15 Best Things to Do in Plains, GA

Plains, GA
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Situated in the northern part of Georgia's peanut belt, Plains is well known as the birthplace of Jimmy Carter.

He was a former President of the United States and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

This pretty little town with a colorful history is first and foremost a farming community.

Its primary agricultural products are corn, cotton, peanuts, and soybeans.

For the past decades, however, the town has earned renown for one of its beloved residents.

After all, not every city in the United States is the birthplace of a President or a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Plains is a town worth exploring, where you will find places and people proud of its past and present achievements.

If you plan to visit Plains soon, set aside at least a weekend.

Moreover, bring this guide for the best things to do in Plains, GA.

Explore the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site

Farm at Jimmy Carter National Historic Site
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A classic example of the cultural landscape of rural America awaits visitors at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site.

The park safeguards significant locations and buildings important to Jimmy Carter at various points in his life.

In addition to interpreting the presidency of Jimmy Carter, the site also presents the history of a small rural town in the South.

Interior of Carter family store at Jimmy Carter National Historic Site
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The park is home to several historically significant buildings.

One of them is the Plains High School, the official state school of Georgia.

In addition, this area is home to both the Boyhood Farm and a significant train depot.

Jimmy Carter spent his childhood on the Boyhood Farm, while he used the train depot as his campaign headquarters when he ran for president.

Although the Carter family continues to reside in Plains, the public can no longer access their private home.

Learn more about 20th century American history at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site.

Farm houses at Jimmy Carter National Historic Site
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Stop by Georgia Visitor Information Center - Plains

The Georgia Visitor Information Center is a great place to start planning your trip to Plains.

It’s also an excellent resource for learning about the city's most popular attractions.

The tourist information center in Georgia presents a wealth of information about the city of Plains.

The staff go out of their way to help you find the best places to visit.

You can also stroll the grounds, immaculately kept.

The Georgia Visitor Information Center in Plains also has a small gift shop to stock up on a few souvenirs and a map to help you navigate the city.

Visit Plains High School

Exterior of Plains High School
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Built in 1921, the Plains High School remained in operation until the town finally shut it down in 1979.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter received their diplomas from Plains High School in 1941 and 1944, respectively.

The Plains High School is now a part of the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, where you'll find both a museum and a tourist center.

A classroom in Plains High School
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The museum features a classroom remodeled and outfitted with vintage furniture, as well as a student hall and the principal's office.

Meanwhile, other areas in the museum have exhibits where you'll discover more about the Carters' lives in Plains.

The exhibits cover the Carters’ lives until after Mr. Carter ended his term as president.

You can also watch the video that tackles the life and accomplishments of Jimmy Carter, with accounts from the significant people in his life.

Auditorium in Plains High School
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Spend a Day at Jimmy Carter Boyhood Farm

Welcome sign of Jimmy Carter Boyhood Farm
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After you visit Plains High School, continue learning about a beloved former president by going to the farm where the former President grew up.

Earl Carter, Jimmy's father, owned the historic farm for almost two decades.

The young Jimmy Carter lived on this farm until he left for college in 1941.

Tthe authorities restored the farm to its 1938 appearance, giving it a rustic atmosphere.

A windmill at Jimmy Carter Boyhood Farm
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Stop and read the wayside exhibits at various points along the historic farm as you walk around.

Find scattered stations around the farm, and listen to audio recordings of Jimmy Carter’s stories of living in the farm.

Visitors can also tour Jimmy Carter's childhood home, Earl Carter's storehouse, a tenant house occupied by the Clark family, and other structures.

Join staff-led guided tours of the Jimmy Carter Boyhood Farm every Saturday and Sunday.

Likewise, you can check out the blacksmithing and boiled peanut demonstrations.

Wooden barn at Jimmy Carter Boyhood Farm
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Take a Selfie with the Jimmy Carter Peanut Statue

You can’t say that you’ve been to Plains, Georgia, without a selfie at its famous giant grinning peanut, the Jimmy Carter Peanut Statue.

Built in 1976, the massive peanut with a toothy grin has become a famous roadside attraction.

The builders put up the peanut to show support for Jimmy Carter during the 1976 presidential election.

The Jimmy Carter Peanut Statue stands at an impressive 13 feet, making it the largest goober in Georgia.

Throughout the years, the peanut statue has received several coats of masonry paint to protect it from the elements.

The residents of Plains regard it as an important landmark, and they have a great deal of affection for it.

Learn More about the Plains Train Depot

Exterior of Plains Train Depot
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The Plains Train Depot features a self-guided museum whose exhibits center on the presidential election of 1976.

Built in 1888, the Plains Depot is the city's oldest standing structure.

Since this facility highlights the political career of Jimmy Carter, the museum has become a well-recommended attraction.

History marker in front of Plains Train Depot
Bubba73 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stop by the Plains Depot if you want to learn more about Jimmy Carter's career as a politician.

The museum displays focus on Carter’s campaigns for president, state gubernatorial, and state senatorial positions, respectively.

Simply wandering around the Plains Depot will teach you about the successful political career of the former president.

You will have a lot of fun reading about the campaigns he ran in the past.

Visit the Billy Carter Museum

Exterior of Billy Carter Museum
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In 1954, Mill Jennings bought this building from Thad Jones and relocated it to its current position.

At one time, Jones' daughter used the space inside this building as a playhouse and a dance studio.

Billy Carter, the brother of former President Jimmy Carter, purchased the station from Mill Jennings in 1972.

In 1976, Billy's station gained notoriety across the country.

Journalists reporting on Jimmy’s presidential campaign used the station as their headquarters.

The location became an important landmark in the history of Plains.

In 1981, Billy decided to sell the station to his son-in-law.

Then, in 2008, the Plains Better Hometown program bought the building.

It eventually reopened as the Billy Carter Museum.

Visit the Billy Carter Museum to find Carter's wardrobe and his accolades from around the world.

You can also see Billy’s press coverage during the 1970s and 1980s.

Likewise, you can see personal items from his life as a husband, father of six children, grandfather, and his life in sobriety.

Learn Local History at the Historic Inn & Antiques Mall

Exterior of Historic Inn & Antiques Mall
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The Historic Inn & Antiques Mall dates back to around 1901.

Back then, the Oliver-McDonald department store occupied the space.

Later, they added a second story, which they used for a furniture store and a funeral home that Ross Dean ran.

In 1934, they sold two of the structures to Alton Carter.

At the time, he was in the process of establishing both the Plains Mercantile Company and the Plains Mercantile Bank.

In 1971, Hugh Carter's Antiques called this building home in its previous incarnation.

In 2002, the structure became the Plains Inn and Antique Mall, which is still in business.

You can find the Historic Plains Inn and Antique Mall on the street where Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter rew up.

With the Carters’ help, the town restored the Historic Plains Inn and Antique Mall.

Travel back in time and stay in one of the seven period suites, authentically furnished from the 1920s to the 1980s.

Inside this building, "every room is a history lesson."

Stroll the Plains Historic District

The old seaboard railroad depot at Plains Historic District
JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spend an early morning or afternoon walking along the Plains Historic District.

Explore streets and structures that have witnessed the town's colorful history.

In 1840, the area that would later become Plains, Georgia, was home to three distinct settlements.

Milton Leander Hudson was the first person to settle in Plains.

He donated land in 1885, which became the town site.

In 1888, Hudson donated more land, which became the train depot location.

Plains suffered economically due to the Great Depression, causing the town to revert to a sleepy Southern community.

However, things began picking up by 1976.

That year, Jimmy Carter became the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party of the United States.

Carter did not fade from the global scene after he left the presidency in 1981, too.

As a private citizen, he engaged in various projects to realize his ideals of public service and world peace.

Plains is now a peaceful small city that provides visitors with a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

It also offers the finest examples of Southern cuisine and hospitality.

Many tourists travel to Plains hoping to catch a glimpse of former President Jimmy Carter.

Explore this Southern town that was once home to the boy who would be president.

Find rich history at the Plains Historic District.

Follow the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail

Do you feel like taking a delightful walk through some of the most beautiful gardens in the city?

Put on comfortable shoes and follow the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail, winding through Plains.

The trail also features several small gardens located at various historic sites and businesses.

At the intersection of Main Street and Hudson Street, you will find a kiosk containing information and a map of the public gardens.

The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail aims to create a suitable habitat for butterflies native to the region.

Moreover, the trail focuses on providing a home for monarch butterflies.

You can find the first garden along the trail at the home of former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

Meanwhile, you can find the biggest garden along the trail at the Plains Visitors Center.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore Georgia Veterans State Park

A military vehicle at Georgia Veterans State Park
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Georgia Veterans State Park offers something for everyone with its educational museums, military and aircraft exhibits, and an 18-hole golf course.

Visitors to this park, located 34.8 miles from Plains, can take advantage of the park's many nature trails and a nearby beach.

Georgia Veterans State Park, which spans 1,308 acres, was established in 1946 as a memorial to the nation's military veterans.

The waters of Georgia Veterans State Park
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The park is located on Lake Blackshear, surrounded by one of the most beautiful Georgia golf courses, four miles of nature trails, and endless fishing, boating, and water recreation opportunities.

At this historically significant and naturally beautiful l park, you can rejuvenate your spirit, pay tribute to those who have served, and enjoy being outside.

Aircrafts at Georgia Veterans State Park
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See the Charles Lindbergh Monument

This monument in Americus, Georgia, is just 15.3 miles from Plains, and is worth driving 20 minutes to see.

The Charles Lindbergh Monument is a unique tribute to the history of aviation.

Likewise, the statue features an exquisitely detailed rendering of renowned aviator Charles Lindbergh.

The structure depicts Charles Lindbergh wing-walking to commemorate his historic first solo flight.

Wing-walking is a stunt he demonstrated at air exhibitions to raise money to buy a plane and fly solo.

In 1923, Charles Lindbergh completed a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

Georgia erected a monument in its honor in 1985, with lush landscaping as a fitting backdrop.

If you're looking for things to do outside of Plains, GA, take a detour to the Charles Lindbergh Monument.

Don't forget to take photos!

Discover the National Prisoner of War Museum

Exterior of National Prisoner of War Museum
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The National Prisoner of War Museum is in Andersonville, Georgia, 20 minutes from Plains.

This museum houses a collection of military artifacts and information on various wars, particularly from the perspective of prisoners of war.  

Visiting the National Prisoner of War Museum in Plains is a great way to learn about those who suffered internment as prisoners of war in World War II.

The grounds of National Prisoner of War Museum
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The museum is a somber reminder about the extreme demands war makes upon the soldiers.

If you want to understand how prisoners of war endured their unique hardship, you can also watch documentaries or feature films in the museum.

Skate at Stardust Skate Centers

Skating would be a great way to relax after a day of touring historical sites.

This is why you should make your way to Stardust Skate Centers, a facility that offers its customers the opportunity to have a fun time skating.

The Stardust Skate Center can keep everyone entertained thanks to its roller skating rink, arcade games, and food, all located in the heart of Albany, just a few miles from Plains.

Take a short drive outside Plains, and you'll find that the Stardust Skate Centers are among the most fun places to spend a night in the area.

If you get bored with skating for a while, there are also arcade games that you can play if you want to take a break from the rink for a while.

Trek to Providence Canyon

Scenic view of Providence Canyon
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When visiting Plains, don't miss a trip to Georgia's most scenic spot at Providence Canyon.

Located  34.7 miles from Plains, natural wonders like this one in southwest Georgia were formed by the erosion of soft, multicolored soils.

Many people refer to Providence Canyon as "Georgia's Little Grand Canyon" because of the numerous canyon-like formations and pinnacles that dot the landscape.

Hiking trail at Providence Canyon
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However, Providence Canyon should only be attempted by experienced hikers.

Several overlooks along the rim trail provide views of the canyon walls, where scientists have discovered 43 different shades of sand.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has designated the site as one of the state's "Seven Wonders." Providence Canyon State Park protects the site.

A hiker walking along a trail at Providence Canyon
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Final Thoughts

Plains, Georgia, is a fascinating stop to discover how a small town shaped a young man who would become president of the United States.

Likewise, the idyllic surroundings and historical sites make a visit to Plains both inspiring and enriching.

If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind experience in a small southern town, Plains should be at the top of your list!

You might even find more things to do in Plains, or in nearby places, when you arrive.