The 5 Best Lakes Around Savannah, Georgia
On the east side of the state, right next to South Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean, you can find Savannah, Georgia.
Like most of Georgia, Savannah has very few naturally occurring ponds or lakes. Most of the lakes in this area are created by reservoirs, and still, there aren’t a lot of dammed-up rivers in the area. Because of this, you’ll have to drive a little, but rest assured, these scenic waterways are worth your time.
Lake Strom Thurmond / Clarks Hill Lake
This lake is known to the State of Georgia as Clarks Hill Lake; for South Carolinians, it is Lake Strom Thurmond. To the Federal government, it is called J. Strom Thurmond Reservoir.
Originally, this border lake was named Clarks Hill Lake, after the nearby South Carolina town, named after Revolutionary War hero Elijah Clark. In 1988, though, it was renamed after the South Carolina governor and Senator, J. Strom Thurmond. Georgia residents did not approve of the name change and petitioned for it to be renamed Clarks Hill Lake again. This bill did not pass, but South Carolina passed another bill to call it Clarks Hill Lake one year later.
This lake is a 71,000-acre lake with an impressive 1,200 miles of shoreline. It is the largest Army Corps of Engineers created lake east of the Mississippi River. It is about 150 miles northwest of Savannah, right on the Georgia and South Carolina border.
Clarks Hill Lake is well-stocked with largemouth bass, striped, hybrid, and white bass. It also has a healthy population of bluegill, crappie, catfish, and pike.
There are dozens of boat ramps, parks, campgrounds, and other attractions surrounding the lake, with Augusta, Georgia, just to its southeast.
You can find Strom Thurmond Lake at US Highway 221, Clarks Hill, SC 29821, or by its GPS coordinates of 33.661175,-82.200390.
Lake Murray is a scenic 170 miles to the north of Savannah, in the midlands of South Carolina, just west of Columbia.
The temperate region makes this 55,000-acre lake a perfect oasis for boaters. You’ll have about 650 miles of shoreline to explore, and plenty of fun attractions surrounding the lake on the nearby shores and towns. It offers many public parks and public access boat ramps, with an abundance of fish, flora, and fauna. It is the first official sanctuary in all of North America dedicated to preserving the Purple Martin birds which roost on Bomb Island in the center of Lake Murray.
One of the perks of Lake Murray is how heavily wooded the shores and surrounding lands are. The forests make an excellent buffer zone that makes the lake feel remote and wild while still being close to the bustling city of Columbia.
Lake Murray can be found at 256 John Long Rd, Gilbert, SC 29054.
You can find Lake Marion 115 miles to the north of Savannah, right next to Lake Moultrie, and northwest of Charleston, South Carolina.
Spanning 110,600 acres, Lake Marion is the largest lake in South Carolina and home to Santee National Wildlife Refuge and Santee State Park.
It has an average depth of 13 feet, a maximum depth of nearly 77 feet, 511 miles of shoreline, 16 boat ramps, a marina, and many scenic views.
The nearby towns lend many other opportunities, such as casual and fine dining, shopping, aquariums, walking tours, the arts, museums, plantation tours, and more.
While boating, beware of the abundant dead-standing trees in the water, submerged stumps, and overhanging trees. Navigating the shorelines takes skill but rewards anglers with bountiful fish. Marion is filled with many species of bream, bass, crappie, catfish, and pickerel. Blue and flathead catfish seem to do exceptionally well in these waters.
You can launch your boat from the John C Land Boat Landing at the end of Log Jam Rd in Summerton, SC 29148.
Lake Moultrie, a neighbor to Lake Marion, sits north of Charleston and forty miles west of the Atlantic Ocean.
This artificial lake is the third-largest in the state, with approximately 60,000 acres of beauty and opportunity. It has a maximum depth of 75 feet, and an average depth of 18 feet.
You’ll find that Lake Moultrie is warm, temperate, and usually sunny. The water does not ice over during the winter, and as a result, the fish population is explosive and memorable. It holds the state record for the largest black crappie at five pounds and the world record for a 58-pound channel catfish.
Moutrie is best for smaller or slower boaters and anglers. It is filled with mature trees on the shoreline, especially the cypress and willow varieties.
There are shallow swamp areas, overflow marsh sections, black water ponds, and many dead or decaying trees in the water, so use caution when boating there. The lake’s widest point stretches fourteen miles, so you’re sure to always have a bright and sunny spot on the lake to enjoy your day.
You can find the Augustus M Flood Boat Ramp for Lake Moutrie here at 1026 Black Oak Rd, Bonneau, SC 29431.
170 miles northwest of Savannah, Georgia, sits the beautiful reservoir of Lake Sinclair.
This 15,300-acre-long and winding lake has hundreds of cozy coves and branches of the lake to check out. Like all the other lakes on our list here, it is also man-made, with a dam at the end. It sits atop the Oconee River, and the Sinclair Dam provides fresh water and hydroelectric power to the nearby Georgia residents. Despite its acreage, the lake still offers more than an incredible 500-mile-long shoreline.
Dozens of beaches, campsites, restaurants, shops, bed and breakfasts, hotels, picnic areas, swimming zones, boat launches, and fishing docks dot the lake’s perimeter.
Quiet alcoves are often used by kayakers and paddlers, while those usually occupy the wide-open centers with larger vessels.
The lake is open year-round but still seems relatively quiet, with only medium traffic. The summer months are the busiest, and the spring and fall are the most pleasant weather-wise.
You can access the Lake Sinclair Recreation Area boat launch at 100 Putnam Beach Rd SW, Eatonton, GA 31024.
Are you ready for your next adventure out on the water near Savannah, Georgia? We’ve got you covered whether you need a trip guide, a boat, or even a captain. Check out more of our blog here, or start planning your next outing in Savannah, here.