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Family at Madison's Town Park in a photo courtesy of Explore Georgia

10 Ideas for Cheap Weekend Getaways in Madison, GA

Whether you are traveling solo, with friends or with the whole family, budget-friendly trips are always welcome. Acclaimed as one of the most beautiful towns in Georgia, Madison is a charming destination to stretch your dollar and take advantage of a truly relaxing vacation.

Here are 10 great ideas for cheap weekend getaways in Madison, Georgia.

1. Step out on a Free Walking Tour

Cheap weekend getaways include the free walking tour featuring the Jessup-Atkinson House.

Home to one of the largest historic districts in the state, Madison boasts many stunning homes, museums, parks and additional sites that are full of fascinating stories to be discovered. Explore the town with a free, self-guided walking tour along a mile-and-a-half route that highlights 28 points of interest.

Along the route, stroll through Madison’s Historic Cemeteries. The cemeteries are often touted as the town’s oldest public arts museum due to the beautiful ironwork and stone carvings decorating the gravesites. Pick up a cemetery guide at the main entrance or Welcome Center to embark on a free, self-guided tour of the four adjacent cemeteries that make up Madison’s Historic Cemeteries.

2. Enjoy Free Events & Live Music

Musicians perform at the Madison Chili Cook-Off.

You don’t have to spend money to enjoy various events throughout the year in Morgan County. Notably on Thursday nights in June and July, the City of Madison’s Summer Nights features live music, storytellers or even movies on the lawn of Madison Town Park. In nearby Rutledge, the Rutledge Summer Concert Series invites musicians to perform every Friday night, June through August, in Rutledge Town Park. These free events often have people dancing on the grass, where they bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets to set up for the evening.

Morgan County is also home to numerous festivals, parades and more fun events that often offer free entry to the public. The only time you’ll pull out your wallet is if you want a bite to eat or to purchase handcrafted wares from vendors.

Want to know what’s happening now or plan for a future stay? Check out our calendar of events to see everything happening in Madison and Morgan County.

3. Activities for Everyone 

Rose Cottage and Rogers House.

Indulge in value-packed experiences. Madison-Morgan Cultural Center has waived all admission fees for visitors to discover its galleries featuring permanent and rotating art exhibits, uncover the region’s fascinating past at its onsite history museum and step back in time into a completely restored and furnished 1895 schoolroom within the facility’s 125+ year-old schoolhouse. Additionally, the Cultural Center hosts multiple free events throughout the year. A summertime favorite is their free Independence Day Picnic, which features patriotic tunes performed by an orchestra on the Center’s front lawn. Bring your own picnic basket and lawn chairs for a frugal yet festive occasion.

Who doesn’t love a good deal or discount? Explore the architecture and history of Madison with a tour of three historic house museums for a bundled price of just $15. Make a reservation to tour Rogers House, Heritage Hall and Rose Cottage and let your guide uncover the diverse stories of the people who built their lives in these distinct homes representing different eras, backgrounds and economic classes throughout Madison’s history.

Although it may not be polite to ask one’s age, it may be worth sharing. Discounted ticket prices for Heritage Hall, Rogers House, Rose Cottage and the combo tour are available for students. Children 12 and under are free.

Want to learn more about Black history? The Morgan County African-American Museum, operating in the John Wesley Moore tenant house, provides tours for a suggested donation of $5 for adults and $3 for students.

One of less than 20 “single artist” museums in the nation, the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art also offers discounts for seniors and students; children 6 and under receive free entry.

4. Picnic in the Park

Checker board table in Town Park.

Madison’s greenspaces are one of many reasons why visitors fall in love with this charming small town. Embrace the outdoors with a picnic in one of the parks or gardens such as Round Bowl Spring Park, Lambert Park or Town Park.

Click here for a list of Madison’s best picnic spots.

5. Explore Public Art

Military Mural in downtown Rutledge, GA.
"Never Forgotten" mural in Rutledge, GA.

Art is celebrated and showcased in and around Madison. Thanks to the work of the City’s Public Arts Commission, statues and sculptures grace parks and other public spaces throughout town. How many can you find while out and about? A local favorite features the mural of a restored Chero-Cola sign on a former bottling building.

Make a stop at the Madison Artists Guild & MAGallery. Here, an impressive collection of local artists and authors display their work that, while for sale, is free to view. Don’t forget to look at their rotating, special exhibitions featuring emerging and established artists from outside the local community.

In nearby Rutledge, murals are found on numerous downtown buildings, including a “Postcard” mural by the late Morgan County folk artist Eugene Swain. Much of the artwork honors local history. In 2017, a group of students from the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art created a piece entitled “Never Forgotten” in collaboration with the Rutledge Garden Club.

6. Tour the Historic Courthouse

Morgan County Courthouse

Iconic to Madison’s downtown, the Morgan County Courthouse was built in 1905. The architecture is eye-catching to say the least, but did you know you can go inside without being put on trial? When court is not in session, people are welcome to go in and see the courtroom for free.

Do any of the details look familiar? Over the years, film crews have fallen in love with both the Courthouse’s exterior and interior. You may remember watching the beautiful building crumble following the attack of a giant praying mantis in “Goosebumps” or Tom Cruise walking through its halls to trial in the blockbuster film “American Made.” 

7. Play Disc Golf at Indian Creek Park

Disc golf course in the woods.

Bring a set of discs out to Indian Creek Park, one of the county’s hidden gems. The competition level 18-hole disc golf course is set up among the tall pines and hilly terrain in Rutledge. Play for free, making the game as casual or competitive as you like, and explore the trails.

Indian Creek Park also features a picnic pavilion and a playground on its 60 acres.

8. Hit the Courts at Hill Park

Pickleball courts at Hill Park.

Madison’s first public park, Hill Park has a lot to offer the whole family including pickleball and tennis courts. Have a racket? Pack it for your trip to Madison and hit the courts.

Stay a while longer and cookout on the grills, hang out at the picnic tables and let the kids enjoy the playground.

9. Meander the Sites by Bike

Bikes along the fence at Town Park.

Take the scenic route to discover farms, historic schools and more unique small towns on the Madison-Morgan Meander. Whether you prefer to bike according to difficulty, distance or attraction, the Meander’s group of themed routes offer plenty of route options for visitors to cycle or drive. 

All you need is a bike and helmet (or your car keys), and you’re off!

10. Set Up Camp

First-person view: relaxing in a tent at Hard Labor Creek State Park.

Just 15 minutes from Madison, enjoy the great outdoors while camping in Georgia’s second largest state park, Hard Labor Creek State Park. Pitch a tent, bring an RV or rent a cabin for the whole family for a great price.

While there, take advantage of the hiking trails, golf course, putt-putt course, sand beach and swimming area. Have a mountain bike? Bring it along and cycle the Park’s 15+ miles of off-road cycling trails.

With these ideas for cheap weekend getaways, make the most of your time without breaking the bank. Come for a visit and soak up small town charm in Madison, Georgia.

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