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21 Best Lakes In Georgia

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

The state of Georgia is blessed with many beautiful attributes. A variety of evergreen and deciduous trees, rolling hills of green grass, and, of course, several recreational lakes.

Most lakes in Georgia are manmade using dams as a way to control water flow. In fact, Lake Hartwell and the Hartwell Dam are just one in a chain of 3 man-made lakes along the Savannah River (learn more about the history of Lake Hartwell here).

Top Lakes In Georgia

Obviously, we think Lake Hartwell tops the list for lakes in Georgia, but there are several other beautiful lakes in this state that are worth a mention. So let’s take a look at how Lake Hartwell compares to other lakes in Georgia.

view of lake hartwell from the shore

Lake Hartwell

As far as size goes, Lake Hartwell tops the list at over 50,000 acres of water! The expanse of Lake Hartwell covers 978 miles of shoreline and rests on the border of Georgia and South Carolina.

Hartwell is ideal for fishing as well as recreational boating. Because of the size, you’ll never feel crowded but you could get a little lost. Around the lake, you’ll find a variety of marinas and lakeside restaurants and there are frequent fishing tournaments, boat rallies, and events to join.

Being a bit further from Atlanta, Lake Hartwell boasts very affordable lake living options, and the area is not as crowded as other lakes.

Lake Russell

Lake Russell is the second lake in the chain of lakes along the Savannah River and sits to the south of Lake Hartwell. At 25,000 acres of water, Lake Russell expands the Savannah River along the Georgia and South Carolina border. A beautiful and peaceful lake, Lake Russell does not allow residents to build docks. This keeps the real estate is more affordable and the lake less crowded. Access to the water is available at boat ramps and state parks where you can also find recreational activities such as frisbee golf and camping. Locals boast excellent fishing on the lake and enjoy the natural beauty of the undeveloped shoreline.

Lake Strom Thurmond

Also known as Clarks Hill Lake, Lake Strom Thurmond is the last in the chain of dams and lakes along the Georgia South Carolina border. Lake Strom Thurmond stretches 40 miles along the Savannah River and is less than an hour from Augusta, GA. This lake is vast offering plenty of fishing, boating, and Corps recreational areas. There are hundreds of campsites, living communities, and charming small towns to visit.

Lake Lanier

A popular spot for Atlanta residents, Lake Lanier comes in second largest in size at about 38,000 acres of water and just under 700 miles of shoreline. Lanier was created in the 1950s by the construction of the Buford dam along the Chattahoochee River. Located in north Georgia and boasting views of the smokey mountains is one of the most popular lake destinations in Georgia.

You’ll enjoy fishing and recreational boating, but it can get crowded during the spring and summer. Real estate around the lake is at an all-time high, so Lake Lanier is one of the most expensive lakes in Georgia to live on.

Lake Allatoona

Lake Allatoona sits northwest of Atlanta and is a popular destination for families on the west side of the state. Allatoona is a large lake, covering 12,000 acres of water with 270 miles of shoreline.

In 1949 the Etowah River was blocked off to create Lake Allatoona. In 1950 the lake was created for a total cost of $31,500,000! The lake is used for flood control, hydroelectric power generation, water supply, and quality, fish and wildlife management, and recreation. While the official name is Allatoona Lake, the area is known to locals as Lake Allatoona. The Army Corp. owns and facilitates 25,000 acres of recreational space, as well as land leased to private entities that provide services to the public. Lake Allatoona boasts excellent camping, boat ramps, marinas, and parks. Bring your family to the swimming areas & beaches, take the boat out, enjoy a nice picnic, or spend some time fishing with a beautiful Georgia backdrop.

Lake Rabun

Managed by the Georgia Power Company, Lake Rabun became a haven for Georgia residents and visitors in 1925. The Mathis Dam was created in 1915, a mile-long tunnel between the lake and power generator in Tallulah Falls was created, and the lake was impounded with a decade.

The elevation of Lake Rabun sits at 1689 feet. It is the second-largest lake in the six-lake chain with a surface area of 835 acres. Lake Rabun is a beautiful location for locals and visitors alike. Like life consists of a variety of sporting options such as skiing, wakeboarding, boathouse jumping, tubing, hiking, biking and more! Enjoy special area events while giving to a good cause! Lake Rabun offers fundraising opportunities such as Tour of Homes, Flea Market & Cocktail Party Auctions, 5k and 10K road races, Golf Tournaments and more. Spend time enjoying the locale with activities such as 4th of July & Labor Day BBQs, Fireworks, Boat Church, Cocktail Cruises and more.

Lake Oconee

Lake Oconee serves as a Georgia Power source on the Oconee River near Greensboro and Eatonton. The lake was created in 1979 when the Georgia Power Company created the Wallace Dam on the Oconee. This large lake covers a surface area of 19,971 acres with 374 miles of shoreline. Lake Oconee boasts a wealth of fabulous activities and adventures to be had. Jet Skis, Ski Boats, Pontoons, Wakeboard boats, and more are available for rental through Young Harris Water Sports. Enjoy a round or two of Lake Oconee golf on one of six championship courses designed by legends like Nicklaus, Weiskopf, Cupp, and others. Fill your itinerary with Lake Oconee arts and entertainment! From the art barn to the festival hall, performing arts society, to the plaza arts center. From markets to boutiques, breweries, restaurants, and eateries, the opportunities at Lake Oconee are virtually endless! This is a must-stop destination for your next Georgia Lake escape.

Lake Burton

Located in scenic Rabun County, Lake Burton is a 2,775-acre reservoir in northeast GA boasting 62 miles of shoreline. Another Georgia Power-owned lake, Burton is a beautiful public attraction in the area. Lake Burton is the perfect spot for boating, camping, picnicking, swimming, and fishing. Timpson Cove Beach, a popular swimming and picnic spot, features beautiful white sand beaches. Don’t worry about finding a place to park! Lake Burton has ample parking for guests in the area. Access to the park is convenient from U.S. Highway 76, off Charlie Mountain Road.

Lake Blue Ridge

Spanning 3,295-acres of northwest GA and featuring picturesque clear blue waters, Lake Blue Ridge is a must-see of Georgia’s mountain reservoirs. Blue Ridge is 11 miles long with 65 miles of shoreline to enjoy. Lake Blue Ridge was created when Blue Ridge Dam was constructed by the Toccoa Electric Power Company on the Toccoa River in 1930. It was later purchased by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 1939 for hydroelectric power production. Today, the lake is a hotspot for campsites, several boat ramps, a full-service marina, and public swimming and picnic areas. This family-friendly lake has something for all ages and is to the public open year-round.

Lake Chatuge

It simply does not get any more scenic than the Southern Appalachian Mountains of the Hiawassee area. Here you will find the beautiful Lake Chatuge, a favorite of locals and travelers from across the nation. Lake Chatuge is a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Lake with 132 miles of shoreline. It is the highest major lake in the state, but is a relatively shallow body of water with depths ranging from 30 to 144 feet. Despite its size, Lake Chatuge boasts plenty of family-friendly activities including boating, fishing, skiing, swimming, picnicking in secluded coves, and camping. You will also find public boat ramps that offer easy access to water sports. A swimming beach, playgrounds, and numerous picnic tables are also provided at the Towns County Recreational Beach.

Lake Sinclair

Situated in the Historic Heartland of Milledgeville, GA you will find the gem of Lake Sinclair. Just 2 hours southeast of Atlanta, this stunning lake is a prime location for fishing, tournaments, swimming, boating, camping, and even offers several marinas for the convenience of locals and visitors. Operated by Georgia Power, Lake Sinclair was brought to life in 1953. The 15,330 acre body of water features winding coves and several vast stretches of open water, boasting 417 miles of shoreline. Jump in with your friends and family! Enjoy southeast Georgia’s mild climate as you boat, camp, picnic, and enjoy water-sports at this beautiful lake easily accessible by Highway 20.

Lake Seminole

Discover beautiful southwest Georgia, just north of Florida when you visit Lake Seminole and Seminole State Park. Lake Seminole is a US Army Corp of Engineers reservoir situated in the southwest corner of the state. Spanning 37,500 acres, Lake Seminole is the perfect spot for fishing, boating, and birding. Enjoy excellent views and quick access to the water with convenient picnic areas, campsites and cottages. Seminole State Park surrounds a cove. Because of this, guests typically enjoy smooth waters for water skiing and tubing activities. Seminole park features vast arrays of wildlife. Discover nature trails leading past gopher tortoise burrows. You may also spot alligators, osprey, bald eagles and other wildlife.

High Falls Lake

High Falls Lake is a quaint hidden gem for fishermen to enjoy! Located northwest of Macon Georgia, High Falls is a 650-acre lake in Butts County near Jackson. Bass and Catfish are premier catches in this shallow lake, with anglers also exploring the area for bream, crappie, and white bass. The High Falls area also features a state park for families to enjoy. Spend the weekend at the campsite or in a Yurt by the lake! Enjoy fishing, boating, picnicking, a playground, mini-golf, and more!

Lake Varner

In Newton County, Georgia, discover the Lake Varner Reservoir & Park (also known as Cornish Creek Reservoir). This Covington site is the perfect spot for a calm and peaceful getaway, as no gasoline engines are permitted on the waters. Relax and take in the sites and sounds. Enjoy fishing and picnicking in the serene atmosphere.

Carters Lake

Carters Lake is a reservoir located on the Coosawattee River in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Gilmer and Murray counties. It boasts the title of Georgia’s deepest lake at over 450 feet in depth. The lake features 62 miles of rugged shorelines and 3,200 surface acres. Carters Lake is an ideal location for camping, fishing, picnicking, boating, hiking and bird watching. Carters Lake shoreline has no private docks or development. It does offer a privately run, full-service marina offering boat docks, cabins rentals and boat rentals.

Lake Nottely

Lake Nottely is a 4,180-acre TVA lake with 106 miles of shoreline located entirely in Union County, Georgia. Situated in the mountains northwest of Blairsville, Lake Nottely’s full pool is at 1,779 feet above M.S.L. Soak up some sun and enjoy water sports and activities such as boating, fishing, and jet skiing. The lake area offers two marinas and several public boat ramps. You’ll also discover a white-sand beach swimming area, campground, boating ramps, and picnic area at county-maintained Poteete Creek Park.

Lake Seed

For those who enjoy a lake off the beaten path, Seed Lake is a must-visit. Located in Rabun County, GA, this 240-acre reservoir features 13 miles of northeast Georgia shoreline. Enjoy primitive campsites, swimming beaches, picnicking, and a nearby boat ramp at this quiet lake location. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the sites and sounds of wildlife. Wilderness campsites are also available seasonally. But act quickly. Amenities are on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Lake Blackshear

Named after General David Blackshear, Lake Blackshear is a man-made lake created on the Flint River as a result of a dam built between 1925 and 1930. Bordering five counties, this 8700 acre lake serves as both a power-source and a recreational area. Boating, skiing, trophy fishing, swimming, and other water sports are available at Lake Blackshear. A national bass fishing tournament is also held annually on the lake. The area boasts several parks including Lake Blackshear Resort & Golf Club and the Georgia Veterans State Park. There are also several restaurants in the area that have been recognized by Southern Living Magazine.

Lake Harding

Shared with our neighbors in Alabama, Lake Harding (aka Bartlett’s Ferry Lake) is a 5,850-acre reservoir on the Chattahoochee River. Built in 1926 by the Columbus Power Company, Lake Harding has become a popular recreational area with local residents. In fact, many locals have built lake homes along Harding’s well-developed shoreline.

West Point Lake

Another shared lake with our Alabama neighbors, West Point Lake spans 35 miles along the Chattahoochee River on the Alabama-Georgia state line. The shoreline boasts ample recreational activities for the family to enjoy including fishing, camping, boating and other activities. The lake’s 525 miles of shoreline features parks, campgrounds, two commercial marinas, beach areas, fishing piers and public hunting areas.

Walter F George Reservoir

Named after Walter F. George, a United States Senator from Georgia, the reservoir (also referred to as Lake Eufaula) is situated on 85 miles along the Chattahoochee River near the state line between Alabama and Georgia. Six hundred and forty acres of shoreline make Walter F. George Reservoir a prime location for your favorite water and lake activities such as camping, boating, fishing, and picnicking. Here you’ll find 13-day parks and 4 campgrounds, as well as historic mansions and sites in nearby towns such as Eufaula, Alabama, and Cuthbert, Georgia.

Let us know: What is your favorite lake in Georgia and why?

If you enjoy the great outdoors, sites, sounds, and recreational activities of Georgia, leave us a comment below.

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