The North Georgia mountains are filled with scenic beauty that makes them the perfect place to find outdoor adventure. However, there’s more than meets the eye in the small towns and villages that call the northern part of the Peach state their home.
An abundance of charming, historic downtown areas set to the backdrop of stunning mountain vistas encourages visitors to explore all the heritage and natural beauty these beautiful burgs have to offer—from family-friendly fun to homegrown, farm-fresh bounty that’s evident in everything from the delicious restaurants to the plethora of orchards, wineries, and farms; these tiny towns have something for everyone looking for a relaxing escape in North Georgia’s mountain country.
Fall For Georgia’s Apple Capital
The quintessential small North Georgia mountain town, Ellijay, has an abundance of fun-filled activities and attractions that belies its small size. Though it's a fun place to visit all year long, during the fall, this lovely town comes alive with plenty of family-friendly fall activities that make it worthy of its moniker, Georgia’s Apple Capital. From its historic downtown to its breathtaking surroundings filled with outdoor recreation, there’s something for everyone in every corner of this North Georgia gem.
- Explore The Town: Cartecay Vineyards; Tabor House & Civil War Museum; Mountain Valley Farm and Store; Gilmer Arts; Harrison Park
- Outdoor Adventures: Carter’s Lake; Mulberry Gap; Cohutta Wilderness Area; Springer Mountain Area Hiking Trails; Amicalola Falls State Park
- Where To Drink & Dine: The Roof Ellijay; Cantaberry Restaurant; River Street Tavern; Cartecay River Brewing Company; Emily’s Bar & Restaurant
- Where To Stay: Elatse’Yi; The Villas at Coosawattee River Resort; Sliding Rock Cabins; Ellijay River House Bed & Breakfast; Bear Ridge Resort
- When To Go: Fall is one of the best times to visit Ellijay, when its downtown area hosts the Georgia Apple Festival. Full of food, arts, and crafts, a parade, and a car show, this annual celebration is the perfect way to kick off apple picking season. October 8-9, 2022; October 15-16, 2022. Another fun-filled fall activity is a tour of Orchard Alley along State Highway 52, where visitors can visit some of the county’s best orchards like Red Apple Barn and Reece Orchards
Outdoor Adventures & Bavaria-Style Fun
Northeast Georgia is home to its own Bavarian Alpine village, which can be found in the delightful haven of Helen. Complete with quaint, cobblestoned streets and German delicacies on tap throughout the year, Helen is also known for their annual Oktoberfest festivities, which celebrate tradition, music, food, and fun. However, there’s more to Helen than meets the eye, as this riverside beauty is also home to plenty of outdoor adventures, too.
- Explore The Town: Nora Mill General Store; Habersham Vineyards & Winery; Charlemagne’s Kingdom Alpine Model Railroad Museum; Alpine Carriage Ride; Georgia Mountain Coaster
- Outdoor Adventures: Unicoi State Park; Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway; Anna Ruby Falls Recreation Area; The Upper Chattahoochee River Blue Trail; Tray Mountain Wilderness
- Where To Drink & Dine: Hofer’s of Helen; The Troll Tavern; Bodensee Restaurant; Hofbrauhaus Restaurant; Cowboys & Angels Restaurant and Bar
- Where To Stay: Valhalla Resort Hotel; Heidi Motel & Windmill Suites; Unicoi State Park & Lodge; Alpine Crest Resort; The Castle Inn
- When To Go: Oktoberfest has been going strong in Helen for more than 50 years, and it's the perfect time to visit. Held in the riverside Festhalle, the annual tradition is full of traditional fun, food, and festivities. Oktoberfest 2022 begins with a parade in downtown Helen on September 10, 2022, runs Thursdays through Sundays throughout September; and daily from September 29 to October 30, 2022.
The Heart Of Georgia Wine Country
An oenophiles dream, Dahlonega is a scenic mountain retreat known for its parade of nationally recognized wines and vineyards in the heart of Georgia wine country. But there’s more to do here than just tour, taste, and repeat—Dahlonega is also home to a bustling downtown filled with gold mining heritage and history, local shopping and dining, and an arts/theater scene that can’t be missed. Additionally, Dahlonega is just a short hour away from Atlanta, making its stunning mountain location the perfect weekend escape from the city.
- Explore The Town: Three Sisters Vineyards; Gold Mine Shaft at the Smith House; Mount Hope Cemetery; Dahlonega Gold Museum; Historic Holly Theater
- Outdoor Adventures: DeSoto Falls; Etowah River Water Trail; The Dahlonega Butterfly Farm; Cane Creek Falls; Iron Mountain Resort
- Where To Drink & Dine: The Dahlonega Brewery; Capers on the Square; Montaluce Winery & Restaurant; Cavender Creek Vineyards & Winery; Shenanigan’s Irish Pub
- Where To Stay: Mountain Laurel Creek Inn & Spa; Forrest Hills Resort; Dahlonega Resort and Vineyard; Yellow Daisy Bed & Breakfast; Bull Mountain Lodge
- When To Go: An annual celebration celebrating the 1828 discovery of gold in Dahlonega, the Gold Rush Days are packed with art/crafts, food, and fun during the fall foliage peak season. October 15 and 16, 2022. Additionally, every spring in May, the town has an annual Dahlonega Arts & Wine Festival—perfect for lovers of art, wine, and jazz. Third weekend in May
These scenic North Georgia villages and towns are big on fun despite their small size—quaint, cozy alternatives to a big city getaway; their downtown areas are bustling with a charm all their own. From one-of-a-kind lodgings to delicious cuisine scenes and fun festivals to breathtaking scenic beauty, these hidden mountain gems are idyllic havens tucked away amid some of the Peach State’s most lovely landscapes.