Guide to visiting Jimmy Carter Historical Park in Plains, Georgia

Established in 1987, the Jimmy Carter national park captures the former U.S. president’s Plains upbringing

What You Need to Know about Jimmy Carter

Numerous organizations have paid tribute to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter with museums and libraries, and one is located right in his hometown of Plains.

Established in 1987, the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park (and historic site) captures the Georgia native’s upbringing with sites, including his residence, boyhood farm, school and the railroad depot, which served as his campaign headquarters during the 1976 presidential election.

» 2021: Jimmy Carter Historic Site upgraded to a National Historical Park

» RELATED: Guide to visiting the Carter Presidential Center

Never been, or need a refresher? Here's a guide to visiting.

Where is it?

The Jimmy Carter National Historical Park, formerly the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, has several exhibits throughout the area. However, Plains High School, located at 300 North Bond Street, serves as the visitor center and museum. There, guests can check out displays and learn how to gain access to The Plains Train Depot, The Carter Boyhood Farm and the other sites a part of the experience.

The city of Plains is about three hours south of Atlanta, less than two hours south of Columbus and about four hours east of Savannah. Click here for directions.

When should I go?

The site welcomes visitors with free admission and parking daily, except on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Operating hours vary for the different facilities throughout the park. Take a look below.

-The Plains High School Visitor Center and Museum

9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

-The 1976 Presidential Campaign Headquarters- The Train Depot Museum

9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

-The Jimmy Carter Boyhood Farm

10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

-The Carter Private Residence and Compound

Not open to the public.

How much does it cost?

Admission is free daily. However, there is a donation box.

» RELATED: 'Always on my bucket list:' Going to Plains, Sunday school with Jimmy Carter

What should I see?

Visitors can stroll through Plains High School, which both Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter attended. This exhibit features a restored and furnished classroom, principal's office and auditorium to mimic what it looked like when the Carters attended. Folks can also listen to a 25-minute video featuring interviews from Carter’s friends, family and neighbors who all discuss his life and accomplishments.

The Plains Train Depot focuses on the 1976 presidential election. While the spot served as the train depot from 1881 to 1951, it was Carter’s campaign headquarters during the 1970s. Many of his political victories were celebrated there and in the streets near the depot.

To learn more about Carter’s youth, stop by The Boyhood Farm, where he lived from age four until his college years. The land, which was once owned by his dad Earl Carter, has also been restored. As visitors walk on the pathways, they can stop to read or listen to the exhibits along the way, where Carter shares stories from his childhood. People can also participate in the 30-minute guided walking tours, which are held Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tours are limited to the first 25 attendees.

While the Carter Private Residence and Compound is officially a part of the national historic site, it is not open to the public.

What else should I know?

The site also offers educational programs for kids. There are peanut boiling and blacksmithing demonstrations throughout the year as well as a bookstore that sells a variety of toys representative of the 1930s.

Rosalynn Carter also has a special stamp on the site. The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail brings awareness to conserving butterflies with eight public gardens.

Want to know more? Find additional information about the Jimmy Carter Historic Site here.

» RELATED: What to know about the Jimmy Carter Smiling Peanut statue

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