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Gainesville named in top 10 boating destinations in US

POSTED: May 24, 2013 4:01 p.m.

It’s easy to call Gainesville one of the best places for boating when you look at Lake Lanier.

Now it’s official, as Gainesville was recently featured as one of the top 10 most boat-friendly towns in America in the June-July issue of Boat U.S. Magazine.

The article "10 Great Boating Towns: To Retire, Play, Thrive" also featured other well-known cities like San Diego, Calif., and Portland, Ore.

Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kit Dunlap said it’s wonderful for Gainesville to be counted among other great boating destinations.

"Any attention we can bring to our lake and Gainesville and Hall County, even surrounding counties, I think is really great," Dunlap said. "In particular, we’re entering the summer boating season at one of the most visited lakes in the U.S. anyway."

The article detailed Gainesville’s access to the 42-mile-long lake and other attractions. It also highlighted the area’s cost of living, 1 percent below the nation average, and proximity to amenities and attractions.

Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau President Stacey Dickson said the lake draws more than 7.5 million visitors each year.

The chamber’s website noted that tourism to the lake brings in some $5 billion annually to the area.

This Memorial Day weekend is bound to draw a lot of visitors to the lake and surrounding communities.

"It’s kind of a trifecta," Dickson said. "We’ve got the Memorial Day weekend, the full lake and beautiful weather. It’s the perfect situation to draw the optimum number of people."

Because so many people are anticipated to visit the lake this weekend, Dickson stressed the importance of safety above all else.

"We want to always encourage everyone to be safe first and to remember the new boating safety laws and BUI laws and flotation device laws that have been updated and are in effect now," Dickson said. "Folks need to keep those things in mind and still have a great time on the lake but keep safety in their consciousness at all times."

Dickson added that while boating is certainly a popular recreation, it’s nowhere near the limit on possibilites.

The lake’s waters also become a playground for skiing, swimming and tubing as well as newer sports like wake boarding and paddle boarding. Even water-powered jet packs are become more and more prevalent on the lake, allowing riders to soar through the air with streams of water jetting from a pack on their back.

"It’s those kinds of alternative water sports that are new to the area that are infusing some new energy into our visitation," Dickson said.


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