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New Year, New Adventures: Outdoor Exploration

The dawn of a new year brings with it the promise of fresh experiences and adventures. If you’re a nature enthusiast seeking excitement in 2024, look no further than the picturesque landscapes of Eatonton and Putnam County. This guide is your key to unlocking the outdoor wonders that await, providing insights and recommendations for an unforgettable year filled with exploration and joy.


trailblazing adventures

Start your outdoor escapade with a serene hike through the lush trails of Eatonton. Feel the crunch of leaves beneath your boots as you immerse yourself in the calming embrace of nature. The trails offer a perfect blend of tranquility and adventure, making it an ideal activity for individuals and families alike.

Step into the heart of nature with the hiking trails in Oconee National Forest. Here, the rustling leaves and the scent of pine accompany your journey through pristine woodlands. Putnam County lies in the Oconee Ranger District of the Oconee National Forest. Within this district, you can choose from a variety of trails catering to different skill levels, whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner seeking a leisurely stroll. Oconee National Forest unfolds a tapestry of natural beauty, inviting you to connect with the great outdoors in every step.

For a unique hiking experience, explore the trails at Rock Hawk, where effigy mounds add a touch of mystery to your outdoor adventure. The well-marked paths guide you through a landscape rich in history and natural charm. As you hike through Rock Hawk Trails and Effigy, you’ll encounter ancient rock carvings and effigy mounds, creating a captivating blend of cultural exploration and outdoor recreation. These trails offer not just a physical journey but a voyage into the past, where each step unveils the stories etched in the rocks and land.

At Rock Hawk, the experience goes beyond the trails. Education displays dot the landscape, offering valuable insights into the natural flora and fauna of the area. Nature enthusiasts can delve into the rich biodiversity, gaining a deeper understanding of the ecosystems that thrive in this setting. If you’re into bird watching, Rock Hawk is a prime location for this rewarding activity. The diverse bird species that call this area home create a symphony of sounds, turning your hike into a delightful bird-watching excursion.


Nestled along the shores of Lake Sinclair, Oconee Springs Park is a family-oriented campground with well-appointed campsites. Offering essential amenities such as water, electric, and cable hookups, Oconee Springs Park combines comfort with recreational options. Enjoy a beach area, on-water inflatables, camp store, and a playground – making it an ideal choice for families seeking a blend of conveniences and natural beauty by Lake Sinclair. 

For a more simple and natural approach to camping along Lake Sinclair, check out Lake Sinclair Recreation. With 33 tent camping sites and 5 RV sites, it offers a more secluded camping experience. This area caters to campers looking for a quieter and more natural setting or outdoor enthusiasts seeking solitude. Surrounded by hiking trails and opportunities for fishing, this campground allows you to immerse yourself in the outdoors and invites you to enjoy the understated charm of lakeside camping in Eatonton and Putnam County.

For a serene, more upscale lakeside retreat along Lake Oconee, consider Lawrence Shoals Campground. Featuring spacious campsites and essential facilities, it provides a tranquil setting for campers looking to connect with nature while offering plenty of amenities such as hot showers, washers and dryers, playgrounds, boat docks for camper’s use only, trails to a white sand beach, and pavilions with barbecue pits. At Lawrence Shoals Campground, wake up to the melodies of nature while indulging in the comforts of well-appointed surroundings.

lake adventures await

Dive into the enchanting waters of Eatonton and Putnam County, where not one, but two lakes beckon. Whether you’re a water sports enthusiast or an angler seeking a peaceful day by the lake, these two lakes ensure there’s something for everyone.

A favorite of Georgia’s second largest lake, Lake Oconee, is to simply race along its expansive waters. A close favorite, however, is to wakeboard or water ski among the waves, especially if you’re looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush. Jet skiing also offers an exhilarating experience. If you’re not seeking a thrill, Lake Oconee is still a great lake to kayak or paddle board. No matter the activity, a day or weekend away on Lake Oconee offers a wonderful experience for the whole family, your group of friends, or a solo trip.

On the flip side, Lake Sinclair stands as a leisurely fishing lake, inviting anglers to cast their lines in pursuit of the perfect catch. Known for its serene waters and picturesque surroundings, Lake Sinclair promises a tranquil escape for fishing enthusiasts. Public fishing spots are ample, providing diverse opportunities to reel in crappie, catfish, largemouth bass, hybrids, and stripers. Boat ramps along the lake offer convenient access, with Crooked Creek Marina and Oconee Springs Park providing launching points on the east side. Twin Bridges Landing on the northwest side and Lake Sinclair Recreation on the opposite shore present additional options for those seeking varied fishing spots. Fishing piers like Cosby’s Landing, Dennis Station, and T.D. Cheek Fishing Pier offer accessible locations for shoreline fishing, complete with fish attractors to enhance the angling experience.

To gear up for your chosen adventure on Lake Oconee, check out Oconee Wild Watersports or Young Harris Watersports. Offering rentals for boats, kayaks, jet skis, and paddle boards, you can adequately prepare yourself or a fun day on the lake. win Bridges Landing, a fully stocked convenience store with live bait and tackle, caters to anglers preparing for a day of fishing on Lake Sinclair.

art in the open - outdoor galleries

As you stroll through Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch, you’ll encounter art that captures the essence of the region’s cultural heritage. With a folky flair, each piece creates a tangible connection to rich traditions. The folk art on display serves as a testament to the creativity and craftsmanship that define this picturesque corner of Georgia.

Yet, Butterflies and Blooms goes beyond the static beauty of art – it is a haven where the art of nature comes to life. Real butterflies flutter around, adding a dynamic and graceful element to the surroundings. These delicate creatures transform the space into a living canvas of natural wonder. Visitors can witness the intricate ballet of butterflies while walking around the 0.25 mile walking track.