.
This three-hour tour involves about a mile of walking, goes rain or shine, and is $45 per person. Reservations are required. The Children’s Food Tour, Victorian Sweets, and the Taste of Thomasville After Hours are also available.
During your tour, you may visit esteemed establishments like A.J. Moonspin Pizza, Jonah’s Fish & Grits, Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop, Grassroots Coffee Co., and George & Louie’s Restaurant. As someone who appreciates fine cuisine, I particularly enjoyed the flavors of crispy fried green tomatoes and succulent shrimp & grits.
Thomasville Rose Garden
Located in the charming “City of Roses,” the Thomasville Rose Garden is a captivating destination that should not be missed. This extraordinary garden is nestled adjacent to the picturesque Cherokee Lake Park and boasts over 1,500 rose bushes.
Each garden bed is thoughtfully themed, featuring tributes to heroic figures such as the resonating “Let Freedom Ring” and “We Salute You” and renowned personalities like the iconic Barbra Streisand and the legendary Elizabeth Taylor.
For an unforgettable experience, plan your visit to Thomasville during the Rose Show Festival, a cherished tradition since the 1920s, held on the fourth weekend in April.
Downtown Thomasville Shopping and Quail Hunting
Our comprehensive guide to Thomasville, Georgia, showcases a delightful array of retail boutiques that are sure to captivate any shopper. From clothing to gifts, souvenirs to housewares, children’s items to books, these downtown shops offer a diverse selection to suit every taste.
Notable establishments include Firefly, renowned for its unique gifts, books, and knick-knacks, as well as Harden’s Taxidermy, The Bookshelf (my favorite bookstore in Georgia!), The Shoe Box, and Kevin’s Fine Outdoor Gear & Apparel. Immerse yourself in a shopping experience like no other in Thomasville; of course, there are plenty of antique stores.
Downtown Thomasville offers the exciting opportunity to discover 12 hidden bronze quail while exploring Jackson Street. This engaging activity is perfect for children and adds a touch of fun to a shopping trip. Remember to grab a scorecard from the Thomasville Visitor Center, which provides helpful hints.
Remember that some quail may be more challenging to spot than others.
The Big Oak
Experience a rare delight in Thomasville as the town offers you a complimentary gift during your visit. Standing tall since 1685, the magnificent Big Oak, with its impressive 26-foot circumference, has welcomed esteemed visitors, including President Eisenhower.
Capture a moment in front of The Big Oak and simply ring (229) 236-0053 to activate the camera installed across the street. Shortly afterward, you can download your cherished picture through the Big Oak’s website, categorized by the month of your visit.
Unique Museums and Historic Homes
Pebble Hill Plantation, spanning 3000 acres, is an exquisite mansion famous for its vast collection of antiques, renowned artworks, and sheer grandeur. Operated by a foundation, it preserves the spectacular home of Elisabeth “Pansy” Ireland Poe, a remarkable individual known for her passion for sports, horseracing, philanthropy, and gardening.
Pebble Hill brings all these facets of Pansy’s life to vivid reality. The tour commences with a concise 10-minute video, providing a captivating overview of the plantation’s rich history. Subsequently, visitors can explore the 29-room mansion and its meticulously maintained grounds. Don’t miss the horses and maze, and inside, the lovely Louis Vuitton storage trunks.
In the heart of Thomas County, Georgia, the Thomasville History Center awaits with its treasure trove of antiquities, artifacts, and memorabilia, shedding light on the early life of this vibrant region. Among its notable attractions are the Rufus Smith Log House, which dates back to 1870, the Roberts Garage housing two Model T’s, an antique fire engine, various carriages, and the intriguing 1896 private bowling alley.
We all know and love Flowers Foods bread (Dave’s Killer Bread, Nature’s Own, Sunbeam), but did you know you can learn a lot of fun facts about this brand in Thomasville, headquartered here since 1919? Check out the Flowers Heritage Center and Bakery Museum, dedicated to the nation’s second-largest bread producer with $4.8 billion in sales.
The Lapham-Patterson House considered one of Thomasville’s most elegant Victorian homes, showcases unparalleled craftsmanship and served as the winter residence of Charles Lapham. It is a testament to the builder’s boundless imagination, innovative engineering, and exceptional artistry. This architectural gem is a National Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Where to Eat in Thomasville
You are sure to find lots of palate-pleasing dining options in Thomasville. While most restaurants are locally-owned and sourced close to home, they also offer delectable Southern cuisine and some creative options.
Sweet Grass Dairy
If you’re familiar with Southern cooking magazines, you’ve likely come across Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop. While renowned for their dairy cheese selections, they also serve fantastic lunch and dinner items.
I suggest first indulging in the Taste of Thomasville cheese board, featuring four cheeses, roasted Schermer pecans, 2 Blackberry Patch preserves, crackers, and house B+B pickles. My cheese choices are always Sweet Grass’s Asher Blue, Green Hill, the award-winning Pimento, and Thomasville Tomme, which I see all over the country.
Then, enjoy a nice glass of wine that can pair nicely with the tasty Steak Frites with two house-made dipping sauces.
Jonah’s Fish & Grits
Jonah’s Fish & Grits is an iconic restaurant in Thomasville. It is renowned for its delicious dishes, friendly service, and humble owner who shares a joint mission with the local community. Their menu features Southern staples and fresh seafood plates, with the Shrimp & Grits being a standout dish recognized as one of Georgia’s 100 Plates Locals Love.
I haven’t had anything there I didn’t totally fall in love with, but my favorites are the cajun shrimp & grits and pineapple bourbon chicken with collards and white cheddar grits. Nom! Jonah’s is closed on Sundays.
See where to eat in North Georgia in this popular post.
Liam’s fits the bill for where to eat and drink, because they have impeccably curated food, meat, and cheese menus, and a second-to-none craft cocktail list. Liam’s offers creative dishes in a lively atmosphere.
Regardless of what you order, it will be delicious, but by all means, start with a charcuterie board, including three meats, mustards, and house-pickled vegetables. Save room for one of the primo desserts.
Happy hour is Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 7 PM at Liam’s. They are closed on Sunday and Monday.
Sass! Restaurant, housed in the old train station, has a killer selection of quintessential Cajun and Southern eats. The dirty rice dressing, Sisters’ cajun fried oyster basket, and baked pimento cheese dip are fantastic. Still, save room for the house specialty, Eleanor’s Pound Cake: A La Bananas Foster with vanilla ice cream.
Located in Downtown Thomasville, The Q Cafe is a popular eatery that I highly recommend for breakfast. Indulge in dishes like the Low Country Benedict or the Farmer’s Pride, accompanied by creamy gravy and perfectly paired with their cathead biscuits. The service is commendable, adding to the overall dining experience.
Where to Drink in Thomasville
Thomasville is a force to be reckoned with— it is an ultimate getaway for the weekend, holiday, special occasion, or girls’ outing. You’ll find them all here, from Italian sodas and a perfect cup of Joe to mind-blowing cocktails and nice wine selections.
Grassroots Coffee Co. on Broad Street is one of my favorite Southern coffee shops, where people from all walks of life and ages gather in this welcoming establishment. Their menu offers a variety of options, including coffee, tea, espresso, house-made pastries, bagels, and cookies. For those who don’t drink coffee, consider a refreshing Italian soda with many flavors.
Farmer’s Daughter Vineyards
Visit Farmer’s Daughter Vineyards for a wine flight experience in their beautiful tasting room. They offer an excellent selection of wines and fun chocolate and cookie wine pairings. Elevate your wine tasting with their assortment of cheese, crackers, and cookies.
Need suggestions for which wines to try? My favorites are Hellraiser, a Riesling-style white, and Knockout, a Pinot-style red.
Where to Stay in Thomasville, Georgia
Thomasville’s South Eden Resort plantation, constructed in 1825, holds significant historical value as the site of the first private showing of “Gone With the Wind” in its Showboat Theater. Presently, South Eden stands as a distinguished resort venue and luxury retreat, boasting an array of accommodations, including cottages and guest suites.
Its offerings extend beyond lodging, featuring an exquisite indoor 1934 Pool House, spa facilities, and versatile meeting rooms. My daughter and I held our first Southern Travelers Explore conference there in 2020 and had a fabulous time. The beautiful property, stunning rooms, and historical elements blew away all our attendees.
Thomasville, Georgia: A Town You’ll Love!
Thomasville, Georgia, is a charming Southern gem that offers a myriad of incredible hosts, sites, foods, and activities for the whole family to experience. From picturesque Victorian storefronts to quaint brick streets, this destination’s delightful and laid-back ambiance is sure to captivate your senses.
Enjoy all that Thomasville has to offer and create unforgettable memories.
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