Stretching from Macon,the Cherry Blossom Capital of the
World, in the southwesttoAthens,the
Classic City, in the northeast, Georgia’sHistoric Heartland
intrigues visitors with three state parks, flowing rivers, sparkling lakes,
country roads for cyclists, and lots of wildlife.
In the Macon area, hike the 11-mile Ocmulgee Heritage Trail along the Ocmulgee River, explore ancient Indian mounds at Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, and boat, fish, and water ski on Lake Tobesofkee. You can also rent a kayak or canoe in Macon to paddle down the Ocmulgee. Just northwest of Macon, hike the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Trail through the 35,000-acre Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge;with luck, you may catch a glimpse of this endangered bird.
south of Macon,
Fort Valley introduces you to the peach industry through a small bus tour of Georgia peach and pecan
orchards at Lane Packing, the state’s largest peach grower. Or walk among acres
of grasslands, ponds, roses, camellias, and azaleas at Fort Valley’sMassee Lane Gardens.
Enjoy Perry’s network of trails and parks or come for one of the area’s signature events, the Dogwood Festival or the Georgia National Fair. Stop at Brannen Outfitters to pick up the outdoor gear you’ll need to hunt and fish in this area. Play a round of golf at Warner Robins’ International City Golf Club or take a walk on the Wellston Trail. Stroll through Milledgeville’s Lockerly Arboretum and its exhibit of 100 bonsai trees. See the bobcats, bison and farm animals, a woodland garden, and enjoy hike-bike-horse trails at Dauset Trails Nature Center in Jackson. Nearby, campandswim at America’s first state park, Indian Springs, which pays homage to
Chief William McIntosh and Georgia’s Creek Indians.
In addition to Indian Springs, parks in the area include Hard Labor Creek State Park in Rutledge, which provides one of the state’s best golf values; and High Falls State Park in Jackson, where you can enjoy the scenic waterfall on the Towaliga River, hike to the ruins of a bygone grist mill, then camp, picnic, and canoe.
Discover Big Haynes Creek Nature Center, a protected 173-acre wildlife
preserve within Conyers’ Georgia
International Horse Park, just a
few miles outside of Atlanta.
Minutes from the Horse Park is Black Shoals Park, a 650-acres reservoir and
recreational facility offering fishing, canoeing, boating, picnicking, and
hiking. Or enjoy public fishing, hiking, biking, and interpretive programs at the
Elliott Wildlife Center near Covington and at the Georgia Wildlife
Federation/Alcovy Conservation Center’s 115 acres along the Alcovy River,
surrounded by native plant gardens.
Athens has a wealth of parks to enjoy along with bike trails
galore. The new Firefly Trail is a multi-use rails-to-trails project
that will extend 39 miles from Athens to Union Point.
Outside the cities, much of the Historic Heartland region is rural farmland filled with peach orchards,
berry patches and farm stands. Stop and fill a basket while you’re in the area.
there is to see and do, it’s no wonder visitors stop to smell the flowers, or hike
through the Historic