The Best Swimming Spots in Georgia: Lakes, Rivers, and More

Written by Chanel Coetzee
Updated: August 15, 2023
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There’s no doubt that summers get hot in Georgia, with high humidity and temperatures in the 90s; swimming is a necessity in this state. Therefore, there are plenty of places to cool off, like the Edge of the World swimming hole just outside Dawsonville. But, if you are looking for something livelier, there are dozens of waterparks scattered around the state, as well as beaches, lakes, and rivers. So, get those bathing suits on and discover the best swimming spots in Georgia.

Swimming Holes in Georgia

There are several magnificent swimming holes in Georgia. While some are easy to get to, others require some effort due to their challenging trails, but the reward at the end is so worth it!

1. Edge of the World Swimming Hole, Dawsonville

The Edge of the World swimming hole is a popular spot on the weekends, so if you don’t want the crowds, it’s best to visit during the week. This swimming hole leaves nothing to be desired with its natural water slides and chutes, picnic spots, and cool water below the rock ledges where you can sit back with a cold beverage.

2. Cherokee Falls at Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn

Close up of Cherokee Falls along the Waterfalls Trail in Cloudland Canyon State Park Georgia

Cherokee Falls is located in Cloudland Canyon State Park, just outside Rising Fawn.

©Gabriel Quiles/

When hiking atop Lookout Mountain, there is a short trail loop that takes you to this breathtaking waterfall that drops into a clear, inviting pool. This swimming hole is located in Cherokee Falls in Cloudland Canyon State Park, just outside Rising Fawn.

3. Blue Hole Falls on High Shoals Creek, Hiawassee

Water cascades through Blue Hole Waterfall in Hiawassee, Georgia.

After hiking, you can take a dip in Blue Hole Falls on high Shoals Creek in Georgia.

©Lee Reese/

You can find Blue Hole Falls on High Shoals Creek in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Just follow the High Shoals Creek Trail, and after a short hike, you can cool off in this natural beauty.

4. Jacks River Falls on Beech Bottom Trail 

Jacks River Falls, Cohutta Wilderness, Georgia

Jacks River Falls in the Cohutta Wilderness Area is a place to swim in Georgia.

©ChattOconeeNF / CC BY 2.0 – License

If you are ever near Epworth, Georgia, on a hot summer day, visit Cohutta Wilderness Area on the Jacks River, and take a dip in the swimming hole at Jacks River Falls. This is one of Georgia’s more secluded swimming spots and requires a four-mile hike before enjoying its clear and cool waters.

Lakes in Georgia

There are approximately 860 lakes in Georgia, so you are spoiled for choice. Here are some of the more popular lakes in the state for swimming.

1. Lake Lanier

This lake is the perfect choice for summertime fun. It’s a great place to spend the weekend camping by the water. In addition, visitors can bring their fishing gear, boats, and hiking shoes to enjoy everything Lake Lanier has to offer.

Lake Lanier Atlanta

Lake Lanier in Atlanta, Georgia is the film location of the series



©Brett Barnhill/

2. Lake Oconee

If you are in Atlanta and looking for an exciting adventure, why not travel 85 miles to Lake Oconee, which sports four marinas that offer fishing, boating, tubing, canoeing, wakeboarding, and several other water sports?

3. Lake Rabun

This lake is one of the best swimming spots in Georgia and has group-friendly campgrounds, hiking trails, and water sports. Lake Rabun is situated in the Georgia mountains, not far from Clayton. It is an excellent family getaway with tons to do. For example, there is a full-service Cajun-American restaurant, yard games, fire pits, and access to several outdoor activities.

4. Lake Chatuge

This gem in Hiawassee has exquisite mountain views from its beaches and scenic hikes along the Appalachian Trail, making it a nature lover’s paradise. Furthermore, you don’t have to slum in tents with the Ridges Resort right by the water. Other activities include:

  • Boat rentals
  • Swimming pool
  • Tennis court
  • Walking paths
  • Lawn games
  • Restaurants
  • Several camping grounds, including one right on the lake called Chatuge Woods

5. Lake Blackshear

This lake lies in the south Georgia town of Cordele. Lake Blackshear has 97 miles of coastline and spans over 8,700 acres, making it ideal for swimming and boating. There is plenty of accommodation at the Lake Blackshear Resort and Golf Club, ranging from camping sites to cabins. Activities include:

  • Hiking
  • Championship golf course
  • Cycling trails
  • Full-service marina
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking
  • Other water activities

Rivers for Swimming in Georgia

While many quaint creeks are scattered throughout the state, two rivers stand out for swimming and water activities. They include:

1. Chattooga River

Chattooga River descends rapidly from the Blue Ridge geologic province and forms the majority of Georgia's northeast boundary between Rabun county andd South Carolina's Oconee County. 

There are many swimming spots along The Chattooga River.

©Tara Ballard/

The Chattooga River starts in the mountainous regions of North Carolina and extends 50 miles until it ends at Lake Tugaloo between Georgia and South Carolina. Many spots along this river are calm and suitable for tubing and swimming. However, some parts of this river have dangerous rapids, so be careful where you choose to cool off.

2. Tallulah River

Tallulah Falls, Georgia, USA overlooking Tallulah Gorge in the autumn season.

Five waterfalls comprise Tallulah Falls.

©Sean Pavone/

The Tallulah River extends 47.7 miles through the Chattahoochee National Forest and ends at Tallulah Gorge, where it drops through a dramatic series of five waterfalls called Tallulah Falls. On its way through the Southern Nantahala Wilderness, it passes through five Power Lakes, so there are several places on this river where you can swim and enjoy a day of sun. But the best spot is the swimming hole underneath Tallulah Falls.

Beaches for Swimming In Georgia

If you would rather spend your summer at the beach, the Peach State has you covered. Here are some of the best swimming beaches in Georgia:

1. St. Simons Island

While relaxing on the St. Simons Island beach is heaven, there are so many other activities you can also enjoy, like:

  • Take a bike ride during low tide
  • Collect sand dollars at East Beach
  • Fishing
  • Take a stroll down the boardwalk at Gould’s Inlet
  • Search the island for tree spirits carved into old tree trunks (represents sailors who died at sea)
6 year old boy and seagulls, St. Simon's Island, Georgia

St. Simon’s Island is great for swimming, biking, or strolling with the seagulls.


2. Sea Island

Tranquil Sea Island is home to the only resort on earth to earn four Forbes Five-Star awards 13 years in a row. So, needless to say, it is a playground for the rich and famous with its luxurious accommodations and leisure activities. This island sports a five-mile coastline, so there is plenty of space to relax in the sun and swim. Furthermore, visitors can go horseback riding on the beach, play golf on one of three championship golf courses, search for nesting sea turtles, and much more.

3. Cumberland Island

Do you want to visit one of Georgia’s most secluded parks? Then, all you have to do is take a ferry from St. Marys in southern Georgia to Cumberland Island. This island sports 17 miles of untouched beachfront, maritime forests, and wetlands. This slice of paradise is home to feral horses, armadillos, and loggerhead sea turtles who nest here. Additionally, you can hike the Southend Loop past the ruins of Dungeness estate, combe the beach for fossilized shark teeth, and spend the night stargazing while camping in one of the five campgrounds on the island.

Wild Horse Grazing on the Beach in Cumberland Island, GA.

Cumberland Island offers 17 miles of untouched beachfront, maritime forests, and wild horses.

©Josiah True/

4. Little St. Simons Island

You can visit Little St. Simons Island for a day trip or stay overnight at the all-inclusive resort on the island. The 11,000-acre property is only accessible by boat, can accommodate 32 guests, and boasts a seven-mile-long beach. As a result, you can enjoy this intimate island without hordes of tourists. Activities include:

  • Hiking
  • Birdwatching
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming

5. St. Catherines Island

This island is rich in history because it was the former capital of the Guale Indian Nation and home of the state’s first Spanish mission. Unfortunately, although it consists of 10% of Georgia’s coastline, parts of its sensitive ecosystem are off-limits to the public. However, visitors are welcome to the island. Boat rentals are available; if you are lucky enough, you might even see a lemur on the beach! Surprisingly, this island and Madagascar are the only places on earth where you can see these primates in the wild.

Waterparks in Georgia

  • Six Flags White Water: Marietta
  • Summer Waves Water Park: Jekyll Island
  • High Falls Water Park: Jackson
  • Helen Tubing & Water Park: Helen
  • Rigby’s Water World: Warner Robins
  • Great Wolf Lodge: LaGrange

Summary of the Best Swimming Spots in Georgia

NumberSwimming Holes
1Edge of the World Swimming Hole, Dawsonville
2Cherokee Falls at Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn
3Blue Hole Falls on High Shoals Creek, Hiawassee
4Jacks River Falls on Beech Bottom Trail 
1Lake Lanier
2Lake Oconee
3Lake Rabun
4Lake Chatuge
5Lake Blackshear
1Chattooga River
2Tallulah River
1St. Simons Island
2Sea Island
3Cumberland Island
4Little St. Simons Island
5St. Catherines Island
1Six Flags White Water: Marietta
2Summer Waves Water Park: Jekyll Island
3High Falls Water Park: Jackson
4Helen Tubing & Water Park: Helen
5Rigby’s Water World: Warner Robins
6Great Wolf Lodge: LaGrange

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Sean Pavone/

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About the Author

Chanel Coetzee is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily focusing on big cats, dogs, and travel. Chanel has been writing and researching about animals for over 10 years. She has also worked closely with big cats like lions, cheetahs, leopards, and tigers at a rescue and rehabilitation center in South Africa since 2009. As a resident of Cape Town, South Africa, Chanel enjoys beach walks with her Stafford bull terrier and traveling off the beaten path.

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