Don’t Own A Dirt Bike or ATV? Georgia Resort Will Rent You What You Need
Where in the U.S. can you jump mud hills on dirt bike rentals, fire rifles at clay pigeons, listen to live music, rub elbows with famous people and run away from zombies? If you guessed Durhamtown Plantation, you’d be right.
The old expression goes: “It’s not easy being King,” but judging by the confidence Durhamtown owner, Mike McCommons has in his adrenaline fueled playground of the south—the only place to be is on top…of a mound of mud, that is. McCommons’ vision of the ultimate destination for dare-devils is alive and well, less than an hour outside Athens, Georgia in the open country air of Union Point.
Today, some of the attractions you’ll find on Durhamtown Plantation’s 6,000 acres are 150 miles of trails, 11 MX tracks, 200 RV hookups, 80 cabins, a full service restaurant, and the largest pro-shop of off-road gear on the East coast. However, Durhamtown wasn’t always considered a nationwide leader in off-road adventure.
Durhamtown’s roots trace back to the founding of the United States of America, when McCommons’ great-great-great-great grandfather was granted 200 acres in Georgia as payment for fighting the British under Gen. George Washington during the Revolutionary War.
Not To Be Confused With A Postage Stamp
“Today it consists of over 30,000 acres managed for dairy farm, timber management and one of the country’s largest outdoor recreational destinations.” says McCommons.
The off-road park was founded in January 2002, after McCommons’ privately owned landscape business began to see a downturn in revenue. As one could imagine, thousands of acres of vacant land will draw unwelcomed ATV and dirt bike riders on the hunting land of the plantation. Some would perceive this as a nuisance; McCommons viewed the pedestrians desire to explore his family’s land as business potential.
Eager off-road enthusiasts continued to sniff around the open land of the plantation until McCommons relented.
“I began to allow them to ride for $15 on the hunting trails and logging roads,” says McCommons, “We began building more trails as riders continued to come.”
The more Durhamtown expanded the more customers it received. As of 2014, Durhamtown Plantation hosts 75,000 riders a year, whom utilize their Pro-MX dirt bikes, ATVs, side by side rentals.
Variety Is The Spice Of Life At Durhamtown
“We’re told we have the largest fleet in North America, maybe the world; and we’re still adding every month,” says McCommons.
McCommons doesn’t mention anyone specifically, but the clientele of Durhamtown includes celebrities. Patrons of the camp include sports personalities such as NASCAR drivers, ball players, TV stars, politicians, musicians and even members of the British Royal Air Force.
“We don’t like to advertise when they come due to their wanting to be just like everyone else and have fun with their families and friends,” says McCommons.
Durhamtown has a reputation that stretches to Los Angeles, with five different reality shows filming segments of their cast having fun on the grounds within the past four months with more booked for the near future.
Join A Wide Spectrum Of Off-Road Enthusiasts
One could argue that the rental equipment aspect of Durhamtown is part of the mass appeal. Even though most visitors are dedicated off-road enthusiasts, some aren’t. Since beginning the rental department, Durhamtown has hosted casual patrons that include church groups, corporate outings, bachelor parties, family reunions and many others. Visitors from outside the country are treated with Durhamtown’s user-friendly brand of the American outdoor experience.
“Many of our riders have friends who want to ride but can’t justify purchasing an expensive off-road vehicle, our rental program allows friends to share great memories together,” says McCommons.
Safety Is Paramount
Fun and danger are inseparable when examining a thrill-seeking attraction such as Durhamtown. Liability and safety concerns are always present, which is why safety gear is supplied to ensure no one is harmed unnecessarily. In addition to safety gear, Durhamtown guests are required to view a safety speech and operations session before they’re allowed to operate the equipment.
“We also recommend which trail will meet their skill levels and always tell them not to copy the dare-devil in every group,” says McCommons.
Dare-devils can find plenty of mischief to get into at Durhamtown Plantation, twelve months a year. With MX tracks, muddy river swamps, relaxing forest trails and even drag racing strips, there’s plenty ways to stay entertained. New events are consistently added to the plantation’s monthly itinerary. In May 2014, the camp hosted The Zombie Run Extreme where visitors must run to avoid people dressed up as zombies on the muddy trails.
Durhamtown suggests renting first. As a visitor, you’ll have the ability to test ride any new product before buying it.
“This way you’re making an educated decision and not a sales person’s recommendation trying to make higher commission over one brand or another,” says McCommons.
Wake Up In The Wilderness
During hunting season, they offer deer, turkey and wild boar hunting and if you plan on sticking around for awhile, you can find an affordable RV or cabin rental to spend the night.
“Many riders have shot their first gun ever here at Durhamtown,” says McCommons.
When an event is held, anywhere from 1,000 to 13,000 people participate. Durhamtown hosts an annual Moonshine/BBQ Festival every spring and if you need any information on upcoming events, it can be found at their Facebook page.
With what started as a large piece of property passed down from generation to generation has turned into a privately owned and operated business that’s garnered national recognition and turns a profit.
One can’t help but feel welcomed by the owner of Durhamtown Plantation. His guarantee of professional courtesy breathes new life into the term “southern hospitality”. In McCommons, Durhamtown has a self-assured proprietor who holds a modern vision of progress while honoring roots sown by his family over two centuries ago.