If you’re trying to pinpoint it on a map, Douglasville lies directly west of Atlanta, which is approximately 32 kilometres away.
Founded in 1874, after the turmoil of the American Civil War, the city immediately became the county seat of Douglas County, with a central downtown area that remains largely unaltered from its Victorian origins.
A popular shopping district still today, the area is awash with homely bars and restaurants filled with southern charm.
Not far away you’ll find the natural beauty of various protected areas, while the bright lights of Atlanta are also beckon.
Here are the 15 best things to do in and around Douglasville, Georgia.
1. Douglas County Museum of History and Art
A perfect introduction to all Douglasville has to offer is the Douglas County Museum of History and Art.
It is located within the mid-twentieth century old courthouse building, which is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places as a rare survivor of the ‘international style’ of architecture.
Inside, visitors will find a series of exhibition cabinets and displays that help explain everything from the arrival of the first European settlers to often ignored African-American history.
You’ll also find memorabilia from the history of Coca-Cola, which was invented in nearby Atlanta, and artefacts relating to the medical and farming past of this region of Georgia.
2. Downtown Douglasville
Downtown Douglasville is important enough to have also made it on to the National Register of Historic Places.
It is recognised as a great example of a turn of the century southern railroad town, with the railway still cutting through its centre. Most of its buildings are therefore single or double storey buildings constructed from brick at the founding of the city in the late 1800s.
Predominantly Victorian in age and style, they stand directly on the sidewalks of the downtown area, while their brickwork includes detailing that ranges from the neogothic loved by the Victorians, to Queen Anne and even Italianate styles.
3. Douglas County Butterfly Trail
This nature trail is based on an idea first suggested by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, the wife of US President Jimmy Carter, who continues to live in his hometown of Plains, Georgia.
Inaugurated in 2016, the trail has been created to provide feeding and resting grounds for the North American monarch butterfly, which makes long migrations right across the country from Mexico and Florida to the border with Canada.
As a result, each garden along the trail is planted with warm and hot weather flowers to attract and support these beautiful insects.
There are 10 different locations within Douglasville that together form the county butterfly trail, including at the Woodie Fite Senior Centre opposite Douglas County Courthouse, and at Deer Lick Park.
4. Douglas County Cultural Arts Council
The Douglas County Cultural Arts Council is also listed as a site on the butterfly trail, but that’s not the only reason you should consider a visit.
The council runs a busy schedule of high-quality art and cultural events suitable for both children and adults throughout the year.
The council runs monthly arts exhibitions, book signings, and music concerts among a whole host of other events and classes.
It occupies the delightful Roberts-Mozley House, which was built in 1901 and was home to three city mayors and a senator before becoming the council’s permanent home.
5. Sweetwater Creek State Park
The ten square kilometre Sweetwater Creek State Park is located just 11 kilometres east of Douglasville.
Home to a large lake and winding stream, it contains 14 km of dedicated walking trails among the woods. These lead towards the shell of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company building, a mill destroyed during the American Civil War.
Dotted among its open spaces are 11 picnic shelters in which to relax, and places where it’s possible to rent kayaks to enjoy the park’s lake in all its glory.
At the award-winning visitor centre, you’ll also find a museum that details the area’s natural history, and the species you might encounter while enjoying all the park has to offer.
6. Douglas County Film Trail
This self-guided film trail takes visitors around many of the sites in Douglasville and Douglas County that have acted as backdrops to films and television shows.
Partly as the result of several studios being located nearby, the area has appeared in more than 700 different productions, among them the cult TV show Stranger Things.
The eagle-eyed will also recognise scenes from the Hunger Games trilogy, and The Walking Dead.
There are 11 sites highlighted with DC Film Trail signs, which include Sweetwater Creek State Park and many of the other locations we’re highlighting in our list of the best things to do in Douglasville, allowing you to make the most of your time in this charming city.
7. Containment Haunted House
Voted as one of the top haunted attractions anywhere in the United States not once but twice, and in successive years too, Containment Haunted House is a must for anyone who enjoys horror movies.
A live action event filled with heavily costumed and made-up actors, this house is also dotted with state-of-the-art special effects, interactive puppets, and other surprises that are sure to keep your heart in your mouth.
Never the same experience twice, once inside you’ll never believe that this house was been created out of 26 converted shipping containers.
8. Champ’s Clock Shop and Museum
This family-owned store has been a key part of Douglasville society since it first opened in 1967. Since its first days it has evolved to be more than a simple store selling all manner of clocks and timepieces.
Containing one of the largest and finest private clock collections in the world, the shop is also home to Earth’s largest functioning cuckoo clock, which stands four metres high and includes a full-scale stag’s head as part of its decorative carving.
Elsewhere, its tower contains a mechanism built in London, England in 1865. But be warned, spend five minutes looking at every object in the shop’s collection and you’ll have to reserve three days just for this one attraction.
9. Basket Creek Cemetery
Basket Creek Cemetery is another of Douglasville’s astounding things to do, combining multiple histories with a touch of the macabre.
Several times a year since the first bodies were interred in the 1880s, the congregation of Basket Creek Baptist Church have gathered to sweep the cemetery clear of grass and other planting.
Each grave continues to be marked by a pointed mound, a tradition that links the region’s native American people and African-Americans who can trace their ancestry back to West Africa, where this practice is common.
The cemetery also contains graves of around twenty civil war soldiers in the separate Chapman Family plot within the grounds.
10. Pine Mountain Gold Museum
Located in nearby Villa Rica, 16 km from Douglasville, this museum is the only one in Georgia located on the exact site where gold was found during the gold rush days of the late 1800s.
It also contains one of very few authentic gold stamping mills dating from the nineteenth century.
Beginning in the 450 square metre exhibition space, visitors are able to explore the remains of the actual gold mines where the precious metal was found.
You can then step aboard the Pine Mountain scenic railroad, which chugs its way around almost 11 hectares of parkland.
11. Clinton Nature Preserve
While in Villa Rica, you would do well to check out Clinton Nature Preserve. More than seven times larger than the park that surrounds Pine Mountain Gold Museum, this area of parkland melds woodland with grassy fields and tranquil ponds.
Among these distinct habitats stands Carnes Cabin, a home that predates the civil war. Built in 1828 out of wooden planks, the cabin is one of the oldest structures in the metropolitan Atlanta region.
A five-kilometre loop walking trail takes in all the park’s main sights, though this is equally a place to just come and relax.
12. Delta Flight Museum
Roughly 30 minutes from Douglasville by road, on the northern outskirts of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, is the Delta Flight Museum.
Housed within two giant hangars dating from the 1940s, this museum is dedicated to the last one hundred years of flight, during which Delta Airlines has been a key player in the development of aviation as a mode of transport.
As well as vintage posters and memorabilia, the size of the hangars means the museum is able to house several historically important aircraft.
Among them is an example of a six-seater used as one of Delta’s very first airplanes, which is a huge contrast to the giant 767-200 that was the airline’s flagship aircraft for the middle decades of the twentieth century.
13. L&R Alpaca Haven Farm
Few can resist the charms of the alpaca, a llama-like animal native to South America. At L&R Alpaca Haven Farm, you can get up close to these evocative animals, that look like the cross between a pet dog and a camel.
Regular guided tours are offered, while a farm store displays all sorts of goodies, both alpaca-related and those linked to this part of Georgia.
Learn the correct term for a baby alpaca (that would be crias), and why the alpaca’s wool is so sought after while enjoying being close to these lovable creatures.
14. Six Flags Over Georgia Amusement Park
Head northeast from Douglasville for roughly 12 kms and you won’t fail to see or hear the attractions of the 120-hectare Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park in the town of Austell.
It contains 11 rollercoasters, including one named Mind Bender, and another called Goliath, both of which are highly rated by those whose jobs it is to know a good rollercoaster when they see one.
Now also incorporating a three-hectare water park called Hurricane Harbor, the park contains several rides named after DC and Marvel comic book heroes, including Batman, Dare Devil, and Superman: Ultimate Flight.
The latter was the first Bolliger & Mabillard flying coaster built in the United States.
15. High Museum of Art
Branded simply as the High, the High Museum of Art is located in the Midtown district of Atlanta. A part of the Woodruff Arts Center, it was founded in 1905 and has one of the finest permanent collections of art anywhere in the US.
Its collection totals more than 17,000 individual works of art, which span genres as diverse as African tribal carvings and twentieth-century American folk art.
Housed within three separate buildings totalling 29,000 square metres, its interior space is lit with natural light, creating the best environment possible for viewing works that include those by John Singer Sargent, Claude Monet, and Auguste Rodin.