Plan a Memorable Day at Carters Lake

Blue Ridge - Carter's Lake - Blog

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia, Carters Lake in Oakman is known for its pristine blue water, undeveloped shores, and scenic lake views. Open year-round — with blossoming spring wildflowers, lush summer greenery, colorful fall leaves, and sleeping winter trees — this 3,200-acre lake with 62+ miles of shoreline welcomes YOU to plan a memorable day with family and friends. Splash in the water, fish for largemouth bass, rent tritoon boats with slides at the marina, picnic with mountain views, take a picturesque hike together, and end your day relaxing at a classic log cabin. 

A Brief History of Carters Lake

Often referred to by locals as the Miracle in the Mountains, Carters Lake was developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to create more recreational opportunities for the Appalachian people. After completing Carters Dam — the tallest earthen dam east of the Mississippi at 445 feet — in 1977, Carters Lake was finally ready for visitors after 15 years of planning and hard work. Fed by the Coosawattee River (which runs between Ellijay and Chatsworth), this family-friendly lake in North Georgia was named after Farrish Carter Tate, a 19th-century Georgia politician who owned property nearby. 

Today, Carters Lake is the deepest lake in the state, stretching up to 450 feet deep. There are no private docks or houses, and much of the lake remains untouched. It’s a peaceful place to kick back and relax in the North Georgia Mountains. You can access 7 campground and day-use areas for a reasonable fee, and there’s a full-service marina with a seasonal restaurant, a shop, and watercraft rentals! Pets are allowed on leash at parts of the lake, and the Carters Lake Visitor Center offers maps and brochures with more information.

Things to Do at Carters Lake

With an endless untouched shoreline plus a marina, several public boat launches, picnic areas, hiking trails, and campgrounds, Carters Lake offers plenty of things to do on your Blue Ridge Mountain vacation. 

Swimming & Sunbathing
Enter the clear lake water and swim for a while at this gorgeous North Georgia lake. Lay out towels or chairs on the beach to sunbathe or enjoy lunch under an umbrella. You can bring water floats, sand toys for the kids, and water games to play. Better yet, set up a hammock to read for a spell or stroll around the lake birdwatching. 

Boating & Kayaking
Rent pontoon boats or tritoon boats with slides at the full-service Carters Lake Marina or bring your boat, canoe, or kayak to launch from one of 6 public boat ramps. When you return your boat to the marina, consider grabbing a bite to eat at the seasonal restaurant or picking up a few lakeside essentials at the ship’s store.

Fishing
Cast a line from the rugged shore, the reregulation pool, or a boat rental at Carters Lake. From largemouth, smallmouth, striped, and hybrid bass to bream, crappie, walleye, and catfish, there is a variety of fish to catch in the lake. Thankfully, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources keeps Carters Lake well-stocked for anglers. 

Picnicking 
Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy by the sparkling water at this beautiful North Georgia lake. You can set up mealtime right on the shore or rent a day-use shelter with picnic tables, grills, and electric hookups for $30-50. Some even feature restrooms, playgrounds, volleyball courts, basketball courts, and horseshoe pits for more fun!

  • Damsite Shelter
  • Doll Mountain Shelter
  • Northbank Shelter
  • Rereg Dam Shelter
  • Woodring Shelter

Camping
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, camping at Carters Lake may be the ticket for you. Waking up to sunrise views across the lake and taking a dip in the refreshing water is superb. Plus, the 2 campgrounds are reasonably priced at $18-100 per night and offer play areas for the kids, electric hookups, bathhouses with showers, swimming zones, and boat ramps.

Hiking & Mountain Biking
Along with water fun, Carters Lake features numerous mountain biking and hiking trails with panoramic views of the mountains and lake. A few of our favorite nature trails include the following.

  • Big Acorn Trail — a short journey to an overlook above the lake
  • Hidden Pond Songbird Trail — an easy hike that leads to a beaver pond
  • Oak Ridge Nature Trail — a lakeside route that ends near a flowing stream
  • Talking Rock Nature Trail — a moderate path with top-notch views
  • Tumbling Waters Nature Trail — a fun trek that guides you to a cascading waterfall

The Details on Carters Lake

Parking on Site
$5/day

Public Restrooms
Available

Location
150 Carters Dam Road
Oakman, GA 30732

Waterfront Cabin Rentals

Elevate your Blue Ridge Mountain experience by staying at a North Georgia vacation rental. Georgia Cabins for YOU has a nice selection of cabins on the water, be it the Toccoa River or the resort lakes of Big Canoe Resort. Better yet, book a cabin within Coosawattee River Resort in Ellijay to stay super close to Carters Lake! 

Cabin amenities include mountain/river/lake/wooded views, steamy hot tubs, game rooms, big screen TVs, outdoor lounges, fully equipped kitchens, king suites, indoor spa tubs, and access to resort extras. And that’s only the beginning of your cabin getaway.

Plan a memorable day at Carters Lake and return to unwind with family and friends at your North Georgia cabin.