We have vacationed in North Georgia twice in the past year and have fallen in love with the small mountain towns. It’s so nice to be able to take a road trip up there from Florida to enjoy some mountain views, hiking, and wineries. I’m sharing some of our favorite things to do in this guide to North Georgia.
Cities in North Georgia:
Young Harris – Small local city in North Georgia. This is the city we actually stayed in this year and we loved it. It is a great location to be able to be in close proximity to many activities. There were countless hiking trails and numerous wineries close by. We drove through Young Harris College, which was a beautiful campus. I can only imagine the views of the mountains while studying that those students are able to enjoy. We were only about 20-30 minutes from the North Carolina border, about 2 hours to Chattanooga, TN, and an hour from Helen, GA.
Blairsville – This is another cute small local town. It is basically right next to Young Harris and another great option to be near numerous things to do. We stayed in a cabin in Blairsville, GA last year and had just as good of a time.
Helen – Also know a small German town in the US. This cute town feels like you just took a trip over to Germany without ever leaving North Georgia. We weren’t able to make it there this year, but we visited last November and I’d highly recommend going at least once. We had an incredible time just walking around to look at the shops, enjoyed some German beer, and a bratwurst for lunch.
Hiawassee – This little town definitely won my heart as my favorite little town in North Georgia. Just imagine be surrounded by gorgeous lakes and mountains all around. It was so serene. We enjoyed kayaking out on Lake Chatuge and visiting Bell Mountain. If you go during the warmer months kayaking is an absolute must. It was such a beautiful and peaceful hour kayaking out on the lake with views of the blue ridge all around. Bell Mountain is another must. If you look it up you will see that the mountain is covered in graffati, which might make you second guess going. We decided against it last year, but decided to go this year and the view is totally worth it. The drive up to the top of Bell Mountain is narrow and steep, but the views at the top were incredible.
Blue Ridge – We haven’t spent too much time in Blue Ridge, but we have stopped for dinner and the town is quite cute. It has a nice small town feel with shops to explore, some restaurants, and some spots to grab a drink. If you’re looking to just walk around and explore a cute little mountain town this is your place to be.
*Dry Falls: The name of this waterfall is slightly ironic considering you are most likely going to get wet while visiting the waterfall. The hike to the waterfall is a very short walk from the parking lot, but offers quite an incredible view. The walkway goes behind the waterfall, so you will probably be sprayed by some water.
*Smokey Mountain National Park: If you’ve never been through Smokey Mountain National Park I highly recommend at least driving through it. The drive alone is breath taking with some serene views. There are also numerous pull offs through the state park allowing you to get those photo opportunities or just take it the breathtaking scenery. The park also has several hiking trails that you can explore through too.
*Bell Mountain: Definitely a highlight from our most recent trip to North Georgia and a must if you’re near Hiawassee. The view from the top of the mountain is incredible. It’s quite the view to be able to just stand at the top of a mountain and see for miles.
*Glen Falls – This waterfall was a little difficult to find, because the GPS did not take us to the right location. When we arrived to the gated community the GPS took us to they kindly provided us with the correct directions. It was quite clear that we were not the first people to be sent to the wrong location, so if you visit know the GPS might bring you to the wrong place, but it’s only about 10 minutes away from the trail. It was about a mile hike to get to the waterfall and it was absolutely beautiful. This hiking trail has somewhat of an incline and several stairs, but it was an amazing hike. The round trip hike was about 2 miles. This waterfall is also near some other hiking trails and Dry Falls, so it’s a perfect destination for a day of hiking, so you can explore a few different trails.
*Jackrabbit Trail – We enjoyed about a 5 mile hiking through this trail. There are different trails that vary in length. We hiked about an extra mile, because we made a wrong turn. Be careful that white and yellow trailhead markers can look very similar (lol). It was a great trail though. The entire hike was relatively flat and well maintained, so it was perfect for hiking with a puppy. I’d say it’s a good hike for those who want to go for a hike without a crazy incline too. This trail is also designed for mountain biking. I never realized how many people enjoy mountain biking until we hiked here (the Florida girl in me wouldn’t know lol). I now have mountain biking on my list of things to do though.
Young Harris Water Sports – Another highlight from our trip and an absolute must if it is warm enough. If we go back to Hiawassee again I would go out kayaking in a heartbeat. We kayaked for an hour out on Lake Chatuge. There’s just something about the still water, sounds of a little breeze and beautiful view of the blue ridge mountains that made this one of my favorite things we did.
*Odom Springs Vineyards – We have been here twice now and will definitely be back. The wine is delicious, views are beautiful, and the owner is wonderful. We had the opportunity to meet the owner this trip. She was extremely friendly and offered excellent wine selections to fit our preferences. I would highly recommend trying The Trio or Sharptop Seyval while you’re there.
*The Cottage Vineyards – We did a nice little tasting at The Cottage Vineyards. The wine was good, but the view was absolutely breathtaking. I’d likely go back to this vineyard just for the view alone. There’s something so peaceful and relaxing about just sipping a glass of wine while looking at the mountains.
*Crane Creek Vineyards – We went back to Crane Creek again this past trip to enjoy the delicious wine and mountain views. We went to Crane Creek last November and the views from the winery in the fall are unimaginable. This was the first winery we had ever visited and it made us love going to try different wines from local vineyards when we travel.
*Wolf Mountain Vineyards – This vineyard has absolutely incredible wines. If you are looking for a nice evening out to enjoy some fine wine this is your place! The tasting was a bit more expensive then the other wineries we visited, but the wine was fantastic. We truly enjoyed every single wine we tasted. I don’t think I could pick a favorite. I’m not a red wine drinker, but I even enjoyed the red wines I tried.
*Hiawassee Brew – If you are looking for a simple brewery to sit back and enjoy a nice craft beer then this is the place to be. The brewery faces a beautiful lake with mountains in the background just making the view gorgeous. They had live music while we were there, so it was nice to casually sit back listen to some live music while sipping a brew.
*Granddaddy Mimm’s – I never really imagined myself to be one that would enjoy moonshine, but this moonshine distillery was a great place to visit. The mixed drinks were delicious and the inside of the distillery has quite the character to it. I would highly recommend the pineapple upside down drink.
*These places were dog-friendly when we went!
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