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7 places where you can rent a boat or kayak to get onto Lake Lanier

Lake Lanier is one of the most visited lakes in the world, with some 12 million enjoying this jewel north of Atlanta each year. The shores are dotted with parks, many with beaches and swim areas. There are also outfitters that will help get you on the water whether on a kayak, Jet Ski or boat. A Boat Rental Education Certificate is required by law and many outfitters offer the course on their websites so it can be completed prior to arrival.  

Lake Lanier Olympic Park

This park, once the site of rowing and paddling events in the 1996 Summer Olympics, is set on the north end of Lake Lanier and features a public boat launch and courtesy docks along with beach and picnic areas. Canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards can be rented on the weekends from the Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club.

  • 3105 Clarks Bridge Road, Gainesville
  • | 770-287-7888

Margaritaville at Lanier Islands

This expansive waterpark and resort includes tiki bars and lakeside restaurants, impressive water slides and a wave pool along with a beach area. Boats can be rented from Harbor Landing Marina, and a variety of accommodations are available. During the colder months, Margaritaville transforms into a winter wonderland with its Lakeside Lights Spectacular and activities like snow tubing and ice skating.

Don Carter State Park

At the north end of Lake Lanier, Don Carter State Park offers an abundance of water recreation like swimming, boating, paddleboarding, fishing and kayaking. 

Those itching to hike have the choice among five trails including the 1-mile Woodland Loop, 1-mile Terrapin Cove Trail and half-mile Lakeview Loop. 

Visitors are also welcome to spend the night at the park in one of its RV campsites, two-bedroom cabins or primitive tent campsites. 

Burton Outdoor Adventures

Guests can rent a kayak or paddleboard and then take a shuttle ride to Old Federal Beach and Boat Ramp on Lake Lanier. After a tutorial and safety briefing, paddlers can explore a large mapped-out area on Lake Lanier. This outfitter is located in Flowery Branch on Jim Crow Road. No, it’s not named after that Jim Crow, and yes, locals have debated about renaming the road that honors local resident G.C. Crow. 

Paradise Rental Boats

Paradise has a location on Lake Lanier inside Port Royale Marina. Don’t let you the Gainesville address fool you, it is on the Forsyth County side of the lake near Browns Bridge. Paradise offers a range of watercraft from the personal, such as a WaveRunner, to larger yachts and cruisers.

Aqua Sports Adventures

This outfitter is located at Holiday Marina on the south end of Lake Lanier and offers pontoon and ski boat rentals along with water toy accessories.

Gainesville Marina

This marina offers pontoon and tritoon boats for rent just west of the city of Gainesville. Reservations are highly recommended during peak summer months.