Get Outdoors

Exploring Lake Allatoona by Kayak

One of my favorite things to do is plan adventures. I can spend hours looking at maps and diving deep into Google Earth. I get excited about people doing things like biking the Baja Divide or hiking the Arizona Trail. Those places seem far away and exotic to me. I’m from the East Coast and don’t have any experience in the desert. I’m used to barrier islands and Appalachian forests. Someday I’d like to do some more “epic” trips but right now, with kids and a job, I can’t take off for weeks at a time. Until then, I’ve decided to explore my area of north Georgia as much as possible. North Georgia really is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. We have an abundance of lakes, rivers, forests and mountains to explore.


Lake Allatoona is my local lake and my kids love to kayak there. Much of the shoreline is Army Corps of Engineers property, which means it isn’t dominated by vacation homes. Vast sections of it are undeveloped, so we can pull up onshore and have a picnic or climb the rock formations. There are multiple quiet coves to explore. The trick about kayaking Allatoona is staying away from the motorboats, jet skis, wakeboarders and water skiers.


Cooper Branch Day Use Area is a boat launch and picnic area in Bartow County that seems less busy than other parts of the lake. It’s on the north end of the lake, adjacent to Allatoona Dam and a couple little coves where people line the shore picnicking and fishing.

You can see Allatoona Dam in the background.

The shoreline is undeveloped, except for a little public beach area. You don’t get the wake boats speeding through. Mostly we see pontoons, small yachts and smaller fishing boats. We can easily cross the lake without having to worry about a constant flow of faster boats.

Minnie the Chihuahua loves kayaking!

There are two Cooper Branch areas, called #1 and #2. We go to #2 because it has a boat ramp where we can easily unload the kayaks. Cooper Branch is located right off of Hwy 20 on what is called Hwy 20 Spur Rd.


On our way down toward the lake on the Spur Rd, we stop at Center Street “Grocery” store. There aren’t really groceries, just a lot of junk food and beer! You can buy bait though, so that’s convenient if you want to fish. My kids like to get a couple snacks.


We like to explore the little islands that dot the middle of Lake Allatoona.




Cooper Branch is a quieter section of a busy lake, perfect for exploring with kids!

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