By Audrey Geib, contributing writer.

Young man relaxing in a blue hammock.

Jake Hoffman relaxes at Little Ridge Park.

Lake Sidney Lanier is home to 10 full-service marinas, 68 parks, and 1,200 campsites dispersed through its 692 miles of shoreline. Among these parks lies perhaps Lake Lanier’s best kept secret, Little Ridge Park.

Jake Hoffman, a frequent visitor of Little Ridge says there is truly something special about the area.

“Little Ridge is a great place to be,” says Hoffman. “All the memories I’ve made there have been some that will stay with me forever. The location and scenery are amazing. If there’s anywhere I’d want to be on a clear summer day, it would be hanging up an eno between some trees and hanging out at Little Ridge.”

Little Ridge Park, in Forsyth County, is a free-to-enter public park tucked away on the southwest end of the lake. It sits on the shoreline a mile west of Buford Dam and the southern location makes it a prime spot for those visiting from cities south of the lake.

Though Hoffman says he was familiar with the park for years he truly grew to love it in the summer of 2020 when he got closer to his now best friend, Mac Cremon.

“I started going to Little Ridge more often in the summer of 2020. It was during COVID so a friend of mine and I would go to Little Ridge and hang out,” Hoffman says. “We were friends before we started going but after that summer he became my best friend.”

The park served as the perfect location for them to enjoy nature while being smart about COVID exposure. Three years later Hoffman and his friends return to the same spot.

The park is full of ways to experience all that the lake has to offer at no cost. From a scenic 1-mile loop trail to plenty of water access. Dogs are welcome, on a leash, at the park making its beaches the perfect place for furry friends to experience lake days.

Hoffman says that he and his friends often see other visitors out on the water, walking the trail or utilizing the easily accessible boat ramp.

“We always see boaters getting out on the water, and families taking a stroll through the park with their dog,” says Hoffman.

“My friends and I set up hammocks and will talk and listen to music for hours,” he says.

Visitors are often in the water relaxing on rafts, exploring the shoreline on kayaks and paddleboards, or just getting in for a quick swim.

In May of 2021, Hoffman gathered with many of his friends to spend the day at Little Ridge with rafts, kayaks and paddle boards celebrating his birthday. While on land the group set up a handful of hammocks and beach towels.

He describes one of his fondest memories at the park: “I was surprised with 20 of my best friends for my birthday and had the best lake day hangs I remember.”

Alexis Hill, one of Hoffman’s friends, planned his surprise party at the park.

Hill says that Little Ridge was the perfect location to host it due to the variety of activities.

“Little Ridge was always the best place to spend time with friends,” says Hill. “It was perfect for Jake’s birthday because people could swim, tan, hammock, kayak, paddle board, you name it.”

“Little Ridge is important to me because it’s always been the spot for anything,” says Hoffman. “Whether that be alone time, lake hangs, or hanging up enos Little Ridge has always been there. I’ve had very good memories dating back three years ago, and it still feels like it was yesterday.”

Feature photo: by Audrey Geib