Welcome Winter Visitors
Winters are wonderful in the mountains of north Georgia. Here's how to enjoy the quieter season in Georgia's Blue Ridge
Welcome visitors and part time residents to Blue Ridge, McCaysville and the Copper Basin for your winter getaway! Winter is the time for a quieter, less crowded escape. Mountain vacation rentals are perfect for relaxing by the fireside with a glass of wine and a good book. Trails are open to wider vistas without leaves blocking long range views. Both towns and trails are less crowded.
Unfortunately Covid 19 persists in Georgia in spite the the availability of a vaccine, so we ask you to practice social distancing when you can and be mindful of your own health and the health of our local community. You will find that some businesses and attractions require face coverings, like our visitor centers, but we do not have a mask mandate in Georgia, Blue Ridge and Fannin County. We are encouraging visitors and locals to please wear a face covering in public places, but be aware that this is a choice, not a mandate.
Traveling in Georgia
Find current information about travelling in Georgia from Explore Georgia at this link: Covid-19 Travel Information.
Read the most current copy of Governor Brian Kemp's emergency orders on the Governor's webpage.
The Georgia Safety Promise
Covid 19 is currently on the rise in almost every state, and Georgia is no exception. Please follow these safety guidelines:
- Wear a face covering in public or crowded spaces.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth/nose when coughing and sneezing, preferably with your elbow.
- Avoid handshakes.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay at home when you are sick.
Please Wear a Face Covering in Public Places
In Georgia's Blue Ridge there are lots of places to distance and lots of wide open spaces where social distancing is easy and face coverings may not be necessary. Most businesses, shops, restaurants and attractions have reopened, following specific guidelines provided by the CDC and Georgia Governor's office. Lodging providers, shops and restaurants are committed to vigorous disinfection and sanitation procedures. Some shops and attractions, including our Chamber Visitor Centers, will ask you to wear a face covering and use hand sanitizer upon entering. For those without a mask, the Chamber Visitor Center will provide you with a free one.
Indoor gatherings of more than 50 people are banned unless there is at least six feet between each person.
Most restaurants are open for indoor seating at half capacity, but it's a good idea to check in advance; there are still some restaurants with pick-up only and modified hours. There is no longer a party maximum for the number of people who can sit together inside a restaurant, but tables are spaced six feet apart. Workers at restaurants are required to wear face coverings when interacting with guests, and local restaurants are following both CDC and Safe Serve practices. Check with individual restaurants for open hours.
Trip Planning - Local Attractions
As you plan your trip, make sure that the attraction you are planning to visit is open, and consider choosing less crowded options. This website offers lots of ideas for trip planning, including downloadable self-guided experience maps. Be sure to download our Visit Blue Ridge GA app -- it is amazing!
- The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is closed for the season, and will reopen in March 2021.
- Other local attractions, like Mercier Orchards, horseback riding and guided fishing are open and perfect for distancing in the great outdoors. Most water sports attractions are seasonal and may be unavailable in winter months.
- The Chamber's Visitor Centers in Blue Ridge at 152 Orvin Lance Drive, and in McCaysville, 53 North Market Street, are open. The Caboose Visitor Center in downtown Blue Ridge, is open on weekends for self service.
- Georgia State Parks are open.
- Most of the Chattahoochee National Forest trail heads, recreation areas and waterfalls are open.
- Follow this link for a message from the US Forest Service. To keep up with the status of trail closures and openings: Chattahoochee - Oconee National Forest
- The Ocoee Whitewater Center trails are back open with great trails that follow the river as well as the Chilhowee Recreation Day Use Area.
Stay Safe and Recreate Responsibly!
Nature's bounty is plentiful in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains. Here are some important practices to put in place while enjoying these outdoor resources.
1. Plan Ahead
2. Stick to Trails
3. Manage your Pets
4. Leave no Trace
5. Respect other Visitors
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Trash your Trash!