North Georgia is known for mountains, lakes and beautiful countryside, and Gainesville is right at the heart of it all. In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with Lake Lanier close by, it’s only natural that Gainesville is a nature lover’s paradise.
Gainesville is the gateway to the north Georgia mountains, only 30 minutes away from hiking, fishing, waterfalls and camping. And Gainesville is the closest town served by public transportation to the start of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The Linwood Nature Preserve, just north of town, offers streams, wetlands, wildlife, mountain laurel and rhododendron forests that help promote urban green preservation. Of course, Gainesville hugs the Lake Lanier shoreline, one of the most popular recreational lakes in the entire country. That means golf, boating, water sports, horse riding trails and the Lake Lanier Olympic Center, site of the 1996 Olympic venue for rowing and kayaking. The Rock Creek Greenway connects walkers and cyclists from downtown Gainesville to Lake Lanier.
But there are just as many chances to get active right in town. Downtown Gainesville hosts several popular sporting events throughout the year, including the Tour de Georgia finish and the Downtown Criterium Bike Race. The incredibly active Gainesville parks and recreation department alone could fill an entire year. Its Summer Fun in the City program offers more than 50 day camps in every sport imaginable, from golf and fishing to bowling and lacrosse, as well as classes in dance, travel, robotics, yoga and foreign languages.
Throughout the year, the parks and recreation department sponsors pee wee, youth and adult sports and exercise and wellness programs. It oversees 20 parks, 12 playgrounds, 20 athletic fields and 16 tennis courts as well as community pools and community centers, such as City Park/Candler Street Park and the new Frances Meadows Center, a state-of-the-art aquatics facility with indoor and outdoor pools, all helping to make Gainesville a city on the go.