Opportunities for recreation are abundant throughout North Georgia, especially in the areas around Lake Lanier, Lake Chatuge, the Enchanted Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. In the North Georgia Mountains near Helen, Unicoi State Park has many miles of scenic mountain trails including one that leads to Anna Ruby Falls. Vogel State Park in the Chattahoochee National Forest near Blairsville contains a 22-acre lake and 17 miles of hiking trails, and it is one of Georgia’s oldest and most popular state parks. Black Rock Mountain State Park near Clayton is the highest state park in Georgia at an altitude of 3,640 ft. and it features waterfalls with cascading streams, lush forests, campgrounds and rental cottages for people who desire a rustic vacation experience.
Recreational activities in North Georgia include fishing, swimming, boating, hiking and backpacking. Golf is a very popular sport in North Georgia and there are many hundreds of golf courses for people to choose from. Golf is so popular in North Georgia that a new trend in residential communities developed to meet the demand from property buyers. Many of North Georgia’s cities include master planned communities with their own private golf courses and swimming pools for the exclusive use of their residents. Horseback riding is also a popular sport in North Georgia. Many residents own horse farms with stables and it is quite common to see people riding horses around North Georgia’s residential neighborhoods on weekends.
Public recreation in North Georgia’s city parks
North Georgia’s cities have dedicated large areas of beautiful land for public parks and developed many different programs to encourage public enjoyment of Georgia’s natural resources. Youth and adult programs offered by city parks and recreation departments include baseball, football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, tennis and swimming teams, arts programs that involve creative crafts and music, gymnastics, and day camps for children. Programs for senior citizens include daily recreation activities, special events and field trips.
Examples of excellent city parks include Lenora Park in Snellville, which has a water park with two slides, a lazy river and a children’s fun area, a fishing lake, 6 baseball fields, a gymnasium, an 18-hole disc golf court for Frisbee enthusiasts, a children’s playground and a pavilion.
In Alpharetta, Wills Park contains 8 baseball fields, 2 tee ball fields, 4 picnic pavilions, a big Wacky World playground and two smaller playgrounds, a disc golf course, tennis courts, a 1.8-mile walking trail, an Equestrian Center and the Alpharetta Arboretum. Roswell Area Park in Roswell has an art gallery, a photography darkroom, a clay studio with 3 kilns, 4 dance studios, 5 classrooms, baseball and soccer fields, tennis courts, a sculpture garden, a children’s garden, a playground, and paths for running and walking.
North Georgia’s rivers and lakes
Along the banks of Chattahoochee River, people enjoy trout fishing, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, camping, picnicking, and hiking on riverbank trails. In the City of Sandy Springs, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area has 48 miles of public riverfront access including many miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. Vendors rent canoes, kayaks, rafts and tubes for day use on the Chattahoochee River. Lake Lanier attracts 7.5 million visitors annually because a wide variety of recreational activities are available in the surrounding region. Lake Lanier offers numerous opportunities for fishing, boating, swimming, picnicking or sightseeing, and there are many campgrounds in the area. Lake Chatuge and its numerous tributary streams and rivers are famous for year round trout fishing. Full service marinas at Lake Chatuge rent fishing boats, waterskiing boats, jet skis, canoes, kayaks, pontoon boats and peddle boats.
Lake Allatoona is 12,000 acres in size and it has more than 1,000 secluded tent and RV campsites along its shoreline, plus numerous areas for picnicking, fishing, boating, waterskiing and swimming. The 1,562-acre Red Top Mountain State Park is located on a peninsula of Lake Allatoona near Cartersville and it has 92 tent and RV campsites, 18 cottages, group picnic shelters, hiking trails, swimming areas, boat ramps and docks, fishing areas and tennis courts. Carters Lake near Ellijay in the North Georgia Mountains offers recreational opportunities for fishing, hunting, boating, camping, hiking and biking. A portion of the Coosawattee River near Carters Lake is renowned for having one of the best whitewater rapid runs in the eastern United States and it is considered to be the best location in Georgia for whitewater rafting.