Chattooga River

7 Most Beautiful Rivers in Georgia

The vast waterways in the United States interconnect the different states, providing functionality for residents, such as irrigation and hydroelectricity production. That said, they are also popular destinations for residents and tourists alike, boasting attractions such as fishing, boating, swimming, and plenty of other recreational activities.

Functionality and fun go hand-in-hand regarding the rivers flowing through Georgia. But their beauty adds to the appeal, as scenic, serene waters cascade in the summer, reflecting the colorful foliage in autumn, freezing in the winter, resembling the sparkling stars of the night sky, and rushing back to life in the spring. Learn about these beautiful rivers in Georgia so you can decide where you'll head next.

Flint River

Flint River in Alabama
The Flint River flowing through Alabama.

The Flint River is entirely contained in Georgia, beginning in the Atlanta metropolitan area and running through Southwest Georgia into Lake Seminole. The river is free-flowing for more than 200 river miles, creating homes for plenty of plant and animal life, such as Shoals Spider Lilies, native mussels, and fish, that add to the area's beauty.

The river flows through the Montezuma Bluff Wildlife Management Area, a mature hardwood forest that features an escarpment of eroded limestone, which overlooks the spectacular swampy creeks below. There are numerous trails ideal for hiking, though it is also a popular spot to enjoy recreational activities such as boating and fishing.

Altamaha River

Altamaha river
A fishing boat docked on the banks of the Altamaha River in Georgia on a misty morning.

A 137-mile waterway, the Altamaha River forms where the Ocmulgee and Oconee Rivers meet in Lumber City, Georgia. It runs out into the Atlantic Ocean near Brunswick. Only five roadways meet the river, making it more of an undiscovered and quiet gem in the state. The river itself is a sight to behold, but the area also offers an enchanting soundscape, surrounded by singing birds, living insects, and flowing water.

Unique plant life, such as the flowering Franklinia alatamaha, surrounds the Altamaha River. It is an excellent place to picnic, camp, fish, and birdwatch. The Altamaha Canoe Trail is 138 miles long, ideal for a fishing trip or boating excursion. 

Chattooga River

Chattooga River
Whitewater rafting in the Chattooga River.

The main tributary of the Tugaloo River, the Chattooga River, begins in North Carolina, where springs, rainfall, and the slopes of the Appalachian Mountains provide life and beauty to the river. It also flows through the Ellicott Rock Wilderness, part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. It ends at Lake Tugaloo, sitting between South Carolina and Georgia.

The area boasts plunging waterfalls, scenic cliffs, and complex forests. There are also plenty of hiking trails, perfect for outdoor adventuring. White water rafting is a popular sport in the Chattooga River, which you can turn into a weekend trip in the great outdoors, enjoying recreational activities such as zip lining and staying at a nearby campsite.

Tallulah River

Whitewater rafters on the Tallulah River during the autumn water release at the Tallulah Gorge State Park.
Whitewater rafters on the Tallulah River during the autumn water release at the Tallulah Gorge State Park. Editorial credit: JayL /

Beginning 5,499 feet into the North Carolina mountains and flowing into Georgia, the Tallulah River intersects with the Chattooga River, forming the Tugaloo River. It also cascades through Tate City and the Rock Mountain Gorge, home to the plunging Tallulah Falls and a suspension bridge 80 feet from the ground.

Visitors can access the gorge from the Tallulah River Road, as well as the Chattahoochee National Forest, which boasts beautiful foliage in the fall. Numerous campgrounds are scattered throughout the riverside, along with trails and hiking areas. It is two hours east of Atlanta, making it the ideal vacation area if you want to fit an outdoor adventure and city escape together.

Etowah River

Etowah river
Aerial view of a kayaker in the Etowah River.

The Etowah River is 163 miles long, flowing through North Georgia, from Lumpkin County to Floyd County, and providing the state with an incredibly biologically diverse waterway. The small shoals and rapids provide an exciting but comfortable terrain for novice paddlers, though it is also a popular fishing spot as it is home to over 76 fish species.

The river winds through three state wildlife management areas: Dawson Forest, McGraw Ford, and Allatoona, as well as the Chattahoochee National Forest. Bring a pair of binoculars on your fishing or camping trip to ensure you capture some of the beautiful wildlife, and don't forget to check out the local parks and hiking trails nearby.

Chattahoochee River

People raft, kayak and canoe down the Chattahoochee River on a hot summer day
People having a great time in the Chattahoochee River on a hot summer day. Editorial credit: BluIz60 /

Flowing along the southern half of the Alabama and Georgia border, as well as the Florida and Georgia border, the Chattahoochee River is 434 miles long and supplies over 70 percent of Atlanta's drinking water. Thirteen dams control the river, which also generates hydropower and electricity.

The river is home to 24 species of freshwater aquatic turtles, salamanders, frogs, toads, and alligators. The riverside also houses the Chattahoochee Nature Center, which focuses on educating locals and visitors about the wildlife and ecosystems of the river. There are also numerous campsites, two marinas, and more than six miles of hiking trails. The Chattahoochee River Paddle Trail is ideal for anyone interested in a lengthy canoeing or kayaking trip.

Savannah River

Savannah River
Savannah River in Augusta.

Forming most of the border between South Carolina and Georgia, the Savannah River originates in the Appalachian Mountains and drains into the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of Georgia's longest and largest waterways. It provides drinking water to over 1.4 million people and is an important transportation source. On top of its functionality, the Savannah River is popular for numerous water sports and activities, including sailing, wakeboarding, and windsurfing. The salt marsh trails are ideal for kayaking, row boating, canoeing, and paddleboards. The river also runs through the city of Augusta, Georgia, which is a beautiful metropolitan area that encompasses the excitement of city life and charm of an old town.

Check Out These Mainstream Rivers

Whether you are an outdoor adventurer or simply want to enjoy a serene and relaxing getaway, these Georgia rivers are the place to be. They each offer their own beauty and recreational activities and unique, nearby small towns. Georgia rivers are beautiful year-round, and you must see at least one if you are visiting the state. From lush forests to gorgeous waterfalls and natural swimming holes, there is something for everyone at these waterways.


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