Nestled in the scenic Appalachian Mountains, the town of Ellijay is a popular vacation destination in Georgia. It combines a rustic, small-town feel with great shopping, dining, and activities for all ages. Whether you’re visiting in the early fall for apple picking season, or you plan on embarking on a wilderness adventure, you can find plenty of things to do near your Ellijay vacation rental. Here are some of the most popular local attractions in the area.

1. Pick Your Own Fruit

Ellijay is famous for its orchards, and you can be a part of that tradition by visiting one of the many pick-your-own fruit farms. R and A Orchards, B.J. Reece Orchards, and the Red Apple Barn are three of the most popular options. These farms also have stores where they offer tasty baked goods, preserves, and other treats made from their fruits and vegetables.

2. Enjoy a Wine Tasting

Georgia has some delicious local wine varieties, and the Ellijay area is no exception. To get a taste of the local varieties, head over to Cartecay Vineyards. This charming winery has a rustic feel and beautiful mountain scenery to enjoy, as well as live music on many weekends.

3. Pick Up Local Souvenirs

While you’re in town, spend a day strolling along Ellijay’s old-fashioned boardwalk and exploring the square. This area is home to numerous distinctive local shops where you can pick up great items from local artisans. Mountain Treasures is a popular local spot that offers clothing and accessories in the front and wine and moonshine tastings in the back, while the North Star Emporium offers vendor spaces to a wide mix of people.

4. Discover the Beauty of Amicalola Falls

About half an hour outside of Ellijay lies Amicalola Falls State Park, which is home to a majestic waterfall of the same name. There are numerous hiking trails in the park, but the most popular option is the hike to the top of the falls. It does span numerous stairs with about 600 steps, so you can also drive to the top of the falls.

5. Paint Your Own Pottery

Whistle Tree Pottery, which is located right on Ellijay’s historic square, is a great place for people of all ages to visit. They offer a selection of finished wares, as well as paint-your-own pottery classes where kids and adults alike can create their own masterpieces. If you’re only in town for a short time, they’ll even ship your artwork to your home.

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6. Enjoy Some Local Music and Art

If you’re in the mood to soak up some culture, check out the Gilmer Arts Center. The exact offerings change frequently, but typical events include plays and concerts by local musicians. There’s also a gallery with paintings, photographs, and other visual art which you can peruse during the day or check out before your show starts.

7. Launch a Boat On Carters Lake

When you’re ready to escape the summer heat, head over to Carters Lake. If you prefer to stick close to shore, head over to Harris Branch Beach. If boating is more your style, visit Carters Lake Marina. You can launch your own boat from the marina, but if you don’t feel like towing your boat to your vacation rental, there are also pontoons available for rent.

8. Become a Bigfoot Believer

Whether you’re an avowed skeptic or are sure that the legendary creature really exists, you can have a good time at Expedition: Bigfoot! The Sasquatch Museum. This small museum features displays, audio recordings, and short films explaining all about the Bigfoot legend, including some tips on how to spot a Sasquatch yourself.

9. Float Down the Cartecay River

Canoeing or kayaking lets you see the scenery from a new perspective, and the Cartecay River Experience can help you get there. This small outfitter offers full-service tubing, canoeing, and kayaking rentals, including all the safety equipment you need. If you plan to bring your own gear and store it in your vacation rental, you can still park in the Cartecay River Experience parking lots and join one of their shuttles to the launch.

10. Discover Civil War History

Step back in time at the Tabor House and Civil War Museum. This historic building was built in 1870 and features several exhibits designed to show how people of the time lived, as well as information about the Civil War. There’s also an extensive Civil War library featuring books and movies to let you learn more about the times.

11. Visit the Farmer’s Market

If you’re visiting during the summer or early fall, do at least a little bit of your shopping at the weekly Ellijay Farmers Market. This bustling market offers locally sourced honey, fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and other crafts. During the off-season, stop by New Ground Market in the square. You might not be able to buy directly from the farmers, but New Ground has a wide selection of local farm-fresh foods.

12. Stroll Through River Park

River Park is a free public park running along the banks of the Coosawattee River. It’s home to numerous trails that are ideal for an early morning jog or an after-dinner stroll, as well as the Veterans Memorial Bridge and Gardens. There are also soccer fields, tennis courts, and a playground for the kids.

13. Pet and Feed Farm Animals

In the mountains outside of Ellijay lies a little sanctuary called the Build an Ark Animal Rescue. This sanctuary takes in farm animals and other creatures in need of safe, loving homes. Visitors are welcome to pet and feed pigs, cows, goats, horses, and more.

14. Check Out the Apple Festival

Ellijay is the apple capital of Georgia, and the town celebrates that title every year with an annual Apple Festival. This two-week festival features hundreds of artists, vendors, and musicians coming together for a vibrant, family-friendly experience. If you’re visiting at another time of year, you may still be able to visit the Apple Blossom Festival, Taste of Ellijay, and many more charming festivals.

15. Take a Mountain Bike Tour

North Georgia is a popular destination for mountain bikers, and you can make the most of that with a guided ride at the Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Get-a-way. They offer guided full- and half-day tours, or you can park there and get expert advice from the guides before striking out on your own. If you didn’t bring your own bike, you can rent one here as well.

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