Boating on Georgia’s Great Lake

Georgia’s Lake Lanier is kind of like Disney World for boaters – it has something for everyone to enjoy.

watersportsKnown as Georgia’s “Great Lake,” Lanier has active sections where fast boats, watersports and socializing are popular; peaceful sections great for fishing and finding solitude; local destinations with parks, theaters and museums; and accommodations ranging from luxury resorts to rustic cabins and campsites. That variety helps make Lake Lanier one of the South’s great boating destinations.

Just north of Atlanta, the expansive lake is nearly 60 square miles with roughly 690 miles of shoreline to explore. The southern part of the lake is the most popular section, with its wider, more open water and proximity to Atlanta. On a summer weekend, you can see thousands of boats on the water there. By comparison, the northern end of the lake is much quieter and is narrower.

Trailer boaters will find dozens of launch ramps all around the lake. Lanier also has many full-service marinas available. Among them is Port Royale Marina (770-887-5715), located in the calmest and most scenic part of the lake and featuring slips with power and water. Holiday Marina (770-945-7201) is the oldest marina on the lake and one of the largest. It features plenty of slips, plus a fuel dock and service center. Massive Aqualand Marina (770.967.6811) is the largest inland marina in the United States and features exceptional services and amenities. Bald Ridge Marina ( 770-887-5309) has beautiful, modern facilities, plus pumpout and one of the largest, most accessible fuel docks on the lake.

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Visiting boaters should also make sure to visit nearby Watersports Central (770-831-8225), a Crownline dealer in Buford.

Watersports Central is home to a large selection of new and pre-owned boats. They also have a high-quality parts and service department and a pro shop with an extensive line of quality waterskis, wakeboards, ropes, tubes, clothing and more. And if you can’t get to them, they can get to you! Watersports Central created a mobile party shack from a shipping container, which they trailer to offsite events. Boasting an awesome stereo system and filled with pro shop items, the mobile party shack draws people who may have never come into their showroom. Next, WSC gets them out on the water in a Crownline, and they’re hooked.

Lake Lanier is a watersports mecca, and is a must-visit for boaters who love waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing and more. It’s also popular among recreational fishermen who enjoy catching spotted bass, crappie, striped bass and catfish in the lake.

The shores along Lake Lanier are home to many parks and offer visitors lots of hiking and biking opportunities. Among the best places to enjoy nature is the Elachee Nature Center (770-535-1976) in Gainesville, which has a 1,500-acre forest nature preserve. The area is also home to great waterparks and zipline tours. Lanier World (770-945-8787) in Buford has canopy tours and ziplines, a family water park, large beach, a boardwalk and waterfront dining. North Georgia Canopy Tours (770-869-7272) in Lula has a three-hour tour with 12 ziplines. Visitors can learn about the history of the area at the Northeast Georgia History Center (770-297-5900). And each year from mid-November through January, Lake Lanier Islands are decorated with more than 6 miles of Christmas lights for Magic Nights of Lights, one of the world’s largest light shows.

When the day is done and it’s time to eat, visitors will find Lanier is surrounded by great waterfront restaurants. Pelican Pete’s ( 770-887-5715) at Port Royale Marina has great food, drinks and the lake’s largest thatched-roof tiki hut. The Twisted Oar (770-715-9818) is a tavern overlooking the water at Holiday Marina. And Pig Tales (678-828-7676) is a popular café with an incredible open-water view at Aqualand Marina.
For more information about boating on Georgia’s Lake Lanier, visit www.discoverlakelanier.com and www.lakelanier.com