13+ Fun, Cheap & Free Things To Do in Milledgeville You Can’t Miss

Who doesn’t love a free deal, a cheap thrill and a great meal? Located just a few hours south of Atlanta, Milledgeville, Georgia, is located in a natural paradise with scenic amenities like the pristine Bartram Forest, 15,000 acres of sparkling water with 500 miles of sandy shoreline on Lake Sinclair, and the wonderful winding banks on the Oconee River. 

I had a cabin on Lake Sinclair for eight years, so I am going to share the insider scoop on stretching your vacation value in this former capital of Georgia.

Here are 13+ cheap and free things to do in Milledgeville that you’re going to love!

13+ Fun, Cheap & Free Things To Do in Milledgeville You Can't Miss
Old Governors Mansion courtesy of Visit Milledgeville

COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN MILLEDGEVILLE

  • Vacation Rentals for Friends. I was able to stay at this Waterfront Lake Sinclair Home with friends, and we had the best time. Located right on Lake Sinclair, we loved the private lake frontage, dock with boat house, and huge front lawn. It was just 15 minutes from downtown Milledgeville, but felt a world away!
  • Vacation Rental for Couples. Check out this brand new tiny cabin! At The Hideaway, you’ll find a queen bed and two twin beds in an upstairs loft, a fully stocked kitchen, an outdoor shower with HUGE rainwater shower head, and a soaker tub with TV.
  • Vacation Rental for the Entire Family. This Secluded 5-Bedroom Retreat with Pool and Pond is located on 250 acres and also features a pecan orchard. This gorgeous home is a few miles from beautiful Lake Sinclair, and sleeps up to 10 people, making it perfect for a family getaway.
  • Vacation Rental for Fun and Adventure. This beautiful home is right on the lake! In addition to its amazing location, you’ll also find a boat dock, kayaks, cornhole, a fire pit, outdoor dining, water floats and an inflatable trampoline, pull-behind tubes, beach towels, and more. You won’t run out of things to do here!

FREE THINGS TO DO IN MILLEDGEVILLE: TOURS

13+ Fun, Cheap & Free Things To Do in Milledgeville You Can't Miss
Courtesy of Visit Milledgeville

HISTORIC DOWNTOWN WALKING TOUR

You can get your steps in and get a history lesson on a free self-guided downtown walking tour.

Stop by the Visitor’s Center to pick up your free Historic Walking Tour guide of Milledgeville’s historic homes and landmarks. With over 40 locations to see, this tour offers a wonderful way to learn about the architecture of Milledgeville while independently exploring the city. 

Today, the walkable historic downtown squares are still lined with massive shady oaks, architectural marvels, eclectic eateries and chic shops. Grab brunch at the Local Yokel before filling your bags with treasures from Auntie Bellum’s Antiques, authentic Lake Sinclair souvenirs from The Market Collective and classic prepster fashions from Southern Roots.  

Read More: 21 Blissful Things To Do in Milledgeville Ga

MILLEDGEVILLE GHOST TOUR

If you prefer a good ghost story, grab a coffee to go from Blackbird or a beer and a bite at The Brick before embarking on a free self-guided ghost tour just before dark. Learn the legend of William Fish, who carried a comfortable rocking chair into his family mausoleum before pulling a massive wrought iron gate closed, permanently locking himself in with his recently deceased wife and daughter. Decades later, another mysterious body was found in the tomb.

From the spirit of murderers buried at Memory Hill Cemetery to a Welsh spirit who followed an immigrant family across the Atlantic to the city’s infamous Homestead House, Milledgeville has its fair share of haunted tales and local legends

Smell Molly the Cook’s blueberry muffins baking without an oven in the Old Governor’s Mansion or meet the ghost of the meanest man in Milledgeville at the Tate House. The abusive tyrant is rumored to have pushed his own critically ill son down a flight of stairs. Many residents and guests have been startled by creepy thumping sounds, as if a body was tumbling down.

MEMORY HILL CEMETERY WALKING TOUR 

Take a free self-guided walking tour at Memory Hill Cemetery and see the final resting place of many of Milledgeville’s notable residents.

You’ll see where magician and illusionist Dixie Haygood’s magnetic personality draws visitors to her ghastly grave where a large hole mysteriously appears every Christmas . The 100-pound Dixie, whose stage name was Annie Abbott, could reportedly lift up to six burly men holding a single pool cue, but no one could lift her small frame from the ground.  

Memory Hill Cemetery’s free mobile walking tour is a great way to learn more about the final resting place for notable figures, such as Flannery O’Conner and Stateman Carl Vinson.

The beautiful park is the final resting place for many notable figures including famous author Flannery O’Connor and Statesman Carl Vinson. You’ll find the walking tour formatted for your mobile device here. Follow the charming paths and feel the presence of historic characters who helped put Milledgeville on the map. 

MILLEDGEVILLE TROLLEY TOUR

This tour isn’t self-guided, but it is amazing! Get the full fascinating story of St. Stephen’s and more magnificent marvels for just $12 on a Milledgeville Trolley Tour.

Milledgeville’s historic trolley tours offer inside access to admire the beautiful stained-glass windows and the pipe organs housed in the lovely sanctuary at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Hear true salacious stories about local landmarks and their inhabitants, like the Old Capitol Building, from enthusiastic and educated guides. 

SEASONAL SPLUGE: CHRISTMAS AT THE MANSION

Take a step back in time and discover holiday traditions passed down from Milledgeville’s earliest families as Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion is transformed with 19th-century era holiday decor. Christmas at the Mansion cannot be missed.

The 1838 Greek Revival building was the mansion home to the governors of Georgia from 1838 to 1868.  The Mansion will be fully decorated for the holidays and open for tours November 11th- 21st and November 28th – December 22nd, 2023.

Join an evening guided tour of the Mansion with candles lit and choirs singing in the rotunda. Candlelight tours are at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m. on December 2nd and 16th, 2023. Normal admission rates apply and reservations are required for the candlelight tours. 

Afterwards, keep things festive with a lovely upscale dinner in historic downtown at The Reel Grill. Request a reservation in a private wine cellar that was once a historic bank vault. With all the money you’ve saved, order a special vintage and toast the holiday season with someone special. 

LAKE SINCLAIR

13+ Fun, Cheap & Free Things To Do in Milledgeville You Can't Miss
Lake Sinclair courtesy of Visit Milledgeville

You are free and clear to enjoy some time on beautiful Lake Sinclair. Get your feet wet or simply lay out and soak up the sun in a lounge chair on a sandy beach. Lake Sinclair encompasses 15,300 acres of winding coves and open water.

One of my favorite things to do is to plan a picnic at a local beach and float for hours on an inflatable raft, occasionally sipping a cold adult beverage. On your way to the lake, stop by the Comfort Farms Farmers Market, the supermarket deli counter, or get food to go from Old Clinton Barbecue. If you are near the four-way stop on Hwy 212, stop for hot boiled peanuts and a sausage dog at Quick Stop #3. You might get lucky enough to score some ribs on the weekend.

Open containers are allowed for swimmers on Lake Sinclair but glass is always prohibited. For a particularly lazy day, take a bungee cord and attach it to one of the metal posts that define the swimming area to anchor yourself in a safe spot.

There is water everywhere, so all watercraft are welcome. Bring your own kayak or canoe for a carefree and cost-free day on the lake. Stop by Little River Park and watch anglers bring in their tournament haul at the end of the day. 

Read More: Lake Sinclair: + 17 More Reasons Nature Lovers Should Visit Milledgeville

T. D. CHEEK FISHING PIER

From sunrise to sunset, you can cast your fancy fishing rod or a simple cane pole into the well-stocked waters of Lake Sinclair to reel in the catch of the day. T. D. Cheek Fishing Pier has an expansive series of floating docks over the water.  The family-friendly fishing pier is open year-round and free to the public

With shoreline fishing access, fish attractors, a parking area, and picnic tables, this might just become your favorite fishing hole for reeling in bass, crappie and catfish. Teach kids to cast or just enjoy the sunset view. If you’re lucky, your catch of the day could provide a free dinner for your family. 

SEASONAL SPLURGE: PRIVATE LAKE HOUSE & MORE

  • Private Lake House & Boat Rental. Book a waterfront cabin or a well-appointed home on Lake Sinclair. Visit Lake Sinclair Marina to rent a pontoon or ski boat and spend a spectacular day or enchanting evening on the water. If you want a slower pace, Oconee Outfitters can deliver kayaks and paddleboards to the lake for you.
  • Christmas Cove. Take a moonlight cruise to view Christmas Cove on Lake Sinclair, a one-of-a-kind light show that glistens over the calm lake waters. The event is open exclusively at sunset every night from November 23rd to December 31st and is only viewable by boat.
  • Aubri Lane’s. Continue your seasonal celebration when you arrive by boat for an elegant waterfront dinner at Aubri Lane’s, located pretty close to the Christmas Cove event.

RIVER & NATURE TRAILS

13+ Fun, Cheap & Free Things To Do in Milledgeville You Can't Miss
Lockerly Arboretum courtesy of Visit Milledgeville

OCONEE RIVER GREENWAY

The Oconee River Greenway features beautiful walking trails along the river. Watch wildlife and listen to leaves crunch beneath your feet as you stroll around natural pathways that are open daily until sunset. The Greenway has plenty of picture-perfect picnic sites, with grassy knolls and tables.

Bike the trails, relax with a fishing rod, or bring your best friend for some fun in the dog park.

BARTRAM TRAIL

Head to Bartram Forest for breathtaking pines, rolling hills, and abundant foliage. With three looping trails to bike, walk, and observe wildlife, immerse yourself in the 1,343-acre forest.

Packed with beautiful scenery, wildlife, and a few creek waterfalls, this site will certainly strengthen your connection to the natural world.

LOCKERLY ARBORETUM

The paths at Lockerly Arboretum wind through 50 acres of lush landscapes around the banks of a charming pond and are connected by a quaint wooden bridge. The grounds are free and open to the public.

Rose Hill, a Greek Revival home circa 1852, is the centerpiece of the Lockerly Arboretum with a gorgeous koi pond.  Wildlife can be spotted throughout the grounds amidst the brilliant array of trees. Learn about the indigenous flora and fauna and see exotic species that have been imported. 

Rose Hill is open for guided tours on Saturdays from 10 am – 3 pm. Tours are held every hour on the hour and the last tour begins at 3 pm. Tour tickets are $5 per person. 

SEASONAL SPLURGES: WINE IN THE WOODS, LOCKERLY IN LIGHTS, & MORE

  • Wine in the Woods. Wine in the Woods is a special event at Lockerly Arboretum that allows guests to visit the grounds in the evening. Stroll softly lit paths while sipping a glass of wine, a perfect way to enjoy the fall weather and gorgeous property.
  • Lockerly in Lights. Get ready for a festive journey that will light up your holidays! Lockerly in Lights is an enchanting holiday experience that lets guests walk or drive through their illuminated forest. Friday nights are drive-through only for $15/car. Saturday nights offer walk-through tours that are $10/adults and $5/kids.
  • Annual Events & Accommodations. Annual music festivals and special events (like Deep Roots and the Beach Bash) are presented seasonally. Book a downtown loft, a room at the historic Jefferson Inn, a lake house rental or an affordable hotel room to attend these fabulous experiences.You can even pitch a tent at a local campground. You can find more of our accommodation recommendations here.

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO GEORGIA

WHERE TO STAY IN MILLEDGEVILLE

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13+ Fun, Cheap & Free Things To Do in Milledgeville You Can't Miss