North Georgia mountains. Photo by @gopirman

North Georgia mountains. Photo by @gopirman

Best Electric Vehicle Trips in the North Georgia Mountains

Driving an electric vehicle (EV) while touring North Georgia’s dense woodlands, serene mountain lakes, and farm-to-table restaurants is good for the environment — and your wallet. Although the region does not have as many chargers as the state’s major metropolitan areas, EV drivers can power up at public and private charging stations at hotels, resorts, and attractions throughout the area, including in the small towns of Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Young Harris, and Dillard.

Set out to explore the gorgeous mountain scenery and small towns known for their trip-worthy food and drink and unique shops filled with local art and handcrafted wares. Just plan to keep your EV’s battery fully charged and not dip below 20 percent, especially when traveling on more remote mountain roads with longer stretches between charging stations.

Blue Ridge & Ellijay

Aerial view of downtown Blue Ridge, Georgia
Aerial view of downtown Blue Ridge, Georgia. Photo by @visitblueridgega

Just 90 miles north of Atlanta and situated in the Chattahoochee National Forest, the mountain town of Blue Ridge is home to 300 miles of hiking trails, 100 miles of trout streams, and other outdoor activities.

Stay downtown at the pet-friendly Hampton Inn Blue Ridge, which offers guests access to four EV chargers, complimentary breakfast, and a 24/7 fitness center. Or, book a stay at the Blue Ridge Inn Bed & Breakfast, located in a historic Victorian home and equipped with one EV charger — a Tesla plug-in exclusively for guests. Relax in one of the charming private guest rooms, which are outfitted with elegant furnishings like four-poster beds and antique dressers, as well as modern amenities like charging docks and noise machines. Fuel up for a day outdoors with the inn’s made-from-scratch breakfast and coffee from the onsite shop.

Fly fishing with On the Fly Excursions in Blue Ridge, Georgia
Fly fishing with On the Fly Excursions in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Get out on the water to try trout fishing, kayaking, tubing, or whitewater rafting along the Toccoa River, 20 minutes from downtown. Rent paddle boards or kayaks from Lake Blue Ridge Outfitters or pontoon boats from Lake Blue Ridge Marina to explore the 3,290-acre Lake Blue Ridge, all framed by the Chattahoochee National Forest’s dense woodlands.

If sticking to land, opt for the two-mile, round-trip hike to Long Creek Falls, part of the storied Appalachian Trail, whose southern terminus resides in Georgia. Or, drive 5.3 miles deep into the forest canopy along the Noontootla Creek to Three Forks, where the scenic hike follows Long Creek to the dramatic, 50-foot, two-drop falls.

After an invigorating hike, refuel with pick-your-own apples and fruits, freshly baked goods, cider, and other treats from the family-owned Mercier Orchards.

Wine and a view at Engleheim Vineyards in Ellijay, Georgia
Wine and a view at Engleheim Vineyards in Ellijay, Georgia. Photo by @just_amya

Next, take a scenic 26-mile drive to Ellijay, home to 13 wineries and the gateway to Appalachian Wine Country. Power up at one of three EV chargers at Gilmer Chamber & Welcome Center while you dig into a pulled pork sandwich at Poole’s Bar-B-Q or look for treasures at Black Bear Antiques. Then, transport yourself to the French countryside at Chateau Meichtry, with manicured gardens and rolling fields with highland cows and a greenhouse, or try award-winning wine paired with artisanal truffles from The Bavarian Chocolatier at Engelheim Vineyards.

Back in Blue Ridge, wind down with cocktails and tapas at Hook & Eye at Hampton Inn Blue Ridge, a rooftop bar with panoramic views, or dinner at Black Sheep Restaurant Bar & Patio, featuring menu items like chicken and red velvet waffles.

Young Harris & Hiawassee

Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris, Georgia
Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris, Georgia

From Blue Ridge, head 30 miles east on US-76 E to Young Harris, the small college town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Recharge your batteries at Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa, which has two 16kW Tesla chargers plus an all-new Equani Spa with treatments ranging from facials to hot stone massages. Stay in one of 102 lodge guest rooms or suites, or 32 guest rooms situated in secluded cottages. Guests get access to an onsite fishing pond, plus an 18-hole championship golf course and five miles of scenic horseback riding trails. Choose from casual and upscale dining options, including a lobby lounge for cocktails by the roaring fireplace and the elegant dining room, which serves breakfast and lunch as well as dinner with entrees like Carolina trout.

Lake Chatuge in Hiawassee, Georgia
Lake Chatuge in Hiawassee, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Fish for your own supper along the calm waters of Lake Chatuge in nearby Hiawassee. Rent a boat at Lake Chatuge Marina, or swim and picnic at Towns County Recreational Beach, with public lake access, including a large playground and a dedicated swimming area. Power up your EV at the dual charging station at Asiano, a laid-back restaurant in downtown Hiawassee serving Asian-fusion fare.

View from the overlook at Bell Mountain in Hiawassee, Georgia
View from the overlook at Bell Mountain in Hiawassee, Georgia. Photo by @goanniewhere

For exceptional local hiking, don’t miss the half-mile hike to Brasstown Bald, the state’s highest peak, with an observation deck that offers 360-degree views of the Southern Appalachians as well as four states on a clear day. For a more challenging excursion with equally stellar views, head to Unicoi Gap and hike a five-mile loop of the Appalachian Trail that ascends 1,000 feet through several switchbacks to the summit of Rocky Mountain. Other area highlights include scenic overlooks at Bell Mountain, and wine tours and tastings at Crane Creek Vineyards, which has an onsite French-influenced restaurant, Paris & Company, perfect for winding down after an active day exploring North Georgia.

Dillard & Clayton

The gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, Dillard, a small town just south of the North Carolina border in Rabun County is home to outdoor activities ranging from hiking and zip lining to whitewater rafting and paddling — all in 148,000 lush acres of the Nantahala National Forest.

Julep Farms in Dillard, Georgia
Julep Farms in Dillard, Georgia

Stay at Julep Farms, a tranquil retreat nestled in 22 picturesque mountain acres, with secluded, family- and group-friendly cottages outfitted with Keurig coffee makers, refrigerators, and luxe linens. Charge your EV at one of two Gen-3 Tesla wall connectors available for guest use. Other property highlights include a garden, lawn croquet, farm animals, and a market with freshly grown flowers, herbs, and gifts. Grab a quick cup of java or lunch from the onsite coffee bar, or sit down to New American cuisine with a Southern twist like shrimp and grits at Julep Kitchen, then enjoy the signature cocktail, the Mint Julep, at the namesake bar.

Pizza at Fortify Pi in Clayton, Georgia
Pizza at Fortify Pi in Clayton, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Just three miles south, visit Mountain City’s Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center to explore an 1820s-era log home, an authentic gristmill, and other artifacts of Southern Appalachian pioneer culture, a fascinating contrast to the modern world. Then, head another three miles south to Clayton, which has four public charging station ports for EV vehicles. This enclave of North Georgia is also home to some of the area’s top culinary experiences, like Fortify Kitchen & Bar, which specializes in farm-to-table fares like a Carolina Mountain rainbow trout battered with Sylvan Falls Mill cornmeal crust and specialty cocktails, and its more casual sister restaurant Fortify Pi, which specializes in wood-fired brick oven pizza, sandwiches, wings, salads, and regional and craft beers.

Photo booth inside Wander North Georgia in Clayton, Georgia
Photo booth inside Wander North Georgia in Clayton, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

While your car charges, shop for treasures at Black Bear Creek Antiques, or visit the Main Street Art Gallery, which specializes in works from self-taught and folk artists. Then, stock up on outdoor gear at Wander North Georgia before exploring hiking trails through dense hardwood forests, fields of wildflowers, and to tumbling waterfalls at Black Rock Mountain State Park, Georgia’s highest state park.

Published: June 2023
Written by: Laura Scholz
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