Swimming lakes are a great option for families to beat the heat in the Atlanta summer. Sure, pools are fun but sometimes kids and parents need a change of scenery from diving boards and chlorine. Luckily, there are lots of swimming lakes near Atlanta with great beaches that make an easy summer day trip for Atlanta families. You don't need a boat or a personal watercraft for these beaches; you can actually just go jump in the lake. We've narrowed it down to our favorites, all within 90 minutes or less of Atlanta. Remember, we're moms too so obviously we only included places that offer restrooms.
Need more ideas about how to cool off as the temperatures rise? Check out our Summer Activities Guide for Atlanta Kids, which includes great ideas like the Best Outdoor Water Parks in Atlanta for Family Fun.
Enjoy the lake at Acworth Beach at Cauble Park. Photo courtesy of Acworth Tourism
Fun Swimming Lakes Near Atlanta
Located on the north shore of Lake Acworth inside of Cauble Park, the Cauble/Acworth beach is a favorite area for swimming lakes near Atlanta. Acworth Beach is open daily from dawn to dusk, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. In addition to the swimming beaches, the park has picnic tables, two playgrounds, pavilions for rental, a boat launch area, and fishing dock. Parking is free during the week and $10 for non-Acworth residents on holidays and weekends.
Red Top Mountain Park in Acworth is located on one of the nicest swimming lakes in Georgia— Lake Allatoona. The park is also home to Red Top Mountain Beach, a shaded, sandy beach area. Campsites, cottages, picnic pavilions, and a yurt are available for reservations for overnight visits. There's a roped-off area for swimming in the lake, as well as a playground, mini golf course, bathrooms, picnic tables, and grills. Near enough to Atlanta for a quick day visit, the lake beach has no admission fee, but parking is $5 per car. The park is open for daily visitors from 7am to dusk.
Another Acworth park that offers lake access is Dallas Landing Park on Lake Allatoona. Visitors pay a $10 parking fee and use the beach, lake, picnic tables, grills, volleyball court, and horseshoe pit for a simple day of summer fun. Park hours are from 8am to 9pm and bring a credit card for parking as no cash is accepted.
Robin Lake Beach is a private, mile-long sandy beach inside Callaway Resort and Gardens in Pine Mountain. The swimming beach is open to guests who purchase gardens admission ($19.95 per person online), annual members of Callaway Gardens, and resort guests. The beach is open daily from 10am to dusk (later on the weekends). Guests can bring their own beach chairs, umbrellas, and water toys; however, Robin Lake Beach also offers chairs, umbrellas, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards for rental. For kids 43 inches and above, parents can opt to purchase a pass to Aqua Island, an awesome inflatable obstacle course on the lake. Tickets are $15 per hour on weekdays, $20 on Saturdays, and $25 for special events such as Memorial Day and Fourth of July.
RELATED: Splash Pads and Spraygrounds for Atlanta Families
Head to Fort Yargo State Park for a fun family day trip or weekend vacation. Photo courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, GA offers a sandy beach along the Marbury Creek Watershed. The beach area has a section roped off for swimming in the lake. There is also a pavilion available for rental. Fort Yargo has several campsites, RV connections, cottages, and cabins for overnight visits. There is no admission fee for the park; only a parking fee of $5 per car. The park is open from 7am to 10pm with the beach area open seasonally until dusk.
The only state park on Lake Lanier, Don Carter State Park offers a great time for any family on the northern end of the water. Besides a large, sand swimming beach (with bath house), this 1,300-acre state park offers a playground, boat ramps and docks, hiking and biking trails, and much more. Looking for a longer visit? Reserve two-bedroom cabins, park an RV at the designated campground, or camp under the stars in a tent or hammock.
Known mostly as a Lake Lanier campground, River Forks Park also has lots for day users to enjoy, including the 40,000-square-foot beach, boat ramp with parking, three covered picnic areas, and four playgrounds.
Another Lake Lanier favorite, Van Pugh Park North (not to be confused with Van Pugh Park South, which is just for overnight campers) offers families a designated swim and beach area, picnic tables, playgrounds, and lots of shaded areas. Parking is $5.
Just east of Atlanta on the way to Stone Mountain is Pine Lake, open for swimming June 2 through September 24. The refreshing lake has a roped off swimming section for visitors to enjoy. Besides swimming, beach guests can fish, boat, play on the playground, and just appreciate the natural setting. Hours for 2023: Monday-Friday from dawn to dusk, and Saturday and Sunday from dawn to noon and 3pm to dusk.
While this Lake Oconee gem is primarily a spot for campers (with sites for both primitive and RV camping), Old Salem Campground is available for day users as well for $5. Those who visit for the day have access to all of the amenities the campers have such as the swimming beach, playground, picnic areas, and grills. Make a reservation online or pay upon arrival, cash or check only.
Tip: Check each park's policy on pets before bringing your four-legged furry friends.