I get this question a lot from prospective property owners that are not familiar with the lake. The easy answer is there is no best part of the lake. There are hot areas of the lake, there are areas that are a closer/further drive, there are areas more/less convenient to groceries/marinas/restaurants, there are busier/calmer areas, etc. Bottom line, the area of the lake should be determined by criteria OTHER THAN the area of the lake. For instance, do you want to be close by water (or road) to your friends or family? Do you want to be close to I65 or I22? Do you want to be where the action is or do you want to be remote? You get the idea. If you are like most, you will end up where you find a house or lot that you like.
My first property was purchased because I wanted to be no more than 1 hr 15 mins from my home. It is on the main channel of Ryan and really busy on summer weekends but that does not bother me one bit…I love it! My second home was purchased because it was time for something bigger (my cabin is <500 sq ft) and we stumbled onto one of our rental homes an owner wanted to sell in Stoney Point (3 miles north of Duncan Bridge). Completely different in that it is wider with long water views, shallower and on the main channel but not close to where the boats run. I now am about to build a third home and it was picked because we found a piece of property that we fell in love with. It is more central (close to the mouth of Rock) to the lake so it is better for me showing real estate by boat. Three completely different houses, three completely different situations, all great properties.
So my recommendation is to go into your search with an open mind. The perfect property is hard to find and will usually require compromise but the fewer the conditions the better your chances of finding the perfect property.
A fun part of my job as a buyer’s agent is the challenge of finding my clients the perfect property. Let me know when you are ready.