Getting pampered at the spa, soaking up some sun on an afternoon cruise, splashing around at the water park, taking in a round of golf or going on a horseback ride. Lake Lanier Islands offers all of this and more and is located only a short drive away. Instead of a four-hour drive to the closest beach, you can get a water adventure that is less than one-hour away.
Lake Lanier Islands Resort is situated on the shores of Lake Sidney Lanier and is Georgia’s most visited lakeside resort destination. The 1,100-acre resort provides a variety of amenities and services.
Lake Lanier Islands is a destination in itself and visitors don’t have to leave the grounds for a fun-filled vacation. Accommodations and dining are also found on the grounds and a shuttle service takes you around all of the amenities offered. Bike and golf cart rentals are also offered.
A “family fun weekend package” is offered through Labor Day. For $219, a family of five can spend one night at Legacy Lodge, have breakfast buffet at Windows Restaurant and spend two days at the Chattahoochee Rapids Beach and Waterpark, which has more than 15 rides, slides and attractions. A second night at Legacy Lodge is $99.
The water park has slides, a beach with chairs and umbrellas, a wave pool, kiddie lagoon and tubing in the largest wave pool in the state. The park isn’t only for overnight resort guests and is open to the public. Daily admission and season tickets are offered.
Many boating options are offered, including sunset dinner cruises on the Island Queen. It’s a great way to relax and experience the beautiful lake.
“Rediscover tranquility” is the theme of the Tranquility Spa at Lake Lanier Islands Resort, which is available to guests of the resort, as well as the local community. Services offered range from massages to stone therapy treatment, as well as European facials, aromatherapy body wraps, signature pedicures and manicures and more. Each state-of-the-art therapy is performed in treatment rooms that feature private bathrooms and balconies where you can have lunch.
For more information, call 1-800-840-LAKE or go to www.lakelanierislands.com.
Located a short drive from Lake Lanier is Gainesville which has arts, history, museums and plenty of shopping and dining.
Gainesville is rich in the arts. From the elegant Arts Council Smithgall Arts Center, perfect for an intimate night of jazz or wedding reception, to Gallery 110 on the downtown square, Gainesville serves as the center for arts and culture throughout Northeast Georgia.
Events are planned throughout the year by The Arts Council, including a concert by The Swingin’ Medallions on June 4 and a movie on the green, “Avatar,” on June 17. For more details and a full schedule of upcoming events, go to www.theartscouncil.net.
As for history, the historic Piedmont Hotel is now a museum, which provides a great look at the way of life in the area during the late 1800s. Period furniture, historic documents and other items on displays for visitors.
General James Longstreet, commander of the old Confederate First Corps and Robert E. Lee’s second in command and closest confidant, opened the hotel on June 13, 1876. It was a three-story building with 36 rooms. Today, only the ground floor of the north wing remains.
The Piedmont Hotel, which is maintained by the Longstreet Society, is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. It is located at 827 Maple Street.
Over the past eight years, downtown Gainesville has undergone a transformation. The heritage of the past has been preserved through historically accurate building restorations. The downtown square has a beautiful streetscape and new businesses.
Something unusual you will find in downtown is a scale model and walking tour of the solar system. Visitors will start their walk at The Sun on the square and end near Pluto on the Pearl Nix Parkway. It’s a 1.8-mile walk and takes approximately one hour.
While in downtown, you will want to make a stop at the Collegiate Grill at 220 Main Street for a hamburger or hotdog, fresh cut French fries and thick hand-dipped milkshake. With its black and white checkered floors, red vinyl booths and counter seating, it will remind you of days gone by. It’s been serving the area since 1947 and Jeff and Donna Worley are the new owners. Jeff worked at the restaurant when he was 12-years-old and is excited to be operating it now. He says their goal is to provide food that is “simple but good.” For hours of operation or more information, go to www.thecollegiategrill.com.
For more information on visiting Gainesville, go to www.gainesville.org.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a travel series this summer on destinations in Georgia).
Angela Gary is an editor with MainStreet Newspapers Inc. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.