Enjoy Metro Atlanta’s Most Popular Lakes


Atlanta residents and visitors can enjoy two large, scenic lakes on the northern edges of the metro area. Lake Allatoona and Lake Sidney Lanier are two of Georgia's most popular recreational lakes. Both lakes were constructed more than half a century ago by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Lake Lanier, located northeast of Atlanta, is the larger of the two lakes with 692 miles of shoreline. No less scenic is the smaller Lake Allatoona on the northwest side of the metro area, with 270 miles of shoreline. Both lakes are in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Lake Lanier is located approximately 45 minutes northeast of Atlanta, with easy access from I-85, I-985, and GA 400. It was constructed in the mid-1950s when the Chattahoochee River was impounded behind Buford Dam. The dam provides flood control on the river and generates hydroelectric power. The lake is a popular fishing lake, with anglers fishing for spotted and striped bass. Bass tournaments are occasionally scheduled on Lake Lanier. Swimming, boating, water skiing, and jet skis are also popular on Lake Lanier. More than 90 parks along the shores of the lake allow for easy access by the public. There are swimming beaches at 23 of the parks. Some of the more popular parks include Lake Lanier Islands, Bald Ridge Creek Park, Bolding Mill Park, Buford Dam Park, Duckett Mill Park, and Shoal Creek Park. Ten full service marinas offer boaters all the necessities for a day on the lake. Several marinas offer full food service.

Lake Allatoona is located 40 minutes northwest of Atlanta, with easy access off I-75 and I-575. The Army Corps of Engineers constructed a dam on the Etowah River in 1950, forming the lake. This dam also produces hydroelectric power. A smaller dam on the lake impounds Proctor Creek and forms adjacent 90 acre Lake Acworth, which empties into Lake Allatoona. Popular parks on Lake Allatoona include Sweetwater Park, Tanyard Creek Park, Dallas Landing Park, Galts Ferry Park, Bartow Gatewood Park, and Red Top Mountain State Park. Boaters have their choice of eight full service marinas on Lake Allatoona. Several marinas rent boats and offer food service. Boat ramps are available at many of the municipal parks on the lake. Fishermen target the lake's spotted and largemouth bass.

With the population of the Atlanta metro nearby, both of these lakes see heavy recreational use. The Army Corps of Engineers manages the water levels and much of the shoreline surrounding the lakes. This ensures that visitors will be able to enjoy the many recreational opportunities the lakes provide.

By: Pamela Haney