Now that summer's in full swing, you're probably spending at least some of your time on the beach, at a lake or near a swimming pool. It’s a ritual for families to splash and play together in the waves, and Georgia offers many popular areas where you can chill out this season.
Take a dip in Lake Sidney Lanier
Lake Sidney Lanier, located just a half hour northeast of Atlanta, is known as one of the most popular lakes in the U.S. — more than 8 million people visit every year. The lake features 692 miles of shoreline, giving guests a myriad of opportunities to get in and on the water or relax at the parks, picnic areas and campgrounds. Visit www.greatlakesofgeorgia.com/lanier for details.
Swim with the whale sharks
Head to Atlanta for a chance to safely swim with sharks. The experience is available at the Georgia Aquarium. Participants have the opportunity to scuba dive or snorkel in one of the big tanks at the aquarium. Participants must be at least 12 years old and accompanied by a parent if under 18. Check out www.georgiaaquarium.org/explore-the-aquarium/events-and-programs/swim-with-whale-sharks.aspx to plan your visit.
Explore the waters of Jekyll Island
The 5,700-acre Jekyll Island creates smiles each year among beachgoers looking for a chance to swim in the ocean and relax in the sand. The site is well-known as an elite vacationing spot for famous families like the Rockefellers, Pulitzers and Goulds. Learn more at www.jekyllisland.com.
Strap on your water skis
Elijah Clark State Park is a popular place for water-skiers and boaters. Located in Lincolnton on the western shore of Clarks Hill Lake, this 447-acre park features four boat ramps, a fishing lake, pier and swimming beach. Don't forget to wear a life jacket while waterskiing or heading out in a boat. For details, visit www.n-georgia.com/elijah-clark-state-park.html.
Warm Springs, located about 60 miles south of Atlanta, gained the attention of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He had a home there and said the waters eased his polio symptoms (www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-767). The natural springs contain water that registers 88 degrees — it flows at 914 gallons every minute all year long and is known as one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia.”
Wherever you choose to go in the state, you can find an abundance of places to swim and enjoy the water. Don’t forget to pay attention to riptides at the beach and wear life jackets wherever appropriate, especially if you are not a strong swimmer. Plus, don’t forget the sunscreen.