Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway in north Georgia. Photo by @kimieyates

Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway in north Georgia. Photo by @kimieyates

10 Best Things to Do this Fall in Georgia

As the air cools and the leaves start to fall, Georgia offers countless experiences to seek out with your family and closest friends. From hikes to scenic drives, day trips to weekend getaways, take time to get out and enjoy the season's best, keeping in mind the guidelines for how to travel safely in Georgia.

Smithgall Woods State Park in Helen, Georgia. Photo by @weareoverthere

Take a road trip

Smithgall Woods State Park in Helen, Georgia. Photo by @weareoverthere

Georgia has plenty of routes with varied landscapes to enjoy. The Dragon Eyes drive, which winds 77 miles and 715 curves from Blairsville, highlights the north Georgia mountains. It passes through Helen and into state parks near trails and waterfalls. The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway also runs 40 miles from Blairsville to Brasstown Bald, the state’s highest peak, and access points along the Appalachian Trail.

Northeast Georgia's Scenic Highway 197 passes near lakes Burton, Rabun, and Seed. Lookout Mountain Parkway runs through Alabama and Tennessee before crossing into Georgia and past Cloudland Canyon. Blue Ridge also has an abundance of scenic drives.

Don’t forget about the coastal drives like Coastal Highway 17, which runs along the East Coast, including a stretch between Savannah and Brunswick. Along the way, there are small towns and quirky attractions like the Smallest Church in America.

Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville, Georgia. Photo by @demeter_cloe

Watch the leaves change

Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville, Georgia. Photo by @demeter_cloe

Admire the changing colors shifting from green to shades of orange. Blairsville is a good place to start, especially the viewpoint at Brasstown Bald. Similarly, the top of Yonah Mountain offers stunning vistas of the surrounding valley. If you can nab one of the coveted spots to stay overnight at the Len Foote Hike Inn, you’ll be welcomed with the best views around, especially at sunset.

Georgia’s state parks are also ideal for “leaf peeping.” Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville has views from the state’s highest waterfall. Black Rock Mountain State Park near Clayton is also great as it’s Georgia's highest elevation state park.

Downtown Americus, Georgia. Photo by @gamainst

Visit a small town

Downtown Americus, Georgia. Photo by @gamainst

Hit the backroads of the state, visiting the charming small towns with something different to offer. Families love the parks and zoo in Athens as well as the restaurants with outdoor dining. LaGrange is home to Great Wolf Lodge, an all-in-one park and hotel with endless activities. Greensboro is the gateway to Lake Oconee with a cafe known for its buttermilk pie. Hit up the wineries around Dahlonega and tasting rooms downtown. Learn about the state’s presidential history in Plains, home of President Jimmy Carter.

B.J. Reece Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia. Photo by @justthekings

Pick apples

B.J. Reece Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia. Photo by @justthekings

Fall is the apple picking season in Ellijay, the state’s capital of apple orchards. Visitors can fill up containers with varieties of apples as well as eat apple-accented dishes like apple fritters, apple cider doughnuts, and candy apples. Many orchards also have other things to do like hay rides, petting zoos, corn mazes, and other activities for kids.

Getaway House in Suches, Georgia

Go camping

Getaway Chattahoochee in Suches, Georgia

Experience the great (distanced) outdoors by going camping in Georgia. Georgia State Parks have sites for both tents and RVs. But if you aren’t outdoorsy, you can take advantage of “glamping” like in a tiny house in Suches, a yurt in Tugaloo State Park, a geodesic dome in Ellijay, and a luxury canvas tent off Jekyll Island.

Fausett Farms Sunflowers in Dawsonville, Georgia. Photo by @jfrink1

Visit a sunflower farm

Photo by @jfrink1

Fausett Farms Sunflowers has been owned by the same family since 1858 and welcomes visitors every fall for horse and carriage rides and endless photo ops. Spread across 30 acres, the farm is open seasonally and charges a modest admission fee. There are also horse trails to explore.

Washington Farms corn maze in Bogart, Georgia

Navigate a corn maze

Washington Farms corn maze in Bogart, Georgia

Georgia’s fields are transformed in autumn into corn mazes, providing excitement for the whole family. They can be found all over the state, featuring different designs. Southern Belle Farm near McDonough is spread across four acres and is one of many activities on the farm. Washington Farms in Bogart, Jaemor Farms in Alto, and the impressive display at Mitcham Farm near Covington are also worth a visit.

Jaemor Farms in Alto, Georgia. Photo by @mpwhidby

Visit a pumpkin patch

Jaemor Farms in Alto, Georgia. Photo by @mpwhidby

There’s nothing that signals fall quite like a trip to the pumpkin patch. Burt’s Farm in Dawsonville is one of the most popular, with u-pick pumpkins, sunflower fields, and games. The Red Apple Barn in Ellijay is known for its apple picking, but also offers pumpkins. Pettit Creek Farms in Cartersville has pumpkins, along with pony and camel rides.

Hiking Blood Mountain on the Appalachian Trail. Photo by @kalebeastphoto

Go hiking

Hiking Blood Mountain on the Appalachian Trail. Photo by @kalebeastphoto

Explore Georgia among the miles of trails in every corner of the state. The Appalachian Trail is one of the most famous, but you can do sections if you’re not ready to commit to the entire thing.

There are shorter overnight hikes to the state’s incredible peaks and waterfalls, along with trails of varying lengths throughout Georgia. Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area outside of Atlanta; Providence Canyon, known as Georgia’s “Little Grand Canyon;” and Skidaway Island State Park in Savannah are among the areas that can’t be missed.

Cabin at Vogel State Park in Blairsville, Georgia. Photo by @vikram_skhangarot

Rent a cozy cabin

Cabin at Vogel State Park in Blairsville, Georgia. Photo by @vikram_skhangarot

Once you’ve had your fill of fun, relax in one of the many cabin rentals throughout the state. In Georgia State Parks, you can stay in a historic house at General Coffee State Park in Nicholls, a cabin made from a wine barrel at Unicoi State Park, and Civilian Conservation Corps-built cottages at F.D. Roosevelt State Park. There are also treehouses in Flintstone, log cabins or eco-friendly converted shipping containers in the Chattahoochee National Forest, and a cottage at renowned folk artist Howard Finster's Paradise Garden in Summerville.

Published: August 2020
Written by: Caroline Eubanks