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... Find an acceptable (less-crowded) substitute for Lake Lanier 

Grab some sunscreen and head an hour north on I-75 to Lake Allatoona, where you'll find campgrounds, rental properties, marinas, parks, and boat rentals. Allatoona boasts 270 miles of shoreline covering more than 12,000 acres of land, so there's more than enough room to stretch out and have a good time. While you're there, check out the nearby Etowah Indian Mounds in Bartow County, a 54-acre site that was once home to a village of several thousand Native Americans. The highest mound, the "temple mound," rises 63 feet above ground and is a visually spectacular bulge on the face of the land. www.allatoonalake.org.

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