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12 Most Gorgeous Lakes to Visit in Georgia

If you’re looking to spend the day, weekend, or a weekend away at a lake in Georgia, you’ve got many options. Most here were created by dams and offer outstanding fishing along with the usual water sports like swimming, fishing, boating, and kayaking. They come in all sizes, from smaller tranquil lakes to massive-sized bodies of water. While these all provide spectacular natural beauty, no matter what type of lake getaway you have in mind, you’re sure to find one that’s ideal on this list.

Lake Oconee - Greensboro Lake Oconee, Georgia
Credit: Lake Oconee, Georgia by © Sean Pavone - Dreamstime.com

Lake Oconee - Greensboro

Located in central Georgia on the Oconee River near Greensboro and Eatonton, Lake Oconee offers stunning beauty within an easy day trip from Atlanta, less than a 90-minute drive away. Some of the best fishing, boating, wakeboarding, kayaking, and other water sports can all be enjoyed here, and with it bordered by the Oconee National Forest, the views are especially picturesque. You’ll find many hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals here, along with picnic areas, eateries, gift shops, and places to rent vessels, fishing gear, and bicycles. There are multiple golf courses for enthusiasts and a long list of other things to do making it ideal for a wide range of travelers from couples seeking romance to families.

Lake Lanier - Gainesville Lake Lanier
Credit: Lake Lanier by © Sandra Burm | Dreamstime.com

Lake Lanier - Gainesville

Georgia’s largest lake has 692 miles of shoreline and covers 39,000 acres. It also includes nearly 50 parks, about half of which offer swimming and sandy beaches. The water is a brilliant blue and you can also enjoy some especially picturesque sunsets here at the end of the day. You’ll never run out of opportunities for fun in or around the lake, in fact, you’ll even find some rather unique activities like a biplane ride that provides a bird’s-eye view over it all. Renting a canoe, kayak, or boat is possible too if you want to get out on the water and play. If you want to stay overnight, book a Lake Lanier cabin rental.

Tallulah Falls Lake - Tallulah Falls Tallulah Gorge and Falls
Credit: Tallulah Gorge and Falls by bigstock.com

Tallulah Falls Lake - Tallulah Falls

Tallulah Falls Lake is located within Tallulah Gorge State Park, where you’ll find some of the state’s most beautiful waterfalls. It’s also home to North America’s second deepest gorge and is considered to be one of the state’s Seven Natural Wonders. When visiting the lake you can take a scenic trek along the Gorge Floor Trail for a close-up look at magnificent Bridal Veil Falls. With year-round water releases on select days, it’s possible to go whitewater rafting too.  The 63-acre acre lake has 3.6 miles of shoreline and offers popular activities like swimming, fishing, boating, and picnicking. There’s a boat launch and public dock near Tallulah Falls Town Hall.

Blue Ridge Lake - Blue Ridge sunset over Lake Blue Ridge
Credit: sunset over Lake Blue Ridge by Jim Liestman via Flickr

Blue Ridge Lake - Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge Lake is surrounded by forested mountains in the Chattahoochee National Forest, providing a great place for swimming, fishing, and boating while immersed in striking natural scenery. It’s one of the most picturesque in the state, with clear, pristine water and a shoreline that stretches for 65 miles, with just a quarter of it developed. You’ll find places to launch your boat, beaches for sunbathing, and facilities where you can rent pontoon boats, kayaks, and paddleboards too. You’ll find a wide range of accommodation options here, including vacation rentals and campsites.

Lake Allatoona - Cartersville Lake Allatoona at Red Top Mountain State Park
Credit: Lake Allatoona at Red Top Mountain State Park by © Robhainer - Dreamstime.com

Lake Allatoona - Cartersville

One of Georgia’s prettiest and cleanest lakes, Lake Allatoona is used for drinking water for nearby towns. It’s located in three counties, Bartow, Cobb, and Cherokee, and covers 12,000 acres with 270 miles of shoreline popular for fishing and boating. There are eight full-service marinas along its shores where one can rent a boat, along with swimming beaches, picnic areas, and playgrounds. If you like to camp there are multiple options for that too. Red Mountain State Lake sits on a peninsula between the two arms of the lake, with much of the northside remaining protected from development.

Lake Seminole - Bainbridge Sunset over Lake Seminole
Credit: Sunset over Lake Seminole by © Cynthia Mccrary - Dreamstime.com

Lake Seminole - Bainbridge

Lake Seminole is a 37,500-acre reservoir along the border of Georgia and Florida near Bainbridge on the Georgia side. It’s famous for its outstanding fishing opportunities with the abundant grass and stump beds creating an ideal habitat for striped, largemouth, white, and hybrid bass. There are also significant populations of catfish, bream, and crappie. Bainbridge sits along the northeast section of the lake and has been proclaimed the Bass Capital of Georgia, offering a wide range of facilities and services for anglers. Even if you don’t fish you’ll enjoy it here, simply taking a boat out on the water (numerous boat launches are available) can make for a fun day. There are 35 parks along the shoreline too, with Seminole State Park one of the largest, providing lake access, picnic shelters, camping, and cottages.

Lake Rabun - Lakemont Lake Rabun at sunset
Credit: Lake Rabun at sunset by © Sayran - Dreamstime.com

Lake Rabun - Lakemont

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains with the small, artsy town of Lakemont near the southern end, Lake Rabun offers 25 miles of secluded shoreline to enjoy in a destination referred to as “The Land of Enchantment.” The pristine waters and surrounding scenery provide timeless beauty and all sorts of activities including the chance to catch trophy-sized fish, swim, and boat. On land enjoy hiking scenic trails that wind through lush greenery, rhododendrons, and mountain laurel, some of which lead to waterfalls. You’ll find a marina and a variety of outfitters for guided fly fishing, whitewater rafting, and ATV excursions too. If you’re here for the Fourth of July holiday, you can watch the wooden boat parade on the lake as well.

Lake Chatuge - Hiawassee Hiawassee, Georgia and Chatuge Lake in early autumn
Credit: Hiawassee, Georgia and Chatuge Lake in early autumn by © Sean Pavone - Dreamstime.com

Lake Chatuge - Hiawassee

Created in 1942 by the Chatuge Dam, Lake Chatuge sits at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains, with half of it in North Carolina and the other in Georgia. It offers more than 100 miles of shoreline for swimming, fishing, boating, and other watersports. There are picnic areas, playgrounds, public boat ramps, and a swimming beach. Hiking and horseback riding are popular here too. The closest town to the lake in Georgia is Hiawassee which sits along the Appalachian Trail. It’s home to Hamilton Gardens at Lake Chatuge, a botanical garden with over 3,000 different types of plants. By visiting Bell Mountain Park, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the lake and surrounding mountains. If you come in the fall you’ll enjoy lots of brilliant foliage as well.

 Russell Lake - Cornelia view of Lake Russell near Cornelia, Georgia
Credit: view of Lake Russell near Cornelia, Georgia by Wikimedia Commons

 Russell Lake - Cornelia

Half of Russell Lake is in Georgia and the other half is in South Carolina, with Cornelia the closest town. The lake supports both warm-water and cold-water species of fish, including trout, bass, catfish, perch, sunfish, and crappie, which all thrive here. While there are areas for boating and fishing access as well as picnicking, nearly the entire shoreline is undeveloped. Richard B. Russell State Park is located here, however, a great place to rent a cabin or camp.

Lake Blackshear - Cordele Sunset at Lake Blackshear
Credit: Sunset at Lake Blackshear by © Katlyn - Dreamstime.com

Lake Blackshear - Cordele

A manmade lake created in 1930 by the Crisp County Power Damn to provide citizens with low-cost power. It’s not only served that purpose, but today it’s a popular place for recreational activities and wildlife, located in the southwest part of the state. It’s a great place to relax and recharge while taking in picturesque natural beauty but there are many ways to get active as well. Visitors enjoy a wide range of water sports like water skiing, boating, swimming, and trophy fishing – in fact, a national bass fishing tournament is held here every year. The Georgia Veterans State Park can be found here along with a resort and golf club, and multiple restaurants.

Lake Burton - Clayton Lake Burton, Georgia
Credit: Lake Burton, Georgia by © Jon Bilous - Dreamstime.com

Lake Burton - Clayton

Located 15 minutes from downtown Clayton and under an hour from the border of North Carolina in north Georgia, Lake Burton is nestled in the Appalachians, part of a chain of lakes that was created by a dam. It was named after the town that now sits at the bottom of the lake when the area was flooded to provide residents with electricity. There are 62 miles of shoreline and the lake covers 2,775 acres. It includes a white sandy beach popular for picnics and swimming, as well as offering great fishing and boating opportunities. A big celebration is hosted for Independence Day each year with fireworks set off from the middle of the lake too.

Carters Lake - Calhoun Carters Lake, Georgia
Credit: Carters Lake, Georgia by © Sandra Burm - Dreamstime.com

Carters Lake - Calhoun

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Coosawattee River between the towns of Ellijay and Calhoun, Carters Lake is easily reached from Atlanta, only about 80 miles north. It’s the deepest of the state’s reservoirs at 450 feet deep and provides unspoiled scenery with no homes along the shore. There is a resort and full-service marina for boat parking, as well as boat and kayak rentals, cabins, and campsites. With such an extensive shoreline it’s a great place to go for a beach day as there’s always a spot available to throw down a beach blanket or towel and set up an umbrella. There are lots of scenic trails to hike and fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, striped bass, walleye, crappie, bream, and catfish is available too.

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