Downtown Helen, Georgia

Downtown Helen, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Top Things to Do in Helen

Travel to Germany without leaving Georgia with a visit to Helen and nearby areas, located 90 minutes north of Atlanta. Go tubing through town in summer, celebrate Oktoberfest in the fall, and try outdoor adventures like hiking and ziplining all year.

Tubing in Helen, Georgia

Tubing in Helen, Georgia. Photo by @supersimplesaltylife


During the warmer months, typically May to September, spend the day floating down the river with outfitters like Helen Tubing & Waterpark and Cool River Tubing, which drop you off and pick you up. They also offer changing rooms, showers, picnic areas and parking.

Zipline at Unicoi State Park in Helen, Georgia

Zipline at Unicoi State Park in Helen, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones


Zipline is another popular activity, which you can experience with Nacoochee Adventures and American Adventure Park at Unicoi State Park. Multiple courses wind through the surrounding forest.

Anna Ruby Falls in Helen, Georgia

Anna Ruby Falls in Helen, Georgia. Photo by Jacob Tekippe

Anna Ruby Falls

Admire the beauty of Anna Ruby Falls, a rare double waterfall that is formed just before two creeks merge. Although there are many waterfalls near Helen, Anna Ruby Falls is perhaps the most visitor-friendly, accessed by a paved trail. It’s named for Anna Ruby Nichols and is actually made up of two waterfalls.

Hofer's of Helen in Helen, Georgia

Hofer's of Helen in Helen, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Downtown Helen

Stroll through downtown Helen, which features Bavarian-style buildings filled with shops and restaurants. Among them, unique hand-blown glass gifts and art designs at The Glassblowing Shop, and Hofer's of Helen, where you can enjoy meals in the authentic Bavarian dining room and bakery treats to-go.

Georgia Mountain Coaster in Helen, Georgia

Georgia Mountain Coaster in Helen, Georgia. Photo by @gcalebjones

Georgia Mountain Coaster

The most thrilling attraction in Helen is the Georgia Mountain Coaster, the only alpine coaster in the state. Let the wind rush through your hair as you speed through the woods.

Bag of freshly ground grits from Nora Mill Stone Ground Grits in Helen, Georgia

Nora Mill Stone Ground Grits in Helen, Georgia

Nora Mill Granary Grist Mill & Country Store

Visit this authentic working grist mill nestled alongside the Chattahoochee River to see how corn is ground into grits. Nora Mill grinds corn daily using either the original French burr stones that are powered by the Chattahoochee River or by a more modern "Meal Master" stone grinding system located on the second floor.

BabyLand General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia

Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia. Photo by @benjamingalland

Babyland General Hospital

In nearby Cleveland, native Xavier Roberts founded the Cabbage Patch Dolls brand. Today, visitors can see where they are "born" at the Babyland General Hospital, equal parts museum and store. Admission is free, and celebrity photos cover the walls.

Find more things to do in Helen.

Helen to the Atlantic Balloon Race and Festival

Helen to the Atlantic Balloon Race and Festival



The oldest balloon event in the region, Helen to the Atlantic Balloon Race and Festival, is part race and part showcase of colorful balloons every summer. The race begins in Helen, and the finish line is I-95 anywhere between Maine and Miami. The shortest distance is 225 miles, and the race usually takes two days. While the racers head to the Atlantic, other balloonists compete in local events beginning Thursday evening. Local flying events also take place on Friday and Saturday.


Helen is best known for its annual Oktoberfest festivities that run from September through October at the city’s Festhalle, home to beers, food and dancing.

Plan your trip with this Guide to Helen Oktoberfest.


The holidays kick off with the Lighting of the Village event the day after Thanksgiving, which includes appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus, musical performances and the lighting of the town. Helen's Downtown Christmas Parade is in early December. The annual Christkindlmarkt is held at the Marketplatz, featuring Christmas gifts and decorations as well as sweet treats and drinks. Then, ring in the New Year with the Dropping of the Edelweiss New Year's Eve Celebration, featuring hors d'oeuvres, party favors and midnight champagne toast.


The Sautee Nacoochee Cultural Center is one of the organizers of the Winterfest Art Tour, an event made up of 150 artists spread over three locations with crafts, demonstrations and prizes.

Find more events in Helen.

Published: August 2023
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