Lake Oconee is located halfway between Atlanta and Augusta in rural east Georgia. It borders Morgan, Greene, and Putnam Counties. It’ll take you about an hour to reach the lake driving from Atlanta.
The lake covers 18,971 acres and has 374 miles of shoreline. Lake Oconee is the second largest lake in Georgia, behind Lake Lanier.
Lake Oconee is a fairly young lake, having only come into being in 1980. The primary purpose for its creation was the generation of hydroelectricity. It forms the “sister lake” of Lake Sinclair, which was completed in the 1950s. The two lakes are separated only by Wallace Dam. Here’s a piece of trivia: Lake Oconee is the only reservoir in the state that’s named after the waterway it impounds (the Oconee River). Although the surrounding area is still one of the poorest in Georgia, the creation of the lake has helped bring new investment and attention to the area. In fact, the lake is the site of a Ritz-Carlton outpost!
Lake Oconee’s relatively remote location makes it a little less hectic than Allatoona or Lanier. Nevertheless, boating and watersports are popular activities here; the gentler waters are also ideal for kayaking and canoeing. On the animal side of things, horsebiking riding is popular around here, as well as some serious fishing (for catfish, sunfish, perch, and bass). The aforementioned Ritz is the site of sweat and relaxation: it’s home to the Peter Burwash International Tennis Center, as well as an oh-so-luxurious top-rated spa.
A number of housing developments have sprung up around Lake Oconee, but the biggest story here by far has been Reynolds Plantation. Condos in this gated community start in the $300s, with single family homes starting in the $400s and stretching into the $1,000,000s. Reynolds Plantation is rich with amenities, including a decked out wellness center, walking trails, six golf courses, four marinas, and six restaurants. If you’re in the mood for something a little more aged, a couple of historic towns on either side of the lake are chock full of just the thing. Madison has long been recognized for its antebellum building stock, while Greensboro has seen a good bit of revitalization in recent years due in no small part to the popularity of Lake Oconee and Reynolds Plantation.