Camping and hiking at Fort McAllister State Park in Richmond Hill

After spending two days visiting beautiful Savannah, my partner and I headed south, towards Richmond Hill. We drove along the Ogeechee River and arrived at Fort McAllister State Historic Park, where we would spend the next two days.

Originally, we had planned to camp at Skidaway Island State Park in Savannah. But there were no more campgrounds available at the time we started making our reservations, so we had to change our plans. We finally decided to camp in Fort McAllister State Park instead, as there were some campgrounds available there and it wasn’t too far from Savannah.

And even though Fort McAllister was not our first choice, we really enjoyed our experience! This was our first time camping in Georgia (in fact, it was our first time camping outside of Canada) and the experience couldn’t have been better. It was the perfect mix of nature, tranquility, trails and an interesting history!

Fort McAllister
Hello beautiful Fort McAllister

So here’s a little overview of what Fort McAllister State Park has to offer.

A bit of history

As its name suggests, Fort McAllister State Park is first and foremost a fort. Built on Genesis Point, a bluff that overlooks the Ogeechee River, Fort McAllister was one of the Confederate forts that were to protect Savannah during the Civil War. Attacked seven times by Union ships, the fort finally fell in 1864, opening the door to the surrender of Savannah.

Henry Ford bought the property in the 1930s with the aim of restoring it. The fort became state property in 1958, and restoration work to give it back its 1863-1864 appearance continued. In the years that followed, the site of the fort was combined with nearby Richmond Hill State Park, and Fort McAllister State Park officially came into being.

Today, Fort McAllister State Park is home to a small museum, campgrounds, docks and a few hiking trails.

Dock over the Ogeechee River
Overlooking the Ogeechee River

Fort McAllister Self-Guided Tour

It is the highlight of the park, so of course we wanted to visit the fort. You have to pay a separate entrance fee to access Fort McAllister (the access fee is not included in the campground fees), but if you are interested in history, it is worth it.


Fort McAllister is one of the best-preserved earthwork fortifications of the Confederacy. You can do a self-guided tour and follow a trail of just over a kilometre (0.6 mile) that allows you to walk around the fort and learn more about its history and the battles that took place there.

The trail first passes near reproductions of huts and barracks to illustrate what daily life at the fort might have been like. Then it winds between the different sections of the fort, allowing you to see the cannons, bastions and parapets up close.

An open door in Fort McAllister
Exploring all the nooks and crannies of Fort McAlliste

Finally, the tour ends passing through what will have been the final battlefield at Fort McAllister. Although the fort held firm against naval attacks, it finally fell during a land assault by Union troops, ending General Sherman’s famous “March to the Sea”.

Walking on the boardwalk in the lush forest, it is hard to imagine that this peaceful place was a decisive battlefield where many men died.

Boardwalk in the forest at Fort McAllister
A beautiful place with a dark history

Magnolia Trail

The Magnolia Trail showcases the nature of Savage Island, the part of the state park where the campgrounds are located. Approximately 1.5 kilometres (0.9 mile) long, the trail loops along the shoreline of the island. It offers some pretty views of the salt marsh and allows you to fully enjoy this coastal vegetation, where you can find palm trees, palmettos, magnolias and, of course, Spanish moss.

Magnolia Trail on Savage Island
An easy trail, but with such a beautiful nature

Unfortunately for me, the famous magnolias were not yet in bloom. But the trail was still pretty and peaceful. I saw several species of birds (including turkey vultures and herons), deer and many armadillos (it was my first time seeing some on a hike)!

An amardillo in the forest
I met this little buddy along the trail

Red Bird Creek Trail

This trail is a bit longer (nearly 5 kilometres – 3.1 miles) and the trailhead is located near the state park entrance. As its name suggests, the trail showcases Red Bird Creek, and offers some viewpoints over the salt marshes. It also has a small observation tower, boardwalks and some primitive campsites.

We didn’t have enough time to hike the entire trail, but the nature of Fort McAllister State Park definitely enchanted us.

A view of a salt marsh
Sunset over the salt marshes


As I wrote above, the campgrounds are mainly located on Savage Island. The island has nearly sixty sites, with enough space, vegetation and tall trees for us to feel like we had some privacy and tranquility. There was also something quite special about waking up in the morning under the palmettos and live oak trees covered in Spanish moss.

A van on the campsite of Fort McAllister State Park
Our camping spot for two nights

And since we really enjoyed that first camping experience in Georgia, I decided to buy the official Georgia State Parks Passport while I was there. It might give us some ideas for our future camping and road trips. I definitely want to come back one day, to explore other beautiful places rich in nature and history!


    1. I know, it was my first time seeing one and it got me really excited! It was such a lovely place!

  1. The wispy, gentle trees everywhere are magical. And wohoo for an Armadillo, I’m still yet to find one in the wild! This whole area looks beautiful.

    1. I actually saw a few armadillos, they were everywhere around the campsite! It was such a lovely place, I’m really I got to stay there! Thanks for reading! 🙂

  2. The armadillo picture is awesome! I’ve never seen one in person. The campground and park are so much more beautiful than I expected. What a great find! Maggie

    1. It was also my first time seeing some armadillos, which got me really excited! It was really a nice state park, I’m so happy we got to camp there! Thanks for reading Maggie!

  3. So much nicer putting it to use as a park rather than a fort. Beuatiful Southern scenery for sure Vanessa. Thanks for taking us there. Allan

  4. Thank you for this wonderful tour, Vanessa! I’ve never been to this place, it’s so beautiful. I would love to have a camper van like yours, my sister has one and she looooves it! ❤️

    1. We really love ours too! We converted it ourselves, and are really proud of it! Thanks for reading John 🙂

      1. That’s wonderful. And, you are welcome, Vanessa, I love reading about your adventures! ☺️❤️

  5. Fort McAllister State Park is so beautiful that I can’t imagine what your first choice looked like! I am going to save this so when we finally get to visit Savannah, we can visit this park too. Great post and photos, Vanessa!

    1. Thank you! It was a nice surprise, I wasn’t expecting much of Fort McAllister, but it ended up being so pretty! I really hope I can visit this area again! Thanks for reading 🙂

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