If you’re into golf or tennis, chances are you’ve heard of Callaway Gardens in the charming Georgia town of Pine Mountain. Located an hour southwest of Atlanta, Georgia, since 1952 thousands of visitors trek to the 6.500-acre year-round Georgia escape to breathe in the mountain air, connect with the natural setting, and simply enjoy a getaway.
Callaway Gardens offers several on-site accommodation types: the Mountain Creek Inn, Southern Pine Cottages, Mountain Creek Villas and Vacation Homes. Overnight rates for the preceding accommodations include Gardens admission, Fitness Center use and Wi-Fi access. In addition, travelers can stay at the nearby off-site luxury resort, the Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens.
Although Callaway Gardens offers championship golf courses and tennis courts, the vision of Cason J. Callaway and his wife Virginia Hand Callaway was to offer more than a round of golf or an few hours of tennis. This legendary pristine paradise also features botanical gardens, butterfly conservatory, nature trails, zip line, and special events, all as much a part of the Georgia landscape as Speckled Heart grits and toast layered with muscadine jam.
Opening first as the Ida Cason Gardens, the non-profit family-style golf and tennis resort was created from dormant cotton fields with man-made landscape in a unique natural setting, eager to connect man with nature in his beloved gardens. Today, thousands of visitors trek to this pristine paradise to breathe in the fresh mountain air, sweet aroma of his botanical gardens, glimpse wildlife, and simply enjoy a getaway.
Getting to Callaway Gardens is a short scenic drive from Atlanta’s stifling city traffic, which quickly sets the stage with its tree-lined interstate through the southernmost foothills of the vibrantly green Appalachian Mountains. Locating Callaway Gardens’ accommodations proved more difficult than I’d anticipated and mobile phone service was sketchy. Once you arrive in this Mayberry-esque town, the question becomes where to Stay in Callaway Gardens.
The Southern Pine Cottages
The Southern Pine Cottages are aptly named for the towering pine trees surrounding the cluster of secluded neighborhoods of cottages. The smoke-free Cottages consist of 155 one or two bedroom getaways, with a living and dining area, kitchen, fireplace, screened porch and deck. Disconnect is easy when surrounded by Mother Nature, but for those who don’t have that option, free WiFi is available in the cottages.
For your golf getaway, the Cottage is a short 5-minute drive to the courses, providing ample space to store your clubs and kick back after your game. For family vacations, the Southern Pine Cottages are also ideal to give the entire family plenty of elbow room and then come together in the living and dining area. For multi-generational families, gather together in the neighborhoods and book several cottages within steps of each other.
The Mountain Creek Inn
In 2013, the Mountain Creek Inn, underwent a much needed complete renovation breathing life into the dated accommodations. When this historic inn opened in 1956, it was the largest hotel on the U.S. Highway 27 main route between Chattanooga, TN and Tallahassee, FL.
The renovation includes 245 brand new rooms and suites, with queen or king beds – again with free WiFi access. Amenities include swimming pool, fitness center and the newly renovated Plant Room Restaurant and the Vineyard Green.
Mountain Creek Villas and Vacation Homes
Near Mountain Creek Inn and scattered throughout Callaway Gardens, guests can opt for a home-away-from-home option with spacious Mountain Creek Villas and Vacation Homes. A more spacious option than the Southern Pine Cottages, floor plans vary but are truly a home-away-from-home option.
Lodge & Spa at Callaway Gardens, Autograph Collection
In addition, visitors to Callaway Gardens can opt to stay at the nearby off-site luxury resort, the Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens. Located within Callaway Gardens, the Lodge & Spa offers 150 upscale guest rooms and suites with Marriott’s Autograph Collection stamp of luxurious bedding and décor. Hotel rooms also feature balconies offering views of Callaway Gardens landscape and forests. With on-site dining, swimming pool and spa, this luxury resort truly offers an extravagant yet affordable Georgia escape, with rates starting at $189 per night direct and at the Marriott site or at Expedia.
So much to do in Callaway Gardens
You’ll discover quickly that rental cars are a necessity in navigating the Callaway Gardens’ thousands of acres overflowing with an abundance of things to do in Georgia. Most visitors start at the Virginia Hand Callaway Discovery Center, a 35,000 square foot facility offering guests an overview of what’s happening at the Gardens, an auditorium, exhibit hall with rotating displays, and Discovery Café, one of eight dining options within the Gardens, ranging from casual to fine dining.
Outdoor adventuers are also steps away. Choose from water skiing, tennis, fly fishing, biking, and hiking, and even a flying circus. Or take your adventure up, up and away at Callaway’s newest attraction, the TreeTop Adventure, an aerial challenge course with zip lines, swinging bridges and logs. Other worthwhile attractions include the Birds of Prey program, the John A. Sibley Horticultural Center, and the glass-encased Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, home to approximately 100 species, totaling 1,000 butterflies.