In the heart of southeastern Georgia, Andersonville is steeped in small-town charm. Though residents number in the hundreds, the community also hosts visitors from around the world who come to the local Civil War historical sites. Small (under 20 lb.) leashed dogs can even attend the annual costumed Civil War reenactment and history fair each autumn. In addition to tourism, mining and agriculture keep Andersonville busy. The town serves as a launching point to roam the farms, pine forests, and lively communities of the region.
The history of Andersonville is both fascinating and tragic, and you’ll want plenty of puppy cuddles to lift your spirits as you soak up its story. Andersonville was the location of a massive prisoner-of-war encampment during the Civil War; nearly 13,000 Union soldiers died there from starvation and disease. Andersonville now hosts the National Prisoner of War Museum, where visitors learn about living conditions for POWs throughout modern American warfare. Though your furry friends cannot join you inside the museum, they can accompany you to pay your respects at the adjacent Andersonville National Cemetery.
Try some Southern hospitality in a Confederate-themed setting at the Anderson Station Restaurant: the business welcomes dogs at outdoor seating and has been known to stock doggie baked goods made from local peanut flour. Andersonville has a smattering of other shops and businesses, and nearby towns and small cities add additional dining pawssibilties.
The Andersonville National Historic Site offers a dog-friendly environment for history buffs. The site of the Camp Sumter Military Prison, the original Civil War encampment, can still be visited. Interpretive signs, memorials, and reconstructed stockades and shelters help you imagine the experiences of the POWs. The 26.5 acres of fields and walkways within the park offer room to roam, including the adjoining cemetery. For a more lighthearted pursuit, though, be sure to keep an eye (or maybe a nose) out for the deer, rabbits, squirrels, and birds that roam the park lands.
Providence Spring is part of the Civil War story of Andersonville, but lies a mile south of the main National Historic Site entrance -- a long way in this compact town. The memorial itself is comprised of a neoclassical Spring House that encloses a miracle: in 1864, as thousands of Union prisoners neared death, a fresh spring unexpectedly began flowing near the stockade’s Western wall, saving many men from dehydration and unsanitary drinking water. The spring's origin is preserved in a park setting. The open green lawns that surround the Spring House are perfect for celebrating life. Bring a picnic and a Frisbee and enjoy the South Georgia sunshine.
Downtown Perry, GA is a scenic 35 miles northeast of Andersonville, and there’s a great excuse to make the drive: classic Southern comfort food at The Swanson on Carroll Street, where dogs are welcome at seating on the gracious Victorian porch. On your way out of town, work off the calories by exploring the grounds of the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, with 1,100 acres, 4 ponds, 5 arenas, barns, and exhibit space. Even when the fair is not in session, you’ll find plenty of leftover livestock scents for epic sniffing.
Downtown Americus, GA is just 13 miles southwest of Andersonville and has the nearest hotels serving the Andersonville area: the Days Inn, Knights Inn, and Quality Inn all welcome pets, and some local Airbnb options will also host large dogs. The locally-owned Campesino’s Coffee House welcomes dogs at outdoor tables as well and is located in the heart of downtown. Campesino’s has organic and vegan lunch options, and even offers a special Pet Paws coffee blend: a portion of the sales are donated to the local Humane Society. The surrounding historic district offers great sidewalks, and nearby Reese Park has picnic facilities, a gazebo, and a small fountain as well as lawns for running and playing.
Though it is 49 miles south of Andersonville, the city of Albany, Georgia is one of the closest urban environments and absolutely worth the drive. The city offers seven pet-friendly hotels and six pet-friendly restaurants, along with beautiful riverside walking. Though it requires a membership or a guest pass (currently $15 for 3-day pass or $100/year), the Eastside Dog Park offers large and small dog sections and even has an adjacent Pet Salon. Though pets aren’t allowed at the Chehaw Zoo, pet lovers may still want to scope out the other cute creatures who live there. Downtown’s Tift Park has walking trails lined with scenic live oaks, and dozens of small city parks offer green space for running or lounging in a sunbeam. Best of all is the 6-acre RiverFront Park on the Flint River, with a 3-mile river walk trail as well as the 1.5-mile Greenways Trail System.