Added by Christian Murillo
Need a relaxing, natural, and fun way to get away from city life in Atlanta? Only 20 minutes outside of the city lies the beautiful Sweetwater Creek State Park with that is perfect for a day on the water.
Sweetwater Creek State Park has a lot to offer in terms of adventure. One of the best things about this park is its proximity to the city of Atlanta. It is incredible how easy it is to feel like you are hours away from the city, even though Sweetwater is only several miles west of the city. It might just be my love for the water, but kayaking the George H. Sparks Reservoir is one of the best ways to unwind and enjoy nature.
Getting to the park is simple. Take I-20 west from Atlanta, exit #44 at Thornton Road, turn left and go ¼ mile. Turn right on Blairs Bridge Road. After 2 miles, turn left on Mount Vernon Road and continue straight into the parking area, where you see the lake right in front of you. Parking is $5, and you can either pay in cash with the parking attendant, or with credit in the bait shop.
Now to the fun stuff. You can either rent or bring your own kayaks (they also rent out SUPs, Canoes, fishing boats, and paddle boats). Once you get your boat in the water, where you choose to go is 100% up to you. The reservoir is not that big, so you can paddle from end to end in about 2 hours, paddling at a mild pace. There are two sections of the reservoir, separated by a drainage tunnel that runs under a road. Although the tunnel is a tight squeeze, it is worth going through to check out the north end of the lake.
The north end of the lake is more shallow than the south end, resulting in prime fishing grounds for many Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, and other fish-hungry birds. Speaking of fish, with a Georgia fishing license you are free to try your luck in these waters.
A spillover into Sweetwater Creek is located on the far east side of the lake. Although it is prohibited to paddle near the spillover, you can paddle past it and check out the spillover control structure standing in the middle of the water.
This is not the largest lake with endless potential to explore, but it is tangible and can make for a perfect day out on the water. Want to take the day to the next level? Pack some burgers and buns and have yourself a nice BBQ on the public charcoal grills and picnic tables on the lake.
Lastly, there are other paddling opportunities on Sweetwater Creek itself.
***Note: Life-jackets are required on the lake. If you don't have one, no worries because they lend them out in the bait shop.
- Paddling Vessel
- Water-friendly shoes
- Dry bag for your camera/phone
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