For obvious reasons, Lake Lanier evokes thoughts of summer. But don’t count it out during autumn, says Stacey Dickson, President of Lake Lanier Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“Once the water becomes too cool for swimming, the focus of our visitors turns inland to the arts, food and entertainment options that abound in the area. Visits to local wineries, breweries, arts events, theater and festivals occupy our visitor’s time in the “off’ season,” she said.
Here’s a list of fall activities she recommends:
1. Game Day Cheer your favorite team to victory at Lanier Islands Game Day, the new ultimate tailgating experience. Enjoy collegiate and NFL football games on the 5-story screen now through November. Reserved and general seating available in comfy chairs beachside. Discounts available for students with ID. All your fave tailgating foods and a family fun zone with games and attractions for all ages. (Through Oct. 30) Game Day – www.lanierislands.com/game-day
2. Happy Haunts There are several excellent options for enjoying a crisp fall afternoon with all the expected amenities including pumpkins, apples, hot cider and hay rides. Lake Lanier has two corn mazes ready to explore through October: Jaemor Farms’s maze will feature dinosaurs as they go Jurassic this fall while the Buford Corn Maze delights with it’s haunted maze and hay rides, great for tweens who are looking for something not so kiddie but aren’t quite ready for the super scary thrills of regional haunted houses. Lake lovers will especially enjoy the Ghost Stories of Lake Lanier cruise with Windsong Sailing Academy featuring magician Joe Turner (Oct. 8) where a day on the high seas turns into a magical adventure. For cos-players and grown up trick or treaters, the Adult Halloween on the Gainesville Square (Oct. 22) is sure to be a fright, with music, contests, food and drink all themed for the occasion.
n Jaemor Farms Corn Maze – www.jaemorfarms.com/corn-maze
n Buford Corn Maze – bufordcorn maze.com
n Ghost Stories of Lake Lanier Cruise – www.windsongsail.com
n Adult Halloween – grownup
3. Fall Festivals & Leaf Looking October’s bounty is celebrated with so many fall festivals that a visitors could hop from one to another on any given Saturday all month long. Our neighbors in the north Georgia mountains celebrate everything from moonshine and apple harvests to a bear on the square and German Oktoberfest.
Around the lake, there are several excellent fall festivals and events worth noting. Sterling on the Lake’s annual Harvest Balloon Festival lights up the autumn skies with colorful orbs while the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville will celebrate the season with Wine in the Woodlands along with a dance event to go along with their Woven Whimsy exhibition.
Enjoy stunning lake views during the BBQ, Boots & Blues Fest at Lanier Islands. One of the most popular activities on the lake in the fall are color cruises, whether on a rented pontoon with a picnic or on an excursion yacht a breezy cruise to view the stunning fall foliage display never disappoints. Cigar & Scotch Cruise (Oct. 2), Fall Leaf Cruise (Nov. 5)
n Harvest Balloon Festival – www.
n Wine in the Woodlands – atlantabg.org/visit/events/wine-in-the-woodlands
n BBQ, Boots & Blues – www.lanierislands.com/calendar/specialevents/bbq-boots-blues-2016/
n Cigar & Scotch Cruise – www.lanierislands.com/calendar/food-beverage-events/october-cigar-scotch-cruise/
n Fall Leaf Cruise – www.windsongsail.com
4. Sports & Adventure When the weather cools off in the fall, Lake Lanier hosts all types of outdoor sports, adventure races and fun run/walks. Test your fitness at one of these great outdoor events: The Bubble Run (5K with giant bubble obstacles — good, clean, fun); Lanier Under the Lights 5K run/walk along the path of the Magical Nights of Lights. If competition isn’t your thing, take a leisurely stroll along one of more than 100 trails on and around the lake. Guided hikes are held the first Saturday of every month at Elachee Nature Science Center and a complete list with maps of trails at the lake is available on the Georgia Trails app. You can also learn how to climb a tree during Elachee’s Annual North Georgia Tree Festival (Ages 8+ on Oct. 22)
n Bubble Run – www.lanierislands.com/calendar/specialevents/bubble-run-5k
n Lanier Under the Lights – www.lanierislands.com/calendar/special
n North Georgia Tree Festival – www.elachee.org/public-programs/specialevents/n-ga-tree-festival
n Georgia Trails App – discover
5. Holiday Season Sneak Peek In early November, holiday revelers begin to enjoy their favorite season with events and activities leading up to the kick off of the annual Magical Nights of Lights show. In October, the Secret Santa Car Show in Oakwood on the campus of University of North Georgia raises money to buy Christmas gifts for needy children in the area. Get your holiday shopping done early at one of these seasonal markets: 25th Annual Marketplace at the Gainesville Civic Center, Woodland Ramble Arts & Crafts Market at Atlanta Botanical Garden Gainesville, 69th Annual Members Exhibition at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center
n Secret Santa Car Show – www.secret santacarshow.com/
n 25th Annual Marketplace – www.nghs.com/marketplace
n Woodland Ramble Arts & Crafts Market – atlantabg.org/visit/events/woodland-ramble
n 69th Annual Members Exhibition www.quinlanartscenter.org/69th-annual-members-exhibition.html