Natural Holidays at Little Ocmulgee State Park & Lodge

One of the not-so-secret gems of the South is calling for you. Listen for the whispers of wildlife at Little Ocmulgee State Park & Lodge – a getaway destination that is the definition of serenity.

Little Ocmulgee State Park is known for phenomenal golf. Plus, the nature in the park is simply awe-inspiring and is a haven for people who love to swim (in summer), go out boating, fishing, hiking, and stargazing.

My wife and family booked a pre-Thanksgiving weekend at Little Ocmulgee. We surprised my parents with this destination vacation. My parents are getting on in years, and it’s not so easy to get around like they used to, so this park is ideal for accommodating everyone.

Some of the highlights of our vacation included:

Warm Fall Hikes
Being in South Georgia, the weather is always a bit warmer than Atlanta, where we live. The topography of this park ranges from sand hills to lake swamp, giving us a wide range of wildlife and plant life to enjoy.

Watch for wading birds, wood ducks, elusive alligators, gopher tortoises, browsing deer, ancient-looking armadillos, and so much more! These are common sightings, but not usually encounters. We always stay on the trails and give animals plenty of space.

  • The Short Loop Trail made hiking easier for the kids and grandparents. It is 1.7 miles in length and winds through the longleaf pine ecosystem with views of superior magnolia trees, Spanish moss, and pine trees, including loblolly and longleaf.

Picnic on the Beach
One afternoon we all relaxed with a picnic at Thaxton Beach. It was a comfortable afternoon – light sweaters for some – and the picnic was the best because we picked it up ready-made from Mulligan’s Grille at the lodge. We sampled a selection of tacos, hot ham croissants, a shared chef salad, and grilled chicken wings.

Thaxton Beach is a white sand beach on the shore of the Little Ocmulgee Lake. It’s a little chilly for swimming here in November, but the warm sands under our picnic blankets and gentle breezes felt just right.

  • If you are coming around Christmas time, check out Sparkle in the Park holiday lights display!

Wallace Adams Golf Course
For those of you who golf, the 18-hole Wallace Adams golf course is the central attraction here with a clubhouse, golf pro, and unlimited weekday play and junior/senior discounts. It’s a stunning course lined with loblolly pines, magnolias, and willows.

The Pete Philips Lodge, where we stayed, overlooks the golf course. In the back you’ll find a fire pit with chairs, perfect for meeting fellow lodge guests and taking in a spectacular sunset. We used complimentary bikes to skirt around the park. They’re available by request at the front desk.

Consider this park a gift for current and future generations. Little Ocmulgee State Park opened to the public in 1940. Today the park is 83 years old (like my dad who came here with us). Around 1935, residents began acquiring land along the Little Ocmulgee River to conserve these special places before development would encroach.

With the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Park Service, the park was assembled, and lodging and amenities were constructed during those formative years. I am grateful for the conservation actions of everyone and government coordination long ago.

Little Ocmulgee State Park & Lodge offers 60 Lodge guest rooms, 10 cottages (currently under renovation, to open spring 2024), and 54 sites for tent and R/V camping. Call 229-868-7474 or visit to arrange your amazing Christmas or New Year’s getaway for golfing, fishing, boating, and total relaxation – multiple generations included.

Bryan C.