I’ve been to this state park twice, and each time I wonder why I didn’t stay longer, always on my way to somewhere else. It’s a nice park, quiet, smallish, and right on a lake. A lake with gators. Big gators. In 2019, this lake made the national news when someone pulled a 700 pound gator out of the water. In case you’re wondering that works out to 13 feet and 4 inches of gator that came out of Lake Blackshear here.
My campsites have always been right on the lake, and the view is nice, although I do try to stay a bit up from the water…
The sunrise and sunset opportunities are great here, and I did get some good shots.
About a half-hour drive south of here is Albany, Georgia, scene of some of the earliest battles in the fight for civil rights in the 1960s. Martin Luther King, Jr. came here, was unsuccessful, but learned a lot about community and organizing from the local churches and people. I toured the Albany Civil Rights Institute, accompanied by a woman in her late 80s, who told me that as a child she had drunk at the very water fountain that is now on display here with a “coloreds only” sign above it. If you can, visit, you’ll learn a lot about the early days of the civil rights movement.
A bit lighter in tone and about a half mile away is Ray Charles Plaza, featuring the Ray Charles Memorial, with “Georgia on my Mind” and other hits of his playing on repeat.
The benches are quite clever, the black keys of a piano. I spent my lunch hour here, enjoying the breeze while I let Ray’s voice serenade me.
There’s one more reason I’ll remember this campground for a long time. It’s the first place my flesh met the bite and infernal sting of fire ants. Oh, lordy, those things hurt. I did get the shot I wanted, though.
GA Veterans Memorial State Park (GEORGIA STATE PARKS)
- Sites along the lake are the best, even if you can’t always launch a kayak from one. Reserve at Lake Blackshear Resort’s page (yes, it’s a state park, but run by a concessionaire).
- Services: electric/water with dump station. Bath houses with showers. Trash bin at the dump.
- Decent Verizon and ATT
- Groceries: 20 minutes or so to Cordele stores, fast food, Interstate 75. Same for gas.
…when Negroes in Albany, Georgia, decided to straighten their backs up. And whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent.
Martin Luther King, Jr.