Due to the geological formations in the state of Georgia, there are many naturally formed — as opposed to man-made — lakes to enjoy. Most of the natural lakes are located in the southern coastal plain areas where temperatures are mild throughout the year. There are also numerous larger man-made lakes throughout the state perfect for recreational activities, which include fishing, swimming, boating, and paddling. Book a stay at a charming Georgia vacation rental for your next lake trip. Without further ado, here are the top lakes in this iconic Southern state.
1. Lake Lanier
Located approximately an hour north of Atlanta and bordering Hall, Forsyth, Dawson, Gwinnett, and Lumpkin counties, Lake Lanier is one of the largest man-made lakes in the southeast. It was home to the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games canoe, kayak, and rowing events, and because it sprawls out over 1,500 acres and across several islands, the lake offers a host of vacation rental spots for those looking for a place to play or relax. Spend the day swimming, sunbathing, or sailing at Buford Dam Park in Buford or at Vans Tavern Park in Gainesville, or rent kayaks at the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club in Gainesville. Take the kids to Lake Lanier Islands in Buford for a day at the waterpark, or adults can hit the Legacy Golf Club for a day of golfing. Afterwards book some time at the Tranquility Spa. This quiet family-oriented lake also has access to a lively nightlife, including live music at Fish Tales Lakeside Grille in Flowery Branch.
2. Lake Allatoona
Lake Allatoona is located approximately 35 miles north of Atlanta off Interstate 75. Cartersville is the largest city, which is located near the Allatoona Dam. There are eight privately-owned marinas along the lake, including Harbor Town Marina in Acworth and Little River Marina in Canton. Rent boats for water sports or bring kayaks to your vacation rental and put in at Clark Creek or Tanyard Creek. The lake has a quiet family-friendly atmosphere with hiking and picnicking along the south-western part of the lake. Rentals along the south-end of the lake have easy access to the Cobblestone Golf Course in Acworth or The Cottage Vineyard and Winery for adults. Families with children can head to the Red Top Mountain State Park for hiking and biking, or Museum of Art for a little culture.
3. Lake Trahlyta
Located in the sleepy little town of Blairsville at Vogel State Park, Lake Trahlyta is one of the best kept secrets for those who enjoy the water. The lake includes a hiking trail that leads to the Lake Trahlyta waterfall, which is a perfect spot for picnics and photography. The lake is also home to a variety of bird species, including the Song Sparrow, the American Goldfinch, and the Raven, which makes it ideal for birdwatchers. Enjoy swimming, fishing, and paddle boarding or rent paddleboats at the marina at Vogel State Park.
4. Lake Blue Ridge
Lake Blue Ridge is a reservoir in Fannin County that was formed when the Blue Ridge Dam was constructed along the Toccoa River. Located In the northern portion of the state, Lake Blue Ridge offers beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rent a pontoon boat at the Lake Blue Ridge Marina and head out fishing with the family or launch your own craft and go waterskiing. Go swimming at the Morganton Point Recreation Area and then head to the Green Mountain Trail hiking area for a day of exploring the surrounding wilderness. The quiet community of Blue Ridge is home to the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway where you can take a ride through the mountains on an open-train car.
5. Lake Burton
In the northeastern corner of Rabun County lies Lake Burton. With approximately 62 miles of shoreline, this quiet lake is a popular spot for anglers. Rent a boat and fishing gear from Lake Burton Boat Rentals and spend the day fishing for bass, Bluegill, and sunfish. Dry off at the Alpine Helen Mountain Rental zip line where you can glide freely through the Georgia forests. If you prefer to stay closer to the ground, head to the Sunburst Stables in Clarksville and go horseback riding on the country trails, or simply spend the day swimming and sunbathing at the Timpson Cove Beach.
6. Lake Chatuge
Lake Chatuge is a man-made lake near Hiawassee, Hayesville, and Macedonia. Another one of Georgia’s quiet communities, the Lake Chatuge area is perfect for boating, fishing, skiing, swimming, and picnicking. The Towns County Recreational Beach offers numerous picnic tables and plenty of sandy beaches for fun. Go hiking at Fred Hamilton Gardens, or rent a boat at the Boundary Waters Resort and Marina and spend the day enjoying the water. The Chatuge Dam and Recreational Area is a perfect spot for kayakers and for taking pictures.
7. Richard B. Russell Lake
Heading south near Savannah, Richard B. Russell Lake is located near the border of Georgia near Anderson, South Carolina and close to the busy college town of Athens. Head to the Richard B. Russell State Park where you can play 18-holes of golf at the Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course. Enjoy a game of disc golf or explore the park while geocaching. If you prefer to be on the water, rent a boat or kayaks and canoes at the park’s marina. Rentals along the western side of the lake have access to Moccasin Creek State Park. Rentals along the north end are close to Elberton where you can browse the Elberton Granite Museum or the Georgia Guidestones, which has been called the American Stonehenge.
8. Lake Seminole
Located in the southwest corner near Florida, Lake Seminole is a 37,000-acre reservoir that offers boating, fishing, and birding. Vacation rentals along the south end of the lake have access to the Seminole State Park which is located in a cove with smooth waters ideal for skiing and tubing. The closest city is Donalsonville where you can watch a movie at the Olive Theater or attend the Big Fish Festival in October. Head to the Three Rivers State Park for hiking or rent a boat at the Earle May Boat Basin Park. The lake is ideal for families looking for a quiet place to relax and enjoy nature.
9. Lake Hartwell
Another one of Georgia’s man-made lakes, Lake Hartwell lies along the border of South Carolina and Georgia and is directly to the north of the Richard B. Russell Lake. The lake is far enough away from the big cities to enjoy some peace and quiet, but not so far you won’t find activities to keep you entertained. With over 960 miles of shoreline, you can fish from the shore or go swimming and hiking near the water’s edge. Rent a boat from the Hartwell Marina and go skiing or sign up for a guided kayak tour with Foothills Outfitters. When choosing a vacation rental, consider a waterfront home on the north side of the lake convenient to Interstate 75, or opt for a rental on the southeast side with access to the Savannah River to go kayaking.
10. Clark Hill Lake
Also known as Lake Strom Thurmond, Clark Hill Lake is located in Lincoln County in the quiet town of Lincolnton. This lake is best known as a popular fishing spot for anglers where you can expect to catch largemouth, white, striped, and hybrid bass. You’ll also find crappie, bluegill, and catfish. Go hiking at the Clark Hill Lake Recreational Area or take a tour of the Strom Thurmond Dam. One of Georgia’s smaller man-made lakes, Clark Hill offers vacation rentals all along the coast for water lovers. Other popular activities include disc golf at Wildwood Park and swimming at Hamilton Branch State Park.
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