Loving the lake life: 6 things to do near Allatoona Lake

(left to right) Eva Muhlhausen (age 5) & her sister Ellen (7) talk with their grandfather John on his Snipe sailboat at the the Atlanta Yacht Club on Lake Allatoona. PHIL SKINNER FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.
Phil Skinner

There’s a lot of Allatoona Lake to love.

When it’s full, the lake, located in northwestern metro Atlanta, covers more than 12,000 acres and has 270 miles of shoreline. With all that coverage, spanning parts of Cobb County and Bartow County, there won’t be a shortage of things you’ll love to do there — from water sports to luxury outings.

Here are just six of the most fun things to do near Lake Allatoona:

Sink your toes in the sand

Just 45 minutes or so from Atlanta, Red Top Mountain State Park is a popular park right at the shores of Allatoona Lake. And, it has a sand beach! It’s nestled in a cove and surrounded by trees. Soak in the sun on shore or bring your own boat. Some say the beach reminds them of the set for childhood favorite Gilligan’s Island. The park provides other fun things to do near Allatoona Lake, including hiking, star gazing, camping and kayaking.

Location: Red Top Mountain State Park - 50 Lodge Rd SE, Acworth, GA 30102; Website: gastateparks.org; Contact: 770-975-4226.

Stay in a lakeside mansion

While the shores of Allatoona Lake are packed with affordable, diverse camping options, sometimes it’s fun to go upscale. The Victorian Lake Allatoona Inn was built in 1893 and has been lovingly restored. It features wraparound porches, private decks and 16 acres with horses.

Location: Lake Allatoona Inn - 632 Old Allatoona Rd SE, Cartersville, GA 30121; Website: lakeallatoonainn.com; Contact: 770-943-0171.

Dine lakeside, or nearby

Open seven days a week starting in April and running through September, Sunset Grille (1001 Victoria Landing Drive, Woodstock) is right on Allatoona Lake. It serves drinks, lunch and dinner on the deck and occasionally has live music on the weekends. The seafood, burgers and po’ boys are all popular there.

If it’s offseason, consider dining in the Woodstock community of Towne Lake, 8 or 9 miles from the heart of Allatoona Lake. One standout is Tuscany (250 Cinema View, Woodstock, GA 30189). The traditional Italian American specialties include luscious veal gorgonzola. If you are sticking with a lake theme, try the calamari piccata or linguine and clams.

Or indulge in a sushi whim at Towne Lake’s Izumi Asian Bistro (2035 Towne Lake Pkwy #150, Woodstock, GA 30189). It features lots of intriguing sushi rolls, specials like steamed Chilean sea bass and the standard wok items including Kung Pao with a choice of meat and heat.

Join a boat club

Another luxury offering among the many fun things to do near Lake Allatoona: a members-only boat club that caters to beginners and old hands alike. Here’s how it works: you pay a flat membership fee, dues and fuel and get unlimited access to the pontoons, tri-toons, ski boats and wakeboard boats Suntex operates on Allatoona Lake. Members also have their insurance covered and unlimited use of the club’s water toys, from wakeboards to tubes and skis. Membership levels range from weekday access with three active reservations at any time on up to corporate memberships for six members and holiday and weekend access. If you’re the type to go all in with your leisure activities, this could be for you!

Website: suntexboatclub.com.

Take a historic hike at Allatoona Pass

Ponder history and marvel at how close this gruesome battle was to today’s suburbia at the Allatoona Pass Battlefield. Of the 5,301 men engaged in the battle, 1,603 were reported killed, wounded or missing at its end. Much of the battlefield is unchanged, and a railroad tunnel cut through solid rock, two preserved earth forts and a classic antebellum plantation house are all visible within a short, family-friendly hike. The walk also offers fine views of Allatoona Lake. It’s quite close to Red Top Mountain State Park, too, so the family can play in the woods after the hike.

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