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Only in Cartersville: The best small-town weekend getaway in Georgia

Whether you’re after a romantic retreat or planning to bring the whole family, a weekend getaway in Cartersville, Georgia will exceed all of your expectations! Located north of Atlanta on I-75, this charming small town has a big personality and promises distinctive dining options, trendy shops, a spectacular historic downtown, a great live music scene and numerous recreational opportunities at and near Lake Allatoona. Cartersville is also home to world-class museums such as the Booth Western Art Museum and Tellus Science Museum, both of which have earned Smithsonian Affiliate status.

RELATED: The 15 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2022

With so much to do, see and explore, we’ve rounded up the must-visit spots for you to enjoy. Gather your belongings and disconnect from the rest of the world in Cartersville — easily one of the best cities for weekend trips in Georgia. We’ve got lots of ground to cover, so let’s get to it!

Where can I get breakfast or lunch in Cartersville?

Nagel’s Bagels: Follow the delicious aromas that will take you straight into Nagel’s Bagels! This local business proudly serves a variety of artisan bagels. Macon Bacon, Blueberry, Asiago Cheese and other flavors are available. Take your order to the next level with their breakfast sandwiches.

4 Way Lunch: Opened in 1931, 4 Way Lunch is Georgia’s oldest local restaurant. Believe it or not, this small diner has operated successfully without ever having installed a phone! 4 Way Lunch is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., beginning with breakfast and ending with lunch.

The Mule House: For the perfect lunch grub, look no further than The Mule House Wood Fired Pizza. With an extensive menu including The Veggie, New York Garlic, Chicken Bacon Ranch and more, you’re sure to find a pizza everyone will love.

Where can I shop in Cartersville?

RocknShop: Downtown Cartersville is your go-to spot for all of your shopping needs. Step back in time at RocknShop, an old-school vinyl record store, offering new and vintage records, band merch, guitars, tuners and even a classic jukebox for all to enjoy.

‘Tis the Season: You are sure to check everyone off your Christmas list at this one-stop shop. ‘Tis the Season celebrates Christmas year-round with its vast selection of ornaments, collectibles, Christmas trees, china and much more.

Southern Cove: Southern Cove should not be missed as you shop and stroll through Historic Downtown Cartersville. From unique gift options like mini arcades to gag gifts, home decor and apparel, get ready to shop ‘til you drop!

What are the must-see museums in Cartersville?

Cartersville is known as “Georgia’s Museum City” and is the smallest town in the country with two Smithsonian Affiliate museums. Here’s where you’re sure to find souvenirs to take home:

Booth Western Art Museum: View the world’s largest permanent exhibition space for Western art in the country and a special gallery of handwritten letters from every president of the United States. Visit sooner rather than later, as you don’t want to miss special rotating exhibits such as “Conserving America’s Wildlands: The Vision of Ted Turner – Photography by Rhett Turner,” currently on display.

RELATED: One of the country’s best art museums is just north of Atlanta

Tellus Science Museum: A fantastic, family-friendly museum that features the Weinman Mineral Gallery, massive dinosaurs, interactive activities like fossil digging and an out-of-this-world planetarium show.

RELATED: Best things to see and do at Cartersville’s Tellus Science Museum

Savoy Automobile Museum: Whether you’re just curious about cars or a full-on automobile enthusiast, this world-class museum will blow your mind! Learn about the history and beauty of automobiles through educational events and rotating exhibits.

RELATED: Hot rods, muscle cars and Fast Brass at the incredible Savoy Automobile Museum

What are some fun things to do in Cartersville?

Old Car City USA: Cartersville offers an eclectic mix of things to do, but nothing quite like the world’s largest known classic car junkyard, Old Car City USA. More than 4,000 cars and six miles of walking trails cover 34 acres of land. On display you’ll find the last automobile Elvis Presley owned!

Drowned Valley Brewery: At Drowned Valley Brewery, you’ll find 16 beers on tap, food trucks and music. They also offer a wide selection of to-go beers, so stock up!

Game of Throwns: Axe or knife? You choose! Next door to Drowned Valley Brewery, you’ll find Game of Throwns. Bring the whole crew and test your skills in a friendly axe-throwing competition.

What are some outdoor activities to do in Cartersville?

Outdoor enthusiasts, you’re in luck: Cartersville boasts beauty for days that can be experienced on land or in the water. Choose to spend your time outdoors at Lake Allatoona and the Etowah River hiking, boating or fishing. You can also head to Red Top Mountain State Park, a nature lover’s dream offering multiple hiking trails for all fitness levels. Pump up the adrenaline at Terminus Wake Park, where you can try your luck at wakeskating, water skiing and wakeboarding for the perfect thrill rides. LakePoint adds even more fun to your journey by offering 30 sports year-round, including volleyball, cheer, baseball, lacrosse and basketball.

What are some historical sites I can explore in Cartersville?

History buffs, save room in your itinerary for historical sights! From the ancient Leake Mounds and Etowah Indian Mounds to several locations honoring African-American history, including the George Washington Carver Park and Noble Hill Rosenwald School, Cartersville is steeped in history. Fun fact: The world’s first Coca-Cola outdoor wall advertisement is located in downtown Cartersville!

Where can I get drinks or dinner in Cartersville?

Enjoy some of the best sips in north Georgia’s wineries and tasting rooms around town. Then, head to downtown Cartersville, where you’ll find the best restaurants within walking distance of several museums and shops.

Maine Street Coastal Cuisine: During your weekend in Cartersville, savor the fresh delicacies served at Maine Street Coastal Cuisines. From prime rib to fish and chips, this mainstay won’t disappoint.

Table 20 Neighborhood Bistro: This modern American restaurant received the People’s Choice Award for Best Restaurant in 2022, as voted by residents and visitors. Our recommendation? Try the Georgia Trout!

Largos: Treat yourself to an unmatched dining experience at Largos. You’ll find artfully crafted dishes, creative cocktails and delicious wines!

Where can I stay in Cartersville?

When you’re ready to turn in, you’ll have plenty of lodging options, including hotels, bed and breakfasts and campsites. But have you heard of glamping? It’s all the rage, and we want to introduce you to a couple of spots you’ll want to consider for your next stay:

Red Top Mountain State Park: Not only does Red Top Mountain offer swimming and fishing areas, tennis courts and some of the best hiking trails around, but they recently renovated their cottages and yurts for the ultimate glamping experience! You’ll be in awe of the incredible views surrounding your yurt as it overlooks Lake Allatoona. A relaxing porch and a picnic table are available to you, and inside, you’ll be giving the “tiny house” lifestyle a try. The best part of all, a small glass roof dome allows for the best views of the night sky from the comfort of your bunk bed. On the opposite side of the park, you’ll find the luxury cottages tucked away in the peacefulness of nature. Go off the grid in one of the 20 cottages, which can accommodate up to 10 people and offer full showers and baths, a grill, cable, a fireplace and much more.

Barnsley Resort: Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and just a short drive from downtown Cartersville, sits Barnsley Resort, on 3,000 acres ready to be explored. This historic Southern estate offers breathtaking beauty and has been a longtime favorite for many thanks to its well-appointed guest accommodations. You can choose to stay in the Inn or in an English village cottage. The Inn has 55 cozy, welcoming guest rooms and suites, while the cottages are centrally located to all resort activities. Amenities include an 18-hole Jim Fazio-designed golf course and Golf Performance Center, three on-site restaurants, a luxury spa, Beretta Shooting Grounds, horseback riding and much more.

If you can manage to pull yourselves away from your cozy accommodations, a variety of events await. Click here to keep up with Cartersville’s events calendar. Needless to say, this getaway will be one for the books, and you’ll learn all about what makes Cartersville so loveable.

Welcome Center in Downtown Cartersville

Location: 1 Friendship Plaza Cartersville, GA 30120; Hours of operation: Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Website:; Contact: 770-607-3480

By Tellus Science Museum
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