Lake Lanier’s Don Carter State Park to open July 15
First Georgia State Park to open on Lake Lanier
GAINESVILLE, GA., July 8, 2013 -- Lake Lanier fans can look forward to a new place to play this summer when Don Carter State Park opens on July 15. Georgia’s first state park on the 38,000-acre reservoir will feature RV camping, boat ramps, fishing, picnicking, playgrounds, hiking and a large swimming beach. Parking is $5 and most day-use activities are free.
Situated on the north end of the reservoir, the 1,316-acre park offers access to a quiet section of the normally busy lake. Swimmers will enjoy the large beach with sloped lawn and bath house. New boat ramps provide quick access to the lake, and anglers can prepare their catch at a fish-cleaning station. A 1.5-mile paved trail welcomes hikers, bikers and strollers to explore surrounding hardwoods, while a two-mile trail can be explored on foot.
Don Carter State Park offers overnight getaways as well. A modern RV campground provides hot showers, while another primitive camping area is reserved just for tents and hammocks. Although the park will soon accept reservations, campsites will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis during the first few weeks of opening.
Those who prefer a soft bed over a sleeping bag can look forward to the eight rental cabins, opening later this summer. The two-bedroom cabins are perched on wooded hillsides near the lake, with rocking-chair porches and fully equipped kitchens.
Don Carter State P
ark offers a bargain getaway on Lake Lanier. Visitors pay $5 for parking, and most activities – including swimming – are free. Campsites range from $15 to $29, and cabins will be $110 to $160. Leashed dogs are welcome on trails and in the campground, but not in the visitor center and most cabins. Covered picnic shelters rent for $45 and are perfect for family reunions, birthday parties and casual receptions. Georgia’s newest state park is named in honor of Don Carter, the longest serving member (29 years) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources board.
Although the park officially opens July 15, the state will host a grand opening ceremony later this fall. To learn more, visit
after July 15.
Opening Day Events -- July 15
10:30 a.m. Ranger-led Half-Mile Hike
This half-mile hike is easy to moderate and will lead guests through the tent camping area, near the lake and through a shady wooded forest. The hike will be offered in a first-come, first-served basis to the first 30 guests. All hikers should meet at the Trailhead Parking area.
11:30 a.m. Snake Program
Come to Picnic Shelter #2 to learn about cold-blooded creatures that are native to Georgia.
1 – 2 p.m. Recreation Station: Beach Games
Meet at the new swimming beach to enjoy games such as ladder golf, bag toss and croquet. Don’t forget your swim suit and beach towel.
Don Carter State Park -- At A Glance
5000 N. Browning Bridge Rd.
Gainesville, GA 30506
Located northeast of Gainesville, on the north side of Lake Lanier. From Clarks Bridge Road, go south on N. Browning Bridge Road. At the “Y,” take the left fork and continue for one-half mile to the park entrance. Coordinates: N
Accommodations & Facilities
• 1,316 Acres
• 8 Cottages -- still under construction ($110-$160)
• 46 RV Campsites -- ($25-$29)
• 12 Primitive Walk-in Tent Sites ($15)
• 4 Picnic Shelters ($45)
• 38,000-Acre Lake Lanier
Things To Do & See
• Fishing – ramps, fish-cleaning station
• Boating – ramps and docks
• Lake Swimming -- large sand beach
• Hiking and Biking – 1.5-mile paved multi-use trail and 2-mile hiking trail
7 a.m.–10 p.m.
© 2014 - Georgia Department of Natural Resources