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Lake Sidney Lanier

Lake Sidney Lanier, known simply as Lake Lanier, is a reservoir located northeast of Atlanta on the Chattahoochee River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers impounded the river with Buford Dam in 1956, creating 38,000 acres of water surface area that offers great water recreational activity, water supply, navigation opportunities, fishing, wildlife management, and flood control that protects metro Atlanta. Its 692 miles of shoreline is patrolled by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The lake receives over seven million visitors per year, and it is popular with boaters, houseboats, and jetskiers, especially during summer holidays. Some of the most popular attractions include the marinas and Lake Lanier Islands Waterpark. Rowing, canoeing, and kayaking are popular as is sports fishing.


Anglers can find stripers, spotted bass, sunfish, catfish, perch, and gar in this lake. Trout fishing is a popular pastime below Buford Dam. Bass records at this lake include a five pound, ten ounce white bass in 1971, an eight-pound, five-ounce spotted bass in 1985 (both fish hold state records, too), a 46-pound striped bass, and a 17.9 largemouth bass in 1965.


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    Lake Sidney Lanier Georgia Coordinates:
34.2039N -83.9822W
Map It:
Lake Type:
Surface Area:
38,000 acres
Maximum Depth:
160 ft
1,071 ft
Normal Water Clarity:
10+ ft
Major City:


The Army Corps of Engineers, Forsyth County, City of Cumming, City of Gainesville and Lake Lanier Islands operate over 50 parks, which are dotted around Lake Lanier's shoreline. Over 40 of those sites provide boat ramps that are public access. Most of the marinas also have boat ramps, but they may not be available for public access.


Lake Lanier Islands is a State of Georgia and Army Corps of Engineers development that has become a vacation resort. The Islands provide visitors with camping, beach areas, spas, and picnicking. This site also contains a water theme park, tennis courts and golf courses, boat rentals, and hotel rooms. Gainesville, a town surrounded on three sides by Lake Lanier, offers accommodations and a marina. In total, Lake Lanier hosts 68 parks and recreation areas, 1,200 campsites, and 10 full-service marinas.

One of the newest state parks, slated to open in 2013, is the 1,040-acre Don Carter State Park in Hall County. This park will feature camp sites, cottages, a visitors' center, two boat ramps, and a bathhouse on Lake Sidney Lanier's northeast shore. Review the Lake Resource Guide for additional lodging.


Lake Sidney Lanier extends across Hall, Forsyth, Gwinnett, and Lumpkin Counties in Georgia. Gainesville is the closest town, but accommodations and supplies can be found nearby at Buford, Flowery Branch, and Oakwood on the south shores and at Cumming on the northern shore. The southern portion of this lake is located about one hour's drive from Atlanta, depending upon traffic. It is 54 miles between Atlanta and Gainesville.

Fun times at Lake Sidney Lanier  Lake Sidney Lanier

  Lake Sidney Lanier  Lake Sidney Lanier

Average Temperatures Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High  49 Avg. High  54 Avg. High  62/td> Avg. High  70 Avg. High  77 Avg. High  84 Avg. High  87 Avg. High  86 Avg. High  80 Avg. High  71 Avg. High  61 Avg. High  51
Avg. Low  28 Avg. Low  32 Avg. Low  38 Avg. Low  46 Avg. Low  55 Avg. Low  64 Avg. Low  68 Avg. Low  67 Avg. Low  60 Avg. Low  48 Avg. Low  38 Avg. Low  31