The laid-back and welcoming city of Hinesville is located in southeast Georgia’s Liberty County.
Close to the state’s Atlantic Ocean coastline, it was founded in 1838 and named after a local senator by the name of Charles Hines.
Incorporated into a city in 1912, Hinesville is one of the fastest growing cities in the southeast of the United States, so it must be doing something right.
And although one business website declared Hinesville the most boring city in Georgia, this superficial assessment doesn’t take into account the cultural and natural sites that dot Hinesville and the surrounding area.
That’s what we’re here for. These are the 15 best things to do in and around Hinesville, Georgia.
1. Old Liberty County Jail
If it wasn’t for the metal bars running vertically across the windows, you might mistake the Old Liberty County Jail for an attractive family home.
This red-brick building was constructed in 1892, and served as the Liberty County Jail for more than 80 years, longer than any other jail in the area.
Its ground floor was divided into a large communal space known in the United States as a drunk tank, as its primary purpose was to accommodate those suffering the effects of too much alcohol. There were also two cells.
Upstairs, there were a further two cells, as you’ll see if you take the short self-guided tour for yourself.
2. Bryant Commons Park
Bryant Commons Park is a fine urban park in downtown Hinesville which has an area of slightly more than 60 hectares.
Offering something for everyone, the park was the homestead of former senator Glenn E Bryant.
There’s a children’s playground, large pond fed by attractive streams, and even a fenced off dog park complete with pieces of agility training equipment.
The park is also home to the Veteran’s Memorial Walk, also known as the Warrior’s Walk. This is a short area of park decked out with American flags which has its origins in honouring those who fought during the Second World War.
3. Hinesville Area Arts Council Gallery
The gallery owned and run by the Hinesville Area Arts Council has a dual role within the community.
Firstly, its walls (both inside and out) act as an outlet for the talent of local artists. But secondly, it also offers public art classes for those who want to release their inner Picasso.
A different artist local to the area around Hinesville is honoured with an exhibition each month, while classes are available to both children and adults of all levels.
When it comes to what sort of art to expect, its walls host everything from landscape photography to traditional American quilts.
Founded in 1733 on the river of the same name, the city of Savannah has played an important role in US history, during both the American War of Independence and American Civil War.
One of the state’s largest cities, Savannah dwarfs Hinesville in size. Its downtown area is known for cobbled streets and historic buildings that largely follow the city’s original layout. Together they form one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts anywhere in the US.
Among the buildings worth exploring if you head to Savannah are the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Georgia State Railway Museum.
Savannah is less than an hour’s journey time from Hinesville.
5. Hinesville Farmers Market
As farmers markets go, the best are always in true farming country, and Georgia certainly fits that description.
The basics of locally-grown French beans, tomatoes, and squashes might not be of huge interest to tourists in town for a short space of time, but you shouldn’t miss the chance to sample some of Georgia’s famed fruits.
What’s more, the farmers market at Hinesville has a good range of jams, jellies, and pickles in jars that can be taken back home, should you manage to resist the smell of freshly baked breads and pastries.
A delightful atmosphere develops as live music plays, and once the ribs from the local barbeque have hit the grill.
6. Third Infantry Division Museum
Located in the military complex of Fort Stewart immediately north of Hinesville, the Third Infantry Division Museum is operated by the US military but open to the public.
Covering some 4,000 metres of exhibition space, this is no small museum. Among its permanent displays are interactive exhibits detailing the development of Fort Stewart from the earlier Camp Stewart.
Other exhibits include full-sized battlefield ready tanks and weaponry, both historic and modern. The museum also has a growing aviation gallery.
7. ITPA National Telephone Museum
Alternatively, you might prefer central Hinesville’s other museum, the ITPA National Telephone Museum.
Originally to be found in the national capital, Washington DC, the museum moved to its new home in the early 2000s.
It now occupies the house within Bryant Commons Park, which is fitting since Glenn E Bryant was a leading figure in the state’s telecommunication industries for decades.
Telling the story of the telephone from its earliest times to our modern-day mini-computer smartphones, exhibits include some of the first commercial telephones to have been sold.
Overall, the museum acts as a useful reminder of just how far humanity has come in such a short time.
8. Sapelo Island
Georgia’s Atlantic coast has a wealth of treasures, one of which is the barrier island of Sapelo. Almost entirely consisting of a wildlife refuge, it is the site of Hogs Hammock, the last known community of Gullah African-Americans.
What’s more, the island is thought by some to be the site of the very first European settlement in the United States, though this Spanish hamlet only lasted from 1526-27.
Activities on the island range from scuba diving in Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, to exploring the history of Reynold’s Mansion and its long stretches of unspoilt beach.
You can reach the island from Hinesville via the ferry that departs from Sapelo Island visitor centre, roughly 65 kilometres (or one hour) from Hinesville.
9. St Catherine’s Island
Slightly further north along the Atlantic coast is St Catherine’s Island, one of four barrier islands that make up the Golden Isles.
More than 5,500 hectares in area, the island is a haven for wildlife species, so much so that much of the interior is off-limits to visitors outside of outreach work. The island has also been declared a National Historic Landmark.
However, that doesn’t mean those based in Hinesville cannot enjoy a peek at the island. On the contrary, its beautiful beaches are open throughout the year, and its coast is a stunning area to discover by boat too.
St Catherine’s Island is a similar distance from Hinesville as Sapelo Island.
10. Cherokee Rose Golf Course
Opened in 1971, Cherokee Rose Golf Course is a semi-private course that welcomes the public looking to play a couple of rounds of its 18-hole course.
Its three sets of tees ensure every golfer is welcome, whatever their handicap and skill level. Its course was designed by local members themselves.
For those in the know, Cherokee Rose has a USGA rating of 69.4, and measures just over 6,100 yards (5,578 metres).
11. Historic baptismal trail
Located in Riceboro, less than half an hour from Hinesville, the historic baptismal trail was created to preserve an important site for the Gullah community.
For nearly one hundred years between 1840 and 1940, this was where they would welcome newcomers to their faith.
Today, the indigenous woodland offers visitors a boardwalk, benches on which to rest, and picnic tables where you can enjoy a packed lunch.
Information boards point out some of the most important historic sites linked by this short 500 metre trail, while others provide detail on the habitats and wildlife of the region.
12. Flemington Driving Tour
Nearby Flemington, ten kilometres from Hinesville, brings together its historic sites not on a walking trail but with a driving tour.
By doing so, this small community is able to show off its most important – and attractive – landmarks, and the previous settlement of Gravel Hill.
Among the main sites are the whitewashed walls of the Presbyterian Church. It was built in a clapboard manner traditional for the American south, with columns of the popular Greek Revival movement welcomes worshippers inside.
Other landmarks on the tour include the elegant verandas of Trask House, and ten other historic homes and businesses.
13. Sunbury Cemetery
Roughly midway to the coast at 20 kilometres from Hinesville, the town of Midway once acted as a major river port serving nearby Savannah.
As a result, its Sunbury Cemetery contains some of the very first settlers to have moved to the area.
In total, the cemetery contains 34 historic graves, the earliest of which dates from 1788 and the latest from 1911.
It’s also likely that though unmarked, the cemetery contains the graves of those who lost their lives fighting for the independence of the United States achieved in 1776.
14. Cay Creek Wetlands Interpretive Centre
Also in Midway, the Cay Creek Wetlands Interpretive Centre stands as the entrance point to an impressive natural landscape of freshwater and tidal wetlands.
Its specially-constructed boardwalks take visitors over the marshy ground, where grasses mingle with trees including oaks and cypresses.
These hardwood species stand side by side more tropical plants, including palms and palmettos. Together they form a unique habitat for birds, reptiles, insects, and mammals.
Having taken in these wetlands from ground level, visitors are able to take them in as the birds might, from an observation tower that rises 4.5 metres over the landscape.
15. Seabrook Village
On route to the coast beyond Midway, around 30 minutes’ drive time from Hinesville, visitors will find Seabrook Village.
No ordinary modern American village, Seabrook is an award-winning living history museum. Its 40-hectare site includes eight turn of the century buildings.
At the mill visitors are able to contemplate the effort involved in producing flour from cereal grains by hand.
Other buildings demonstrate the realities in keeping clean, and education, during this period of American history.
The costumed staff help bring the era to life, while authentic artefacts include everything a family might have needed, from furniture to cooking utensils.