100 miles southwest of Atlanta, Columbus is the third-largest city in Georgia (although claims have been made that this distinction goes back-and-forth with Augusta). The humid, subtropical climate makes it a great year-round choice for outdoor activities, especially water-based adventures during much of the year. It’s a thriving city, filled with varying museums and places to eat, and perfect for a long weekend of fun! There are so many outdoor activities and things to do in Columbus, GA!
White Water Rafting
The course in Columbus is the longest urban whitewater rafting in the world! Named “One of the Top 12 man-made Adventures in the World,” rafting on the Chattahoochee, can consist of Class II to Class V rapids, depending on the time of day. Water is released from the dam at different intervals, creating a different experience on the 2.5-mile run.
Russell, our California-surfer-looking Whitewater Express guide, must have drawn the short straw. Two of our five all-female team had never been rafting before. And then there was me…
“Just so you know, my friends left me for dead when we kayaked on the Flint River,” I said. “So I’m claiming the ‘wimp seat,’ wherever that is on the raft.”
“That’s where I sit,” Russell said, deadpan.
“One more thing,” I said. “We’re okay with getting wet, but we don’t want to flip over.”
The rafting trip was an absolute blast! While Russell didn’t navigate us away from the rough water, he always kept our raft right-side-up.
“When I yell ‘hot tub,’ sit down on the floor of the raft like you’re in a… hot tub,” he’d told us.
He yelled out those directions several times. We screamed, but it worked.
I’ve been whitewater rafting in Thailand, Santa Fe, and South Carolina, but this was my first urban course. It’s surreal to be experiencing whitewater with a cityscape as a backdrop!
Float on the Lazy River
About ¾ of the way down during our whitewater rafting experience, we arrived at a point in the course where the water was pretty calm. Russell told us that if we wanted to slip over the side, we could float down for a way, lazy river style.
“Just keep your toes pointed up,” he said. “There are rocks. You don’t want to lead with your head.”
I was a little apprehensive at first. My head may not be as attractive as it once was, but it’s the only one I’ve got. But the adrenaline junkie part of my personality took over – as it usually does – and over the side I went.
So fun! And no mishaps to report.
Zip Line to Alabama
Zip the Hooch! That’s when you start a zip line in Columbus, Georgia, zoom across the Chattahoochee River, and land in Phenix City, Alabama. Okay, I made that up – the name, not the zipline.
Amelia, our guide from Blue Heron Adventure, got us strapped into our harnesses and then off the ledges we jumped, zooming on several lines, up to 40 mph.
Upon arrival in Phenix City, Alabama there’s an optional treetop obstacle course with a total of 10 challenges, from easy to difficult.
Then, it’s a zip back across the river into Columbus, Georgia again.
The zip is safe and fun for all ages. Don’t forget to yell “Yeehaw!”
Pasaquan is a quirky visionary outdoor art exhibit created by Eddie Owens Martin better known as St. EOM (pronounced ohm). He worked on his personal utopia for 30 years. There are six major structures and more than 900 feet of ostentatiously painted walls using a fusion of styles such as pre-Columbian Mexico, African, and Native American.
CNN named Pasaquan one of “16 Intriguing Things to See and Do in the U.S. in 2016.”
I was fascinated and spellbound as soon as we pulled into Pasaquan. My first thought was that it reminded me of Antoni Gaudi’s Guell Park, a similarly eccentric art environment in Barcelona, Spain.
The exuberance of colors and a vast array of cultural and spiritual images make Pasaquan one of the best places in the world for photography.
Canopy Suspension Bridge
Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center provides exhibits, natural history and ecology of the region. But by far, the most fun part is the Canopy Trail.
The bridges are around 35 feet from the ground, leading to three different platforms. The views of the wetlands from the platforms are incredible. The center provides binoculars, for opportunities to see wildlife such as vultures, turtles, deer, and ducks.
Take note that the more people who enter the bridge, the more it will swing from side to side!
The RiverWalk is an outdoor 15-mile path squeezed between the banks of the Chattahoochee River and the downtown Columbus cityscape. It’s well-maintained and beautiful any time of day or night.
Historic markers are placed along the path to be viewed by walkers, joggers, bikers, or skaters.
Editor’s Tip: You’ll need fuel for all those adventures! Here are my favorites…
Breakfast: Biscuit Beignets at Plucked Up and Quiche Lorraine at My Boulánge French Cafe
Dinner: Shrimp and grits or chicken and waffles at rustic/contemporary 11th & Bay Southern Table
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About the Author
Patti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning blog Luggage and Lipstick. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials.” Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal.