Lake Sidney Lanier offers some of the best camping opportunities in the southeast.  Whether it’s a tent on a primitive campsite hugging the shoreline of the lake or a pad for your recreational vehicle, Lake Lanier has it all. 

Seventy-six recreational areas have been developed around the lake under the direction of the Corps of Engineers (COE). These include 46 parks operated directly by the Corps, 11 marinas, and Lake Lanier Islands.

The remaining areas are leased to county and city governments or other organizations such as the Boy Scouts.

2023 Camping Season: Of the seven Lake Lanier Corps campgrounds, only 4 opened in March due to staffing shortages. They are Bald Ridge Creek, Bolding Mill, Old Federal and Toto Creek.

Visit the Corps website for Lake Lanier to make reservations.

The Corps of Engineers (COE) operates seven campgrounds with 482 campsites at Lake Lanier including 430 sites with water and electric hookups.  Most sites are waterfront and all have a picnic table, fire ring, grill, and lantern pole. 

All COE campgrounds have beach areas, boat ramps, and restrooms.  Most campgrounds also have showers, playgrounds, accessible sites, and manned entry stations.

To learn more, click on the campground name.

Bald Ridge Creek
Bolding Mill
Duckett Mill
Old Federal
Toto Creek Campground
Van Pugh South Campground

To make reservations, download maps, check out campsite photos and see site availability visit Recreation.Gov.

For Camping Rules and Regulations, visit the Corps of Engineers – Camping.

The Corps of Engineers manages 7 day-use parks with picnic shelters and swimming areas around Lake Lanier. When visiting these parks never swim alone, only swim in designated swim areas, and take extra precaution because there are no lifeguards on duty.  For safety tips and resources see Lakeside News’ safety guide and resource list.

Group picnic shelters are a perfect setting for family reunions, birthday parties, and company picnics. Shelters may accommodate up to 70-100 people depending on the shelter. All shelters have tables, a large grill, electric outlets, and lights. 

For Reservations: call the COE reservation system 1-877-444-6777 or visit

Near Buford

Buford Dam Park Shelters

Lanier Park Shelter 

Near Cumming

West Bank Park Shelters 

Near Dawsonville

Thompson Creek Park Shelter 

Near Flowery Branch

Van Pugh North Park Shelter 

Near Gainesville

Bolding Mill Shelters 

Little Hall Shelter 

Don Carter State Park Beach area

Come enjoy Georgia’s newest state park and the only state park located on Lake Sidney Lanier.

Don Carter State Park

5000 North Browning Bridge Road
Gainesville, GA 30506
Named in honor of real-estate executive Don Carter who served on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources board for 29 years and worked to establish it, the park offers amenities for both land and water lovers.

For water-lovers, the park offers a sandy beach and swimming area, with a pavilion and bathhouse. A separate area is available for boat lovers with a boat ramp, dock, and kayaks available for rent.
For land-lovers, there are multi-use trails for both hiking and biking.

Overnight accommodations are also available.

  • two-bedroom cabins located near the lake
  • a campground designed specifically for RVs
  • a primitive camping area just for tents and hammocks

*The campground/cottage loop is gated, providing access to overnight guests.

To make reservations call: 800-864-7275 or visit Online Reservations.

Click here for Park Events

Park 7 a.m.–10 p.m.
Office 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Fees & Passes
$5 parking. Annual passes available.

Margaritaville RV Park at Lanier Islands

For overnight stays on Lake Lanier, the Lanier Islands area offers everything from lakefront and wooded tent sites to state-of-the-art RV campgrounds to full-service resort lodging. (Photo courtesy of Margaritaville)

Check out each of these options to find the “camping” style that meets your needs.

Shoal Creek Campground
6300 Shadburn Ferry Road, Buford, GA 30518
(678) 482-0332
Wooded and lakefront camping sites with boat ramps, campsites with and without hookups, showers, dump station, restrooms, picnic tables, picnic pavilion, and a swimming area. Tent camping is permitted.

Margaritaville RV Resort
7650 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford, GA 30518
(470) 323-3486
Amenities and recreational activities designed specifically for the Margaritaville and RV lifestyle including an outdoor Water Park, Paradise Beach, LandShark Landing, as well as boat rentals and margarita cruises, a selection of restaurants, seasonal events, and winter attractions including Parrot Mountain Snow Tubing at Margaritaville Lanier Islands.

7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford, GA 30518
Reservations for Lakehouses, Villas or Lodge: 770-945-8787

Lakehouses at Legacy

The LakeHouses at Legacy provide a simple and semi-secluded getaway for families and small groups. Each of the 1,200-square-foot cottages offers easy access to all amenities at Lanier Islands with plenty of space to sleep up to eight guests.

Legacy Luxury Villas

These spacious and scenic Georgia villas are situated on the shores of Lake Lanier, conveniently located within walking distance of the Legacy Lodge. Legacy Villa guests enjoy easy access to all resort amenities including our saltwater pool, fitness center, and business center.

Legacy Lodge

Includes amenities like a saltwater swimming pool, fitness center, business center, and multiple dining options with fine dining at Sidney’s or more casual dinner with drinks poolside at Bullfrog’s, as well as a host of in-room amenities.