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Located in the state of Georgia is the Macon Destination, encompassing cities on the outskirts of Atlanta. Notable cities in the region include Columbus, Fayetteville, Newnan, LaGrange, Fort Valley, and Macon, the latter of which is the destination's namesake. Macon, as of 2024, has a population of 156,621 people, creating a growth rate of 0.14%. The primary component of the racial demographic of residents is Black or African American, constituting 54.31% of the population, with White (37.21%) being the second-largest racial group in Macon.[2] Since the city's founding in 1823, the area has become known as the "Brick City" due to the material that the local buildings are comprised of. The historic buildings in the city have led Downtown Macon to be "included on the National Register of Historic Sites." Other relatively common areas of interest for visitors include outdoor attractions such as Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, Amerson River Park, and the International Cherry Blossom Festival. Rose Hill Cemetery, also referred to as the "Garden of Graves," is another outdoor area, situated next to the Ocmulgee River, which serves as the resting place for "many prominent Macon citizens."[3] For those who plan on engaging in outdoor pastimes, Weather Spark's tourism score for the area indicates that the middle of April to June are the "best times of year" to visit for warm-weather activities.[7]

What Macon is known for

Macon, the namesake of the Macon Destination, is a city situated along the Ocmulgee River in Georgia. Positioned at the juncture of three interstate highways (I-16, I-75, and I-475), some consider Macon to be centrally located, as it is 85 miles southeast of Atlanta—earning it the moniker "The Heart of Georgia." Following a successful 2012 referendum, which saw the consolidation of the City of Macon and Bibb County governments, Macon burgeoned into the state's 4th-largest city as of January 1, 2014.[1]

Macon is in Bibb County and serves as the county seat, having a population of 156,621 residents as of 2024. Despite a slight annual growth rate of 0.14%, the population has experienced a marginal decrease of -0.26% since the 2020 census, which reported 157,025 people. The city exhibits a relatively diverse racial composition, with Black or African American individuals comprising the majority at 54.31%, followed by White residents at 37.21%. Additionally, there is notable representation from individuals identifying as two or more races (4.05%), Asian (2.19%), and other races (2.07%), with smaller populations of Native American (0.13%) and those of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (0.02%) descent contributing to Macon's community.[2]

Downtown Macon, with its historic architecture and cultural scene, is a draw to the area, offering areas to walk amid preserved Victorian and Greek Revival buildings. The area serves as a hub for major events and eateries such as Parish on Cherry. For history enthusiasts, the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park provides insight into indigenous cultures with its ancient burial mounds and ceremonial sites. The Johnston-Felton-Hay House, a Renaissance Revival mansion, is another historic site. Music aficionados can enjoy the legacy of the Allman Brothers Band at the Big House Museum, while outdoor enthusiasts can explore the landscapes of Amerson River Park. Furthermore, the Tubman Museum celebrates African American culture and history, while the Museum of Arts and Sciences engages visitors with interactive exhibits and educational programs across various disciplines.[3]

Columbus, Georgia, is another city in the destination situated on the west-central border of the state that straddles the Chattahoochee River, facing Phenix City, Alabama. Having a population of 206,922 people as of the 2020 census, Columbus stands as the second-most populous city in Georgia, fostering the state's 4th-largest metropolitan area. The city's location, 100 miles southwest of Atlanta, positions it as an economic and cultural hub. Columbus is often known for its outdoor recreational opportunities, including white water rafting, being "ranked the world's best manmade whitewater course by USA Today" along the Chattahoochee River. Additionally, it houses institutions such as Fort Moore, the United States Army's Maneuver Center of Excellence, and the National Infantry Museum, which pays homage to the U.S. Army's Infantry Branch.[4]

Attractions in Columbus include the Chattahoochee RiverWalk, dotted with historic warehouses and mills, now repurposed into boutique hotels and dining establishments, namely the City Mills Hotel and Banks Food Hall. The route also includes cultural locations such as the Riverside Theatre Complex and the RushSouth Whitewater Park, offering entertainment and outdoor opportunities. The river walk can lead to the aforementioned National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center. Meanwhile, the National Civil War Naval Museum provides insight into naval warfare during the Civil War era, showcasing preserved vessels, including the Muscogee and Chattahoochee. For art and history enthusiasts, The Columbus Museum offers a collection of artifacts and artworks, while the Coca-Cola Space Science Center offers ignites about space exploration.[5]


The geography of Macon is shaped by the presence of the Ocmulgee River and its location within the Fall Line region. As one of Georgia's three major Fall Line Cities, Macon sits at the intersection where the hilly terrain of the Piedmont plateau transitions to the flat plains of the coastal plain. This juxtaposition creates a varied landscape, with rolling hills dominating the northern side of the city and flat plains stretching to the south. The drop in altitude at the fall line results in rapid water flow in rivers and creeks, historically powering textile mills that were prevalent in Macon and other Fall Line cities. Situated at approximately 330 feet above sea level, Macon covers a total area of 56.3 square miles, with 55.8 square miles consisting of land and 0.5 square miles of water.[1]

Columbus is also recognized as one of Georgia's three Fall Line cities, having a geographical makeup where the hilly terrain of the Piedmont plateau converges with the flat expanses of the coastal plain. This topography transitions into rolling hills to the north and flat plains to the south. The presence of the fall line has historically facilitated rapid declines in rivers toward sea level, a feature utilized by 19th and early 20th-century textile mills for water power. Spanning 221 square miles, with 4.7 square miles covered by water, Columbus is connected by fairly major roadways such as Interstate 185, U.S. Route 27, U.S. Route 280, and Georgia State Route 520.[4]

In Macon, the climate is characterized by "hot and muggy" summers, while winters are "cold and wet," with partly cloudy conditions throughout the year. Temperature variations are notable, ranging from an average low of 37°F to a high of 92°F, with extremes rarely dipping below 24°F or exceeding 98°F. The hot season typically spans 3.9 months, from May to September, with July typically being the hottest month, boasting an average high of 92°F. Conversely, the cool season lasts around 3 months—from November to February—with January registering as the coldest month, with an average low of 38°F.[7]

Lake Oliver, a 2,150-acre reservoir along the Chattahoochee River, owes its existence to the Oliver Dam and Generating Plant, constructed by Georgia Power in 1959. Named after James McCoy Oliver—a relatively prominent figure at Georgia Power during its construction—the dam stands 70 feet tall and spans 2,150 feet in length, housing 4 turbine units. Positioned south of Goat Rock Dam, Lake Oliver offers an expanse of water for recreational activities, although access is primarily restricted to one marina owned by the City of Columbus due to settlements along its shores in both Georgia and Alabama. Green Island Hills, an upscale development, connects to the lake's edges near Standing Boy Creek. While its popularity for summer recreational pursuits is a notable aspect, Lake Oliver also serves as a municipal water supply for Columbus. As the northernmost point of the Chattahoochee Riverwalk, Lake Oliver provides a starting point for a 15-mile-long bicycle pathway that stretches southward to Fort Benning.[6]


Macon's history is intertwined with its location and cultural heritage. Founded on the site of the Ocmulgee Old Fields, where the Creek Indians resided in the 18th century, Macon emerged as a trading post and military stronghold following the establishment of Fort Benjamin Hawkins in 1809. The fort, named after Benjamin Hawkins—a prominent figure in Indian affairs—played a pivotal role in securing the region and fostering trade along the Federal Road. Renamed "Newtown" and later chartered as Macon in 1823, the city grew as the county seat of Bibb County and a hub for commerce and transportation, owing to its advantageous position on the Ocmulgee River. With the advent of cotton cultivation and the arrival of the railroad in the mid-19th century, Macon experienced rapid economic growth and became a center for cotton trade and manufacturing.[1]

As for Columbus, its history traces back to its origins as a Creek Indian Village. Established in 1828 as a trading post to fortify the western border of Georgia, Columbus stands as one of the few cities in the United States planned before its founding. Positioned strategically on the Chattahoochee River, Columbus grew as a center of shipping and military manufacturing due to its location as the northernmost navigable point on the river from the Gulf of Mexico. Over the years, Columbus has expanded its corporate limits to accommodate urban development, with the city's economy historically dominated by textiles and the nearby Fort Benning Military Reservation. The city's growth has been primarily to the north and northeast, with a central business district that remains a fairly major employment center.[8]

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The Jarrell 1920 House in Juliette, Georgia, offers two rooms: The Guest Room and the Dick & Mamie's Room. The latter features an ensuite bathroom. Amelia and Phil Haynes receive guests by offering them complimentary cream soda and cookies. Those who stay at the property receive free admission to Jarrell Plantation State Historic Site and a free order of fried green tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. The Jarrell House property spans 10 acres with woods and outbuildings to explore. Breakfast includes biscuits, cinnamon rolls, egg-and-cheese casserole, and grits. Couples, small families, and retirees are frequent visitors and make up the typical demographic of patrons. Nearby attractions are Jarrell Plantation historic site and the Whistle Stop Cafe. Amelia and Phil prioritize creating a "nostalgic" and "welcoming" atmosphere while preserving the house's history, which has been in their family for generations.

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