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Want to experience the sunset on Lake Lanier? Try out these two evening paddle tours
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A couple paddle alongside Clarks Bridge park Tuesday, April 6, 2021, on Lake Lanier. Lake Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club is opening its once a month moonlight paddles. People can spend time on the lake during the evening hours in either a kayak or canoe. This will run once a month from May to October. - photo by Scott Rogers

Watching the sun slowly disappear over Lake Lanier is a sight to behold, especially out on the water.

For the past eight years, people have signed up for Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club’s Moonlight Paddle to catch a glimpse of the spectacle during the warmer months. 

“There’s something special about being on the water and seeing that sunset,” said Jim O’Dell, executive director of the club. “The way the moonlight dances on the water is really cool.”

The organization recently released its 2021 dates for the event, which carries on once a month from April until October. Unfortunately, spaces for April are already sold out, but O’Dell assures people that many spots are still open for the other months. 

The moonlight tour begins at 7:30 p.m. from the docks of Lake Lanier Olympic Park, and moves into the Olympic race course. O’Dell said people will be able to watch the sun set and the moon illuminate the water. 

The $20 experience, which lasts for around two hours, is led by Valerie Pflug, a certified American Canoe Association instructor. The price includes renting a life vest, as well as a two-person canoe or kayak. 

Moonlight Paddle with Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club

Where: Lake Lanier Olympic Park, 3105 Clarks Bridge Road, Gainesville

Dates: 

  • 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 21 
  • 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 25 
  • 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 23
  • 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20
  • 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17
  • 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22

Cost: $20 per person

More info/registration: Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club’s Facebook page

For those inexperienced in the art of canoeing and kayaking, Pflug will give them a crash course before departure. O’Dell said all ages are welcome for the Moonlight Paddle, and parents can bring their younger children if they’re comfortable accompanying them in a double kayak or canoe.

“It’s a really neat way to be on the water,” he said. “You don’t have to be an expert paddler.”

Since the activity is outside on Lanier, O’Dell said mask wearing is not required and people can easily distance themselves from others. All of the equipment is cleaned after each use.

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Lake Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club is opening its once a month moonlight paddles. People can spend time on the lake during the evening hours in either a kayak or canoe. This will run once a month from May to October. - photo by Scott Rogers

 People are also allowed to bring their own equipment, including a kayak or canoe, for the Moonlight Paddle. Only 20-24 watercraft are allowed on the lake per event. To register for the activity, visit Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club’s Facebook page and click on the Moonlight Tour post

Burton Outdoor Adventures, which opened in April, will begin offering kayak and paddleboard sunset tours on Lake Lanier, starting Memorial Day, May 31. 

Jason Burton, who co-owns the business with his wife Christine, said the experience will cost $50 per person and be available for ages 12 and up. The guided tour will begin at around 8:30 p.m. and last a little past sunset. 

Burton Outdoor Adventures is located at 5962 Jim Crow Road in Flowery Branch. The road was named after local resident Glennon C. “Jim” Crow.

Guided Sunset Tours with Burton Outdoor Adventures

When: 8:30 p.m. seven days a week, starting May 31

Where: Meet at 5962 Jim Crow Road, then take a short shuttle to Old Federal Beach and Boat Ramp

Cost: $50 per person

More info/registration: burtonoutdooradventures.com

Before arriving at the facility, people are asked to make a reservation on the business’ website, burtonoutdooradventures.com.

After guests check into the location, Burton said they’ll be fitted for a life preserver and given their paddle. Once everyone is ready to depart, guests will take a short ride in a 15-passenger shuttle to Old Federal Beach and Boat Ramp on Lake Lanier. Paddleboard and kayak rentals are included in the cost.

Burton said an experienced guide will give people in-depth paddling instructions, then assist them with their technique when out on the water. Each sunset tour is limited to 12 people. 

For more information about Burton Outdoor Adventures and its other offerings, visit burtonoutdooradventures.com or call 678-828-8199.

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