Called “one of northern Georgia's best-kept secrets,” this Georgia gem sits in the hilly upper Piedmont. Georgians have been picnicking and hiking along Rice Creek for decades. With fishing, wildlife, a swimming pool and a golf course, the park is an ideal family destination.
Facts and figures
- The park’s original 45 acres stand at just over 500 today.
- The park features an 18-hole golf course with “fairways leading to generous, sloping Bermuda greens.”
- The park has 27 tent, trailer and RV campsites, eight platform walk-in campsites and two Pioneer Campgrounds (sleeps 75).
- Visitors can bike (rentals available), fish in two small pods, boat and go geocaching at the park.
Drawn by the fishing and hunting opportunities, the land known as Victoria Bryant State Park was once home to Cherokee and Creek Indians.
As white residents arrived, they began growing new crops, particularly rice. A swampy flood plain proved particularly fertile, earning the name Rice Creek. The park’s two pioneer campgrounds are located in that area today.
In 1953, Franklin County resident Paul E. Bryant dedicated 45 acres of that land as a living memorial to his mother, Victoria. It was also intended for recreational use by the community as it had become popular with locals for swimming, wading and picnicking along the creek.
The park was formally established in 1952. Bryant then donated or sold more land for the park in 1957, 1962 and 1966.
Things to see and do
Hikers can slide down Sliding Rock and then stroll around the short nature trail or the longer perimeter trail that travels through hardwoods and crosses creeks. Animal lovers should keep an eye out for wildlife along the way. While bulldogs don’t qualify, the park is just a 40-minute drive from beautiful Athens, Ga., home to the University of Georgia.
Golfers will enjoy the park's Highland Walk Golf Course with clubhouse, golf pro, junior/senior rates and junior golf program. The course's Bluebird Cottage is available for overnight golf packages.
Best time to go
The park’s beauty and golf course are a draw to the locals and visitors alike, so warm months tend to fill up very quickly. Visitors have reported seeing smaller crowds in fall and winter months. Even with its popularity, given the park’s capacity, it’s worth calling to see if you can snag an open spot on a warm weekday.