17 Exciting Things To Do in Henry County – Atlanta’s Southern Neighbor

The Atlanta skyline at sunset from Panola Mountain

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When you’re looking for entertainment around Atlanta, be sure to check out these cool things to do in Henry County (GA). It’s more than just a bedroom community or pit stop on I-75. Henry County has enough fun for a long weekend getaway or a deep South Staycation.

Whether you’re staying in Stockton, lounging in Locust Grove, or meandering in McDonough, there’s plenty to see, eat, and do! Read on to find out why Henry County is better explored!

Map of Things to Do in Henry County

Henry County contains four principal cities: Stockbridge, Hampton, McDonough, and Locust Grove. We’ve put those cities onto our Henry County Activity Map, along with plenty of things to do and delicious restaurants. We used naive Google pins so you can click in, take a virtual tour, and check out crowd-sourced pictures and reviews. Henry County is better explored both on our map and IRL (in real life).

Atlanta Motor Speedway

Atlanta Motor Speedway Henry Co. Georgia

Atlanta Motor Speedway is a quad-oval track in Hampton that hosts events from NASCAR to Monster Jam. Depending on the configuration, it can seat 71,000 to 125,000 people, so on race day, it’s the biggest draw in the county.

Not only is it big, but it’s fast. It’s one of the fastest courses on the NASCAR circuit and America’s most steeply banked mile-and-a-half track. Its configuration makes it one of three NASCAR drafting tracks alongside Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

Stunt Driving Experience | Bobby Ore Motorsports

Stunt Driving Experience | Bobby Ore Motorsports

Bobby Ore Motorsports provides high-quality driver training to stunt driving professionals, military personnel, law enforcement officers, dignitary protection specialists, and the general public!

During your two-hour stunt driving experience, you will receive an in-depth briefing on car dynamics and precision driving, then put it all together behind the wheel. That’s right, you’re pulling 180s and sliding through turns, just like the movies. It’s a thrill you will not soon forget.

Henry County Filming Locations

Walking Dead Film Location Henry County Georgia - Hampton

You might feel like you’re in the movies at the Atlanta Motor Speedway because the opening scenes of Smokey and the Bandit II were filmed there. Henry County is firmly placed in pop culture scenes from The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Hunger Games, Spider-Man, Zombieland, and more. You could spend a day or weekend touring Henry County filming locations.

Army Aviation Heritage Foundation and Flying Museum

Army Aviation Heritage Foundation and Flying Museum and UH1 Huey Helicopter Ride Henry Co. Georgia
Army Aviation Heritage Foundation and Flying Museum and UH1 Huey Helicopter Ride Henry Co. Georgia

The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation tells the U.S. Army Aviation Story through Aircraft and Museum Tours, Air Shows, and public events across the country. AAHF acquires, restores, and maintains historic vintage flying aircraft representing Army Aviation during Vietnam and the Cold War.

You can schedule a hanger tour, but the real thrills come on flight Saturdays. You can book a ride on a restored Huey or Cobra helicopter and experience Army Aviation history from the air.

Heritage Park Veterans Museum

Heritage Park Veterans Museum Henry County Georgia
Heritage Park Veterans Museum Henry County Georgia

Heritage Park Veterans Museum tells the story of local veterans from World War I to the present. You’ll hear the soldier’s stories as a veteran volunteer guides you through the more than 20,000-piece collection of uniforms, memorabilia, and equipment.

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If you served, you’ll want to check out the Veterans Wall of Honor while you’re in Heritage Park. Historic buildings in the park include a 100-year-old corn crib, an 1827 settlers’ log cabin, an original two-room country schoolhouse, a cookhouse, and the first library building in Henry County. There’s also a 1934 steam engine locomotive and tender similar to the “Old No. 7” engine made famous by the Camp Creek Train Wreck of 1900. You’ll even find a stop on the Bushy Tail Art Trail.

Bushy Tail Art Trail

Squirrel Table Henry County Visitor Center

What is the Bushy Tail Art Trail, you ask? It’s a collection of highly stylized miniature squirrel picnic tables scattered around Henry County. It’s part public art display, part Easter egg hunt, and a 100% fun way to get out and explore Henry County.

The Henry County Welcome Center is a great first stop, where you can pick up a brochure, get first-hand trail updates, and check one stop off your list. There’s also a digital map included in the earlier hyperlink.

Panola Mountain State Park

Sunset hike Panola Mountain State Park Henry County Georgia
Nature Center and Bike Rentals at Panola Mountain State Park

Panola Mountain State Park is a 1,635-acre park in the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. In many ways, Panola Mountain SP is an exception to many state parks because its primary purpose is to protect the pristine and fragile granite dome of Panola Mountain. Instead of miles and miles of hiking trails, you have a wide selection of ranger-led programs like tree climbing and guided hikes.

There are, of course, the usual park offerings of picnic shelters, playgrounds, and fishing lakes, but there’s much more. You can rent bikes to ride 30+ miles of paved trails on the Arabia Mountain PATH, geocaching, bouldering, archery, and even primitive camping.

Guided Hike to Panola Mountain

Sunset hike Panola Mountain State Park Henry County Georgia
Sunset hike Panola Mountain State Park Henry County Georgia

Panola Mountain is a 100-acre granite outcrop similar to Stone Mountain but smaller and more pristine. Unlike Stone Mountain, whose granite has been used worldwide, including the locks of the Panama Canal, the steps to the East Wing of the United States Capitol, and the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Panola Mountain Granite is too brittle for commercial use. Instead of endless quarries, Panola Mountain was left as a pristine Monadnock Ecosystem. Rare plants grow in these harsh conditions where a few specks of soil take thousands of years to develop.

Because of the delicate ecology, all hikes to the granite dome of Panola Mountain are ranger-led. There are no trails per se around the summit, but you follow a predefined path to limit damage. You’ll also learn more about the mountain’s fascinating history and unique ecology. The park’s activity page lists more information about guided hikes and other offerings.

Tree Climbing in Panola Mountain State Park

Tree Climbing at Panola Mountain State Park Henry County Georgia
Tree Climbing at Panola Mountain State Park Henry County Georgia

Climbing trees is one of those joys of childhood that always lingers in the back of your mind. A warm wind blowing through the leaves on a summer afternoon takes you back to when you only worried about skinned knees and running out of lemonade.

Tree climbing is a ranger-led activity utilizing double rope techniques to ascend Naomi Ruth, a 100′ tall Southern Red Oak. It’s more rope climbing than tree climbing, but spending an hour or so in the canopy of this magnificent tree is a memory to share and cherish—the park’s activity page contains more information and dates. My pro tip is that it’s not about getting to the top of the rope as much as reaching a branch you’ll want to hang out on, so pick your rope accordingly.

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Arabia Mountain PATH

PATH Trail Henry County Ga - Alexander Lake

I’m a bit on the spectrum, so trail names bother me. The PATH Foundation is an organization that builds paths, including Arabia Mountain PATH, and may or may not be an acronym. So we have the Arabia Mountain PATH trails, which, according to Google Maps, include Arabia Mountain PATH, South River Trail, Panola Mountain Trail greenway, and Rockdale River Trail. No matter what you call it, this 31-mile trail system is one of the best bike trails in Georgia.

You can rent bikes at the Panola State Park Nature Center. If you’re not renting from the park, you can start at another trailhead and avoid paying park fees. A good ride from the Nature Center is to loop around Alexander Lake and/or head up to Lyons Farm. If you’re a strong rider, consider pushing north to Vaughter’s Farm or south to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. All these rides are paved with ample shade, but there are many rolling hills, so pay attention to the elevation change.

Arabia Mountain Path trail segments (North to South):

  • Vaughters Farm Trailhead to Lyons Farm Junction (7.3 mi, ↑461 ft ↓678 ft) – be aware of side trails
  • Lyons Farm Junction to Panola Shoals Trailhead (1.7 mi ↑118 ft ↓123 ft) – the trail continues across Snapfinger Road to MLK High School
  • Lyons Farm Junction to Alexander Barn (1.4 mi ↑231 ft ↓139 ft) – It’s a ride through barn and shady rest stop
  • Alexander Barn to Panola Mt Nature Center (2.0 mi ↑320 ft ↓204 ft) – water and restrooms at the nature center
  • Alexander Barn to Alexander Lake – north loop (.6 mi ↑113 ft ↓190 ft) – Short and sweet
  • Alexander Barn to Alexander Lake – south loop (1.2 mi ↑248 ft ↓323 ft) – Longer but more scenic
  • Alexander Lake to Monastery of the Holy Spirit (8.1 mi ↑887 ft ↓874 ft) – The southern terminus of the trail

Note that Google Navigator elevation estimates don’t match MapMyRide or my Strava tracks through these segments. My legs tell me MMR and Strava are more accurate, so these elevation estimates are from MapMyRide.

Monastery of the Holy Spirit

Monastery of the Holy Spirit

The Monastery of the Holy Spirit is a place of peace and prayer. Visitors will enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the monastery and grounds. The visitor center has a gift shop and museum. Be sure to check out the stained glass and biscotti from the monk’s bakery.

Stockbridge Amphitheater

Stockbridge Amphitheater

The Bridge is a 3,200 outdoor venue with a modern sound system and an outstanding lineup for its size. Many Atlanta musicians stop in Stockbridge to try new sets and sounds. There are no bad seats in the house, and excellent food and drink are available.

BarnBeautiful

Barn Beautiful Henry County Georgia

You’ll find BarnBeautiful across the tracks from the Stockbridge Amphitheater in historic downtown Stockbridge. Inside is a shopper’s paradise of home items crafted from restored barnwood. Each piece is unique and authentic and comes with a card that describes the history of the wood.

Martin Luther King Sr Heritage Trail

Floyd Chapel Baptist Church Henry County Georgia

The Martin Luther King Sr Heritage Trail is the main street through downtown Stockbridge and a memorial to Stockbridge’s own Martin Luther King Sr. Daddy King was MLK Jr.’s father and a civil rights leader in his own right.

Stops along the trail include the Floyd Baptist Church, where King Sr. started preaching, and The Green Front Cafe. This restaurant challenged the color barrier in 1940s Georgia with delicious cornbread and southern hospitality.

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Henry County Restaurants

Pur Zen Wine Bar Henry County Georgia
Green Front Cafe Henry County Georgia

You’ll find many local, delicious restaurants in Henry County. Of course, there are Southern classics like the aforementioned Green Front Cafe and the original Shane’s Rib Shack. You’ll also find surprises, like the charcuterie at PÜR Zen Mimosa Wine Bar and farm-to-table favorites. Since you have to eat, you might as well make it a culinary adventure.

Henry County Fusion Food Trail

Things to do in Henry County - Southern Fusion Dining Henry County Georgia
15th Street Pizza Henry County, Ga

Henry County is a town on the crossroads. Not only geographically along I-75 but culturally as well. As the county changes from a farm community to an Atlanta bedroom community, many creative culinary combinations come to light. Here’s our take on the Henry County Fusion Food Trail:

  • Collard Green Egg Rolls at Southern Fusion Dining: A dish created for Chris Webber’s wedding loaded with southern collard greens & smoked turkey and fried to a golden crisp.
  • Brisket Egg Rolls at Sweet Auburn BBQ: House-smoked brisket and sweet Thai chili sauce? Heck yeah! For even more fusion fun, check out the pimento cheese wontons.
  • Wine & Cheese Pizza at 15th Street Pizza & Pub: What’s not to love about a red wine reduction sauce topped with grilled chicken and bacon? Maybe fresh lettuce and tomato added after baking? But fusing salad with pizza works!

Henry County Agritourism

Southern Belle Farm Henry County Georgia

There was a time when farming was king in Henry County. That legacy lives on in places like Southern Belle Farm and Yule Forest. There’s something for every season, from spring flowers, summer u-pick fruits, fall spectaculars, and Christmas celebrations. Even when there’s nothing fresh, you can still enjoy homemade peach ice cream and delicious preserves.

Stay and Play

Emerald Farms AirBnB Henry County Ga
Luxurious Loft Henry County Georgia

Henry County has a fine collection of chain hotels along the I-75 corridor. They’re great for interstate travelers, but maybe not what you’d choose for a weekend getaway. Luckily, many house rentals are available via AirBnB and VRBO, from urban escapes in Hampton to palatial country estates. You could even try the Stockbridge Lakes Bed & Breakfast if you are a breakfast or fishing fan.

Wrapping up Things to Do in Henry County

Emerald Farms AirBnB Henry County Ga

Henry County is a worthy weekend getaway for nearby travelers and an excellent stop along I-75. There are some truly unique things to do, like flight days, tree climbing, and stunt car driving. There’s also enough good food and fun to keep the crew happy in Henry (County). Like they say at the visitor center, Henry County is better explored.

Disclosure: A big thank you to Visit Henry County Georgia for hosting us and setting up a fantastic itinerary! For more Henry County Ga. travel inspiration, check out their InstagramFacebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts.

As always, the views and opinions expressed are entirely our own, and we only recommend brands and destinations that we 100% stand behind.

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Tree climbing in Panola Mountain State Park
Bridge on PATH Trails in Henry County Ga.
Lake at Panola Mountain State Park
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