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Just under three hours from Asheville, NC and Chattanooga, TN, and only an hour north of Atlanta on the northern Georgia border rests Georgia's newest state park. Don Carter State Park is a sprawling 1,300 acres of land that sits on the northern tip of Lake Lanier. The area is mostly hardwood trees; though, by the nature of the park’s young history, a lot of the trees are still maturing.
Don Carter State Park was named after the dedicated conservationist and real estate agent who spent almost three decades working for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The park was opened in 2013 and has welcomed thousands of visitors since.
Hikers, swimmers, anglers, and boaters will love this new state park. The weather in northern Georgia is classically known to be comfortable, and the sights are calming for the soul. Book an RV in Hall County and let the vacation begin.
There are five hiking trails available for visitors camping at Don Carter State Park. These trails are fairly easy to maneuver and have lovely viewpoints along the way. Hikers can traverse along the shoreline of Lake Lanier on either dirt, rock, or paved pathways. These trails are mostly geared towards hikers. Some are not accessible by bike, so make sure to check the park’s trail maps for details.
Water enthusiasts like to make a big splash in Lake Lanier. The park is located on the northern tip of the lake and is the perfect place to drop a fishing line or have a swim. Lakeside Georgia beaches charge a parking fee, but this is in place to protect and maintain the white sandy beaches. See if you can catch some bass or trout in the lake — it just might be your lucky day.
Did you bring your horse? Of course you did! That beautiful animal needs to roam, and this park has over 12 miles of trails for them to do it. While you can't ride your horse at the campsites, there are designated trails where they can get their exercise. As long as horseback riders practice common courtesy, they're encouraged to enjoy the trails.
Don Carter State Park has 44 campsites that are great for tents, trailers, and RVs. Don Carter State Park campers will have access to water hookup and 30- and 50-amp electrical hookups. There aren’t any full-hookup sites, but certain sites can accommodate RV rentals up to 100 feet long. Some sites are pull-through while most are back-in. If there's a grillmaster in your group, they'll have a place to shine because each campsite comes with its own fire ring and barbecue grill.
The park has tons of amenities as well. You can purchase ice or firewood nearby. Conveniences include dump stations, a bath house, picnic shelters, and even a gift shop. Some sites are ADA-accessible, so make sure to call ahead if this applies to your party. The park itself doesn’t have Wi-Fi, but nearly all major cell phone providers have service. Also, you’ll never miss your favorite shows because visitors RV camping at Don Carter State Park even have cable access.
When the outdoorsy life has become too much and it's time for a nice day indoors, head into Gainesville for some family-friendly fun. You'll find an entertainment center in the city which features a bowling alley, arcade, and laser tag. Another exciting attraction for the kids in your crew is the Solar System Walking Tour, which travels for just under two miles through several of the city's parks. Along the way, you can make learning fun for the little ones by admiring the scale model of the solar system.
Maybe your family is more into picking up bugs and playing in the dirt? The Elachee Nature Science Center is a short 30-minute drive away from the park. This science center is a jam-packed with hands-on activities to educate and inspire its young visitors. Kids can learn all about the importance of conservation and how to identify plants and insects native to the area. For something a little more grown-up, explore the galleries of Gainesville. Catch a jazz night at The Arts Council, or support the local arts students at Brenau University Galleries.
The nearest gas station is twenty minutes away down I-985, so make sure to plan ahead with that in mind. However, if you can make it that far, there are a large number of them in a small area, so you can fill up your rental RV's tank and stock up on snacks to get yourself ready for the next leg of your adventure.