Georgia’s New Don Carter State Park

This spring, Georgia added a new park to its collection of wonderful places to play outside. Don Carter State Park is perched on the north end of Lake Lanier, just outside the city of Gainesville and provides state park appeal to lake lovers.

Of course, being huge fans of our state’s parks, we had to go check it out for ourselves.

The Visitor Center at Georgia’s new Don Carter State Park


The park is equipped with all you would expect from Georgia State Parks. You’ll be able hike, bike, picnic, geocache, and let the little ones loose on the playground. Don Carter also gives water lovers lots of opportunities to enjoy Lake Lanier. There’s over 10 miles of shoreline for fishing, swimming, and boating. The park has fishing docks and boat ramps as well as a fish-cleaning station. A swimming beach is located in the Day Use area and the restrooms here are even equipped with rinsing showers.

One of the playgrounds in the day use area.
Boat ramps and fishing docks allow visitors access to water fun on Lake Lanier.
View of the swimming beach from the nature trail on the opposite shore.


Rental facilities at Don Carter State Park include cabins, RV campsites, primitive walk-in campsites, and picnic shelters. The cabin & campsite area are only open to overnight guests so we didn’t get to check them out but for a look at those facilities be sure to visit the park’s photo gallery.

Picnic pavilion and adjacent playground in the Day Use Area.
Don’t forget to grab the official Georgia State Parks geocache sitting right next to the multi-use trail.
Swinging benches overlook the swimming beach.
Beautiful Lake Lanier now plays host to Don Carter State Park.

The hiking trail

This biggest draw to this park will be those looking for water-based fun. Anyone looking to get a short hike in though can take to the 2-mile hiking trail that winds through the forest and along the lake’s edge. A 1.5-mile paved multi-use trail will be appealing to those looking for a nice bike ride or casual walk.

The newly carved trail isn’t well-worn yet so it can be a little tough to see it in some sections. Just keep your eye on the blazes.
New bridge on the trail.
The 2-mile nature trail will take you along the shore of Lake Lanier.

As always, having a Georgia State Parks ParkPass is always the best value if you’ll be visiting any of the parks for more than a few days each year. Otherwise, like all state parks, there is a daily $5 entrance fee.

And now for your moment of green…

The nature trail includes creek crossings.