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Hartwell Lakeside, Exciting New Resort Space To Replace Hart State Park

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

On the grounds that currently make up Hart State Park, plans are approved to create a family oriented resort and campground that will be called Hartwell Lakeside. The city of Hartwell will lease Hart State Park from the state and take over control of the grounds. Plans include upgrades to campsites and comfort stations as well as new activity and event spaces.  Hartwell Lakeside will bring lots of visitors and revenue to the town of Hartwell. So let’s go over the vision behind it as well as answer some of the questions you may have about the new resort.

hartwell lakeside resort entry

What is Hartwell Lakeside?

Hartwell Lakeside is a planned resort area that will replace the current Hart State Park. The city of Hartwell will lease the park from the state and plans to sublease sections of the park to private businesses. Because development of land around the lake is strictly goverened by the Army Corps of Engineers, don’t expect just any business to open up within the resort. The area has been approved for and will be completed in the following stages:

  1. Camping and Recreation

  2. Wedding and Event Venues

  3. 2 story restaurant and dinner cruise dock

  4. Open air amphitheater

  5. Lakeside Hotel and Conference Center

The vision for the resort is to become a family oriented location that attracts both locals and visitors from around the world. The city began planning and working on approvals back in 2014, and it is with great excitement that they are ready to move forward. City Councilman and Chairman of the Hart State Park project, Tray Hicks, recently reviewed the plans and discussed concerns with locals. He had some very interesting facts to share about the state of the current park and what a revitalization would mean for the community of Hartwell.

Tray Hicks speaking to Hartwell locals about Hartwell Lakeside

About Hart State Park

Hart State Park comprises 147 acres of campgrounds, playgrounds, public beach and boat ramp, and some camping cabins. The park has several tree covered walking trails and several hundred feet of shoreline on the lake. When opened in the early 1960s, Hart State Park was a popular place for visitors and locals. Unfortunately, the park hit its peak in the 70s, and it has suffered from a lack of updates ever since. And visitors are noticing. Families who used to love going to Hart State Park are disappointed in the park’s state of disrepair and opting to visit other campgrounds. The declining state of the park represents a significant loss of income to the city of Hartwell.

Consider these facts:

  1. In 2008, Hart State Park Had 256,000 visitors

  2. Projections for 2019 speculate that the park will receive 161,000 FEWER visitors than in 2008

  3. Visitors to state parks spend on average $100 per person in the local community

  4. The loss of 161,000 visitors to Hart State Park equates to approximately $15,000,000 in lost revenue for the county and local businesses

Hartwell Lakeside Master Plan

Take a closer look at the plans here.

Reasons to be excited about Hartwell Lakeside

  1. The new zipline and ropes course will be a fun new way to celebrate birthday parties & family reunions, and a unique place to host business outings.

  2. New public beach and picnic area will have plenty of space to play at the lake plus a floating playground. The basketball and volleyball courts and both paved and natural walking trails provide plenty of spaces for outdoor activities.

  3. More income to the city means there’s more to spend on local projects.

  4. Tourists in Hartwell will spend money at local businesses which leads to more higher paying jobs.

  5. Being a tourist destination attracts new businesses to the area, like restaurants and entertainment venues.

How will Hartwell Lakeside compare to similar parks?

Stone Mountain Park is a much, much larger location, but you can expect some similar events and activities to occur. Here’s a comparison of similarities between the 2 places.

Lake Lanier Islands is a concept with similar ideas. Here’s how Hartwell Lakeside will compare to Lake Lanier Islands


Who is paying for it?

Each area of the resort will be run by private businesses who are responsible for building new facilities and structures. The city has commited to upgrading and adding on new infrastructure as needed for the businesses, however the businesses will pay the city back for the cost of such infrastructure over 10 years.

When will construction start?

Final approval on the lease is scheduled for early 2020, and construction on the updated camprgounds will begin after that.

Will current reservations be honored?

The operator of the campgrounds has agreed to honor current reservations.

Will there be public areas?

Yes. There will be walking trails, basketball and volleyball courts, a large open lawn area, and a public beach and picnic area.

How will it affect property values? Will property taxes go up?

No one can say what is going to happen in the future. However, with a new attraction and visitors to Hartwell, proximity to the resort could become desirable and as such property values would be expected to rise. Additionally, sales tax revenue from visitors spending locally could contribute to property taxes going down.

Will we be forced to move?

No homes will be displaced with the new resort.

Hartwell Lakeside Resort In Hartwell, Ga

A new resort is coming to Hartwell, and it’s super exciting! What are you looking forward to the most?

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