One of Georgia’s highest ranked beaches is actually a lakeside getaway

Hint: It’s at metro Atlanta’s Lake Lanier

U.S. News & World Report has released its official rankings of the best beaches in Georgia. Perhaps surprisingly, not all of the beaches within the list are oceanside. Finishing out within the top five vacation destinations, Lake Lanier earned a high spot on the list of Georgia’s best beaches without a drop of saltwater in sight.

“To help you find the right destination for your beachfront getaway, U.S. News considered factors like accessibility, one-of-a-kind attractions and photo-worthy landscapes to bring you the best beaches in Georgia,” the magazine reported.

Glynn County’s Sea Island, which has earned over 65 Forbes Five-Star Awards, took home the top spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list. Just south of Sea Island, St. Simons Island earned the second highest ranking. Lake Lanier’s freshwater beaches, however, took home the fifth highest spot. In total, eight Georgia beaches made it on the list.

“With 110 miles of coastline and 15 barrier islands, the Peach State is a beachgoer’s paradise,” the news outlet reported. “Unwind at an award-winning resort, or go off the grid at one of Georgia’s remote shorelines. Whichever kind of vacation you choose, you’ll instantly feel at ease thanks to surroundings filled with beautiful live oak trees and unique wildlife.”

Best Georgia beaches
Sea Island
St. Simons Island
Cumberland Island National Seashore
Little St. Simons Island
Lake Lanier
Jekyll Island
St. Catherines Island
Sapelo Island

At 38,000 acres, Lake Lanier features a number of imported white-sand beaches. The vastness of Lake Lanier’s outdoor offerings ultimately made it a unique pick on the news outlet’s rankings list.

“For the ultimate beach day, head to Lake Lanier,” U.S. News reported. “This 1,200-acre resort destination boasts nearly 700 miles of shoreline and endless recreational opportunities, all along the striking backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Golfers, sailors and adrenaline junkies will all find something to love about this action-packed lakeside retreat.

“Popular summer activities include traversing Lake Lanier’s floating adventure course, cooling off in Georgia’s largest wave pool and, of course, swimming and sunbathing at local beaches like LandShark Landing Beach and Don Carter State Park.”

While the iconic LandShark Landing is no longer available for swimming, the lake’s Don Carter State Park still offers exquisite beachside fun for Atlanta-area vacationers.

“Don Carter is the only state park on 38,000-acre Lake Lanier,” the state park’s website reported. “Situated on the north end of the reservoir, the park offers outstanding recreation for water lovers. Boat ramps provide quick access to the lake and Chattahoochee River, while a multi-use trail welcomes hikers and bikers to explore the hardwood forest. Guests can stay cool at a large, sand swimming beach with bath house.

“This park offers several choices for overnight getaways as well. Two-bedroom cabins are perched on wooded hillsides near the lake. One campground is designed specifically for RVs, while another primitive camping area is just for tents and hammocks. The campground and cottage loop is gated, providing access to overnight guests.”

Visitors can also visit the nearby Lanier Islands Resort to extend their stays and enjoy a little luxury in the process.

“Less than an hour north of Atlanta on the shores of Lake Lanier, Lanier Islands is a destination unlike any other resort in Georgia,” according to the resort’s website. “From the moment you cross the iconic bridge, Lanier Islands’ 1,200 acres of breathtaking natural beauty beckons for your indulgence. Play golf, enjoy luxurious lakeside amenities, and during the Summer, lounge on white sandy beaches, and ride the water slides at Margaritaville at Lanier Islands.”

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