Progress on Lake Lanier’s Don Carter State Park

Don Carter aerialDon Carter State Park on Lake Lanier.

Don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of it — it’s still under construction.  Don’t be surprised if it’s your favorite place on the lake in a few years.

Don Carter State Park — named in honor of Don Carter, who served on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources board for almost 30-years — has been in the planning stages for more than a decade.

Future Entrance to Don Carter State Park on Lake Lanier ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

The park is expected to open in stages within a few months.  It’s not quite ready for Prime Time, so it’s closed to the public for now.

The park is situated on the Chattahoochee River, north of the Olympic Rowing Venue, near my favorite fishing spots.  (If you catch large bass along the river’s rocky shore, kindly let them go.  They’re mine.  Thank you.)

It’s a big park with 1,040 acres of pretty views, lots of trees and plenty of room to wander.

Cozy camping spots abound at Don Carter State Park ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

When completed, there will be 48 camp sites with water and electricity.

One campground accommodates RVs, while another camping area is reserved for tents and hammocks.

If your idea of camping is “Staying indoors,” you’ll have several options for getaways.

How does a modern two-bedroom cabin sound?  There are eight of them!

Several cabins are nestled on wooded hillsides near the lake.

Two-bedroom cabins overlooking the lake are perfect for camping indoors. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Sorry, they’re not for sale but you’re welcome to come visit again.

A paved, multi-purpose trail wends its way through the park’s hardwood forests to help you wind down at the end of a lazy day at the park.  (Bicyclists are encouraged not to mow walkers down.  Walkers are urged to remember that whacking a wacko on a bike is against the law.  Yes, even if they “deserve it.”)

The park will have playgrounds for the kids and a bathhouse down by the beach.  You can almost hear the giggles and laughter now.

Visitor Center at Don Carter State Park on Lake Lanier ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

The visitors center holds the promise of music on weekends and a place to meet new best friends forever, but there’s no official word on those possibilities becoming realities.

Two easily accessed boat ramps will be available.  Driving your rig downhill to launch your boat — even big suckers — will be a breeze.

Lugging your “Queen Marie” back up the steep hill might be another story, in my humble opinion.

When using wimpy motor vehicles to launch heavy boats at Don Carter State Park, please consider carrying a “For Sale” sign with you.   It might be easier to sell your ship than to get it back home.

Attention Entrepreneurs: Try to obtain the proper permits to sell houseboats abandoned at the bottom of the boat ramp hill.  Open a transmission shop or a towing service.  Think Big.  This is America!

The weather at Don Carter State Park is guaranteed to always be perfect (some restrictions apply).

Don Carter State Park is not yet open to the public.  We’ll let you know when it opens.


Address: Don Carter State Park, 5000 N. Browning Bridge Road, Gainesville, GA  30506

GPS Coordinates: N 34.3876220 | W -83.7464620

Future Facilities

  • 1,040 acres of pleasure
  • 8 two-bedroom cottages
  • 46 tent, trailer & RV campsites
  • 12 walk-in tent sites
  • 6 picnic shelters
  • 1.5-mile paved multi-use trail
  • 2-mile hiking trail
  • Beach
  • Boat ramps
  • Bathhouse
  • Visitor Center
  • Cute critters
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Playgrounds
  • Romantic sunsets


Click Here for Don Carter State Park Information


The Main Gate at Don Carter State Park ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

A “Cottage” at Don Carter State Park ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland
A Welcome Sight for Campers ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland
Don Carter State Park’s Boat Launch. “Down in the valley … the valley so low.” ~~ Photograph and solo by Robert Sutherland


About Author

Robert J. Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life in Gainesville, GA.
Robert has two adult daughters, seven practically perfect grandchildren and a zippy Kawasaki. Contact Robert at [email protected].

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