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The North Georgia Mountains have an optimal climate, with just the right amount of chill in the winter, and breeze in the summer. Gently rolling peaks extend for miles, it’s not hard to find fresh trout dishes, and there’s plenty of ways to soak in the environment. For a memorable mountain getaway, put these top things to do in the North Georgia Mountains on your travel itinerary.
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Anna Ruby Falls is one of the most gorgeous waterfalls in Georgia. Near Unicoi State Park, this pleasant hike is also extremely close to the alpine village of Helen—everyone loves to stop here when in the mountains. The trail leading up to the gorgeous twin falls follows a peaceful stream and mossy foliage. Beginners and families can easily navigate the clearly marked, paved path—after a half-mile, you’ll reach the falls!
Blue Ridge can best be experienced by hopping on the scenic railway, which travels beside and over the Toccoa River. You’ll board at the historic depot in adorable Downtown Blue Ridge, and will travel a total of four hours through the most beautiful foliage in the state. Train cars have a vintage feel, and there’s a choice between climate controlled or open-air. Stops on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway include towns of McCaysville, Georgia, and Copperhill, Tennessee, where you’ll have some time to site see.
Toccoa Riverside Restaurant is that place you are looking for when in search of perfect mountain dining. You’ve got the riverside view, mountains, and that cozy cabin feel. If the season’s right, dining on the deck is a must. Fresh Georgia trout is the item you want to try—all of the preparations, from pecan, almond, lemon pepper or Cajun crusted, to boiled, crab stuffed or smoked are on point. Keep in mind, the restaurant is closed Monday and Tuesday.
Helen is most famous for its Bavarian architecture, lively Oktoberfest celebrations and delicious food, but the Chattahoochee River, which runs through the heart of the alpine town, brings another major attraction. Colorful tubes float passengers under bridges and around the surrounding area—despite a few exciting dips and small rapids, the trip is quite tame. Cool River Tubing is also equipped with a small water park!
Dawsonville is touted as the Moonshine Capital of the World, so of course, there’s an authentic place to down some of that shine—the Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery, also known as Free Spirits Distillery. Conjoined with City Hall and the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, the establishment continues to perfect their 150-year-old recipes. Tours include a peek into all of the processes—for example, mashing, distilling, barreling, aging, and bottling. Tastings are included, and you can schedule your trip Monday – Saturday 10am-5pm, and Sunday 12:30pm-5pm.
Dahlonega has quite the wine scene with a charming collection of wineries where you can enjoy a tasting, which is one of the top things to do in the area. Participants include Canvas & Cork, Crane Creek Dahlonega Tasting Room, Dahlonega Tasting Room, Georgia Winery of Dahlonega Tasting Room, Naturally Georgia, Ole’ Mountain Collectors & Wine Cellars, and Taste Wine & Gourmet Foods. It’s the perfect explorative way to kick off a trip to the area.
As a part of the Appalachian Trail, the hiking path bends over Blood Mountain—perfect overlooks are situated along the way, with the top offering views of a town in the valley below. An old wooden and stone lodge, meant to provide shelter for those going for the long haul on the Appalachian, resides at the tip-top. Blood Mountain is a difficult, but rewarding day hike.
Brasstown Bald is the tallest point in Georgia at 4,784 feet above sea level—luckily, you don’t have to be up for climbing the extremely steep trail, because a seasonal shuttle is available. Once at the top, miles of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forrest is in view on a clear day. Relax on the observation deck and peer over to the Carolinas, or Tenessee!
Mercier Orchards is amazing year round, offering the most amazing pies and other delicious pastries. However, fall is the most scenic time to visit. If you’re not driving, treat yourself to a hard cider flight!
Dating back to 1899, The Smith House is a cozy inn with a carriage house. It’s best known for its lovely family-style Southern restaurant, which serves fried chicken, mashed potatoes and homemade yeast rolls, while an on-site country store sells goods such as homemade jam and local crafts. An old exposed gold mine shaft nestled inside the restaurant was discovered during renovation—request to take a peek!