Road Trip: Outdoor Columbus

Enjoy a five-star meal AND Class V rapids without ever leaving the city!

If adventure is calling your name, and you’re good with getting your hair wet, then let us introduce you to Columbus, Georgia.

Located directly across the Chattahoochee River from Phenix City, Alabama, Columbus is one of Georgia’s three fall line cities, resulting in a varied landscape of rolling hills to the north and plains to the south. The fall line also causes rivers in the area to decline rapidly toward sea level, which is immensely helpful when you’re revitalizing your downtown area based around a state-of-the-art adjustable whitewater park.

The longest urban whitewater rafting course in the world, USA Today named Whitewater Columbus one of the top 12 Man-Made Adventures on Earth! Described as “wild as the Colorado River, and as warm as Costa Rica,” rafters can choose as mild or as wild of a water adventure as they want thanks to the dam-controlled water release of the Chattahoochee. 

Whitewater Columbus sits right on the edge of Uptown facing the river and is the hub for necessary supplies and gear for going down the river, from kayaks to paddleboards to tubes. The typical release schedule is a milder, lower flow in the morning, followed by a wilder, higher flow later in the day.

The course consists of over five class 4+ rapids and ten smaller rapids. Water flow can reach up to 13,000 cubic feet per second in volume, making the rapids the largest south of Canada and east of the Chattahoochee. Whitewater Express offers guided rides for beginners (The Classic) all the way up to the Class V rapids (aptly named “The Carnage”).

Always dreamed of being an outdoorsy person, but never knew where to start? Outdoor Academy employs experts in a number of areas, ready to share their love of the outdoors! Lessons are available in kayaking, fly fishing, stand up paddleboarding (SUP) and SUP yoga. You can even try your hand at solo-rafting in a guided ducky trip.

Ready to dry off? Take flight on The Blue Heron Adventure – the only dual-zip line in the country that connects two states. Buckle in on the Georgia side of the river, fly 45 feet in the air at speeds reaching 40 mph (wave to Aubie!), and land in Alabama, where you’ll navigate a 10-level aerial course before zipping back to Georgia.

Tour Part of Columbus State University, Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center provides natural history and ecology exhibits, as well as a variety of snakes, turtles, alligators, tortoises, fish and more.

Stroll The 15-mile Riverwalk hugs the banks of the Chattahoochee and offers a fantastic geocaching adventure. Another great option, Dragonfly Trails, was constructed on an abandoned railroad route.

Taste We’re suckers for restaurants in renovated cotton warehouses; all the better when the food is also good. We love the seasonal menu at 11th and Bay, preferably on the patio overlooking the Hooch.Stay A historic hotel close to everything, the Rothschild-Pound House Inn offers both rooms and cottages, many of which are pet-friendly!