You’ve probably heard Milledgeville, Ga referred to as Georgia’s Antebellum Capital. And while that is a fair assessment, it is so much more. If you love exploring the outdoors while taking in a bit of Georgia’s history, this is just the spot!
Head to Milledgeville in Middle Georgia to soak up the sun at Lake Sinclair, bike along the Oconee River, tour the historic district filled with culture and art, and see the surprises offered on the Georgia College campus. Here are 21 of our favorite reasons to visit.
Oconee Outfitters. You’re ready to play outdoors, but you just need some equipment? Then head here for bikes, canoes, paddleboards, you name it. They can also deliver to Lake Sinclair or Lake Oconee – so no excuses. These guys have all the insight on the best places to go, so if you’re doing something with a group, be sure to also ask them about helping you plan a guided event.
Bartram Forest. If you’re a mountain biker (or want to be one) then make your way here for 15 miles of great trails. The Green trail is super easy for beginners, but not at all boring. There are also intermediate and advanced trails, plus a connector that sends you over to Selma Erwin Nature Preserve Trails.
If you’re not a biker, we still encourage you to visit. Grab a sandwich from Pickle Barrell Cafe and head here for a picnic along the banks of the Oconee.
Oconee River Greenway. Bike, jog, bring a fishing pole, or launch your boat. The Greenway is a beautiful place to explore. Two small loops mean the kids can bike anywhere from .5 – 1.5 miles along the paved route, while safely catching glimpses of the river.
The Club at Lake Sinclair. Looking for a tee time? The Club offers grand views of Lake Sinclair on a family-friendly course. If you love Milledgeville like we do, then consider a membership here to enjoy golfing, tennis, dining, and regularly scheduled kids’ activities.
Lockerly Arboretum. When the kiddos asked me to define an arboretum, and I love the wording given to me by Lockerly: It’s a garden…for trees.
The locals love their regular events and summer camps…but there is so much for a visitor, also! 50 acres of beautiful shrubbery, trees, camellias, conifers and more. The gardens are free to roam, and this is another great place for a picnic.
Rose Hill, a Greek Revival house on the property, is available for touring for a nominal fee.
Antebellum Trails. Do you know about Georgia’s Antebellum Trail? It begins in Macon, and heads 170 miles north to Athens..but no need to spend a week doing that when you can bike the prettiest parts in Milledgeville.
We love the idea of biking this first, before visiting each of the landmarks you’ll pass. It gives you an overview and lay of the land before you soak in the details.
Museum District. The Museum District is the cultural hub of Milledgeville, with landmarks, art galleries, shopping opportunities, antique dealers, restaurants… it’s the genuine heartbeat of the area. It may not be your “traditional” outdoor escape, but walking the streets of downtown is a must!
Old Governor’s Mansion. The governors of the state did not always reside on West Paces Ferry; from 1838 to 1868 they lived in Milledgeville in this Greek Revival home. The mansion was also occupied by General Sherman during his March to the Sea. After the war, the government seat moved to Atlanta, and the building was abandoned. Today it is a museum, with creative events and myriad stories.
Andalusia Farm. Flannery O’Conner is an American short-story writer and novelist. She was born in Savannah, but lived at Andalusia Farm with her mother for much of her life. The museum is currently being restored and is not open to the public, but I mention it here so that you can follow along on the site. When it does open again, you’ll love the stories about Flannery’s life on the dairy farm and how it influenced her writing – and the kids will love the peacocks!
Historic Trolley Tour. Our family is a HUGE fan of trolley tours! It’s great for the kids, and a wonderful (restful) way to learn about the character of the town, and really take it all in. Expect about 2-3 hours of entertaining history from the Civil War through modern day Georgia College, with special tidbits you won’t learn anywhere else!
Walking Tour of Milledgeville. If you’re looking to pinch a penny, or you simply prefer to walk instead of ride, then consider a self-guided walking tour. We love the tour offered by the CVB, outlined here.
African-American Heritage Tour. Want to take a deep-dive into the African-American heritage in the South’s antebellum core? Learn about Wilkes Flagg, who was a slave that purchased his own freedom and began a Baptist church (see it!), where he served as pastor for nearly three decades. Visit “the strip” where black Georgian’s gathered together in business…it included a shoe repair shop, a barbershop, a drugstore and restaurants.
It’s a special tour along the Trolley Tour line, that begins at the CVB. Give them a call to find out when it runs.
Natural History Museum. Inside The Georgia College sits a secret treasure – a 2,500-square-foot natural history museum! In fact, it holds one largest vertebrate paleontology collections in the Southeast, and it is an official repository for National Park Service specimens. All this – and it’s FREE!
Cedar Lane Cemetery. You’ve probably heard about Memory Hill Cemetery; Flannery O’Connor is buried here along with other prominent Georgia people. And that is cool…but you know us. We love the AWESOME. For that, I recommend a visit to Cedar Lane.
Here you will find a memorial made up of discarded metal grave markers, commemorating more than 25,000 individuals buried on the grounds who died while being patients at the Central State Hospital, Georgia’s first public psychiatric hospital.
Which is what leads me to the next must-do…
Central State Hospital. The hospital has many buildings that are falling into disrepair (spooooky!) so head to the museum on Broad Street in the Old Train Depot across from the CSH Auditorium. It highlights the more than 150-year existence of the hospital.
If you’re like us, you need more! Take a guided driving tour of the campus, which takes about an hour. You still can’t go near the buildings though; security guards are keeping watch. Both tours (plus the cemetery) are FREE.
Beach Bash (Summer). If you’re thinking of exploring Milledgeville for the first time, this is your perfect excuse. Kick off your summer as they bring the beach to you. 80 tons of sand will be dropped in the Post Office parking lot for a super fun beach party starting at 5pm. Bring your beach chair to relax while the kids enjoy beach toys, games, and more! Then, dig your toes in the sand and relax for a special showing of the movie Surf’s Up at dark.
Lockerly Under The Stars (Fall). Enjoy music under the stars at the arboretum, with a cash bar and silent auction.
Deep Roots Festival (Fall). This lively cultural arts and music festival beckons travelers from all over with an antique car show, live music, artist market, and a “LittleRoots KidZone.” The festival also plays host to an MBN sanctioned BBQ cook-off contest featuring the ever-popular People’s Choice award that will draw BBQ connoisseurs from around the Southeast.
Make It A Weekend
Antebellum Inn Bed & Breakfast. Relax in spacious bedrooms. Imagine luxurious featherbeds, 1200-count Egyptian cotton linens, plush towels and matching robes to welcome you, with a hot, gourmet breakfast awaiting you each morning.
Families will love the pool cottage, with room for four, a full kitchen and living space, and access to the beautiful salt water pool.
SOHO Lofts. Looking for something truly unique? Reserve space at one of four luxury, industrial, loft-style hotel suites in downtown Milledgeville. The Lofts are a sister property to Antebellum Inn…The luxurious sheets, towels, and amenities still apply – it’s just for travelers seeking something more urban than nostalgic.
Each loft features one bedroom, a full kitchen and living space, and coolest decor you’ve ever laid eyes on.
Little River Park. Thinking of roughing it along Lake Sinclair? Try a site at Little River. They include RV hookups or tent camping options. Pick one of the 39 waterfront sites for a little more, but it’s definitely worth it.
Amenities include a playground, roped off swimming area, boat launch and dock, and more.
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Disclosure: 365 Atlanta Family is proudly a content sponsor for Milledgeville…but it doesn’t influence what we share here. We are HUGE fans of Milledgeville, and we’re happy to work with them on this post to share that love with you.
After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.