Lake Lanier: Atlanta’s Hamptons with a Southern accent
As summer comes to a close, my sweet family of four found one last hurrah in Hall County, a 40-minute car ride north of Atlanta. At Lake Lanier Islands Resort, we were greeted with the expected activities – golf, swimming, tennis and spa – alongside the unexpected: zip line canopy tours, wake boarding at Wake the Lake Wakeboard Cable Park, horseback trail rides and a beach/waterpark. Recuperating from a day on the water was easy with options for accommodations that included hotel rooms, suites at Legacy Lodge & Conference Center, luxury lakeside villas, private lake houses, houseboats and rustic campsites for RVs and tents at water’s edge.
Bringing the grandparents along for our getaway made it easy to sneak off to a date night at Antebellum restaurant, which locally sources most of its menu items and serves Southern treats like a fried green tomato tower and homemade chocolate sorbet (that will haunt your dreams, by the way).
We didn’t feel guilty about indulging at mealtime because burning off calories at Energy Watersports was a blast with groovy classes like yoga boarding – a yoga class conducted on paddleboards – totally cool, right?
All of my boys – young and old – scrambled for a chance to attend the nearby training camp for the Atlanta Falcons, located in Flowery Branch along with the team’s headquarters. Spring and summer training camps, free and open to the public, offer a chance to meet and greet the players, get autographs and watch NFL scrimmages with other teams.
While the boys played, it was time for mom to shop – and bring home a souvenir that serves a purpose from Rahab’s Rope, a local store and charity that helps girls newly rescued from the sex trade in India by giving them a home, teaching new skills and providing an education.
On a future visit, we’re tempted to try a “glamping” vacation in an authentic Native American teepee at North Georgia Canopy Tours. Teepees include heating and air conditioning, lighting and electrical outlets. Each is custom painted with authentic Cherokee symbols, themes and patterns relating to the specific clan camping area in which it is located. For those who actually enjoy “roughing it,” North Georgia Canopy Tours also offers 15 rustic camping sites.
There is no shortage of entertainment in this must-visit destination. With an astonishing 10 marinas, the Hall County/Lake Lanier Area is also home of the Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center and point of entry to Georgia’s famed Pottery Trail. It encompasses the cities of Flowery Branch, Oakwood, Gainesville, Lula, Clermont and Buford and, in its midst, Lake Lanier Islands Resort. We can’t wait for a return visit to the area, which retains a small-town/Main Street USA feel with a lively vibe and offers world-class attractions, including the lake, North Georgia Canopy Tours and Jaemor Farms, where fresh Georgia-grown produce is available along with homemade peach and strawberry ice cream, fried fruit pies and smoked barbecue, not to mention an awesome corn maze in the fall.
For more information, contact the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.DiscoverLakeLanier.com.