Trip Ideas

  1. Home
  2. Guides
  3. 8 Experiences You Can Only Have in Georgia’s Lake Country
Lake Country Sunshine Favicon

8 Experiences You Can Only Have in Georgia’s Lake Country

This popular weekend getaway is one of the best places for hikes around the manmade lakes or teeing off at the award-winning golf courses. But there are some things you can only have here.

Georgia’s Lake Country is centered around lakes Oconee and Sinclair with Eatonton, Milledgeville, Madison and Greensboro located nearby. The popular weekend getaway is one of the best places for hikes around the manmade lakes or teeing off at the award-winning golf courses. But there are some experiences you can only have here. 

Georgia’s Old Capitol Building in Milledgeville, GA

Eatonton

1. See a rare Native American effigy at Rock Eagle
Georgia’s Native American history is all over the state, but Georgia’s Lake Country is home to the only two Native American effigies east of the Mississippi River. Rock Eagle is a mound in the shape of a bird built over 2,000 years ago of quartzite, which is able to be viewed from an observation tower. Located at a 4-H Center, there’s also educational programming throughout the year. Rock Hawk is another effigy nearby with surrounding trails.

2. Learn about Georgia’s notable authors in their hometown
Alice Walker, award-winning author of The Color Purple, was also born in Eatonton. Fans can take part in the self-guided Alice Walker Driving Tour, which makes stops at her birthplace, childhood home, church, and the cemetery where her parents were buried. Joel Chandler Harris, Eatonton native, is best known for the Uncle Remus Stories. Visitors can stop by the Uncle Remus Museum to hear some of the tales of Brer Rabbit. The Georgia Writers Museum, also in Eatonton, focuses on these writers, along with Flannery O’Connor, who grew up in the area.

Greensboro

Founded in 1803 for Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene, Greensboro was one of the state’s top cotton-producing areas before the Civil War, later turning to textiles and garment production. The quaint downtown is one of many reasons that Greensboro is known as Lake Oconee’s hometown. 

3. Get pampered at The Ritz Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee
Greensboro is home to the only lakefront Ritz-Carlton in the United States. The luxurious lakeside retreat is known for its world class golf courses, relaxing spa, and kid-friendly activities. The resort just reopened after undergoing a multi-million dollar transformation to its guest rooms, suites and cottages.

4. Take a walk on the spooky side at the Old Gaol
Built in 1807, the Old Gaol (or jail) is believed to be the oldest standing jail in the state, assembled from local granite with two foot thick walls. Following the design of European bastilles, the cells resemble creepy catacombs with chains, no light, and no windows. There were also gallows that was the main method of execution until 1924. A new jail was built in 1895 and today the building is used as a museum open by appointment.

Madison

The charming town of Madison gained popularity when it operated as a stagecoach stop between Charleston and New Orleans. It has one of the largest historic districts in the state of Georgia and hosts community events like its popular holiday season festivities. 

5. Tour Georgia’s filming locations
Madison has often been used in Hollywood films. The incredible Madison Morgan Cultural Center is a Romanesque-style building that served as the town’s school for many years and was used in the 2015 movie Goosebumps starring Jack Black. The Morgan County Courthouse was used in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Bonar Hall was used in The Vampire Diaries.

6. Dine on farm fresh products 
Farmview Market started as a family farm selling grass fed beef and Berkshire hogs. Today it’s grown to a thriving market and cafe with fresh produce and artisan ice cream. They also offer cooking classes and events.

Milledgeville

Formed in 1803, Milledgeville was established as Georgia’s state capital. In 1825, the town was visited by the Marquis de Lafayette, leading to lavish parties in his honor. After the Civil War, a college was established, later becoming Georgia College and State University. Today the campus stretches into the charming downtown district.

7. Commune with the peacocks at Andalusia Farm
Famed author Flannery O’Connor lived out her days on Andalusia, her family farm, with her mother. She struggled with lupus but wrote her book Wise Blood during her time in Milledgeville. Peafowl live on the grounds of the house, which is now a museum on her life. (Andalusia Farm will resume public tours on August 4, 2020 at 10AM.)

8. Visit the historic buildings of the former capital
While the Georgia capital moved to Atlanta in 1868, reminders of Milledgeville’s tenure still exist. The Old Governor’s Mansion, where Sherman reportedly once slept, will resume public tours for visitors beginning August 4 at 10 a.m. The Old State Capitol, now on the campus of Georgia Military College, is also open for tours. Be sure to check the websites before going to confirm the current hours of operation.