The North Georgia Mountains are made up of incredible towns that are the perfect weekend getaway. Only two or so hours from Atlanta, the region is the ideal balance of a leisurely pace and easy connectivity.
Whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned visitor, there’s always something new to find. Here are some of our favorite experiences that you can only have in the North Georgia Mountains.
Visit the weird and quirky landmarks
Fans of sites like Roadside America and Atlas Obscura have their work cut out for them in North Georgia. There are dozens of these road trip landmarks and oddities.
In Tiger, feed the creatures that wander between buildings on rope bridges at Goats on the Roof. There’s also gem mining and Amish desserts. Cleveland’s Babyland General Hospital is where you can see Cabbage Patch dolls being born.
The Schoolbus Graveyard is attached to Alonzo Wade Used Cars and Auto Parts and features retired buses painted in large murals. Nearby, Expedition: Bigfoot has artifacts related to the famed cryptid.
In Northwest Georgia, visit Old Car City, a sprawling junkyard with classic rusting cars painted with artwork. Howard Finster’s Paradise Gardens was the home of the folk artist, covered in his works.
The Calhoun Rock Garden is tucked behind a church and has intricately built miniature buildings with small pebbles and rocks.
Pick your own apples and more at the farms
The North Georgia Mountains also have plentiful farms, including many that are open to visitors. Jaemor Farms offers U-Pick of peaches and strawberries. There’s also a seasonal pumpkin patch.
Ellijay is Georgia’s apple picking capital, home to dozens of orchards like Mercier, Hillcrest, and Reece. And while not a traditional farm, detour to Gibbs Gardens to see acres of daffodils and other beautiful plant life.
Try “white lightning” at legal moonshine distilleries
Moonshine has a long history in the North Georgia Mountains and was the largest producer of the illegal spirit for many years. This tradition continues today with legal moonshine distilleries found throughout the region.
Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery uses a family recipe at their distillery, which is attached to both the city hall and a racing museum, a nod to the origins of NASCAR.
Grandaddy Mimms Moonshine Distillery And Museum in Blairsville is named for a local philanthropist and moonshiner from the 1930s.
Moonrise Distillery in Clayton creates the Corn Squeezins using traditional ingredients with modern equipment. Dalton Distillery makes corn whiskey and a sunflower spirit.
Go chasing waterfalls
North Georgia has dozens of incredible waterfalls that visitors can hike to with varying difficulty levels. Anna Ruby Falls in Helen has a short but steep paved path to the top.
Amicalola Falls is the highest waterfall in the state, over 700 feet high, and can be reached from many stairs from the base or you can drive to the top. It’s also part of the Appalachian Trail approach trail.
Long Creek Falls is on a bumpy forest service road. Explore Georgia has many other suggestions.
Sip Georgia wines at the wineries
Did you know that there’s a Georgia wine country? Wineries can be found in much of North Georgia but are clustered around Helen, Dahlonega, Blairsville, and Cleveland.
In fact, Dahlonega has its own AVA designation. Wolf Mountain is one of the oldest wineries in the area, with its own award-winning restaurant. Yonah Mountain, Crane Creek, and 12 Spies are also great.
Book a spot on a North Georgia Wine Country Tour from Atlanta.
Chow down on barbecue
While there are many types of eateries in this area, there’s no shortage of barbecue restaurants. For visitors to Ellijay, Bigun’s Barbecue is a regular stop, known for its chopped pork and fried apple pies.
Bub-ba-Q has locations in Jasper and Woodstock. The menu includes wings, ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, and Hog-A-Chong-A, a barbecue quesadilla topped in Brunswick stew.
The “Hog Heaven” outside of Poole’s BBQ is a longtime favorite for its Pig Hill of Fame. Dating back to 1989, you can have dishes like barbecue sandwiches and plates with classic Southern sides.
‘Cue in Milton and Cumming is another easy stop on your way north, serving barbecue sandwiches and nachos, creamy macaroni and cheese, and decadent desserts.
Spend the night glamping
You don’t have to experience North Georgia through camping but can sleep in nature with comfort. Glamping is popular in this area with yurts, cabins, and more.
Elatse’Yi in Ellijay has Airstream trailers and bell tents, but it’s the geodesic domes that are totally unique. It allows guests to sleep under the stars in a full bed.
Accessible only via the five-mile hike from Amicalola Falls State Park, the Len Foote Hike Inn is a LEED friendly lodge that has rustic bunkrooms and includes all meals.
Getaway is just outside of Atlanta and the 21 onsite tiny houses have everything you need for a comfortable stay and are pet-friendly. Some cabins have bunk beds and all have a kitchenette and fire pit for cooking meals.
The Blue Ridge Treehouses in Blue Ridge allow guests to sleep amongst the trees without sacrificing amenities. They both have full beds and streaming-enabled televisions.
Add these to your North Georgia bucket list!
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