Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway in north Georgia. Photo by @kimieyates
Take a road trip
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.
More: Georgia Fall Road Trips
Watch the leaves change
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.
Visit a small town
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.
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.
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.
Visit a winery
Wine accolades aren't limited to well-known regions such as Tuscany, Burgundy and Napa. In fact, North Georgia's wineries are earning praise from critics and wine-lovers alike. There are plenty of places to exercise your tasting prowess in Georgia Wine Country. Start with this list of Georgia Wineries with Breathtaking Views, and become a connoisseur of the state's varied wine landscape.
Navigate a corn maze
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.
Visit a pumpkin patch
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.
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.
Rent a cozy cabin
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.