The Georgia city of Stockbridge lies in Henry County, roughly half an hour southeast of Atlanta, the state capital.
Settled from 1829 onwards, Stockbridge officially became a town in 1895, but wasn’t incorporated into a city until 1920.
Now one hundred years young, the city of Stockbridge is well thought of by many in nearby Atlanta.
It manages to combine the laid-back atmosphere of a small town, while being within easy reach of the attractions of Atlanta and its wider metropolitan area.
Here are the 15 best things to do in and around Stockbridge, Georgia.
1. Aaron and Margaret Parker Jr House
Dating to the earliest days of Stockbridge, this home was built in 1830. One of the oldest structures in Rockdale County, it today stands within the area protected by Panola Mountain State Park, approximately 14km away.
It was constructed in the Plantation Plains style, of brick and clapboard wooden planks, and is one and a half stories high, but just one room deep.
An authentic farmhouse from the period, Aaron Parker and his wife farmed 1,200 hectares of land, and makes for an interesting stop for anyone planning to explore Panola Mountain State Park more widely.
2. Panola Mountain State Park
Sitting on the border between Rockdale and Henry counties, Panola Mountain rises 288m above sea level and just 80m over the surrounding Georgia woodland.
Covering 40 hectares, the mountain itself is an isolated upthrust of granite piercing the Earth’s crust. One of the most pristine mountain landscapes in the region, visitors to Panola Mountain experience a habitat unchanged since the time of the region’s native Americans.
Part of the wider Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, it has two lakes, picnic areas and a children’s playground.
When it comes to physical activity, the mountain summit can be reached by a ranger-led hike, while other attractions include geocaching, tree-climbing, and archery.
3. Martin Luther King Sr Heritage Trail
The father of Martin Luther King Jr was born and raised in Stockbridge. He is honoured with a short heritage trail which follows the old railroad tracks through the centre of the city.
He regularly attended services at Floyd Chapel Baptist Church, which was recognised as a safe place for African-Americans to worship going back to the late nineteenth century.
Once ordained, King Sr also gave his first sermon at Floyd Chapel, before moving to the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
A commemorative plaque on the exterior wall of Stockbridge City Hall details the legacy of the King family here.
4. Yule Forest Christmas Tree Farm
As the old saying goes, a Christmas Tree Farm is not just for Christmas, and that’s certainly true at Yule Forest.
While the full merriment of the festive period can be had during the Christmas season, Yule Forest is more than just a place to pick up a tree and enjoy some hot cider.
The farm is also well worth visiting at other times of year, and is able to boast one of the largest pumpkin patches in Georgia as just one of its additional attractions.
Elsewhere, there’s a petting zoo focussing on educating children about the realities of farm life, and a store where you can purchase locally made jams and other goodies.
5. Clayton County International Park
Part of the legacy of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Clayton County International Park was created to host the game’s beach volleyball competition.
As well as its beaches, the park has biking trails, football pitches and softball fields, and the possibility to enjoy a little fishing too.
However, if you visit for yourself, you won’t fail to miss the giant water slides that rise up above these other attractions from the water park here.
Clayton County International Park is located in Jonesboro, a similar distance from Stockbridge as Panola Mountain State Park.
6. Museum of Aviation
About 1.5 hours south of Stockbridge you’ll find the Museum of Aviation, which forms part of the large air force base located in the city of Warner Robins.
The second largest aerospace museum operated by the US Air Force, it is consistently ranked as one of the most popular attractions in Georgia.
With an exhibition area of 21 hectares, the museum is split between four different buildings and contains around 85 aircraft.
Covering the full history of powered flight, its most memorial exhibits date from the Cold War, and include a U-2 spy plane, and B-29 bomber.
There is also the world’s fastest aircraft, a Blackbird, which hit just over 3,500 kilometres per hour in 1976.
7. Lake Spivey
While not the largest lake in metropolitan Atlanta, Lake Spivey is one of the most striking. Its tranquil waters lie close to Jonesboro on the border between Henry and Clayton counties.
At almost 250 hectares in size, the lake is a favourite escape for local residents, who can take to the waters by boat or simply enjoy the surrounds from the lake shore.
What’s more, visitors are also able to explore the lake by jet ski, water ski, canoe, kayak, and with nothing more than a swimsuit to hand. A permanent water ski slalom course is located close to the dam which formed the lake in the 1950s.
Meanwhile, anglers might like to try their luck beating the all-time record for the largest black crappie caught in Georgia, which weighed in at almost two kilos.
8. Henry County Film Tours
This self-guided tour takes in locations in Stockbridge and a variety of other cities and sites in Georgia’s Henry County that have been the backdrop for Hollywood movies and television series.
Starting in Stockbridge itself, the quarries on the opposite side of the rail tracks to the Martin Luther King Sr Heritage Trail were used in both Furious 7, and also for several Wakanda scenes in Black Panther.
In nearby McDonough, the Presbyterian Church, old bank building, and Memorial Cemetery were used for series one of the television series Resurrection.
Hampton is another spot in Henry Country used for several different productions, including The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Smokey and the Bandit, and Spiderman: Homecoming to name just a few.
9. Newman Wetlands Center
The traditional image of Georgia is one of humid wetlands of filled with alligators and other exotic native creatures.
While this image is mostly seriously outdated, there are a few places where it’s still possible to explore the state’s traditional wetlands.
One is Newman Wetlands Center. An 800m raised boardwalk and crushed stone path dotted with interpretative signs help those new to wetlands understand their importance to the overall ecology of the state. They also highlight the local wildlife you should keep your eyes open for.
Other more basic hiking trails detour away from the main path for an even more naturalistic experience. The main entrance is just 20 minutes’ drive from Stockbridge.
10. Krog Street Tunnel
Heading into Atlanta proper, the Krog Street Tunnel should be high on the list of landmarks to check out for anyone with an interest in art.
While a road tunnel might not sound like a particularly promising place to see some of the city’s best artworks, the Krog Street Tunnel has become a haven for street artists.
The tradition of spraying graffiti over the short tunnel’s bare concrete walls is thought to have begun in the 1960s.
Now, almost all of it is covered by spray paint. What’s more, this isn’t a static artwork, but one that is constantly changing, meaning there’s always something new to see.
From Stockbridge the Krog Street Tunnel is roughly 30 minutes away, on the outskirts of downtown Atlanta.
11. Reynolds Nature Preserve
Reynolds Nature Preserve is located in Morrow, just half the distance from Stockbridge as the Krog Street Tunnel.
It largely consists of 59 hectares of protected forest, with five kilometres of hiking trails that take in the interpretation centre, wildlife ponds, a farm dating from the civil war period, and a wildflower meadow.
It became the property of the self-taught naturalist William Reynolds in the 1920s, and the wildlife ponds that exist today were created by him in the 1930s.
There is a newly-established butterfly trail with planting set out to lure in these wonderful insects, although the preserve is perhaps better known for its birdwatching opportunities.
12. Uptown Comedy Corner
Atlanta’s Uptown Comedy Corner has been a mainstay of the urban comedy seen for many years. performances have come from everyone from Chris Rock, who went on to host the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles, to Steve Harvey.
Also a great place to see the next big thing before the big ticket prices kick in, Uptown Comedy Corner continues to welcome nationally-recognisable comedians.
Audiences can be just as famous. Rappers SnoopDog and Jay Z have both made a night of it here.
Uptown Comedy Corner lies on the eastern edge of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, 24km north of Stockbridge.
13. Delta Flight Museum
Just up the road from Uptown Comedy Corner is the Delta Flight Museum, the perfect partner or a great alternative to the air force’s Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins.
Instead of fighter aircraft, the Delta Flight Museum is dedicated to the long and distinguished history of Delta Airlines and the various airlines that it has bought out over the middle decades of the twentieth century.
The museum’s vintage posters hark back to the golden age of travel, while its two hangars themselves date to the 1940s.
When it comes to exhibits, you can expect to see everything from tiny six-seater aircraft to the 767 that was the airline’s flagship for decades.
14. Fairlie-Poplar District
For a sense of what modern-day Atlanta is really about you have to leave the comedy clubs and museums behind.
A good place to start would be the city’s Fairlie-Poplar District, awash with buildings in a range of nineteenth- and twentieth-century architectural styles. Among them are the triangular flatiron building and the Healy building, the last major skyscraper constructed before the First World War.
The district is home to a huge and diverse number of cafes and restaurants from where you can people watch. To the north, you’ll also find the SkyView Ferris Wheel, offering views across Atlanta and Centennial Olympic Park.
15. Children’s Museum of Atlanta
It’s rare to find an attraction or landmark specifically intended to appeal to children unless it’s a play centre, which is where the Children’s Museum of Atlanta steps in.
Targeting audiences below the age of nine, the museum hosts lots of hands-on activities, led by a group of professional actors.
Short musicals mix with temporary and permanent exhibits with include Fundamental Farming, detailing the role of farms in a fun way.