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What to do
Top 15 Blue Ridge Experiences
Top 15 Blue Ridge Experiences
Get away completely.
If you live anywhere in the southeast, you’re within driving distance of Blue Ridge, Georgia’s favorite mountain town, only 90 miles north of Atlanta via I-575, but a million miles away from the city. Hop in the car, turn on the radio and soon you’ll be on Blue Ridge time, enjoying some peace and quiet in the beauty of the Blue Ridge foothills. Rent a luxury mountain cabin and wake up to cool, crisp mornings with a cup of coffee on the porch. After a day of fun and adventure, finish the day in the same spot enjoying a glorious mountain sunset with a glass of wine or sweet iced tea. You may never want to leave the porch, but don’t miss out on the fun of exploring the Georgia mountains.
2. Beautiful Mountain Scenery
Enjoy Mother Nature at her best.
Winter, summer, spring and fall, Georgia’s Blue Ridge is simply beautiful. Winter is cool and quiet with occasional snow. Spring is best for trout fishing, wildflower displays, blooming dogwoods and native azaleas. Summer brings a profusion of mountain laurel and rhododendron blossoms, along with warmer water for tubing & rafting. Blue Ridge is the perfect place to celebrate the harvest and the glorious color of fall, or to enjoy the holidays with family and friends. Enjoy the view on one of our Scenic Driving Tours.
3. Small Town Charm
Fall in love with Blue Ridge.
You will fall in love with the authentic mountain towns of Blue Ridge and McCaysville. Blue Ridge was once considered an elite health resort because of its pure mineral waters. Visitors would ride the train to town, eat dinner and take a leisurely walk to the mineral springs after dinner. Today, visitors still ride the train and take a walk along Main Street, enjoying the antique and specialty shops, galleries, restaurants, small town atmosphere and friendly people. A river runs through the quaint town of McCaysville, twin city with Copperhill, Tennessee. Stand in both states at one time at the Blue Line, which marks the spot where Georgia ends and Tennessee begins.
4. Uptown Dining
Discover amazing eating choices.
Local food is an essential part of the trip when you visit Georgia’s Blue Ridge. You’ll find a common ingredient shared by local restauranteurs – a passion for the outdoorsy, earthy, upscale, fresh, historical town – a mixing bowl of town and country flavors that meld just right to create amazing eating choices. Add three local breweries to the mix and you’ve got a pretty eclectic dining experience in a small town setting. But don’t forget, there are some things you just have to eat when you come to the mountains: local mountain trout, barbeque, fried apple pies, biscuits, grits and sausage gravy – just to name a few. Download our restaurant guide here.
5. Arts, Theater & Live Music
Enjoy Blue Ridge's artsy vibe.
Blue Ridge has an artsy vibe, with a vibrant arts scene and great community theater to sweeten your Blue Ridge experience. Visit the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Center, located in the beautifully renovated Fannin County Courthouse, a historic canvas to showcase the talent of artists drawn to the area for its scenery and quiet lifestyle. The amazing Blue Ridge Community Theater has a full calendar of drama, comedy and musical productions, including an acoustic music series, Live Music is Better. In the summertime, Pickin’ in the Park, a casual jam session for acoustic musicians, is held under the trees and pavilions along the Toccoa River at Horseshoe Bend Park. For info about special exhibits and events at The Art Center, check out their website here. Book theater tickets online here.
6. Riding the Scenic Railway
Don't miss the train!
Don’t miss the train! Take a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, which runs along the Toccoa River from Blue Ridge to McCaysville. Board the train at the historic depot in Blue Ridge. The view changes with the seasons, wildflowers and mountain laurel in the spring, rhododendron in the summer, gorgeous foliage in the fall and a ride with Santa and his elves for Christmas. Special trips are planned throughout the year, including the Easter Eggspress in the spring and Pumpkin Train in the fall. Open April through December. Call 1-800-934-1898 or visit www.brscenic.com.
Hike the Appalachian Trail to a Local Waterfall
A beautiful waterfall is the best reward at the end of a hike. Three of our favorites are Falls Branch Falls and Long Creek Falls, in Fannin County, and Amicalola Falls, about 21 miles from Ellijay (about one hour from Blue Ridge).
Download our waterfall guide here.
8. Playing in the Water
Float the Beautiful Toccoa River
The most popular family pastime in the summer is probably tubing the clear, chilly Toccoa River either above the Lake Blue Ridge dam on Aska Road or below in McCaysville. But there are lots of ways to enjoy our rivers, streams and lakes, including rafting the exciting Ocoee River, renting canoes or kayaks, pontooning or jet skiing on Lake Blue Ridge, or even surfing on the river or the lake. Click here for a list of rafting and tubing guides.
The best water parks are those created by nature. Morganton Point on Lake Blue Ridge is a Chattahoochee National Forest recreation area with camping, fishing, swimming beach and picnic areas. Another favorite spot for families is the Ocoee Whitewater Center just over the Tennessee state line, where the Olympic kayak slalom course is perfect for wading and sliding over the rocks when the river is not running (weekdays). The Whitewater Center is also a great place for hiking and biking with kids. Be sure to bring water shoes for the kids at either location.
9. Trout Fishing
Fish the Trout Capital of Georgia
Fannin County is the Trout Capital of Georgia. There are over 100 miles of great trout fishing rivers, creeks and streams in the area, including Jack's River, Conasauga River, Toccoa River, Rock Creek, Noontootla Creek and Cooper Creek. Please consult the Georgia Guide to Trout Fishing, available free at the Welcome Center, for details as to season, creel limits and size restrictions. Find out more about fishing in Blue Ridge here.
10. Outdoor Adventure
Discover the Swinging Bridge over the Toccoa River.
Fannin County has more than 100,000 acres located in the Chattahoochee National Forest, including 40,000 acres in the Cohutta Wilderness. Two of the greatest outdoor adventures in the world begin here. Both the Appalachian and Benton MacKaye Trails start at the top of Springer Mountain. There are over 300 miles of hiking trails in the area, including short trails suitable for beginning hikers and families.
Our favorite hike is to The Swinging Bridge, located on the Benton MacKaye Trail across the pristine Toccoa River. It is the longest suspension bridge east of the Mississippi and was built by the Forest Service and the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club in the mid-1970's. Find directions on our self-guided hiking map here.
11. Horseback Riding
Ride Horseback on Mountain Trails
Our riding stables specialize in family trail rides for kids of almost all ages. Open year round with seasonal hayrides and evening wagon rides with campfire dinners. Call for reservations and to book special group events. For a list of horseback riding stables click here.
12. Wine and Brew Tours
Sip some great local wines and craft beer.
The North Georgia Mountains are known for the beauty and quality of our farm wineries, not to mention the great taste of Georgia’s mountain wines. A more recent addition are Blue Ridge’s three outstanding craft breweries, recognized among the best in Georgia. Taste our wines and brews right where they are made, or in tasting rooms, local pubs and restaurants. Check out our wine and brew tour here.
13. Mercier Orchards
Taste locally grown fruit and veggies.
Since 1943, four generations of the Mercier family have planted and raised 300 acres of apples, peaches and more. Visit Mercier’s on Highway 5 in Blue Ridge and taste for yourself how a love of the land and dedication to quality are evident in every delicious basket of fruit. You can pick apples off the tree, buy fresh apple cider and the best fried apple pies – a true farm to table experience. The tasting room features homemade hard cider from the freshest Mercier grown apples. Treat the family to a farm tractor tour and u-pick strawberries, sweet cherries, blueberries and apples in season. Also visit Mountainview Orchards in McCaysville, an old fashioned apple orchard and fruit market, and shop for locally grown fruits and veggies at the Downtown Blue Ridge Farmer’s Market during summer months.
Celebrate winter, spring, summer & fall.
Georgia’s mountain towns are well known for the number and quality of festivals in the fall: the Marble Festival in Jasper, Bear on the Square in Dahlonega, Apple Festival in Ellijay and Sorghum Festival in Blairsville, just to name a few. But there are many more festivals and celebrations to enjoy in the mountains all year long. Find out more about our local festivals here.
15. Scenic Drives
Take a scenic drive in the mountains.
Explore the Blue Ridge mountains and countryside on four Scenic Driving Tours available at online Scenic Driving Tours here. Drives range from ½ day to full day trips with lots of mountain scenery and attractions along the way. The Mountains and Countryside Driving Tour is a great way to get oriented to Georgia’s Blue Ridge on the first day of your visit. Other scenic driving tours are the Cohutta Wilderness Driving Tour, Daytrip to Dahlonega and Apple Alley and Town and Country Driving Tour.