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15 of the Best Lakes in Georgia

By | Last Updated : 24th July 2020

Georgia has its share of beautiful lakes, majorly concentrated in its northern and central parts. Most are human-made reservoirs managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority, Georgia Power, or the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The geological conditions and shape of the land have led to fewer natural lakes here. The reservoirs of Georgia attract tourists with their eye-catching landscape and several recreational activities, from fishing to swimming, boating to camping.

Lakes in Georgia

Lakes in North Georgia

1. Lake Blue Ridge

Lake Blue Ridge in North Georgia

This lake, situated in the Fannin County, was created after the Blue Ridge Dam construction. The TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) manages this water body, which has a 60-mile (97 km) shoreline and a 3290-acre (13.31 sq. km) surface area. Its glistening blue waters and mountain backdrop of the surrounding North Georgia ranges are sure to take one’s breath away. The Morganton Point Recreation Area and the Blue Ridge Lake Recreation Area situated along its shore entertain visitors to the fullest.

Fishing: Largemouth bass, white bass, and bluegill are the commonest.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, jet-skiing, picnicking, camping, and hiking

Natural or Man-Made: Man-made

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2. Lake Lanier

Lake Lanier in North Georgia

Also called the Lake Sidney Lanier officially, it was created on Chattahoochee River in 1956 after the Buford Dam’s construction. The lake, fed by the Chestatee River waters, occupies the Lumpkin, Dawson, Hall, Forsyth, and Gwinnett counties. Its 692-mile (1114 km) shoreline is always bustling with activities since it has the Lake Lanier Islands, a resort complex, in its vicinity, alongside about 45 state parks and 10 campgrounds. The light show around the lake’s surrounding areas between mid-November and January would surely provide one complete visual retreat.

Fishing: Walleye, crappie, brown trout, rainbow trout, and largemouth bass mostly occupy this lake.

Other Activities: Swimming (in the public beach areas of the state parks), boating, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving

Natural or Man-Made: Man-made

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3. Lake Rabun

Rabun Lake in North Georgia

Lake Rabun in northeast Georgia’s Rabun County has an 835-acre (3.4 sq. km) surface area and 25-mile (40 km) shoreline. One of its chief attractions is the grand 4th of July celebrations conducted by the LRA (Lake Rabun Association) every year, with the boat parade being the show-stealer. Over the recent years, the lake has grown into a bustling residential area for the affluent who mostly spend summer weekends here.

Fishing: Largemouth bass, spotted bass, bluegill, shellcrackers, and walleye are some available species.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating,hiking, and camping around the surrounding regions

Natural or Man-Made: Man-made

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4. Chatuge Lake

Chatuge Lake in North Georgia

Chatuge Lake, created upon the Chatuge Dam’s construction, occupies parts of North Carolina and Georgia. The Georgia part of the lake lies in the Town County, near the Hiawassee and Macedonia cities. The lake with a 132-mile shoreline generates a spectacular view because of the Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains surrounding it. On its eastern shores lie the Hiawassee resort town, which serves as a perfect destination for vacationers. 

Fishing: Spotted bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, striped bass, white bass, crappie, channel catfish, and sunfish are popular.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, skiing, picnicking, alongside mountain biking and hiking ( in Lake Chatuge Trail & Recreation Area and the Jackrabbit Mountain Recreation Area)

Natural or Man-Made: Man-made

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5. Lake Allatoona

Lake Allatoona in North Georgia

Lake Allatoona in northwest Georgia lies on Etowah River, majorly occupying the Cherokee and Bartow counties. At the same time, a small part of it also remains present in Cobb County. The lake has privately operated marinas, two yacht clubs within its premises, and seven campsites managed by the Corps of Engineers.

Fishing: The Stamp Creek region is ideal for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. On the other hand, the Wilderness Camp region is best suited for crappie (mainly in June).

Other Activities: Swimming (preferably in the beach area surrounding the Gatewood Park of Bartow County), boating, hiking and mountain biking (along the Red Top Mountain State Park trail)

Natural or Man-made: Man-made

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6. Lake Hartwell

Lake Hartwell in North Georgia

This reservoir lies on the Georgia – South Carolina border, formed after the construction of the Hartwell Dam. The lake is equipped with marinas and boat ramps, making it an ideal destination for boaters. The Hartwell Lakeside State Park in the lake’s premises has a lot of things from picnic shelters to playgrounds to keep the guests entertained.

Fishing: Largemouth bass, striped bass, crappie, and white bass mainly occur here. Species like walleye and trout are majorly available on the Georgia side of the Hartwell Dam.

Other Activities: Swimming, tubing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, bird watching, camping, and hiking

Natural or Man-made: Man-made

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7. Lake Burton

Lake Burton in North Georgia

The Lake Burton in northeastern Georgia’s Rabun County has a 2755-acre (11.23 sq. km) surface area and 62-mile (10 km) shoreline.  This clear lake, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, generates a picturesque beauty for one to behold. The chief attractions include the Memorial Day-weekend wooden boat parade and the 4th of July fireworks. The lake is also home to residential camps, youth retreats, and residential programs. The Moccasin Creek State Park lying on its western shore has walking trails, campgrounds, and many other facilities.

Fishing: It has an abundance of bass species, alongside fish like bluegill, redear sunfish, and trout

Other Activities: Swimming (Timpson Cove Beach being one of the favorable spots), boating, jet skiing, wakeboarding, hiking along the Moccasin Creek trail, and camping

Natural or Man-Made: Man-made

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8. Carters Lake

Carters Lake in North Georgia

This is Georgia’s deepest lake with a 200 ft (61 m) depth on an average, formed during the construction of the Carters Dam. The Coosawattee River houses and feeds this lake that lies in the Murray and Gilmer counties. It produces a stunning view of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains that nestles it. The lake has a privately-operated marina, which provides cabin rentals, boat docks, and boat rentals.

Fishing: Spotted bass, striped bass, and walleye are common here.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, sailing, scuba diving, waterskiing, hiking, camping, and rock climbing

Natural or Man-Made: Man-made

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9. Richard B. Russell Lake

Richard B. Russell Lake

Also known as Lake Russell, it lies on the South Carolina – Georgia border having a 26,650-acre (108 sq. km) surface area, and 540-mile (870 km) shoreline. The Corps of Engineer, credited for constructing the reservoir, prohibits private use of the shoreline, which remains mostly undeveloped apart from a few day-use areas and state parks. The Georgia side of it has the Richard B. Russell State Park equipped with cottages, campgrounds and other facilities to provide complete relaxation. 

Fishing: Spotted bass, striped bass, and walleye are common here.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, waterskiing, jet-skiing, wildlife viewing, hiking, and camping

Natural or Man-Made: Man-made

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Lakes in South Georgia

10. Lake Seminole

Lake Seminole in South Georgia

Situated in southwest Georgia, Lake Seminole, managed by the USACE (United States Army Corps of Engineers), also borders parts of Florida. Besides a wide variety of fish species, the lake also has snakes, American alligators, and waterfowl. There are over 35 parks and 5 campgrounds, with the Three Rivers State Park, and Seminole State Park being the most significant ones.

Fishing: Largemouth bass, striped bass, crappie, catfish, and chain pickerel are commonly found. Fishing is preferable in summer, and duck hunting in early winter.

Other Activities: The lake does not allow swimming. Other activities include boating,hiking, and camping

Natural or Man-Made: Man-made

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Lakes in Central Georgia

11. Lake Oconee

Lake Oconee in Central Georgia

Lake Oconee, the second largest lake of Georgia, lies on the Oconee River, occupying the Greene, Putnam, and Morgan counties. Its creation dates back to 1979 after Georgia Power completed the Wallace Dam.  This beauteous lake, also reputed for being one of the cleanest, has a whole lot of golf communities within its premises like the Harbor Club, and Reynolds Lake Oconee. For a plush vacation, the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, known for its luxurious arrangements would be a perfect pick.

Fishing: Common species include bluegill, white bass, striped bass, catfish, and crappie.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, paddleboating, wakeboarding, waterskiing, wakesurfing, tubing, hiking (along the Angel Pond, and Saddle Ridge trails), and camping (in the Old Salem Park Campground, and Oconee Springs Park Campground)

Natural or Man-Made: Man-made

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12. Lake Blackshear

Lake Blackshear in Central Georgia

Lake Blackshear, situated on Flint River, was constructed between 1925 and 1930, bordering the counties of Crisp, Worth, Lee, Sumter, and Dooly. One could find cypress trees at the center of the lake, alongside stumps which could pose problems for recreational boaters. The lake’s eastern side has the Georgia Veterans State Park, whose main attraction is the museum. It features a lot of things related to the American Revolutionary War. The Lake Blackshear Resort and Golf Club present at the center of the state park provide marvelous views of the lake.

Fishing: Largemouth bass, white bass, striped bass, catfish, bluegill, and crappie are the prominent finds. While March and June are ideal for largemouth bass fishing, the bluegill is mostly available from June to September. The lake annually hosts a bass fishing tournament.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, waterskiing, hiking, bird watching, and camping in the state park premises

Natural or Man-Made: Man-made

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13. Clarks Hill Lake

Clarks Hill Lake in Central Georgia

Georgia’s Clark Hill Lake, officially known as J. Strom Thurmond Reservoir lies in the Georgia-South Carolina border. The reservoir created between 1951 and 1952, covers the Lincoln and Columbia counties in Georgia. The Clarks Hill Park near the lake provides for picnicking, camping, and many other opportunities.

Fishing: Largemouth bass, striped bass, channel catfish, crappie, redbreast sunfish, bream, and bluegill are commonly found.

Other Activities: Swimming, sunbathing, boating, waterskiing, hiking, mountain biking, and camping

Natural or Man-Made: Man-made

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14. Lake Sinclair

Lake Sinclair in Central Georgia

Lake Sinclair, credited as one of Georgia’s cleanest lake, is adjacent to the Milledgeville city, touching upon the counties of Hancock, Putnam, and Baldwin. Georgia Power is responsible for the lake’s operation and has even provided for two public boat ramps to access the waters with ease.  Its 471-mile scenic shoreline in combination with the mild climate the region experiences makes it one of the most preferred holiday spots. The Rocky Creek Park and Oconee Spring Park are some of the recreation areas nearby possessing boat ramps and beaches, alongside amenities like picnic tables, and grills.

Fishing: The dam close to the Milledgeville area is ideal for fishing, with fall and winter being the perfect time. The common species include striped bass, largemouth bass, crappie, bream, and catfish.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, and picnicking

Natural or Man-Made: Man-made

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15. West Point Lake

West Point Lake in Central Georgia

West Point Lake, situated in Georgia’s west-central part, was created during the West Point Dam’s construction. Under the USACE (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), this lake passes through the counties of Heard, Chambers, Troup, and Randolph. The lake’s shoreline has day-use areas, state parks, fishing piers, beaches, commercial marinas, hunting areas, and campgrounds.

Fishing: Crappie and largemouth bass are the prized catches here, though one could even find stripers and catfish.

Other Activities: Swimming (in designated beach-areas opened from May to Labor Day), boating, canoeing, hiking, mountain biking, and camping

Natural or Man-Made: Man-made

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All the reservoirs mentioned above allow dogs on a 6 ft leash around the day-use area or campground except Lake Lanier.

TOP PICKS

Best Lakes for Fishing: Lake Seminole, Lake Hartwell, Lake Clarks Hill

Best Lakes for Swimming: Lake Lanier, Lake Allatoona, Lake Oconee

Cleanest Lakes: Lake Sinclair, Lake Lanier, Lake Oconee

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