Callaway Gardens | RTX Traveler Magazine

South Georgia’s Crown Jewel

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Callaway Gardens lies just an hour south of Atlanta, near the Alabama border in central Georgia. The drive from metropolitan Atlanta becomes less urban sprawl and more rural, until the highway gives way to a country road winding through vast pastures with rolling mountains on the horizon. While it may seem like at first glance there isn’t much to offer visitors in this quiet village, Callaway Gardens truly has everything any vacationer would need.

Callaway Gardens isn’t just a resort, or just a golf course, or just a recreational area or just a garden. It has all of these things and much more. This vacation complex includes more than 6,500 acres of recreation, lodging and preserved land. There’s something for everyone to enjoy year round, from special events to sports and outdoors to holiday festivities.

RTX members can stay at the Southern Pine Cottages, one of four lodging options at the Gardens. The one- and two-bedroom cottages feature fully-equipped kitchens, two queen beds in each bedroom, spacious living areas and screened porches and decks for enjoying the surrounding natural beauty. Each cottage also has a fireplace for cozy nights when there’s a chill in the air.

Amenities within the Southern Pine Cottages neighborhood include an indoor and outdoor pool, laundry facilities and a seasonally open restaurant. Paths for walking and biking make it easy to access the complex’s lakefront beach and recreation area in just a few minutes. Prior to arrival, be sure to confirm the check-in location, as it changes seasonally.

VegGarden 177History

Callaway Gardens was created in the vision of Cason J. and Virginia Hand Callaway, who loved the land in the area so much that they wanted to share their abundant acreage with friends, family and the public. For many years they added features like lakes, a golf course, boathouse and more. The property was opened to the public in 1952 and continued to expand over the years to include a country store, lakefront beach, accommodations, planned gardens a greenhouse, butterfly house, several restaurants and other recreational and historical features.

The founders’ legacy has continued to live on as “a place where man and nature could abide together for the good of both.” The retreat offers solace, inspiration and discovery for visitors throughout the year through the many attractions on the property as well as events and programs that reach outside the gardens into the local community and beyond.


As the name implies, there are several gardens to explore on the property, with the chance to see colorful blooms year round in some cases.

The Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl is a 40-acre garden that is home to more than 3,000 native and hybrid azaleas. Walking trails meander through the hillside garden and ultimately lead to a gazebo overlooking Falls Creek Lake, with springtime blooms in shades of white, pink, red and lavender. The Overlook Azalea garden, originally planted under the direction of Virginia Callaway, also celebrates these springtime blooms, with a pavilion at the top providing a scenic spot for a picnic or event.

Mr. Cason’s Vegetable Garden is a 7.5 acre plot that includes vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers and a composting area. The Holly Trail and Meadowlark Garden are ideal to explore in the winter and early spring, with one of the world’s top displays of Asian and American holly trees. Beautiful displays of tea olive, edgworthia, witch hazel, daphne, Carolina jessamine and camellia plants are also showcased here. Within the Meadowlark Garden, the Thornhill Hydrangea Garden showcases dramatic blooms May through September surrounding a picturesque picnic area.

Tennis 108Golf & Tennis

Callaway Gardens features two 18-hole golf courses, a world-class practice facility and one of the most recognizable brands in the sport. With a vision that “playing golf should be a pleasant experience in beautiful surroundings,” the first nine holes of the Lake View Course were designed by J.B. McGovern and opened in 1951. At par 70 with four sets of tees, this scenic course is fun for all levels of players. The Mountain View Course is more challenging but still playable at par 72, with tight fairways lined with towering pine trees. The 26-acre Twin Oaks Practice Facility includes multiple target greens, a putting green and a short-game area.

For those who prefer the courts to the course, the Callaway Gardens Tennis Center features 10 lighted tennis courts, including two clay courts and eight hard surface courts. An on-site pro shop features the latest in equipment and apparel, and group and individual lessons are available.

There’s even more to enjoy and discover at Callaway Gardens, as detailed in the following pages. Whether you seek outdoor adventure, time on the green or relaxing in a scenic environment on your next vacation, Callaway Gardens is the right spot for you.


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