Gainesville, Georgia

Best Places to Retire in Georgia


Georgia Mountains, just east of Lake Lanier. It is the county seat of Hall County, which is known for its scenic beauty with rolling hills, hardwoods and pine, blazing fall colors, and its moderate four-season climate that supports a great many outdoor activities. Gainesville is also home to two colleges: Brenau University, which is a four-year women’s college with 600 full-time students; and Gainesville College, a two-year institution, and part of the University System of Georgia.

Nearby Lake Lanier is a 38,000-acre lake created when the U.S. Corps of Engineers completed its dam on the Chattahoochee River in 1957. Today there are 60 recreational areas and seven commercial marinas that attract millions of visitors. Clark’s Bridge Park on Lake Lanier hosted the 1996 Olympic Rowing and Kayak events, drawing an estimated 150,000 spectators. The Gainesville-Hall County area (population 141,000) is Northeast Georgia’s regional center for business, shopping, medical services, and higher education opportunities.

The county consists of six incorporated municipalities: Gainesville, Oakwood, Flowery Branch, Lula, Clermont, Gillsville and a part of Buford. The shores of Lake Lanier comprise the western boundary of Hall County. The area is also known for its one billion dollar poultry processing industry, which is the largest employer in the region.

The economy has remained strong, bolstered by a solid business base, tourism, and the general growth of the area. Gainesville offers an affordable lifestyle, warm Southern hospitality, and a great many amenities, including arts, culture, entertainment, a great number of dining choices, continuing education, excellent healthcare, and good shopping – including the 1.7 million square-foot Mall of Georgia, the largest mall in the state. Gainesville also has a wealth of recreation and outdoor activities including golf, tennis, hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, boating, sailing, swimming, and fishing. There is a busy events calendar that includes great music with jazz, bluegrass, pops, opera, and symphony.

Nearby attractions include two motor sports raceways – Road Atlanta and Lanier National Speedway. You can also see the Atlanta Falcons NFL football team at their training complex in the nearby town of Flowery Branch. 

Arts & Culture

Gainesville Theatre Alliance is a collaboration of Gainesville College, Brenau University, Theatre Wings, the Northeast Georgia Community, and Theatre Professionals. The Alliance offers a complete season of live theater. 

Brenau University Galleries 

Galleries/ Pearce Auditorium is a magnificent facility that opened in 1897 as “the largest theater of its kind in the South.” It is a very important venue, hosting the Arts Council Series, Theatre Alliance, Gainesville Symphony, Gainesville Ballet, and others. Guest speakers and performers have included Helen Keller, Martin Luther King Sr., Maria Von Trapp, as well as the New York City Opera, Joffery II Ballet, Vienna Boys Choir, Dave Brubeck, Chuck Mangione, the Atlanta Symphony, and others. 

The Gainesville Symphony Orchestra is a 70-piece community orchestra which performs several concerts a year. 

Gainesville Ballet 

John S. Burd Center for the Performing Arts is a modern facility that opened in 2002. It provides facilities for dance, theater and other performing arts productions. The center also has an art gallery and the new Hosch Theater with seating for 350. 

Elachee Nature Science Center consists of a 1,200-acre nature preserve, an 11,300 square-foot Natural History Museum, gardens and 12 miles of nature trails.

Quinlan Visual Arts Center 


Hall County maintains 20 park locations with a great many facilities. These include tennis courts, ball fields, picnic areas and shelters, walking trails, soccer fields, swimming pools, playgrounds, a football field-size covered arena, outdoor arenas and horse stalls, fishing areas, boat ramps, rowing and kayaking facilities, and more.

Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga., (10 miles away) is a 2.54-mile Grand Prix road course that features 12 turns and hilly terrain. It attracts top international racing stars. 

Lanier National Speedway also in Braselton, is a 3/8ths mile oval track that hosts NASCAR events. 

The Atlanta Rowing Club uses the Atlanta Olympic Rowing Venue at Clark’s Bridge Park near Gainesville. It is a non-profit group organized to teach and promote the sport among men and women.

Baseball fans can take a short trip to Atlanta to see the Atlanta Braves.

The Atlanta Falcons of the NFL play their home games in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome.


Gainesville College is a two-year institution and a part of the University System of Georgia. The main campus is six miles southwest of Gainesville. Its Oconee Campus is in Watkinsville. Total enrollment is about 5,200. 

Brenau University is a four-year women’s college with a 50-acre main campus located in Gainesville. It enrolls just over 600 full-time students and offers a liberal arts base with more than 30 major courses of study. It also has an Evening and Weekend College for returning adult men and women, and an online college. Nearly 1,500 students are served by the Evening and Weekend College.

Senior Programs

The Senior Center is open all citizens of Hall County who are 60 years of age or better. There are a great many activities and programs, including computer classes, trips, exercise programs, free blood pressure screenings, and much more. 

More than 300 seniors benefit from the Meals on Wheels program daily. This program for the homebound is operated from the Community Service Center in Gainesville. 


Northeast Georgia Medical Center is a 461-bed full service hospital.

Lanier Park Hospital is a 109-bed facility. (770) 503-7535

Airport & Train Service

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is located 10 miles south of downtown Atlanta and 64 miles from Gainesville.

Amtrak Service 


The Gainesville area has four distinct seasons with fairly moderate temperatures. Average low temperature for January is 31 degrees and the average high is 50 degrees. The July averages are a high of 88 degrees and low of 67 degrees. Average annual rainfall is 52 inches. 


Gainesville Times –

Chamber of Commerce

Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce –


Athens – 39 miles

Atlanta – 51 miles

Marietta – 60 miles

Greenville, SC – 108 miles

Augusta – 190 miles

Savannah – 295 miles

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