Wander North Georgia in Clayton, Georgia. Photo by Corey Gibson, @alandtoroam
The most thrilling attraction in Helen is the new Georgia Mountain Coaster, the only alpine coaster in the state. Let the wind rush through your hair as you speed through the woods. Afterward, grab a bite and a beer riverside at the Troll Tavern, or head to one of the other popular places to eat in Helen. At the end of your fun day in Helen, relax at one of the many places to stay, such as a cabin from Cedar Creek Cabin Rentals. From here, you'll have a view of every mountain in North Georgia.
Ellijay may be the apple capital of the world, but it also has six different wineries. Take in spectacular mountain views at Cartecay Vineyards, or just sit back by the fireplace and chat with friends. And of course, there are wine tastings, too. For something more substantial than charcuterie visit Country Corner Kitchen for authentic Cuban cuisine, yes in Ellijay. End the day roughing it glamping in an Airstream or geodesic dome at Elatse’yi.
The most unique way to experience Tallulah Falls is by hiking to the floor of the gorge. The catch: you have to get a permit to do that, and the park only hands out 100 per day. So, plan to camp at Tallulah Gorge State Park the night before so you can be one of the first ones in line for a permit. There are 47 tent, trailer and RV sites at the park. If you’d rather not cook over a fire, a short distance from the gorge is Blue Creek Farmhouse Market, which is part grocery, part quick-service restaurant.
Photo by @brooklynbdavis
You can't visit Blue Ridge without a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. No matter the season, this is a fun step back in time. Leave some time when you return to browse through the downtown shops before heading to dinner at Chester Brunnenmeyer's for an early dinner. Make sure to get to your treehouse accommodations at Bear Claw Vineyards while it is still light. And yes, this is a REAL treehouse with a live tree inside the structure.
When you're in Hiawassee, take a ride through the mountains on horseback with a guided trail ride at Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa. You don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to book a ride. After you get back from the dusty trail, stop by Happy Hawg BBQ for some the best Q in North Georgia. Then, nestle in at the Ridges Resort and roast marshmallows for s'mores at the lakeside fire pit.
After a day of hiking waterfall trails at Warwoman Dell and Dick's Creek Falls head to downtown Clayton for a little shopping. Wander North Georgia has everything you need for a day outdoors, and the kids can run around the play area while you shop. With bags in hand, walk a few doors down to Universal Joint for a beer and a burger. Then, retire around the corner at the Beechwood Inn.
Explore the underworld at Rolater Park in Cave Spring where you can enter a natural limestone cave, as well as swim in a lake shaped like the state of Georgia. Bring a jug or two to take home fresh spring water. Afterward, go downtown for a great meal at the family owned and operated Linde Marie's Steakhouse on the Square. With a full belly, retire to Hearn Inn, a B&B located inside Rolater Park. What's cool about this establishment is the breakfast isn't onsite, but at one of the restaurants in downtown Cave Spring.
Photo by @upabovegeorgia
Rent boats or standup paddleboards to explore Lake Nottely's 106 miles of shoreline, and then head into downtown Blairsville to check out the shops and restaurants, like Abide Coffee. At the end of the day, relax at one of the many cabins for rent in the area or at Paradise Hills Winery Resort & Spa, where you could recover from your day on the lake with a massage.