When you think about lake swimming, you don’t often think about seeing your toes in the water, but at Lake Blue Ridge in North Georgia, the water is clean and clear, so go ahead, jump in, and watch your toes wiggling on the sandy bottom.
Lake Blue Ridge is a 3,290-acre lake in Fannin County, a picturesque water playground nestled along the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountain range. The lake is just 1.5 hours from Downtown Atlanta and three miles from Downtown Blue Ridge with its quaint small town shops, restaurants, and the always fun in any season Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad.
What You Need to Know for the Perfect Lake Blue Ridge Getaway
Pristine Shoreline. The first thing you notice when you look out onto Lake Blue Ridge is lush green trees (or beautiful fall colors). That is because 80 percent of the shoreline is part of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The lake is 11 miles long with 65 miles of pristine shoreline, making it an ideal place for folks like us who like to leave the city behind, and be surrounded by nature.
It is important to note that Lake Blue Ridge is a Tennessee Valley Authority Lake (TVA), which means lake levels can vary, and there are scheduled (and sometimes unscheduled) dam releases. Download the TVA app to get the most up-to-date information on water levels.
Rent a Pontoon Boat. My favorite way to enjoy the lake is to get out in the middle of it, and the Blue Ridge Marina is the best way to do just that. You can launch your boat from here, or if you don’t have one, rent a pontoon boat at the marina.
While you are there, check out owner Herb and Eve Windham’s collection of antiques in the show room. They have things like a full sized Shoney’s Big Boy statue, Ronald McDonald statue, lots of antique boat engines, two full size taxidermy bears, old coke machines and more. Kids will want to feed the catfish off the gas dock. Bring the pooch too. When you get gas at the gas dock, your dog gets a treat as well.
Slow Down with a Non-Motorized Craft. Paddle the shoreline for a chance to see wildlife, or just commune in the quiet with nature. With the clear water, the SUP is our favorite choice because it gives you a good view of what’s happening below the water, and a chance to catch the small-mouth bass swimming around, or just take in the beautiful lake view at a slower pace. If you don’t have your own, you can rent kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards at the lake.
Launch Your Boat. There are several boat ramps on Lake Blue Ridge and a few that rent kayaks, canoes, and/or stand up paddleboards.
- Lake Blue Ridge Marina. Launch all types of watercraft here, as well as fill up at the gas pump, or get your boat serviced. They also rent kayaks and stand up paddleboards.
- Morgantown Point Recreation Area. More than just a launch site, you could spend the entire day here. Rent a kayak or paddleboard at the concession stand which is run by Lake Blue Ridge Outfitters. There is a $10 parking fee for cars and trailers but there is no fee to launch your boat.
- Lakewood Landing Boat Ramp. Ample parking here, as well as a boat launch ramp for all types of watercraft. You do pay a $5 launch fee, but this is a great year-round option for bass fisherman who go out all year long.
- Blue Ridge Recreation Area. This is a forest service day use area. There are no bathrooms here, but they do have a picnic area along with the boat launch. It’s a perfect (free) spot to launch a kayak or paddle board. You can also launch larger watercraft depending on the lake levels. Summer is usually no problem, but as you get into fall when lake levels drop, you may have some issues. There is plenty of parking though and easy access into the lake.
Test Your Skills on the Ski Jump. Most Georgia lakes have good water skiing, but on Lake Blue Ridge they take their skiing seriously. Lake Blue Ridge is the only lake in Georgia I know of that has a public ski jump on the lake!
Swim in Lake Blue Ridge. We’ve already mentioned Morganton Point Recreation Area for it’s boat launch, but this is also a great place for an old-fashioned beach day. The public swimming area has bathroom facilities (always important), and concessions. This is a favorite beach spot for Lesli’s family. Note that this is a pebble beach, which means it’s sandy, but there are also rocks, so we recommend wearing water shoes.
Go Fishing and Catch the Big One. My boys are not serious fisherman, but they do enjoy casting a line every once in a while. Lake Blue Ridge attracts serious anglers, looking for small-mouth bass or muskie, because it is the only place in the state to find them. Blue Ridge is also the trout capitol of Georgia. I hear the best trout fishing is near the Blue Ridge Dam.
Go Fish Spotting. If you’d rather look at the fish than catch them, The Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery near the lake. Guests can tour the hatchery that raises rainbow trout for distribution into the nearby rivers and streams.
Hike Around the Lake. The Green Mountain Trail is a 5.3 miles trail with some beautiful views of the lake. It’s even more spectacular in early winter before it gets really cold or early spring before the leaves come back. You can also find a small one-mile hiking trail at the Blue Ridge Recreation area, which is a forest service day use area. There aren’t any bathrooms here, but they do have a picnic area.
Where to Stay on Lake Blue Ridge
There are no hotels, but there are lots of cabin rentals on Lake Blue Ridge, as well as camping. Here is a list of cabin rental companies from the Blue Ridge CVB. I’ve bookmarked this four bedroom cabin with a private covered dock from VRBO for our next visit.
If you would rather camp, Morganton Point Recreation Area has 43 campsites for both tents and RV’s including two double sites and seven walk-in sites. You can launch your boat here and just keep it tied up by your campsite (if you have a site on the water)
There are nice walking trails around the shoreline and if you are hungry, the Morganton Grill is located at the beginning of the road to the campground. Perfect for lunch or just an ice cream treat.
If you aren’t married to staying on the lake, Lesli LOVED this cabin only a few miles from downtown Blue Ridge.
Where to Eat on the Lake
Boat Dock Bar and Grill. This local joint at the Blue Ridge Marina has slips to park your boat and dine, as well as parking to drive in. Come for sunset cocktails, live music on the weekends, great lake views and the best smoked chicken wings ever, made fresh from the giant smoker out back. Note on busy weekend there is usually a decent wait, so put yourself on lake time, relax, grab a beverage and enjoy the wait.
For more restaurants in Blue Ridge, see our post about things to do in Blue Ridge.