By Alli Hill
Georgia has built a solid watersports community thanks to its abundance of lakes, rivers, and a shining coastline. A major body of water is never more than a couple hour’s drive away, with plenty to entertain you once you get there. Jet skis are a popular choice among thrill seekers, and it’s easy to see why: it’s an activity that can suit riders of all skill levels while helping you blast through the sweltering Georgia heat. Don your life jacket and head to one of these five top destinations for jet skiers!
Lake Lanier offers a multitude of entry points spanning dozens of towns. You can rent a jet ski at one of several rental companies or marinas, such as Lanier Boat Charter in Flowery Branch, and begin your journey on one the state’s biggest lakes. While you’re on the water, visit Three Sister’s Island, the largest island in the lake and an ideal spot to unwind and enjoy a little solitude. There are over a dozen uninhabited islands on the lake, giving you plenty of places to park and take in the scenery.
Spanning two states, the Georgia side of Lake Hartwell is an ideal spot for jet skiers who prefer less big open water and more intimate settings. You can head south toward the Savannah River to the Hartwell Dam. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, cross the Georgia/South Carolina border and make your way to Ghost Island, where you’ll find a Revolution-era cemetery on an island at the merging of Coneross Creek and Seneca River. This lake has multiple channels and inlets, so make sure you bring a map along.
Rent a waverunner at Park Marina for half a day or longer and let the adventure begin. Lake Allatoona offers some of the best scenery in the state, along with plenty of long straightaways to fuel your need for speed. Along the way, you’ll find some sandy beaches that make for an enjoyable break from wave jumping, along with dozens of small coves to explore or practice your jet skiing skills.
Straddling the Georgia/North Carolina border, Lake Chatuge is a perfect blend of peaceful surroundings and epic adventure. You can rent a jet ski at Young Harris Watersports or use one of the many public boat ramps if you have your own jet ski. There are usually other boaters out and about in case you run into trouble, which makes this a safe bet for those who are just learning.
If you’re looking for some expert instruction, Tybee Jet Ski & Watersports offers jet ski rentals that come complete with professional instruction to show you how to use your watercraft. You’re likely to see some of the dolphins and other wildlife that make Tybee Island special. You set the speed—no guided tour or group pace to slow you down.