Have a beach staycation!!

By Becky Samford, Publisher Duluth, Norcross, Suwanee, Johns Creek & Peachtree Corners Macaroni Kid April 1, 2024

Are your kids disappointed because y'all didn't make it to the beach this summer? To me, no summer is complete without at least one trip to the beach. I love it! It's just so relaxing to bask in the sun and cool off in the warm water. However, as much as I love the ocean, it's not without drawbacks.

First, and foremost, the closest beach from Atlanta is five hours away. With a car full of kids, that sometimes seems like fifty! And remember, it's just that long driving back except those same kids are usually worn out, sunburned and cranky!

The second biggest drawback is the expense. With such a long drive it does not make sense to go for less than two nights and most families try to stay for a week. In fact, most beach houses only offer weekly rentals. So, just to sleep somewhere will cost at least $300 and probably much, much more.

But what if I told you there's a terrific beach only thirty minutes away? WHAT!! Yep, that's right... no hotel bill, no miserable hours in the car, and actually more fun! Where is this nirvana, you ask? It's at Paradise Beach & Water Park at Margaritaville at Lake Lanier Islands


Here are my top 18 reasons why I think Paradise Beach & Water Park  is a better and more fun choice for a beach vacation:

1. The short ride up is a given. But the ride home is the real perk. See #18 for my reasons!

2. One usually has to carry everything needed for the day, but not at this beach! With huge stationary umbrellas and plenty of lounge chairs, all you need to bring is sunscreen and towels! If you do find you forgot something, there's a Gift Shop that's stocked with all the necessities plus lots of extras!  *See information about COVID-19 social distancing policies HERE.

3. No lugging heavy ice chests to this beach! From hot dogs, burgers, pizza, and nachos to full course dinners, the Boardwalk offers all of the food, snacks, ice cream and ice cold drinks you could possibly desire! 

4. You don't even need to bring your own music. Your favorite music and videos are broadcast all day on the Spectacular Screen, a massive five-story, high definition, outdoor screen overlooking the beach and on the weekend, a full-length family movie is shown at 4PM.

5. For sun worshippers, Paradise Beach has a half mile of beautiful, white sand on which to walk, build sand castles, or work on a tan. Just like in Florida, the water is a great place to cool off, but at this beach, there are no jellyfish!

6. But, you think,  there are also no waves ... not so!! Just a few steps away is WildWaves, the largest wave pool in the state of Georgia. Kids and parents alike can wade into the zero entry pool with or without a tube and ride super-sized waves for all the fun of the ocean but with no sharks!!

7. If you'd rather enjoy the beach in the shade, there's a huge covered pavilion filled with lounge chairs. This is the perfect place for the little ones to take a quick nap.

8. Unlike most other beaches, there are restrooms and bathhouses with lockers conveniently located close to everything.


9. Safety, safety, safety... Another perk for families with children is that complimentary life jackets and tubes are easily accessible throughout the park. While there are no lifeguards, the park is staffed with very enthusiastic and knowledgeable attendants who are eager to help.

10. And just in case there is an accident, there is a First Aid Station. When Katie fell on the sidewalk and scraped her knee they fixed her up right up with a water-proof bandage so she wouldn't miss any of the fun.  

11. Hanging out on the beach and playing in the water, are usually all traditional beaches have to offer.  But at LanierWorld, that is just the beginning! There are 11 fantastic water slides ranging from the fairly easy Double Down to the exhilarating tube ride down the rapids of the Raging River and the heart-stopping, almost vertical drop of the Intimidator!  One of the newest additions, Cat4 is like no other!  Riders zoom downhill, over the Boardwalk, across Big Beach - then splash into Lake Lanier! Our favorites were the Blackout, where you slide in total darkness, and the FunDunker Drop, a four-story, high-speed slide that sends riders swirling round and round before the freefall into the 8' pool below. Katie said it was what she would imagine it would feel like to be flushed down a toilet!

12. Although it's an easy walk to everything, because LanierWorld is so spread out,  it never seems crowded

13. One of the most popular activities is the Big Beach Aquatic Adventure. This is a floating inflatable adventure course where you climb, slide, swim, and jump your way through aquatic obstacles.  Johnny couldn't wait to try this one!

14. At Sunset Cove Beach,  you can play a friendly game of beach volleyball or watch more competitive teams play. Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available to rent or you can enjoy a game of miniature golf!

15. The three-story FunDunker Playhouse features more than 100 ways to get wet. At the tip-top of this attraction is a large bucket that dumps nearly 2,000 gallons of icy water over your head to cool you off in the summer heat!

16. Younger kids have their own area at the Fun Zone Splash Pad. Gentle slides, water spouts, and Wiggle Waves, a mini wave pool, are designed especially for pre-schoolers. Ringed by huge umbrellas and lounge chairs, this is the perfect spot to relax for families with young children.   *See information about COVID-19 social distancing policies HERE.

17. On many weekends there are breathtaking fireworks at night. Check the website to see the dates.

18. After a full day of fun in the sun and dinner,  the kids can shower in the bathhouses and change into their PJs before heading to the car. My kids almost always fall asleep during the short ride home and then just need to be carried to their own (FREE) beds. Yeah, this definitely beats a five-hour ride home any day of the week!

There is no question in my mind that the close location, minimal expense, and huge variety of activities from which to choose make Paradise Beach & Water Park at Margaritaville the perfect beach destination!  

Paradise Beach & Water Park at Margaritaville is open every day in July from 11 AM to 7 PM. August 1-16 daily from 10 AM to 9PM plus August 22, 23, 29 & 30. 

Children 2 and under are FREE! Children 3-7 years and Seniors 62 years and older are $34.99; Adults 8-61 years are $49.99. Tickets Include one day Access to all Water Park attractions including, wave pool, water slides, Paradise beach and mini golf for the summer season.

The Paradise Beach & Water Park at Margaritaville is located at 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway in Buford (30518). They can be contacted at 770-945-8787. They are located on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.