Zipline over the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, Georgia. Photo by @benjamingalland
8 Riverside Towns You Need to Visit this Fall
Experience the rush of an adventure-filled getaway in these scenic Georgia cities!
Nothing is as peaceful as the rolling water of a river, and fall is an incredible time to seek out an adventure on the water. From bike rides to kayak adventures, these riverside towns offer incredible views of the changing leaves and plentiful activity options for the entire family.
The Chattahoochee River in Columbus is made for fun. Shy of the water? Take in views from the RiverWalk via a bike ride along the 22 miles of paved trail. Feeling more adventurous? The Blue Heron zip line takes you over the river, or brave the rapids on the river with Whitewater Express.
The Chattahoochee River also graces Georgia's Alpine mountain town of Helen, and there's no better time to visit than during Oktoberfest, held on weekends in September and daily through October 30. Although tubing generally closes around Labor Day, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the river. The Troll Tavern and Paul's Steakhouse offer spectacular views with eats to match. Another secret? Hampton Inn Helen offers large rooms for families, and it sits on the river. Head out back and put your toes in the water as the leaves fall all around.
Ellijay is home to three rivers: Cartecay, Coosawattee and Ellijay River – not surprising since the name Ellijay means "many waters." Set your kayak onto the Coosawattee for waterfalls and class I rapids. Need a shuttle? Call Cartecay River Experience in advance to schedule a lift. Additionally, fishing poles are always recommended! (Georgia fishing license required.)
Visit in October to take in all the fun of the Georgia Apple Festival held Oct. 14-15 and 21-22, 2023. Watch the parade and craft demonstrations, see an antique car show, play games, and enjoy tasty apple treats and festival fare.
The Savannah River made Savannah what it is today! Nothing beats a walk along River Street, but you certainly don't want to miss a ride on the Savannah Belle Ferry. It’s free, and the 30-minute ride in a triangle pattern across the river makes for a kid's dream. Don't miss a stop at Savannah Candy Kitchen for amazing pralines, and be sure to venture through the jaw-dropping Plant Riverside District to check out the specialty shops, galleries, restaurants and exhibits.
Albany is lucky enough to boast the Flint River, which Margaret Mitchell says in "Gone With The Wind" bordered Tara. While that might be fiction, fun on the Flint River is an absolute. Flint RiverQuarium is a must-see experience to understand the beauty this river holds. Albany also has a kayak launch near the aquarium. No kayak? No problem! Kayak Attack Adventures offers rentals and shuttles seven days a week.
On the first Friday of the month through November, head to Veterans Park Amphitheatre on the riverfront for Fridays on the Flint, featuring family-friendly activities and entertainment. Check Albany's event calendar for more reasons to visit.
In Rome, the Etowah and Oostanaula rivers form the Coosa River. Paddles and floats along the rivers make great family fun, especially toward nearby Cave Spring. Make sure to stop at the “Between the Rivers” historic district for great eats and shopping. It's also home to Rome's famous City Clocktower, which has been keeping watch of the rivers since 1872. Another way to enjoy the river is via Ridge Ferry Park with a large playground and paved trails along the water.
The Ocmulgee River runs through beautiful Macon. It's the headway to the Ocmulgee River Water Trail, which heads south/southeast for 200 miles into Hazlehurst. The best view of the river in Macon is at Amerson River Park. Here, you'll also find an accessible playground, 7 miles of trails, picnic tables, kayak launches and more.
Stay in downtown Augusta on Georgia's eastern border, and explore everything this historic city has to offer. Take in the views along the Riverwalk, a multi-level brick path that meanders along the banks of the Savannah River and includes a playground for kids. For a quintessential Augusta experience, go kayaking on the Augusta Canal or take a boat tour to learn about the history of the canal and the city. Kayak and bike rentals at the canal’s head gates, known as Savannah Rapids Park, are a great way to spend an afternoon soaking up the sun. Looking for more time on the water? Check out the Serene 18 paddle trail, and join tours or set out on your own to explore the area's calm waterways.