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Lake Sinclair’s 15,330 acres of fresh water and verdant forest make it one of central Georgia’s most treasured spots for a relaxing shoreside getaway. While there’s no shortage of activities to take part in around here, most visitors tend to gravitate toward water sports, taking full advantage of the lake’s 500-plus miles of shoreline. The water is teeming with catfish and several species of bass, making it a top fishing destination, and there’s ample opportunity for renting kayaks, inner tubes, and water skis — if you’re brave enough, that is. Though the lake itself is spectacular, don’t miss out on the abundant natural beauty just next door at the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge. Streaked with thousands of miles of hiking trails and home to a massive array of mammals, birds, and butterflies, this sprawling sanctuary is a true haven for any visiting nature lovers.
The closest airport to Lake Sinclair is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), about 90 minutes’ drive away. Be sure to have a rental car booked before your arrival — it’s an absolute necessity, as there’s no public transportation around Lake Sinclair. It’s easy to get around the area by car, but if you’re more athletically inclined, biking is totally doable as well. If you’re planning a side trip, the historic city of Milledgeville is just a 15-minute drive to the south.
Given Georgia’s favorable year-round weather, there’s really no wrong time to visit Lake Sinclair. For those who have an aversion to crowds, tourism tends to be at its lowest in the winter months — though it may be a little cold for swimming and tubing. Conversely, summer brings peak heat and sun, but the boat launches can be on the busy side. That said, it’s the ideal time of year if you’re trying to make a few friends on the water. Springtime offers a favorable balance between the two, with warm temperatures but not quite as many visitors. During fall, you’ll be treated to colorful foliage along with a few lively local jamborees, ranging from the BBQ and live music-focused Deep Roots Festival to the Milledgeville-Eatonton (ME) Film Festival, an event showcasing features and shorts with a Southern Gothic flair.
A reminder of Milledgeville’s former status as capital of Georgia, the Old Governor’s Mansion is one of the state’s architectural marvels. Given its elegant 1830s-era Greek Revival design and historic significance, it’s no wonder that it has been designated a U.S. National Landmark since the 1970s.
The perfect destination for a leisurely afternoon stroll, this sprawling estate is home to 50 acres of vibrant flowers and verdant foliage. Soak in the beauty of the arboretum before laying out a lunch at one of the picnic tables by the pond. Or stretch your legs on the mile-long nature trail shaded by oaks, magnolias, and, in spring, a riot of wildflowers.
A paradise for visiting nature enthusiasts, Georgia College’s own natural history museum houses more than 100,000 preserved organisms on display. Gaze in wonder at massive fossils of mammoths and other prehistoric beasts, then head over to the Mammalogy section to view rhinoceros, lion, and giraffe skeletons.