Enjoy life at an easygoing pace when you visit northern Georgia and the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Here, you’ll encounter lush greenery, towering waterfalls, trickling mountain streams, and friendly laid-back folks. At every turn of the road, you’ll have opportunities to experience exciting adventures, which include hiking, biking, and watersports. Find your perfect accommodation with vacation rentals in the North Georgia Mountains that range from cabins tucked far in the forests, to spacious homes in the downtown area. Check out the 12 most popular activities in the North Georgia Mountains for an unforgettable trip.
1. Ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Built in 1905, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway takes you on a 26-mile round-trip journey from the historic depot to the sister cities of McCaysville, Georgia, and Copperhill, Tennessee. Along the trip, you and the family can stop at the Georgia/Tennessee line to shop for crafts and antiques or grab an ice cream and stroll alongside the Ocoee River. The entire trip takes about 4 hours, and it is ideal for children and adults of all ages. Choose from vintage open-air rail cars or climate-controlled cars.
2. Hike the Appalachian Trail
Anyone who loves to hike is probably familiar with the Appalachian Trail that runs from Springer Mountain in North Georgia to Maine. Take the family on a hike along parts of the trail, and then cross this activity off your bucket list. Start at Springer Mountain, and trek up the first leg of the trail along the Benton MacKaye Trail. This 4.7-mile loop takes you through a shady stream, a scenic hardwood forest, and plenty of valleys that are ideal for all skill levels.
3. Picnic at Amicalola Falls, Dawsonville
Amicalola State Park is located in Dawsonville, which is approximately an hour from downtown Atlanta. Amicalola is the tallest cascading waterfall in the southeast. Choose from one of two different viewpoints, including an easy 2-mile trail, or opt for the challenging 8.5-mile hike. Stop by the visitor center for more information on the falls, and then visit the gift shop for souvenirs. Sit at the picnic tables and have lunch before heading back to your vacation rental.
4. Visit an Alpine Village
At the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains and just to the north is a small Alpine Village called Helen. Rows of quaint shops carrying everything from homemade crafts and candy to T-shirts and candles can be found amidst the colorful buildings. Kids will enjoy riding in a horse-drawn carriage or playing a round of putt-putt at the Bavarian Mountain miniature golf course. Beat the heat of a summer day and float along the lazy river at the Helen Waterpark, or head to one of the local restaurants for a bite to eat.
5. Navigate a Corn Maze
In the fall, one major attraction for families is Uncle Shucks Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze in Dawsonville. Grab a map and try to make your way through the challenging maze, or walk through the garden and pick out the perfect pumpkin for carving. Enjoy a hay ride and a goat walk while there, and you can even try out the corn cannon. Come back at night when the sun goes down, and try making your way through the haunted maze in the dark. Be sure to take homemade fried apple pies and caramel apples back to your vacation rental for a midnight snack.
6. Climb to the Summitt of Brasstown Bald
Standing at 4,784 feet, Brasstown Bald is Georgias tallest mountain. Located close to Helen and Blairsville, Brasstown Bald offers amazing views of the surrounding area. On a clear day, you can look at the sky and see the skyscrapers in downtown Atlanta. Hike to the summit or take the tram, which takes you to the top where you can walk through the small museum.
7. Tour an Alpaca Farm
Experience a thrill of a lifetime at the Lasso the Moon Alpaca Farm. Learn about the breeding process, and then take a short class in pelting. Kids can feed and pet the alpacas, and there is also a gift shop with alpaca themed-jewelry, artwork, and various other souvenirs.
8. Go Fishing
There are many places in the North Georgia Mountains where you can fish for trout. Kids will enjoy a visit to the Burton State Fish Hatchery or the Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery, where you can view the life cycle of the fish and learn the best way to catch them. Several times a year, the hatcheries hold special events, including a kids day with face painting and crafts.
9. Snorkel the Conasauga River
The Conasauga River lies between north Georgia and southeast Tennessee. This biologically-diverse stretch of river is home to over 70 different species of fish, many of which are quite colorful. In early June, you can sign up for a family snorkeling tour with the Georgia Conservancy. Grab a wetsuit, snorkel mask, and snorkel, and traverse along the waters in search of fish native to the area. You can also take a self-guided hike along the river bank and enjoy a picnic under the trees.
10. Go Tubing
You can’t take a trip to the North Georgia Mountains without planning at least one-day tubing the Hooch. Cool River Tubing in Helen offers trips down the Chattahoochee River. Riders must be at least 3 years old to enjoy a tube alone. Choose an all-day pass to make as many trips as you’d like, or opt for a one or two-hour tubing trip. At the end of most rides, kids can enjoy a frozen snack.
11. Kayak on Lake Blue Ridge
One of Georgia’s most picturesque Lakes, Lake Blue Ridge offers a serene place for kayaking with the family. Choose a lakefront vacation rental, and enjoy sculling along the water as often as you’d like. Choose a deep-water cove for fishing, or paddle out to the center of the lake and enjoy the view.
12. See Anna Ruby Falls
Anna Ruby Falls is located in Unicoi State Park in Helen, Georgia. This State Park offers picnicking, a beach for swimming, and hiking trails. Hike the half mile paved path to the top to see the beautiful falls. There is also a visitor’s center and bathroom facilities. If you prefer a more challenging hike, take the Smith Creek Falls Trail, which traverses up 4.6 miles to just above the falls.
Ready to go? Check out these amazing North Georgia Mountains vacation rentals on Tripping.com.