Your next great beach, lakeside or river getaway is in Georgia. Watersports for kids and adults? Check. Boating ? Check. Swimming? Yes, the Peach State offers aquatic adventures near and far.
Warm weather days will be in full effect for weeks (even months) to come, so plan to ditch the hubbub of the city for long weekends to languidly lounge on the beach with a significant other or bestie. Organize a family vacation to an island with a bevy of slides, tubing and other activities to keep the kiddos cool and happily occupied. Go boating, too. Best of all, each place is easily accessible by car, making impromptu trips and carrying liquids over three ounces feasible.
Sitting just northwest of Marietta, beach hunters will find Acworth Beach. The white-sand destination is located in Cauble Park on the north shore of Lake Acworth. Although the 25-acre public park is accessible year-round, the beachfront for swimming is open from April through Labor Day Weekend. If you’re looking for something more expansive, consider Red Top Mountain State Park , where its beach sits in a cove nestled in trees among the 12,000 acres of Lake Allatoona. Red Top gets its name from the soil’s deep red hue generated by the high amounts of iron-ore. Swimming, boating, and fishing are all staple activities to enjoy at this park.
Acworth Beach, 4425 Beach St. NW, Acworth. 770- 917-1234, acworth.com/attractions/acworth-beach and Red Top Mountain State Park , 50 Lodge Road, Acworth. 770-975-0055, gastateparks.org/RedTopMountain.
Lake Lanier Islands
Here, guests will find watersports like paddle and wakeboarding; swimming; beach volleyball; and beautiful sandy beaches perfect for rest and relaxation—all within an hour’s drive from Atlanta. For even more water fun, visit Margaritaville at Lanier Islands for water slides, boating, a water play area for children and tiki bars for adults. Book a lodge, villa, lake house or houseboat for a long weekend, or spring for the whole week.
7000 Lanier Islands Parkway , Buford. 770-945-8787, lanierislands.com.
Robin Lake Beach
This easy-to-get-to getaway was originally built for professional sports, with architects using the beach for a Masters Water Ski Tournament nearly 60 years go. Today, this 65-acre man-made beach is part of Callaway Resort & Gardens and offers as many fun water activities as any coast life has to offer, including water skiing, wakeboarding and tubing. Just 60 miles southwest of Atlanta, Robin Lake Beach stills hosts the yearly tournament that sparked its creation, and beach lovers are encouraged to enjoy picnics under the large pavilion that overlooks the water. The family-friendly retreat touts creative activities, such as giant chess and checkers, mini-golf, shuffleboard and table tennis.
Located just north of 17800 US 27, Pine Mountain. 844-512-3826, callawaygardens.com/resort-experiences/beach-watersports/robin-lake-beach.
Georgia’s Barrier Islands
If you’re willing to make the trek, consider St. Simons, Tybee, and Jekyll islands . As part of Georgia’s Golden Isles, St. Simons Island has wide sandy beaches that make relaxation a reality while adventurers can enjoy body surfing during high tide. Partake in other water escapades by way of dolphin tours, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. When it’s time to explore more, hop on a trolley tour, bike around the island or take a few swings while golfing. Plan a day trip to Little St. Simons Island, a former private island with seven miles of beach and lots of ecological tidbits to discover. The island houses luxury resorts, oceanfront condos, bed and breakfast inns, and more so you can sleep in peace.
Golden Isles Welcome Center, 529 Beachview Drive, St. Simons Island. 912-638-9014, explorestsimonsisland.com.
Located less than 20 miles from Savannah, the small coastal community of Tybee Island is a great destination for everything from beach vacations to weddings. Spend a day watching tranquil waves at the beach, soaking up sun or catch dinner since private charter boats for fishing are available. Other island activities include a lighthouse tour, biking and birding; for fun and fitness, opt for exploration via paddle boat to Little Tybee Island, an inhabited barrier area only accessible by water.
Tybee Island Visitor Center, 802 First St., Tybee Island. 912-786-5444, visittybee.com.
Located in Glynn County and off the coast of Georgia is another Golden Isle – Jekyll Island, which has distinct characteristics with vacation itineraries year-round. It’s only a few miles from St. Simon Island. In the summer, Jekyll Island visitors can enjoy a pristine beach, enroll in a sea turtle program or head to Summer Waves Water Park for water rides, cooling out in cabanas, eating and more. There’s a lot of history to the island, which was first inhabited by Native Americans, then slaves who turned it into a prosperous plantation to present-day ownership by the State of Georgia. This is one more thing visitors, especially history buffs, can appreciate.
Jekyll Island Guest Information Center, 901 Downing Musgrove Causeway, Jekyll Island. 912-635-3636, jekyllisland.com.
If the goal is to be near the water without getting wet, head to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area for a day of floating by canoe or raft. Distances from three to 13 miles can be covered in one to 12 hours, but there’s no pressure to go far; floating a few yards is fine too. The website lists a variety of places to rent boats and other water equipment, including stand up paddle boards and tubes. Visitors who decide to take a dip in the Hooch will be in luck; swimming in select areas is permitted. Open from sunrise to sunset.
Free ; $5 to park. 8800 Roberts Drive , Sandy Springs. 678-538-1200, nps.gov/chat/index.htm.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.