Hiawassee sits on Georgia’s northern border on Chatuge Lake. The hilly terrain, lush growth, and generous waterways makes it the ideal location for settling back and completely relaxing. Take advantage of the location, and hike, kayak, and generally revel in the glory of nature. Meet up with the Appalachian Trail for some serious hiking, or take a day trip up north for a ramble along the Great Smoky Mountains. Reconnect with your family every night at a cozy house. Whether you want a lakeside house or one tucked away in the trees, here are some of the best places to look for a fantastic Hiawassee vacation rental.

1. Nantahala Bay, Hiawassee

Look at Nantahala Bay first with its plethora of lake houses. The neighborhood’s just close enough to Main Street to get you to downtown in a few minutes and far enough away from the bustle of the city to stretch out. Walk across the road to the Nantahala National Forest for some exploring, or stop by one of the eateries for a hot meal before going back to your boating.

2. Downtown Hiawassee

If you crave the action of urban life, try the downtown area, a few minutes north. Despite the plethora of local businesses, many of the houses feature large backyards, which run right to the lake, and docks for boats. Get the whole family together, and relish the privacy of these wide open areas, perfect for cooking s’mores and reminiscing around a camp fire.

3. North Hiawassee

North Hiawassee puts you close enough to the freeway to hop on for a scenic drive around Towns County. Take the grand tour by starting on Main Street, crossing Chatuge Lake at Bell Creek until Main Street turns into I-76, and taking that to I-288, and I-288 back to I-76. This way, you completely encircle one branch of Chatuge Lake and pass through beautiful scenery at the same time. Plus, it gives you ideas of where to go hiking with the family and offers plenty of photo ops.

4. Mossy Cove

Mossy Cove lies a few minutes inland from Hiawassee, boasting open pastureland, woods, and Big Al’s Pizza – because all you really need is pizza. Jump on to I-75 for a scenic drive along the lake’s bank, or head across Bell Creek to Towns County Park and Hamilton Gardens. The latter boasts a little walking path, ideal for small children just learning about hiking and exploring nature.

5. Raccoon Hollow

Just down I-75 from Mossy Cove is Raccoon Hollow, a small community abutting the lake. Opt for one of the lake houses, and bring along a pair of kayaks; these will be more than useful for exploring the area’s small, forested island. Located on the edge of the Nantahala National Forest, find a perfect hiking spot for you and the little ones and pack your camera for some great photo opportunities.

6. Cedar Cliff

Cedar Cliff lies across Bell Creek from Hiawassee and offers visitors plenty of access to nature. Take your children to Town County Park for a walk along the Hamilton Gardens or take your boat out via the public launch area. Catch the Georgia Mountain Fair at the park. and experience some homestyle Southern food at Hawg Wild BBQ and Catfish House. If you don’t have a family boat, make your way to Boundary Waters Marina for a rental.

7. Dogwood Trail

Dogwood Trail is a little finger of land down the coast that juts out into the lake. This community boasts several waterside houses with plenty of trees. This gives you an ideal place to settle the family without the distractions of the city for some one-on-one time. The small inlets on either side of Dogwood Trail adds a semi-private place to kayak and paddleboard, particularly great for children who are still relatively new in the world of water.

8. Beach Cove

Sunnyside Road cuts through Beach Cove with one side on the lake and the other in Nantahala National Forest. Spend half your day boating from your rental house or fishing on your private dock, and the other half of your day hiking in the foothills. Boat across to the Dyer’s Country Store to pick up all your necessities. Take a day and drive down to Brasstown Bald, the tallest mountain in the state at nearly 5,000 feet above sea level. Check out the visitors center before hiking out on Arkaquah Trailhead, a trail thatmeanders through the Plott Cove Reserve Nature Area, Cove Gap, Locust Log Ridge, Low Gap, and Blue Bluff.

9. Macedonia

Macedonia’s a small town at the southern end of the lake where it peters out into a river. It is great for trout fishing or kayaking. The lakeside houses here have plenty of privacy for an old-fashioned rustic experience. Take the Unicoi Turnpike south a few minutes to meet up to the Appalachian Trail. Experience the famous trail for a few hours while taking advantage of the stunning scenery, or try some overnight backpacking, a good family-bonding activity.