Last year after we dropped the kids off at Camp Pinnacle, Andrea and I stayed for a couple nights at the Lake Oconee Ritz and we liked it so much we wanted to go back and take the kids with us. This year we decided to stay at Lake Oconee before dropping the kids off. We drove up on Wednesday and after we checked in we went straight down to the dock to rent a couple SUPs (Stand-Up Paddleboards).
For the next couple of days we enjoyed all the fun things the resort had to offer. Connor and Paige loved the rope swings, hammocks, and peaceful places to relax. We swam in the kids' pool and eventually realized that the 16 year age limit at the adult pool wasn't really enforced. They actually lowered the age limit to 12 on Thursday evening so we swam there at the infinity pool and enjoyed the more picturesque view with the kids. We ate lunches and snacks at the restaurant near the pool "Gaby's by the Lake" and we loved the hummus platter, nachos, bbq chicken pizza, and quesadillas.
Thursday was an exciting day as Andrea had not only rented a boat for two hours, but also a captain. I'm not super comfortable driving a boat, especially since we planned to do some waterskiing and tubing. I started us off by trying my hand at wakeboarding. Our captain Harber instructed me to lean back and keep the board tipped up and sideways in the water. That technique did not work at all for me unfortunately. As soon as the rope got tensed up I felt like I was plowing tons of water with the wakeboard and I was not physically able to hold on. I tried variations, leaning more forward or backwards, but after four or five tries my hands were exhausted and I gave up. Connor had better luck, especially since he had some experience boating and wakeboarding with his friend Robert. Connor did a different technique and as soon as he had tension in the line he rotated the board so the narrow end was facing forward and he was not stuck trying to plow the water with the entire width of the board. After a couple tries he got up and he had a couple of nice runs on the board before he was tired.
Paige and Andrea were ready to get wet and they jumped in to the water while Harber got the tube ready for them. The tube was big enough for two people, but it was a bit uncomfortable since you had to arch your back and neck to keep your head up if you wanted to see where you were going. We crossed our arms over to give us a wider grip on the straps and Harber was pretty good about watching for hand signals. Our captain whipped the girls around a little bit on the tube, but he was pretty nice with them and didn't try and knock them off. When Connor and I went next we wanted a little more excitement and encouraged Harber to go a bit faster and do some donuts. We definitely had some G-forces on our ride and eventually I let go when I'd had enough. Everyone had a few turns on the tube and by the end we were all a bit beaten up and our arms and necks were exhausted. Two hours was a good amount of time for the boat and both kids said it was their favorite part of our time at Lake Oconee.
We all enjoyed the lake, it was a nice change of pace from our time at the ocean beaches. The lake was pretty calm except when a boat went zooming past. We took SUPs out a few times and I paddled Paige around the island that was across the lake from the resort. Andrea and Connor took a 2-person kayak around the island with us as well one afternoon. Paige and I enjoyed the inflatables that were tied up near the beach. The slide was a bit dry and painful to slide down, but it was a perfect height for jumping off of. We also liked to battle each other on the trampoline and the floating platforms. We would try and shake each other off, and it was hard to keep your balance with multiple people on them.
Andrea loved to go out at 7:30 for the S'mores. It was cooler in the evenings and the S'mores were always popular with lots of people around the fire every night. Paige was a good companion for Andrea and they went most nights together. I went the first night, but I tended to avoid it after that as I hated to smell smoky before bed.
Connor shot baskets by himself quite a bit while he listened to his music and he was cute about playing with some of the little kids that came by. When we were eating S'mores one night, we enjoyed hearing one of the moms tell us all about how her son talked about how cool and nice Connor was and how they played basketball together. Connor's favorite part was the hammocks and swings. He spent a lot of time chilling by himself listening to his Spotify playlist. He told Andrea that he was going to miss his music at Camp, and I think he was trying to cram as much music as possible in to his brain before he had to turn his phone off for 12 days during Camp Pinnacle.
We played ping pong as a family and although it was a bit odd with metal tables, a metal "net", and plastic paddles, we had a very competitive matchup with Paige and myself vs Connor and Andrea. Connor and Andrea won the first game but Paige and I came from behind and won the second match.
Personally, I was surprised and pleased that the kids loved our time at Lake Oconee so much. Paige said that it was her favorite "inside the USA" family vacation and Connor later said he agreed. I'm thankful that Andrea thought to put it together, and planned family time for us at such an awesome place. Maybe it was the novelty and newness of a lake vacation, the beauty of Lake Oconee, the sunny and cool weather, or the family time we had together, but it all came together for a memorable family vacation.
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