FORT GAINES GA: HIDDEN GEMS LIKE GEORGE T. BAGBY STATE PARK

George T. Bagby State Park is in Fort Gaines GA, and offers a full-service marina (including store and gas pumps), boat ramp, and beach that offer easy access to the 48,000-acre lake, where trophy fishing includes the state record catch for blue catfish.

The state park is located along the banks of Lake Walter F. George. On a recent spring break trip, we took some time to explore this often overlooked Georgia State Park and the surrounding Fort Gaines community.

What we found was lots of inexpensive fun. Here are our top 5 things to do in Fort Gaines, Georgia, United States and George T. Bagby State Park.

FORT GAINES GA: HIDDEN GEMS LIKE GEORGE T. BAGVY STATE PARK
Courtesy of George T Bagby State Park

GEORGE T. BAGBY STATE PARK

Boating: There is a full-service marina at the lake. Since we didn’t have a boat, we rented a canoe and paddled around beautiful cypress tree outcrops in the middle of the lake, explored inlets and even put in on a peninsula and did some exploring on foot. I was quite proud of my pinecone Christmas tree with shells and sand decorations that I made on the beach.

Fishing: Anglers will be excited to know that a state record blue catfish was captured on Walter F. George Lake. Too bad we didn’t fair as well. On our trip, we borrowed rods from the marina and purchased some crickets for a few bucks. A very nice couple from Cuthbert, Ga., shared their fishing spot, but alas, we came up empty. It was a relaxing few hours, though, and we even had a picnic while we waited patiently for the fish to bite.

Golf: George T. Bagby has a Willard Byrd-designed golf course and was once ranked 6th best affordable public course in the U.S. by Golf Digest. Summer can get a bit hot and buggy here, but it’s the perfect location for a family golf trip any other season. Georgia’s State Parks also sponsors junior golf leagues and tournaments.

Swim and Play: George T. Bagby State Park is a 700-acre state park. Come and spend time relaxing on the shores of Walter F. George Lake in southwest Georgia. There is also a playground, tennis courts, beach volleyball, a playground with climbing structures for the little ones, and we mentioned paddling above!

VENTURE TO FORT GAINES GA

A short drive is the Frontier Village in Fort Gaines GA. Fort Gaines in Clay County, once called the “Queen City of the Chattahoochee” because of its importance to the riverboat trade, was founded in 1814 to protect white settlers in southwest Georgia and southeast Alabama from the Creek Indians.

General Edmund Pendleton Gaines was born in Virginia in 1777, and arrived at the fort in 1816 with the fourth infantry of the U.S. Army, which honored Gaines by naming the fort in his honor. Later, during the Civil War (1861-65), the fort protected residents from the Union army.

Fort Gaines, the county seat of Clay County and sits on a 130-foot bluff overlooking the Chattahoochee River and the plains of Alabama.

Frontier Village is an assembly of historic buildings from across the county. There is no entry fee or costumed interpreters, just buildings and historic markers letting you know the history. The village had a bit of a ghost town feel, as we were the only people there, but my boys had a blast playing in the lookout tower while I walked around. Now, if Fort Gaines would just get an ice cream shop!

Highlights include the historic cemetery, Civil War cannon and the giant wood carved statue of a Creek Indian Chief. Included in the Fort Gaines Self-Guided Walking Tour.

WHERE TO STAY

George T. Bagby State Park in Fort Gaines, GA has cottages and camping available.

There are only a few cottages, so book well in advance if you want to stay there. Unfortunately, the state park is no longer offering Lodge Rooms for rental

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