Those wanting to camp at Lake Lanier as the weather warms may want to get their campground reservations in early, especially for weekends and holidays. Higher than usual visitation at campgrounds on Lanier is expected to continue this season as people seek outdoor spaces to avoid exposure to coronavirus.
“We expect similar or slightly more (reservations) than last year,” said Parks Ranger Dan Barnes, who oversees campgrounds at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers parks. He mentioned that after a brief delay in opening last year, Corps parks experienced a surge in reservations.
Six Corps campgrounds operated seasonally by the Corps are scheduled to open March 25. Campers with reservations can set up a lakeside tent or pull up an RV to sites at Bald Ridge, Sawnee, Duckett Mill, Bolding Mill, Van Pugh South, and Toto Creek. As of mid-February, reservations were plentiful at all six. Old Federal Park will not open this year due to damage inflicted by multiple weather events last year. Major repairs are on-going after hundreds of trees went down in the park.
Barnes said Bald Ridge is the most popular for camping due to its relatively flat terrain. He added it is a favorite of families with kids who like to ride bikes through the campground.
Several other Lanier campgrounds, including those at River Forks and Don Carter State Park, both in Hall County, offer year-round camping. Barnes pointed out those parks are leased from the Corps by other entities that manage their campgrounds.
Those desiring to stay at campgrounds solely managed by the Corps can make reservations by visiting www.sam.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Recreation/Lake-Sidney-Lanier/Schedules/. The website features a campsite map, photos of and details about specific sites, information about park amenities, and allowable equipment (tents or RVs). Nightly cost ranges from $16 at Toto Creek to an upper range of $26 at other parks. The seasonal parks close for camping in September or October.
The website urges visitors not to enter parks that are full and to park only in designated spaces. It also reminds parks users to “continue following CDC guidelines on social distancing, hand sanitizing, and appropriate use of health protection measures such as face masks and gloves.”