Why Valdosta Georgia is one of the Best Places to Visit in the U.S.

Charming and almost unassuming at first sight, Valdosta in the south of Georgia is a fascinating insight into small town America while being a big experience and one of the best places to visit in the US at the same time. Known for Wild Adventures Theme Park and successful high school football teams, this fast emerging travel destination is overflowing with things to do and with so many attractions, it’s no wonder most travelers choose to stay for a few days to take in everything it has to offer.

Hidden gems and southern hospitality

Situated just off interstate 75, Valdosta is relatively easy to find and often a stopover for anyone road tripping along the east coast or between the cities Atlanta and Orlando. However, to say that this intriguing town is merely a stopover hardly emphasizes the true appeal, as further emphasized by exhibitions in the Turner Arts Center or Lowndes County Museum and the hidden treasures that can be found in the beautiful historical home, The Crescent. Although Valdosta is also known for some unique dining and food, for this town is quite often where travelers will stop for a meal and both The Bleu Cafe and the King’s Grill are perfect examples of why this is the case. She crab soup, artichoke lavosh and chicken salad croissant will tell you that the first of these is most certainly unique while the corn munch and blueberry muffin with ice cream will give you an idea of the southern experience you can expect in the latter. In fact, this is possibly where Valdosta really excels, for the warm welcome, friendly locals and genuine southern hospitality in general are really what make this town so endearing.

Things to do in Valdosta, GA

Another highlight in the “Azalea City” are the two main attractions, for Valdosta is also home to an incredible theme park and Grand Bay Wildlife area. Test your courage on Tasmanian River Rapids (in the summer), The Cheetah and many other adrenaline-fueled rides or just enjoy the atmosphere, Wild Adventures is a fantastic theme park which may not be on the scale of Disney but one that most certainly lives up to the expectations and promises an extremely fun day out. And then there is Grand Bay Wildlife Area where you can explore the swampy surroundings of Valdosta from a scenic boardwalk and marvel in safety at dragon flies, alligators, ducks and more before climbing the fire tower for some unforgettable panoramic views.

Intriguing and interesting in every way, this may seem like a very unassuming town at first and little more than a stopover en-route elsewhere but when you reach beneath the surface in this southern gem, you will quickly find that Valdosta Georgia is one of the best places to visit in the US and more than deserving of a few days.

 

Some useful information:

 

Where is Valdosta, Georgia?

Situated in the coastal plain in southern Georgia, Valdosta is almost halfway between Atlanta and Orlando with the nearest major city being Jacksonville.

What is the climate in Valdosta?

As with neighboring regions, Valdosta is known to be semi-tropical with warm to hot summers and mild to cold winters.

Why is Valdosta known all over the United States?

High School Football. Valdosta is renowned for having the most successful football teams in the country and it is here you will find the Valdosta High School Wildcats who have more victories than any other nationwide with more than 850 wins and no less than 7 championships.

For more information on things to do in Valdosta, go to: visitvaldosta.org

The Crescent

Valdosta Named First Cornerstone Community!

Mike Beatty, President and CEO of Great Promise Partnership, named Valdosta as the first Cornerstone Community in Georgia on Nov. 28 for their commitment to providing an educated and well-trained workforce and for achieving the Four Cornerstones of GPP Success, which are Political Leadership, Educational Leadership, Business Leadership and Community Leadership.

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“I’m proud to present this award to Valdosta as the first community in our state—and what will also be the first in the nation—as we seek to develop this program across the country,” said Beatty, who will meet in December with representatives from 13 other states. “It’s all four corners coming together to create a climate of success for our young people.”

Beatty, former Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, had a dream to help young people succeed by offering them up to two years of employment, job training, and an income as an incentive to finish high school. In 2013, Valdosta became the first community to embrace the program. Now in its fourth year, the GPP partners include Wild Adventures, Langdale Industries, Valdosta City Schools, City of Valdosta, eLead, and the Rainwater Conference Center.

“This is a proud accomplishment for our community, and we hope to grow these opportunities in our area for more young people to participate,” said Valdosta Mayor John Gayle. “This is a public/private partnership, made up of various industries in our community, who are doing the right thing and the best thing for our youth—and that is teaching them the fundamentals of success.”

Paris Cole, a senior at VHS, said it is more than just earning a paycheck. Some things, she said, money just cannot buy.

“I have appreciated the experience of working in the Human Resource Department at the city and the advice on how to get along in the ‘real world’,” said Cole. “I have come out of my shell and have learned some important job skills and how to better interact with adults.”

Students work part-time around their school schedules, gaining real-world experience and job training while also earning a paycheck. The program, with a 98 percent success rate, is having a significant impact. In fact, since its inception, more than 300 graduates from the 30 different locations across the state have graduated and have either gone on to college, into the military or into the workforce full time.

“This is a great program, and it is a great promise for young people who apply themselves, set goals, complete their education and prepare themselves for a successful future,” said Valdosta City Manager Larry Hanson. “We are proud to be the first local government in the state to participate as a GPP partner and proud to be a part of this collaborative commitment to our youth and their future.”

The City of Valdosta employs students in several city departments, such as Engineering, Planning and Zoning, Inspections, Permits, Finance, Main Street, Public Information, Human Resources, Neighborhood Development and Police. The local government organization plans to hire additional interns to work in the Public Works Department’s recycling division, as well.

Wild Adventures, who employ hundreds of high school students throughout the year, is a proud GPP partner.

“Why wouldn’t we support this program? What could be better than a workforce that is readily available to us and that has the support of the school system and the community behind it? You couldn’t ask for a better situation,” said Wild Adventures General Manager Molly Deese.

With 1,300 employees scattered over 23 affiliate companies, Langdale Industries is also witnessing many benefits from the GPP program. Human Resource Director Mark Wilson said the GPP program fits into their aggressive workforce development process.

Many of their staff members will likely be retiring in the next five to seven years. The company works closely with the school system to provide part-time employment that helps pave the foundation for work ethics while providing real growth opportunities for local youth.

“Valdosta’s commitment to an educated and well-trained workforce is a model that we hope other communities across Georgia will follow,” said Beatty. “It is paramount that other communities follow Valdosta’s lead by encouraging public and private sectors to join in their support of student success, which is truly a win-win for all involved and a necessity for our shared future.”

gpp-cornerstone-community

IN PHOTO: Mike Beatty (center), President and CEO of Great Promise Partnership, presented the first-ever Cornerstone Community designation to Valdosta during a public event on Nov. 28. Accepting the award are GPP partners (from left) Human Resources Director Mark Wilson of Langdale Industries, Chef Joel Cologne of the Rainwater Conference Center, City Manager Larry Hanson, Mayor John Gayle, VHS Principal Dr. Janice Richardson, VHS Assistant Vice Principal Chris Chastain, Valdosta City Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Cason, and Wild Adventures General Manager Molly Deese.

 

For more information on GPP, please visit www.gppartnership.org.

Black Friday Shopping Times for Stores In Valdosta

Valdosta has some of the best shopping for miles around. Come shop in the heart of South Georgia and get some great deals for Christmas!

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Black Friday (and Thursday) Shopping Times:

• Sears, located in the mall: closed Thursday and open 5 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday.

• Belk, located in the mall: 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Thursday and 6 a.m.-10 p.m Friday.

• JCPenney, located in the mall: 3 p.m.- midnight Thursday and 12:01 a.m.- 10 p.m. Friday.

• Kohl’s, 1511 Baytree Road: 6 p.m.- midnight Thursday and 12:01 a.m.-midnight Friday.

• Michael’s, 1200 N. St. Augustine Road, Suite C: 6 p.m.- midnight Thursday and 7 a.m.- 10 p.m. Friday.

• Hobby Lobby, 1000 N. St. Augustine Road: closed Thursday and open 6 a.m.- 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

• Shoe Carnival, 1705 Norman Drive, Suite B: 6 p.m.- midnight Thursday and 6 a.m.- 9:30 p.m. Friday.

• Toys “R” Us, 1200 N. St. Augustine Road, Suite B: 5 p.m.-midnight Thursday and 12:01 a.m- 11 p.m. Friday.

• Rack Room, 1200 N. St. Augustine Road, Suite E: 5-11 p.m. Thursday and 7 a.m- 10 p.m. Friday.

• Lowe’s, 1106 N. St. Augustine Road: closed Thursday and open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday.

• Home Depot, 825 Norman Drive: closed Thursday and open 6 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday.

• Dollar General: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday and 7 a.m.- 9 p.m. Friday.

• Rite Aid, 3200 N. Oak St. Ext.: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday.

• CVS, 2205 N. Ashley St.: open 24/7 Thursday and Friday.

• Academy Sports + Outdoors, 455 Norman Drive: closed Thursday and open 5 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday.

• Gander Mountain, 278 Norman Drive: 8 a.m.-midnight Thursday and 5 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday.

• Walmart will be open 24/7, but its Black Friday Deals will begin 6 p.m. Thursday.

• Sam’s Club, 450 Norman Drive: closed Thursday and open  7 a.m. for plus members and 10 a.m. for regular members to 9 p.m. Friday.

• Family Dollar: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday.

• Save A Lot, 808 Madison Highway: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday.

• Big Lots, 3103 N. Ashley St.: 7 a.m.-midnight Thursday and 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday.

• Fred’s, 4401 Bemiss Road: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday.

• Walgreen’s: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

• Office Max,1530 Baytree Road: closed Thursday and open 6 a.m.-9 p.m Friday.

• Ulta, located in the mall: 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday and 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday.

• Tractor Supply, 1000 N. St. Augustine Road: closed Thursday and open 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday.

• Target, 1815 Norman Drive: 6 p.m.-midnight Thursday and 12:01 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday.

• Bed Bath and Beyond, located in the mall: closed Thursday and open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday.

• Best Buy, 1705 Norman Drive: 5 p.m.-midnight Thursday and 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday.

• Badcock Home Furniture and More, 3406 North Valdosta Road: closed Thursday and open 9 a.m.-7p.m. Friday.

• Books-A-Million, 1705 Norman Drive: 4 p.m.-midnight Thursday and 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday.

• PetSmart, located in the mall: closed Thursday and open 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday.

• Winn-Dixie: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m.-10 p.m Friday.

• Publix: closed Thursday and open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday.

• Harbor Freight, 3111 N. Oak St. Ext.: closed Thursday and open 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday.

• T.J. Maxx,1200 N. St. Augustine Road, Suite A: closed Thursday and open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday.

• Ross, located in the mall: 6 p.m.- midnight Thursday and 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Friday.

• Old Navy, located in the mall: 4 p.m.-midnight Thursday and 12:01-10 p.m. Friday.

• GameStop, located in the mall: closed Thursday and open 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday.

• GameStop, 3268 Inner Perimeter Road, Suite D-1: closed Thursday and open 5 a.m-9 p.m. Friday.

 

*Source: Please visit Valdosta Daily Times

Inside Valdosta’s $1.5 Million Home for Sale.

Looking to move to Valdosta? Here is one option for you to buy for only $1.5 Million.

Elegant, high quality home with water frontage at Cherry Creek North. Extreme ceiling heights and expansive crown moldings throughout. This cook’s kitchen feature double ovens, warming drawer and Subzero refrigerator. The kitchen is open to the family room and both areas open to the terrace leading to the pool. Back inside, there is a full bar and Butlers pantry between the kitchen and dining. The master suite features a stone two-sided , gas log fireplace and a master bath to be unequaled. One guest room is downstairs, as well as an office or library. Upstairs are two additional bedrooms, each with walk in closets and nooks for reading or additional sleep space. Also there is an upstairs playroom and on the 3rd floor an additional bedroom and bath. The resort like pool, spa, travertine decking, terraces, lake and 30 x 30 pool house, will make you never want to leave home. 

*Source Zillow