For my money, the
best place to swim in our area is at Morganton Point. There is a small
self-service day fee, which can be greatly reduced by buying a season’s
pass (which is also good at other forest service parking lots in the
area) at the U.S. Forest Service office on the four-lane in Blue Ridge
(across from the Ingles shopping center, a bit further east). There
is a family pass option that allows you to add up to three cars.
Amenities at Morganton
Point include lavatories, changing rooms, and outside showers. There
is a lifeguard on duty during specified times. There are some picnic
tables, and a forest service campground with additional picnic areas
is next door. There is also a boat ramp. Please don’t bring jet
skis and boats into the swimming area.
From Blue Ridge,
go east on the four-lane approximately four miles to a right on Hwy
60 south. Follow 60 south to Morganton, going straight when the road
curves around past the post office. Bradburn’s Grocery and Sporting
Goods is on the corner. Turn right just past Bradburn’s, and go
to the end of the road.
You can also swim
in Union County at Poteete Creek Recreation Area. From Blue Ridge, go
approximately six miles to a left on Loving Road. Go to the end, and
turn right on 325. Shortly after turning right, you will see the entrance
on the left. From Blairsville, go north on 19/129 to a left on 325 at
Ivy Log. After you cross the dam, watch for Loving Road on the right.
Continuing on 325, the recreation area is on the left shortly after
the intersection with Loving Road.
Pontoon boats can
be rented by the day or half-day from the Lake Blue Ridge Marina, 706.632.2618.
The marina is off Old Highway 76. From the McDonald’s in Blue
Ridge, go east several miles to a right on Windy Ridge Road (at the
Windy Ridge Conoco and the Food Lion shopping center). Go one block
and turn left on Old 76. You will see the sign for the marina before
you cross the dam.
On Nottely, you can
try the Nottely Marina on 19/129.
There’s a long
tradition of dipping in holes in the local rivers and streams. It’s
probably safer on the river above the dam, which can be reached by taking
Aska Road (from the Food Lion shopping center, turn left on Old 76 and
then immediately turn right just after Ace Hardware). There are several
access points just before the Shallowford Bridge, or you can cross the
bridge, go right, and right again at the first fork. The current can
be strong, so exercise caution and be sure you have the proper equipment
for youngsters (life jacket, rope).
I don’t recommend
dipping in the river below the dam, because the water can rise very
suddenly when the TVA releases from the dam, and the current is very
swift. It’s no joke. If you insist, please be aware of the release
schedule, and know that it is subject to change without notice. You
can access it at www.tva.gov.