Three elderly US ladies took 24 hours to get home after they got lost on the way back from church.

Alice Atwater, 72, and her friends Florence King, 86, and Ruthelle Outler, 84, had only travelled 20 miles to church from their home in Upson County, Florida.

But it took them 24 hours, including detours to Birmingham, Alabama, Atlanta and Macon to get home again, reports the Macon Telegraph.

"We tried to find our way home and the more we tried the farther we went," said Mrs Atwater. "I wasn't scared. We just locked the car doors and just rolled."

The trio went to the Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Griffin more than 20 miles away from their homes to hear a particular preacher.

Their disappearance caused friends, family and law enforcement to search the area as media outlets referred people with information to the police.

All that was news to Mrs Atwater when she was pulled over by a Thomaston police officer Monday evening, she said.

"He said, 'Did you know they have a APB on you?' and I said 'no,' " she said.