10 Places to Soak Up Spring on Georgia’s Antebellum Trail

1. Bear Hollow Zoo (Athens)

Bear Hollow Zoo is a popular place for families to interact with Georgia’s native wildlife. Located in Memorial Park in Athens, this small wildlife trail is home to black bears, bobcats, white-tailed deer, owls and many other species of wild, free-living animals. Every Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., the exhibit hall is open to the public, featuring projects for younger visitors and live animals to see and touch. The park also features a mile-long nature trail, expansive playground equipment, a pond and a variety of settings for a picnic.

Eat nearby: The Pine with dessert at Condor Chocolates

Stay nearby: Graduate Athens

2. Oconee Forest Park (Athens)

Oconee Forest Park is adjacent to the University of Georgia intramural complex and is a 60-acre natural area containing walking trails, a 1.2-mile mountain bike trail, a 15-acre lake and the largest scarlet oak in Georgia.

Eat nearby: Grindhouse Killer Burgers

Stay nearby: Hotel Indigo

3. Washington Farms (Watkinsville)

Washington Farms provides a fun, unique experience: picking your own strawberries straight from the field! The Farm will open for strawberry season in April and host their Super Spring Saturdays in April and May where visitors can enjoy farm activities and fun including wagon rides, a petting zoo, paintball, and more.

Eat nearby: Rachel’s Southern Style Restaurant

Stay nearby: SpringHill Suites by Marriott

4. Heritage Park (Watkinsville)

Heritage Park in Watkinsville is a quiet place to take a relaxing walk on the 2.5 miles of walking trails, a challenging bike excursion on the 9.5 miles of bike trails, a ride on the 4.5 miles of equestrian trails, a family picnic or just a place to breathe in fresh country air.

Eat nearby: Traveling Hobo Café

Stay nearby: Ashford Manor Bed and Breakfast

5. Hard Labor Creek State Park (near Madison)

Hard Labor Creek State Park near Madison provides activities like fishing, kayaking, golfing and geocaching, and has something for everyone! Watch the little ones play in the shallow beach water while the adventurous teens set out on a kayaking adventure. Be sure to catch a moonlight movie in the park at the end of a fun-filled day!

Eat nearby: The Caboose

Stay nearby: Cottages at Hard Labor Creek State Park (pet-friendly)

6. Rock Hawk Park on Lake Oconee (Eatonton)

The Rock Hawk Park on Lake Oconee in Eatonton is open to the public for hiking, biking, boating, camping, swimming, fishing, picnicking and hunting. This park functions as an outdoor classroom and has 15 miles of multi-use trails, plus 20 miles of biking trails. Join them on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. for Trailhead Tuesdays.

Eat nearby : Bone Island Grill

Stay nearby: The Lodge on Lake Oconee

7. Lake Sinclair (Eatonton/Milledgeville)

Lake Sinclair in Eatonton and Milledgeville is a popular spring break destination that offers an array of activities for the whole family. Have a thirst for adventure? Call Twin Lakes Jet Ski and Pontoon Rentals to rent a ski boat, water-skis/tow ropes, skis, slalom, knee board, or wake board! For those looking for a more relaxed experience, Oconee Outfitters offers paddle boards and kayaks to wade through the gentle waters.

Eat nearby: Jackson’s Bar and Restaurant

Stay nearby: Sunset Marina and Inn

8. Oconee River Greenway Park and Riverwalk (Milledgeville)


The Oconee River Greenway Park and Riverwalk in Milledgeville offer trails, paths and boardwalks to walk, jog, bicycle, relax and enjoy the beauty and sounds of the Oconee River. The Greenway offers multiple individual fishing stations and a boat ramp. The river is navigable in many sections by canoe or kayak, and because its shoreline remains largely undeveloped, it offers an opportunity to see native bird and plant life. Parts of Milledgeville’s old 1892 grist mill and dam structures are still visible in the river just north of the bridge. Rent a kayak or float from Oconee Outfitters. Put into the water at the Oconee River Greenway and end your journey at Central State for a 6-hour floating trip, or use a paddle for a shorter expedition.

Eat nearby: Gringo’s

Stay nearby: SoHo Lofts

9. Jarrell Plantation Historic Site (near Gray)

The Jarrell Plantation Historic Site near Gray is one of the last remaining examples of a vanishing culture with its authentic 19th and early 20th century plantation buildings typical to Middle Georgia representing the change from an agricultural to an industrial based economy. Today the plantation also holds a museum, gift shop, picnic area, and geocaching. Open Thursday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Eat nearby: Whistle Stop Cafe

10. Lake Tobesofkee (near Macon)

Lake Tobesofkee is a year-round recreation area covering nearly 1,800 acres with 35 miles of shoreline located just outside Macon’s city limits. Three parks, each with a white sandy beach, surround the lake and offer activities such as swimming, fishing, boating, camping, water skiing, sailing and picnicking. Two of the parks (Claystone & Arrowhead) offer campsites with modern conveniences, while Sandy Beach Park is known for its water park.

Eat nearby: Fish N’ Pig

Stay nearby: TownePlace Suites by Marriott Macon

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