Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in fall in Blue Ridge, Georgia

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in Blue Ridge, Georgia

Find the Dazzle of Fall in Georgia

Cooler temperatures and brilliant foliage make autumn the perfect time to experience some of Georgia’s best activities.

From leaf peeping to corn mazes to harvest festivals, crisp weather accompanies some of the annual pleasures we anticipate all year long.

Fields of pumpkins at Burt's Farm in Dawsonville, Georgia
Burt's Farm in Dawsonville, Georgia

Farm Visits & Pumpkins

Few activities are more quintessentially autumnal than those happening on the farm. Get in the spirit with Washington Farms’ 6.5-acre corn maze, a pick-your-own patch of pumpkins and wagon rides. Hop on a hayride and pick out a jack-o-lantern in the making at Dawsonville’s Burt’s Pumpkin Farm. Don’t miss Pine Mountain’s Pumpkins at Callaway Resort & Gardens, whose Enchanted Pumpkin Forest stars forest creatures carved from grand gourds.

Train Rides

Pass painterly landscapes of brilliant red, vibrant orange and bright yellow aboard some of Georgia’s iconic trains. Take the leisurely 26-mile round-trip trek along the Toccoa River aboard the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Step onto an open-air train car pulled by a 1940s locomotive along the Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad for leaf peeping on a 5-mile mountain loop. At Pine Mountain Gold Museum, board the historic C.P. Huntington Engine #310 for a 4-mile trip around the museum’s eponymous mountain in Villa Rica.

Aerial view of Wolf Mountain Vineyards in Dahlonega, Georgia
Wolf Mountain Vineyards in Dahlonega, Georgia. Photo by @wolfmountainvineyards

Wine Tours

Celebrate harvest season with a trip to Georgia’s burgeoning wine country. Sip award-winning blanc de blancs brut at Wolf Mountain Vineyards in Dahlonega, taste the beloved Scarlett blend at Habersham Winery & Vineyards in Helen, and let the team at Fainting Goat Vineyards & Winery in Jasper pack you a gourmet picnic accompanied by a bottle of vino. Or, take a tour of the only known wine cave in Georgia at Yonah Mountain Vineyards in Cleveland. Don’t feel like organizing tour stops or designating a driver? Pop the Cork Wine Tours can take care of all the details.

Family with apples at B.J. Reece Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia
B.J. Reece Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Apple Picking & Outdoor Activities

Autumn in Georgia isn’t complete without indulging in apple-flavored goodies. Pick your own from more than 50 varieties at Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge and shop for treats from hard cider to apple donuts. Don’t miss a visit to the state’s self-proclaimed Apple Capital, Ellijay, where B.J. Reece Orchards and Red Apple Barn stand ready to satisfy your apple cravings. The Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay celebrates the almighty apple with u-pick opportunities, a parade and, of course, a bounty of apple-y treats each October.

Finally, experience quintessential autumn with a guided fall tree walk, the Run Like Hell 5K or the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tour (book in advance) at the historical Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.

Ideal Fall Destination: Helen

Woman in downtown Helen, Georgia
Helen, Georgia. Photo by @goanniewhere

The Bavarian-inspired village of Helen, tucked into the Northeast Georgia mountains, is an ideal fall destination for its annual Oktoberfest celebration. Starting in late September, the beer-centric event runs over multiple weeks and features German delicacies, traditional costumes plus dancing to live polka music in the festhalle. Outdoor lovers will revel in picturesque hikes with dazzling fall colors for all ability levels at nearby Unicoi and Smithgall Woods state parks, as well as a host of spectacular waterfalls waiting to be discovered. Prefer to see the views with a side of adventure? Settle into a cart on the Georgia Mountain Coaster, an alpine rollercoaster where you control the speed — leave the brake off to hit up to 28 miles per hour. Round out your experience by perusing more than 200 specialty boutiques and cool down with a brew and bratwurst at King Ludwig’s Biergarten.

Don’t-Miss Fall Events

Glowing pumpkin display at PumpkinFest at Stone Mountain Park
PumpkinFest at Stone Mountain Park

The six-week Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival features a pie-eating contest, party parade with glowing scenes, pumpkin-themed laser show and more starting in mid-September.

From livestock shows and barrel racing to leather art, sewing and soap carving, there’s something for every age and interest at the 11-day Georgia National Fair. It’s held at Perry’s 600-acre Georgia National Fairgrounds in October.

The annual Gold Rush Days, an October weekend festival celebrating the 1828 Dahlonega gold discovery, is set against a backdrop of brilliant fall color.

Did you enjoy this feature from the 2024 Georgia Official State Travel Guide? Order your copy for more Georgia travel inspiration!

Published: December 2023
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