Sugar Hill, GA
Flowery Branch, GA
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Atlanta is known to be an upbeat, southern city, located just south of two of the best lakes in the state of Georgia: Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona. Just a two hour drive from the South Carolina border and the Savannah River, Atlanta is also a gateway to other boating havens in the south, including Lake Murray, SC (3 hours) and Lake Hartwell, SC (2 hours). Regardless of which lake you choose to explore, each of these locations present lake life at its finest, where you can enjoy lazy days on a pontoon, epic watersports, raft-ups in party coves, and so much more.
Popular boat types to enhance your experience on the water in Atlanta include:
Pontoon boats make for the perfect ride on any of the surrounding Atlanta lakes like Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona. With plenty of deck space, many pontoons can accommodate large families or groups of friends of up to 12 people.
One of the best parts of lake life happens behind the boat and in the wake—yep, we’re talking about watersports. Book a ski boat or wake boat if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush. These boats create the perfect wave for water skiers, wakeboarders, and wake surfers of all skill levels.
Boating License/Education Rules: All operators born after January 1, 1998 must have passed a boater education course approved by the Department of Natural Resources and have a card on board to operate any vessel. You must be 12 years of age or older to operate a boat or personal watercraft (PWC).
Life Jacket Recommendation: 13 years and under should wear a PFD, or any inexperienced swimmers.
For more information, visit the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Where to dock your boat or meet your rental:
Bald Ridge Marina (Lake Lanier)
Port Royale Marina (Lake Lanier)
Gainesville Marina and Boat Sales (Lake Lanier)
Victoria Harbour Marina (Lake Allatoona)
Glade Marina-Lake Allatoona
Holiday Harbor Marina & Resort (Lake Allatoona)
Summers in Atlanta are typically hot and muggy while winters are cold, short, and wet. Boaters and adventure seekers have between early May through mid-October to enjoy the spring, summer and early fall seasons that present optimal boating conditions.
Avg. Temperature High: Peaks around 79.2°F in July.
Avg. Temperature Low: Daily high is 64.4°F; drops as low as 37.4°F in March.
Avg. Water Temperatures in Atlanta during the Summer:
68°F in May
76.5°F in June
79.2°F in July
78.6°F in August
72.5°F in September
Explore the 6 Best Lakes Near Atlanta, Georgia.Search Boats
Watersports enthusiasts love Lake Lanier, partially because of its convenience, as it's located just a quick 60-minute drive north of the city. As the go-to weekend getaway for Atlanta locals and visitors, you’ll see participants of all skill levels riding their boat’s wake for skiing, wakeboarding, wake surfing, kneeboarding, and tubing. If you’re looking for an activity that moves a little bit slower, consider docking your boat rental at one of the lake’s island beaches—Frog Beach, Old Federal Day Beach, and West Bank Park Beach—to launch your kayak or stand-up paddleboard.
Pro Tips: Renters should expect and plan ahead for busy summer holiday weekends on Lake Lanier, including Memorial Day weekend, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day. Book early to secure your rental before they are all sold out, and consider getting a captain to help you navigate the crowded waters.
Location: Google Maps Link
Popular events on Lake Lanier: Lake Lanier’s annual holiday boat parade takes place each December, while other fun annual events include the Lake Lanier Shore Sweep (September), dragon boat races (multiple dates), and the Pirates of Lake Lanier Charity Poker Run (July).
Lat/Long: 34.2219° N, 83.9691° W
Flamingo Cove, Tequila Cove, Hurricane Cove, Double Cove, Sweetwater Cove…What do all these locations have in common? They are the place to be for the best on-water parties on Lake Allatoona. Be sure to double check with your boat’s owner to confirm if they allow for raft-ups with other boats. Also consider opting for a captained-rental so you can have a designated sober skipper onboard. If you’re traveling with family or small kids, be sure to cruise by ‘The Falls’ (Toonigh Creek Falls), located on the east side of the lake, just past JD’s on the Lake, Little River Marina, and Blankets Creek.
Pro Tips: Lake Allatoona is a great destination for the kids to try fishing for the very first time. Let them experience that ‘first-catch feeling,’ as they reel in a striped or hybrid bass.
Location: Google Maps Link
Popular events on Lake Allatoona: During the winter months, many boaters participate in Lights on the Lake, the annual lighted holiday boat parade taking place every November. Other notable events include the On The Water Tie Up (July), Lake Allatoona Poker Run (August), and the Great Lake Allatoona Cleanup (October).
Lat/Long: 34.1331° N, 84.6244° W
The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is a quick drive 30-minutes north of Atlanta, located between the downtown area and Lake Lanier. Home to the Chattahoochee River, which stretches 430 miles crossing into Alabama and parts of Florida, anglers can cast their hook to reel in trout, bass, and catfish. A valid Georgia fishing license is required for anglers 16 or older, in addition to needing a trout stamp. Because there are many local fishing regulations in place in their area, consider opting for a guided fishing charter to enhance your experience.
Pro Tips: If you’re looking to catch trout, you’re in the right spot. The Chattahoochee River is the southernmost trout river in the United States. Likewise, there is no closed trout season on this river.
Location: Google Maps Link
Hours: Fishing hours are 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset; be aware that night fishing is not allowed.
Lat/Long: 30°42′32″N 84°51′50″W
Just a short one-hour drive north of Atlanta, Lake Lanier is home to countless Boatsetter boat owners offering up their pontoons, day boats, ski and wake boats, freshwater fishing boats, and cruisers, ready and waiting to help you experience what lake life is all about. Aside from its close proximity to the city, Lake Lanier attracts residents and tourists alike thanks to its abundance of marina options, its iconic party coves (Cocktail Cove and Muddres Cove, just to name a few), and its almost 700 miles of shoreline.
Pro Tips: Did you know that Lake Lanier is a popular destination for filming some of Hollywood’s biggest movies and TV shows? Including the recent Netflix hit series, ‘Ozark.’
For the anglers of the group, target fish species in Lake Lanier include: Bluegill, smallmouth bass, striped bass, largemouth bass, and more.
There are a number of places to dock your boat or meet your rental at Lake Lanier:
Port Royale Marina
Gainesville Marina and Boat Sales
Safe Harbor Hideaway Bay
There are several places to launch your boat along the shores of Lake Lanier:
Mary Alice Public Boat Ramp
Balus Creek Public Boat Ramp
Buford Dam Tailwater Boat Ramp
Lake Allatoona—less than an hour’s drive northwest of downtown Atlanta—is yet another weekend playground for local boaters and travelers to the area. Smaller than its neighboring lake to the east (Lake Lanier), this destination is a slightly more family-friendly lake, with less commercial and residential development. Head out on the lake early to secure a prime stop at one of the lake’s many islands, including Frog Beach on Seven Islands. This lake also presents the ideal backdrop for children to learn to sail.
Pro Tips: To make the most of your trip to Lake Allatoona, consider renting a property for the weekend near the lake. You can book a multi-day rental to extend your trip.
Target fish species in Lake Allatoona include: Largemouth bass, spotted bass, and striped bass.
There are a number of places to dock your boat or meet your rental on Lake Allatoona:
Victoria Harbour Marina
Little River Marina
Holiday Harbor Marina & Resort
There are several launch ramps available:
Blockhouse Boat Ramp
Galts Ferry Day Use
Situated along the Chattahoochee River in the quaint town of Sandy Springs just 20-minutes outside of the Atlanta metro area, Morgan Falls Overlook Park is a secluded boating destination with a lot to offer. If you are traveling with family and want to get away from the crowds, these waters offer a calm escape where you can still enjoy scenic views, nearby hiking trails, kayaking and paddle boarding, surfing, and more. There is also a boat launch available on-site.
Pro Tips: Fish near Morgan’s Dam for the best catches. Boat access and launching are available in the upper stretch of the Chattahoochee River in Roswell’s Azalea Park, and in the lower stretch, you can access the ramp at the Morgan Falls Dam or on the north side of the Johnson Ferry Road bridge.
Target fish species at Morgan Overlook Park include: Trout, bass, catfish, and other 20 fish species.
There are a number of places to dock or launch your boat at Morgan Falls Overlook Park:
Morgan Falls River Park Launch
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