You know you are in for a memorable stay as you meander down the tree-lined landscape of Georgia Veterans State Park and make your way to Lake Blackshear Resort & Golf Club. Past the picturesque golf course, military aircraft, and memorial lies a resort that will impress and unstress — the best of both worlds. Located in Cordele, Lake Blackshear Resort & Golf Club is 2 and a half hours south of Atlanta and 45 minutes from Plains, Georgia. The state park and resort are about 12 minutes from downtown Cordele, with pecan groves and cotton fields making up the landscape between. It is a stunning drive, but the real treat is in the stay at this luxury resort.
I was hosted at the resort by Coral Hospitality in order to write this post. As always, opinions are 100% mine and unbiased.
1. Play Golf
There is an 18-hole championship golf course at Lake Blackshear designed by Denis Griffiths. This pristine, premier Georgia golf course has statically placed mounds, sand bunkers, and water hazards to challenge its players. The course is open from 8 a.m. until dusk and is enjoyable for players of all skill levels. Not a golfer? Disc golf is an alternative that is also available at the Georgia Veterans State Park.
Pro Tip: Book your tee time online!
2. Ride Bikes
Lake Blackshear Resort & Golf Club has a small collection of bikes that you can use for riding around the property and park — an excellent way to see a lot of the 829-acre property. Typically, when bikes are included at many places I stay, they are castoffs. These, however, were in great shape and Instagram-worthy.
3. Rent A Boat
The Marina at Lake Blackshear Resort is your one-stop-shop for renting boats, fishing gear, kayaks, or paddleboards and getting out on the 8,700-acres of water. My husband and I rented a pontoon boat late afternoon. We were given a brief safety lesson and then turned loose on the scenic waterway to enjoy the wind in our hair and take in the solace and photo-ops. We were so lucky to have it for the most spectacular sunset — which we captured from a quaint little cove on the lake.
The marina has gas pumps, fishing gear, bait, a few snacks and drinks, plus a great selection of t-shirts and logo items. If you have your own boat, you can launch it from the state park. The marina at Lake Blackshear Resort has monthly through yearly boat slip rentals if you are interested. Pets are welcome but must be on a leash.
Pro Tip: Pontoons can hold 12 people. Prices are $250 for 4 hours and $400 for a full day, which is 8 hours. Taxes and fuel are additional.
4. Visit The Veterans Memorial And Museum
Being a Veterans Park, it is only fitting that Georgia Veterans State Park has military tributes and memorials and a well-displayed museum that is definitely worth taking the time to visit. I especially liked the uniforms and artillery used in Vietnam since my dad was there. Across the street in the park are a collection of military vehicles that include a helicopter, tanks, a Boeing B-29A Superfortress used in World War II, and an Iroquois “Huey” used in the Vietnam War.
Plaques detail the items you are seeing, the years they were used, and the vehicles’ speed, range, and weight. I found this part very interesting, plus it is free to the public.
5. Stay In The Fantastic Resort
You can either camp or stay in the lodge (14 rooms), villas (64 lakeside), or cabins (10) at Lake Blackshear. A few of each lodging type are ADA Accessible, some with roll-in showers. Being a full-time RVer, I was curious to peek at the RV park. The campsites were sensational! Many had front row seats right on the lake, and we noted to stay here when we come back in our RV. For this stay, we had a beautiful room on the third floor of the lodge.
From the well-appointed lobby, friendly staff, and clean, tree-lined property, we knew the rooms were going to parallel the level of professionalism. And they did. Our King-bedroom was incredibly spacious and had a couch, desk area, mini-fridge, and complimentary coffee service. It was thrilling having such a good night’s sleep as the linens and mattress were both grade A. Neither my husband nor I even found one thing that wasn’t perfectly aligned at Lake Blackshear Resort.
Fun Fact: Pets are allowed in many of the villas and cabins. The fee is $75 per stay.
6. Eat A Tasty Breakfast
You’ll find really tasty food at Lake Blackshear. Not only is it top-notch food quality and presentation, but Cordelia’s also offers hospitable service, aesthetically-pleasing dishes, and pays close attention to details. One morning, I enjoyed an omelet with crispy bacon, creamy grits, a Southern biscuit, and fresh tomato slices, while Eddie chose the brioche French toast with applewood smoked bacon and fruit compote.
On another, we grabbed breakfast sandwiches to eat on the road as we left the property. Talk about impressed — my sausage (double patty), egg, and cheese sandwich on toast was delicious. If you are going to skip a meal, don’t let it be breakfast.
7. Ride The SAM Shortline Train
Perhaps the most fantastic offering at the Georgia Veterans State Park is the historic SAM Shortline Railroad, running vintage 1949 train car trips between Cordele and Americus (President Jimmy Carter’s hometown). Go directly up and back, or choose an excursion that allows for time to shop and sightsee in town. Select from Premium, Deluxe, and Coach seating areas, or choose cars with leather couches, table & chairs, and meal tickets, such as the Samuel Hawkins. All are air-conditioned and have window-seating.
Specialty train experiences include the Cordele Holiday Train, Halloween and Candy Cane Express, Murder Mystery Dinner Train, and Wine and Cheese Train, to name a few. You can find the SAM Shortline Railroad calendar with this link. Most cars hold at least 80 passengers.
Visit the Leslie Commissary car for the purchase of barbecue and Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, hot dogs, chips, ice cream, candy, and drinks during your ride. A small gift shop offers some souvenirs and toys from your train adventure.
8. Swim Or Sunbathe
Lake Blackshear Resort has a lovely outdoor swimming pool, complete with an abundance of lounge chairs that will beckon you to relax on them. There is also a hot tub that looked inviting, had I brought my swimsuit. Note: that’s your reminder to put in a swimsuit on your packing list. The pool is an optimal spot to watch the spectacular sunset.
9. Enjoy Adult Libations At 88’s
Situated between Cordelia’s dining room and the convention part of the building is 88’s Lakeside Bar, an area for sipping import and domestic beer, wine, and cocktails. The Honey Hole sounded tasty to me, with Jack Daniels Tennessee honey whiskey, sour mix, simple syrup, Triple Sec, and a splash of Spite. There were several small groups of people enjoying the space on our visit, and the bartender made great conversation and adult libations.
Fun Fact: 88’s Lakeside Bar was named to commemorate Georgia’s establishment in 1788 and that Cordele was founded in 1888. I would have guessed the number of keys on a piano.
10. Get A Good Workout
Aside from the small workout room at the resort, Lake Blackshear has partnered with nearby B-Fit Lake Blackshear Gym (in Cobb, GA) for guests to access their facility 24/7. If you are a gym rat or want to get in some exercise during your vacation, this attractive option is for you.
11. Visit The Archery & Air Rifle Range
Archery (static and 3D) and air rifles are the new rage. I’ve been seeing them at so many resorts lately. How fun to try your hand at one or the other (or both) at Lake Blackshear Resort. I recently tried archery, which included a short lesson and instruction on holding and loading the bow. Then, our group practiced target shooting for the remainder of the time. It was so much fun and much easier than I expected. My muscles were sore the next day, but I would definitely do it again.
12. Feast On A Delectable Dinner
Cordelia’s needs to be mentioned twice because the food is that good. The fried green tomato Caprese dish is finger-licking good, and the crab cakes with remoulade, shrimp and grits, and chicken caesar salads are all excellent choices for dinner. Another night, I enjoyed the burrata salad (with candied Roma tomatoes) and tomato basil soup, which, hooray for me, came with a cheese toast for dunking. Cordelia’s desserts change, but we shared a perfect slice of pecan pie.
You can also dine at Cypress Grill, which is adjacent to the marina. Cypress Grill has one of the best burgers you’ve ever tasted — the Beast Burger — a mix of elk, boar, bison, and wagyu beef, plus warm queso, candied bacon (gulp!), and crispy jalapeños. The picture does it justice … it tasted as good as it looks.
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