Family Travel: Newnan-Coweta, GA is Like Stepping Back in Time

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If you’re looking for a lovely family trip not far from the Upstate, SC, consider Newnan-Coweta, GA, a little over three hours away. The small town charm and filming location of big television hits will captivate you! 

Thanks to Explore Newnan-Coweta for inviting us on a media trip to experience their little slice of heaven.

Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee lies the charming small town of Newnan in Coweta County, just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. It’s the same town where country music legend Alan Jackson grew up and no doubt was inspired by his time on the iconic river to write his chart-topping hits. 

Today, the town of Newnan is one of the must-see spots if you make the drive down I-85 to Coweta County. The other iconic town is Senoia, where “The Walking Dead” was filmed. We spent a weekend in this beautiful area and think you and your family will love it if you’re looking for a little getaway not far from the Upstate.

Alan Jackson Mural in Newnan-Coweta, Georgia
Alan Jackson Mural

This article includes:
About Newnan & Senoia
Things to Do in Newnan-Coweta
How to Enjoy the Outdoors in Newnan-Coweta
Where to Eat in Newnan-Coweta
Places to Stay in Newnan-Coweta

About Newnan & Senoia

Newnan-Coweta is part of the greater metropolitan area of Atlanta and because of its proximity to the city, has been growing rapidly. But Newnan and Senoia both retain their small town charm.

The town square is the center of historic Newnan and quite literally all the small businesses surround the square. You can find anything from unique clothing to handmade tea towels to jewelry, pottery, chocolate, coffee, and books. This is what made me fall in love with Newnan. 

Newnan was a hospital town during the Civil War since it was right off the railroad. The town was supported by the textile and manufacturing industries and you can still see some of the stately homes from that era as you drive into town. Many of the buildings date back to the mid-1800s. 

Downtown Newnan, Georgia
Downtown Newnan, GA

One of the really neat buildings is the Alamo Theater on one of the corners of the town square. Originally built in 1880, it housed a harness shop, general store, and butcher shop throughout the decades. In 1928, it was converted to a movie theater with one screen and 551 seats. I felt like I was in one of the “Back to the Future” movies looking at the Alamo Theater. 

Senoia is also super fascinating but for a whole other reason: I learned that Senoia is classified as Anytown, USA, which means it was built to basically conform to whatever a production team would need for a film or series. The streets of downtown have been laid with dirt and the buildings transformed to look like a Wild West town for one movie and the entire “Walking Dead” series was filmed in Senoia along with dozens of movies.

Things to do in Newnan-Coweta

Summer Wined Up 

The weekend I spent in Newnan happened to be the same weekend of the Summer Wined Up festival. This event is meant to highlight not only various local wines but also showcase Newnan’s small businesses.

After you show your ID and get your wristband, you get a map of the small businesses and the wines they are serving, which are all about one ounce pours. You don’t have to try every single wine available – there are about 35 small businesses participating and that’s a lot of wine. I don’t know how many tickets they sold (they did sell out) but it was the perfect number because nowhere was crowded.

Downtown Newnan, GA
Enjoying downtown Newnan, GA

I really could not have envisioned a better introduction to the town of Newnan. Not only was the wine I tried delicious but having the opportunity to walk into each of the small businesses was just fantastic.

Many of them had small hors d’oeuvres like fruit, cheese, and cookies, which my daughters (ages 12 and 8) loved but we also got to check out local bookstores, shops overflowing with handcrafted jewelry and bags, apparel stores, pottery shops, medical businesses, and restaurants.

I was completely floored at the diversity of shops around the town square. It was amazing and my girls and I had such a blast shopping and picking up some really neat items. 

We will be sure to update this story before next year’s Wined Up so you can make plans to go to Newnan for the weekend! Newnan will host a similar event, Oktoberfest on Friday, October 6th from 5-10 pm, if you’d like to start making travel plans.

Senoia Farmers Market 

This farmers market is adorable. We loved strolling through the stalls and finding everything from freshly cut flowers to produce and vegetables to iced coffee to French pastries and bread. There are so many unique vendors and it was a lot of fun to wander through the farmers market before we headed over to main street in Senoia to check out where “The Walking Dead” was filmed.

Full confession: I have never seen one episode of “The Walking Dead” but can certainly appreciate cinematic aspects of any film or series and love getting to see where movies are made.

Senoia Farmers Market
Senoia Farmers Market

I picked up a lavender iced coffee from one of the local coffee vendors and cinnamon raisin bread and a danish from the French baker. She was quite convincing and I’m impressed with myself that I didn’t walk out of there with a lot – like, a lot – more baked goods. 

The Senoia Farmers Market is open every Saturday, March – December from 8:30 am – 1 pm. 

40 Travis Street, Senoia, GA

Downtown Senoia

When you walk around downtown Senoia, you’ll come across plaques on the ground that tell you about the different movies and shows that were filmed in the town. “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “Pet Cemetery II”, among many other movies, were filmed there.

We walked into one unique shop that had clothes from “The Walking Dead” that they acquired when the show ended. The owners had some great stories about how the production team would film in the town and when they even used their shop for some of the scenes. The Georgia Tour Company offers walking tours of the different areas around Senoia that have been used for movies. 

There are coffee shops, breakfast and lunch bistros, a lovely bookstore, and stores that sell handmade goods up and down main street in Senoia. It’s a great place to spend some time exploring. 

Visiting The Walking Dead set
Bank of Woodbury in Senoia, GA

Full Circle Toys 

Full Circle Toys & Games place is right off the main square and we just happened to stumble upon it when we got into town. My youngest child saw the words “toy shop” and she wanted to check it out so we did.

This store is so neat because they have toys from the 80s and 90s like collectible baseball figurines, Star Wars characters, Cabbage Patch dolls, Strawberry Shortcake dolls and houses, Fisher Price toys, Elmo and Cookie Monster dolls, collectible Barbies, and old school McDonald toys. I had such a blast wandering around this shop!

How to enjoy the outdoors in Newnan-Coweta

There are some great spots to enjoy the outdoors in Newnan-Coweta. 

C.J. Smith Park 

This park has a great playground with lots of swings and rope-climbing structures. There are two big slides down a hill that were under construction when we were there but they looked super fun. 

This park also has a huge skate park. We got to watch several skateboarders show off their moves, which was a blast. I have a lot of admiration for these daredevils. A splash pad is near the parking lot but wasn’t on when we were there. 

92 Farmer Street, Newnan, GA

Skate Park at C.J. Smith Park in Newnan, Georgia
Skate Park at C.J. Smith Park

Chattahoochee Bend State Park 

Part of the Georgia State Park system, Chattahoochee Bend State Park has lots of camping, a couple of playgrounds, about six miles of trails, and a boat ramp into the river. There really aren’t any swimming spots but you can certainly fish in the river off the banks. 

If you have your own kayak, you can launch right from the park into the river. The Park also has programs available that sometimes involve kayaking on the river. Check out the park events page to see what’s going on when you are planning a visit. We did a short, shaded (thankfully) hike along the river and it was really pretty.

425 Bobwhite Way, Newnan, GA

Chattahoochee Bend State Park
Chattahoochee Bend State Park

Where to eat in Newnan-Coweta

There are several restaurants right in downtown Newnan and Senoia. Here’s where we ate: 

Meat N Greet

Meat N Greet was our first stop for dinner when we got to Newnan and the staff was awesome. Our waitress explained the menu and gave us her recommendations. They are known for burgers so that’s what we got. All our dishes were really good and the fries were amazing. Meat N Greet is right off the main square in Newnan so it’s a great starting point if you want to wander around downtown. 

11 Jefferson Street, Newnan, GA 

Curious Kitchen at the Senoia Farmers Market 

After our morning at the Senoia Farmers Market, we were going to head over to the Chattahoochee Bend State Park. I wanted something for lunch on the go so we got bacon and egg burritos and sandwiches from the Curious Kitchen at one of the stalls at the market. I was given a tip that these were pretty famous and that is a hundred percent the truth.

My kids devoured their sandwiches and I couldn’t even finish my burrito. The flavors were outstanding! If you go to Senoia on a day when the Farmers Market isn’t open, you can still get an amazing burrito or sandwich at the Curious Kitchen and Bar located in downtown Senoia. 

42 Main Street Suite 1B, Senoia, GA

The Cellar

The Cellar is a steakhouse located in downtown Newnan that serves a variety of both meat and seafood dishes. I had shrimp and grits and roasted vegetables, which were delicious. My kids ordered off the children’s menu and had grilled cheese and chicken tenders. I’ll admit I stole a bunch of their fries because excellent fries are my weak spot. The Cellar is more on the fine dining scale so reservations are recommended.

20 Jefferson Street, Newnan, GA 

Bistro Hilary 

This cute restaurant is located in Senoia and is a great stop for lunch. Bistro Hilary is based on French-inspired cuisine that sources their ingredients locally. 

21 Barnes Street, Senoia, GA  

Rock Salt Milk Bar

If you go anywhere in Newnan, Rock Salt Milk Bar should be it. They make all their own ice cream, sourcing as many ingredients as they can both locally and organically. And they make their own waffle bowls and cones.

I honestly could have eaten just those. I got honey lavender ice cream in a waffle bowl and I was in heaven. The kiddie size, which is a small(ish) scoop, and is perfect. I like ice cream but don’t like to overindulge and this size was perfect. My kids were also in heaven, so big win. 

 8 East Washington Street, Newnan, GA 

Waffle Bowl from Rock Salt Milk Bar
Waffle bowl at Rock Salt Milk Bar

Where to stay in Newnan-Coweta

We stayed at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott just seven minutes from the Newnan Town Square. I always look for places with kitchenettes to help save on food costs when traveling and this place had a great kitchenette with a refrigerator, sink, two burner stovetop, and dishwasher. We took advantage of the refrigerator to keep our waters cold because it was super hot when we visited (not the hotel but the weather!). 

The pool at Towneplace Suites

The hotel also had complimentary breakfast each morning with eggs (one of my kids declared these eggs some of the best she’s ever had so there’s that), waffles, oatmeal, cereal, bagels, and muffins. There’s also juice and coffee/hot chocolate/tea available 24/7. 

On the way to Newnan-Coweta, my kids wanted to know if the hotel had a pool and were delighted to find out that indeed, their dreams would be coming true when we arrived. The pool is outdoors and there is also an indoor fitness center. 

Lastly, the rooms are very spacious and clean and all the hotel staff were very helpful. There is free parking for all guests. 

4001 McIntosh Pkwy, Newnan, GA 

Fall 2023 Events in Newnan-Coweta

Don’t miss any of these great fall events happening in Newnan-Coweta!

  • Oktoberfest in downtown Newnan on Friday, October 6th from 5-10 pm. It will be set up similar to the Wined festival where you can visit local shops and sample good brews.
  • Spirits and Spice Festival: At the Spirits and Spice Festival, on October 21, from 2-7 pm, visitors can indulge in a delightful October afternoon filled with eating, drinking and bewitching fun. The downtown area will be full of nostalgic businesses serving up specialty cocktails, locals participating in a chili cook-off and talented artists showcasing their creations. It’s the perfect time for guests to have a gourd time and embrace the Halloween Spirit. 
  • Coweta Fest: Coweta Community Foundation is hosting Coweta Fest, a concert fundraiser at Line Creek Reserve on October 12. The Mad Hatters, a wonderful Tom Petty tribute band, is setting the stage for an evening experience that will have visitors grooving the night away. With swag bags, a silent auction and epic Alcohol Tree Raffle, there will never be a dull moment. Attendees can also enjoy food trucks from local eateries, including the legendary Ellison Brothers’ BBQ. All the proceeds from this event will be donated to the foundation’s local fundraising, allowing visitors to make a difference while having a blast in the heart of downtown Newnan. 

Overall Impression of Newnan-Coweta 

I’m always up for a new adventure and visiting new places but I really had no idea what to expect at Newnan-Coweta. That first night walking around the main square in downtown Newnan was unexpectedly fantastic. I absolutely loved the small town charm, the local businesses, the kindness of everyone we met, and the calm atmosphere of Newnan. It was almost like stepping back in time, which I so enjoyed. 

I love traveling with my daughters and seeing their excitement at exploring new places and they felt the same way about Newnan and Senoia. These little towns are both unique and interesting but also just give off such a calm and peaceful vibe that I couldn’t help but get caught up in the beauty of it. 

Downtown Newnan, Georgia
Downtown Newnan, GA

And Alan Jackson. I love country music from the 90s and have been a fan of his for many years. Finding out that this is where he grew up was quite exciting.

Normally our trips involve a lot of hiking and adventure and more high-strung activities so exploring Newnan-Coweta in a more relaxed fashion was certainly a newer experience but one that we really enjoyed. If you’re looking for more of a low-key trip that has elements of uniqueness and invites restfulness and family or couple time, this is the place to go.

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About the Author
Kristina Hernandez is a mom of two girls, freelance writer and photographer. Originally from New Jersey, she is in love with the Upstate and could not imagine raising her kids anywhere else. She enjoys hiking to waterfalls, kayaking, camping, cooking, and exploring all that Greenville has to offer. And she really loves baby goats. Follow her on Instagram at @scadventurer.

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