Close enough to Atlanta to offer a decent commute but far enough away that your primary residence can double as a vacation home.
Why we love it
Guess where you’ll find Georgia’s largest private lake? Thirty minutes south of downtown. Lake Spivey, which spreads like a 600-acre ink blot through Jonesboro, has been home to prominent residents like rapper T.I., car dealer Terry Cullen, and Olympic swimmer Steve Lundquist. But its most popular residents are a large supply of shad and bream that are restocked annually by the lake’s civic association. (Sport fish include largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish. Monday night fishing tournaments are a big to-do around here.) You must be an association member to put your boat onto the lake.
With its clear, spring-fed waters, Lake Spivey is a popular swimming hole. Locals congregate at the swimming cove on the lake’s east side, where you can see 11 feet to the sandy bottom.
Perfect day on the lake
Forget coffee; get your blood flowing with an early-morning wakeboarding session on this sprawling, uncrowded lake. (Conditions are so ideal, Georgia Wake Series hosts a tournament here each May.) When you’ve done enough tricks (or had enough falls), head to Lake Spivey Golf Club to play a round. Stay for dinner—the course’s restaurant, Albatross Public House and Pizzeria, earns raves for its thick, spiral-cut French fries and fairway views.
Other lakes in the metro
It’s a 35-minute drive north of the city to reach Lake Allatoona, an Army Corp of Engineers reservoir with 270 miles of mostly undeveloped shoreline. On weekends, see dozens of sailboats—the lake is home to the Atlanta Yacht Club and South Winds Sailing Club.
This private reservoir in Gwinnett County is where residents gather for seasonal fishing tournaments, parties on the community beach, and barbecues at the half-acre waterfront picnic area.
Situated in northwest Cobb, this lake is perfect for families. Cauble Park offers two playgrounds, a fishing dock, and a sandy beach where you can rent kayaks and paddleboards. No gas-powered or personal watercraft are allowed on the water.