After the Civilian Conservation Corps took what was left of Camp Lawton and made it into a state park, Magnolia Springs State Park first opened its gates in 1939. Camp Lawton was where Confederate soldiers kept Union prisoners during the Civil War in 1864. It was known as the world’s largest prison with over 10,000 Union prisoners. More than 70 years after it was open, Archaeological students discovered remnants of the Civil War and pieces of the prison wall. These are held in the Camp Lawton Museum for all RV visitors to learn more about the history of the park.
The park is open year-round and full of activities for the entire family to enjoy. The summer months offer fishing, biking, and canoeing along the lake. Canoes are available for rent. While there are no live baits sold in the park for fishing, you can always swing by Millen and pick some up. Biking along the trails offer a new adventure to riders, especially those who join the Muddy Spokes Club. The off-season offers hiking, birding, and geocaching for all visitors.
The park offers 1,071 acres for exploration and camping so there is never a dull moment in the campgrounds. There are 46 campsites with water and electric hookups available for RV and trailer camping. A dumping station is nearby the campsite to dispose of your waste or just clear out excessive grey water in your tank. The park enjoys hot summers and cool winters due to its inland location.
Running between Highway 121/25 and Harvey St, Magnolia State Park is located right next to Millen Airport. This provides the option to fly in from anywhere you would like, as long as you have proper air clearance. The 1,071-acre park is located in Jenkins County close to Waynesboro, Statesboro, and Perkins. The city of Millen is only a few miles away from the park’s entrance but you may want to go to Statesboro or Waynesboro if you would like to shop or try a few fine dining restaurants.
The roads leading into the park are paved with a slight incline as you make your way to the check-in point. Whether you are staying for the day or planning an overnight visit, there is a small parking fee associated with the park, which you can choose to pay annually or upon your arrival.
Walking through the campgrounds is comparable to acquiring a feeling of peace of mind. The wooded areas and the beautiful lake provide small areas to relax and unwind from your travel. Magnolia Springs State Park is best explored on foot or bike.
There are only 26 campsites available for RV and trailer camping. Standard sites offer water and electric connections and a few premium sites include sewer hookups as well. There is also a dumping station nearby for you to dispose of your grey water. Camping sites can fit up to a 40-foot trailer or RV but many visitors have been able to fit up to a 50-foot trailer or RV with a little legroom to work with.
At each site only two cars and six people allowed and extra cars will be subject to a small fee. The sites are paved and surrounded by trees, so you will have plenty of privacy from your neighbors. The trees are helpful in the summer when the temperatures are high and the humidity is in the 80s or above. Amenities included are restrooms, hot showers, a picnic table, a fire ring, and free laundry rooms, and a folding table.
You are not allowed to bring your own firewood or collect from your surroundings. Firewood and ice are available for sale in the park office. You may stay a maximum of 14 days at a time and may reserve up to 11 months in advance.
Fishing has to be one of the main selling points of the park for RV visitors. Every year Magnolia Lake is stocked with crappies, bass, trout, and many other types of fish. Remember to take your fishing rod and tackle the box along with some bait in your RV’s storage. If you are over the age of 16, you must purchase a fishing license online or in person. If you don't have a license, you can take part in one of the many free days of fishing offered by the park. You will need a boat permit and the registration documents for your boat to go out on the water.
You can rent a canoe from the park store year-round. Take the time to explore Magnolia Lake and observe the fiddler crabs and water birds that call the park home. There are also lifejackets and oars for rent. You can paddle along the edge of the creek and run through cool water with your fingers. Remember to leave all electronics at your campsite to avoid wetting or falling into the lake. If you bring a snack on the lake, remember the surroundings and take your trash with you.
Five miles of trails winds through the park for you to go mountain biking on. The Lime Sink Trail ranges from easy to moderate. Hikers are also allowed to use this trail and all bikers must yield to hikers. Wearing a helmet is highly encouraged while riding. For those who are in search of a challenge, check out the Muddy Spokes Club, where you can join for a small fee to check out the best trails in Georgia.
On the official bird list that calls Georgia home all year round, 425 bird species are identified. You can spot various birds along the shore of the lake and along the trails. Pay close attention to the various types of birds and their nests. Many of the trails offer the Painted Bunting, Brown Thrasher, Snow Goose, Brant, and many more. A birding list of the entire park and surrounding areas can be provided by the staff upon request, so be sure to ask them. Remember to bring your binoculars and pack a pair of walking boots in your rig, then explore the Woodpeckers Woods Nature Trail and pack a snack and some water with you for safe measures.
There are two major trails in the park but as a whole, there are four trails that range from easy to moderate. If you would like to learn more about the park’s history then take a walk on the Fort Lawton Historic Trail. You can see some of the remnants of the fort and run your fingers along the walls of the old prison. The Woodpecker Woods Nature Trail is great for bird watching and observing the different animals that call the park home. Remember to take a map, water bottle, and pack a strong pair of walking or hiking boots in your RV.
Geocaching allows you to be an explorer and go treasure hunting with your family and geocaching friends. Geocache is a very simple activity and requires a curious nature, a pen/pencil, robust walking boots, a GPS device, a water bottle, and your own personal treasure. Before exploring, make sure you know the cache logging rules. Leave a cache area as undisturbed as you can to make the next set of explorers as excited as you were.