The lake in Lake Burton, Georgia.

Be One With Nature In Lake Burton Georgia

My dad has asked me this question every summer since I was 4. It is a question that excites me and holds more meaning than some may realize.

Nestled in the North Georgia Mountains is a site so beautiful and serene any passerby will stop and stare. Lake Burton, Georgia is located in Rabun County, Georgia, about 45 minutes from the Highlands, North Carolina. It is a frequent vacation spot for many families, and home to thousands of summer lake homes.

If you’re looking for a quaint vacation spot with plenty of activities, shops and restaurants, Lake Burton is 2,800 acres of land and 62 acres of shoreline. With towering trees, luscious foliage and numerous species, it’s an upscale resort in a small town.

The lake in Lake Burton, Georgia.

I have been visiting this spot since I was 4, accompanied by my parents, two sisters, and our extended family. As years have passed and our family has grown, we now have a total of 22 family members who coexist in a lake home every summer for one week. We get to experience the thrill of water activities, exploring the town of Clayton and its surroundings, along with venturing off to the Highlands and other surrounding cities.

There is plenty of fun for the kids and young-at-heart adults at Lake Burton. Since almost everyone who frequents this lake owns a boat, water sports are popular. Whether you are keen on thrill-tubing or taking a joy ride on The Big Mable, Lake Burton is the perfect spot. Each summer, my cousins and I compete to see who gets thrown off the tube the most. If you have a sturdy boat, you can even attach two tubes and fight for wake space.

In the early mornings, while the birds are sleeping and there is a trace of dew on the grass, the lake is still. It is the perfect time for early risers to slip into their skis. As more boats head out, the water roughens, making it more difficult to ski.

One of the best things you can do here is relax. Whether you prefer sunbathing on the dock, or floating on a raft, it is the perfect place. It is safe for children of all ages, including my 4-year-old cousin. The water is beautiful and crisp, and boats stay away from the docks.

A hidden gem in Lake Burton is the coveted rope swing nestled behind a grove of trees in a cove behind the main lake. It may be battered and bruised, but the swing can still carry the weight of all the children and childlike adults. Climb the small ladder, hold on for dear life, and release at your highest peak. Splashing into the water, you feel a sense of exhilaration.

A river in Lake Burton, Georgia.


A 25-year tradition on the lake is Fourth of July Fireworks night. Everyone in town on the 4th heads to the center of the lake at sundown, and fights for the best spot on the water to see the firework display. It is a lovely night, always filled with laughs and awe until you must navigate your boat back to your lake house in the dark.

One night each summer, my whole family attends dinner at The Dillard House, a family-style restaurant with endless options. The Dillard House began as a hotel in 1917, and developed into a well-established Southern comfort restaurant in 1927. They serve fried chicken, dumplings, green beans, corn on the cob, corn muffins, baked potatoes— you get the idea. It is a wonderful establishment for good-ole-fashioned family time.

If you’re looking for lakeside dining, try the Chophouse at Laprades. Paired with fresh seafood and classic American burgers, you can watch the sun glisten over the water. It is a great spot for a quick lunch while boating, including dockside boat parking.

Established in 2007, Lake Burton Grille & Grocery houses one of the best breakfast joints in all of Rabun County. Dirk’s breakfast sandwiches are unlike any other. Rising with the sun in the morning to the smell of fresh sausage biscuits, then hitting the water is a great way to wake up.

Deemed as “one of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern U.S.,” is Tallulah Gorge State Park. Situated on 2,739 acres with a 63-acre lake, Tallulah Gorge is so vast, you need more than just a quick trip to take in all of the sights. 

There are many activities at the gorge, including the Sliding Rock, a smoothed out boulder that drops you into 40-degree water. It’s a bit dangerous because you can hit many bumps along the way, but it is a refreshing burst after a long afternoon of sweaty hiking. The gorge also has 20 miles of hiking trails, whitewater courses, paddling, rock climbing, and plenty of picnic spots.

If you’re interested in getting out of Lake Burton for a day, visit Helen, Georgia for a natural river tubing course. After this fun day activity, you could venture over to Highlands, North Carolina for plenty of shopping and food to satisfy your needs.

Lake Burton, Georgia has been home to some of my greatest childhood memories, growing closer with family, and I know it’s one of the greatest places to vacation in the states. You can easily get to Lake Burton off of Interstate 85, or you could fly into the Atlanta Airport and drive north. It is conveniently located so that many families can experience all Lake Burton offers.


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