The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests, as you may have guessed, is comprised of two forests: the Chattahoochee National Forest and the Oconee National Forest. Together, they span 867,000 acres across 26 counties, with thousands of miles of sparkling streams and rivers, about 850 miles of winding hiking trails, and dozens of campgrounds, picnic areas, and other recreational areas. These forests bear witness to America’s first gold rush, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto’s search for gold, the Cherokee Indians’ struggle to keep their land, and significant battles in the Civil War.
While the Chattahoochee National Forest boasts the Ridge and Valley Scenic Byway, the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Conasauga, Brasstown Bald, and the beginning of the Appalachian Trail, the relatively flat Oconee National Forest has Lake Sinclair, the ghost town of Scull Shoals, and more than 15,000 acres of swimming, fishing, boating, and camping.
If the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests sounds like a place where you can see yourself frequenting, then allow us to recommend a few of our favorite active adult communities a short drive away from this icon of outdoor recreation, listed from closest to farthest.
Lakeside Village - Blairsville
Located about 25 minutes from the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests in Blairsville, Lakeside Village rests on the shores of Lake Nottely. Its location is ideal for those who love boating and relaxing by the water.
The community features 100 single-family homes available for resale. They range in size from 1,176 to 3,000 square feet with two or three bedrooms, one to three bathrooms, while some homes have one to two-car attached garages. Most have expansive outdoor patios, fireplaces, and lots up to an acre.
Amenities include a well-equipped clubhouse with a multi-purpose room, a woodworking shop, a pickleball and shuffleboard court, walking and biking trails, and direct access to Lake Nottely.
Cresswind at Lake Lanier - Gainesville
Cresswind at Lake Lanier is located in Gainesville, a little over an hour from the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests. It’s made up of 934 single-family homes that come in several different sizes and styles.
The wide range of amenities and activities will appeal to many different residents and the versatile floor plans will meet the needs of nearly any homeowner. Social clubs, lifelong learning opportunities, and community activities come together to support a rich active adult lifestyle.
The Club at Cresswind, an impressive 36,000 square-foot, three-story clubhouse, offers all the amenities and activities needed to support a healthy, active lifestyle. Residents can stay in shape by visiting the state-of-the-art fitness center, where they can take a class in the aerobics studio or swim laps in the indoor pool. Outdoors, residents can enjoy a game of tennis, pickleball, bocce or horseshoes, and extensive walking trails are perfect for a quick jog or a leisurely stroll.
One of the main attractions in Cresswind at Lake Lanier is the community's ideal location situated on the shores of one of Georgia's largest recreational lakes. Lake Lanier's 692 miles of sparkling shoreline meander past picturesque parks, picnic areas and campgrounds.
Post Oak Glen - Cumming
A little under an hour-and-a-half away in Cumming, Post Oak Glen is 40 acres of rolling hills, wooded glens, and scenic ponds. The community is home to 94 elegant ranch and two-story, single-family homes.
Offering amenities such as a clubhouse, an outdoor pool and patio, and plenty of natural open space, Post Oak Glen’s single-family homes include two-story floor plans and offer 2,270 to 3,111 square feet of living space with three to four bedrooms, two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half bathrooms, and attached two-car garages.
Post Oak Glen is near the 963-acre Sawnee Mountain Preserve that features plenty of hiking trails, picnic pavilions, and outdoor space. Residents will also have access to Ducktown Park, North Georgia Premium Outlets, as well as Lake Sidney Lanier for fishing, boating, and other water activities.
Villages at River Pointe - Canton
This community of 114 attached homes in Canton is slightly under an hour-and-a-half from the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests. Two floor plans are available, ranging in size from 1,365 to 1,814 square feet with two or three bedrooms, two or two-and-a-half bathrooms, and attached one or two-car garages. Both floor plans offer the features active adults seek like first-floor master suites, open floor plans, and low-maintenance exteriors.
Outdoors, covered patios allow homeowners to make the most of the beautiful, natural setting. While there is no clubhouse in Villages at River Pointe, residents of this community still find ways to create a tight and close-knit community with neighbors and friends.
Set among the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, homeowners enjoy the pleasant climate in a serene and natural environment. Residents can fully enjoy this community knowing that exterior home maintenance, lawn care, and common area maintenance are taken care of by the homeowners' association.
Larkspur - Alpharetta
Another 55+ community about an hour and a half from the Chattahoochee National Forest is Larkspur in Alpharetta, with 134 single-family homes with rustic, modern farmhouse designs.
Larkspur's community clubhouse, The Ranch House has many desirable amenities and activities, with an activity room for staying in shape, a learning space for educational pursuits, and meeting and gathering rooms for spending time with friends. There’s also a catering kitchen for preparing snacks.
Outside The Ranch House, residents can play pickleball or take a dip in the resort-style swimming pool. Other communal spaces include the poolside patio and the outdoor fireplace. Residents can take advantage of the miles of nature trails and serene ponds in Larkspur, as well as enjoy using the community gardens.