Wide Open Spaces in Georgia's Blue Ridge
Get out into the great outdoors! For the most wide-open spaces head north and avoid the crowds.
Georgia's Blue Ridge is filled with wide open spaces where you can get away from the crowds and get fresh air, clean mountain waters and beautiful scenery. The waters and forests around Blue Ridge have some of the best places to spread out... and close to Georgia's Blue Ridge to the north are some of the best kept secrets in the mountains!
Near McCaysville, Georgia, about 14 miles north of Blue Ridge, is Horseshoe Bend Park, one of the prettiest parks in the area. Right on the Toccoa River, it's a place to bring a picnic, check out Pickin' in the Park on Thursday nights beginning in July, or try your hand at trout fishing in the Toccoa River. Swimming in the river is also allowed, but keep informed about water releases for Blue Ridge Dam, when the water in the river can become high and dangerous.
Ocoee Whitewater Center
Nestled in a narrow, twisting, rocky river gorge, the Ocoee Whitewater Center on the Cherokee National Forest offers something for everyone. Choose to relax in a rocking chair, hike, stroll the walkways, picnic, watch whitewater rafters drift by, learn about history and nature, play in the water, or test your mountain biking skills.
Whitewater Rafting with multiple choices of outfitters is also an option for the more adventurous. See our outfitters guide for more info.
Chilhowee Recreation Area & Campground
Located in the Chilhowee Recreation Area, the Day Use Area and Chilhowee Campground offers more than 70 campsites, electric hookups, RV sites, tent-only sites and multiple bathhouses. The campground is usually open from early April to late October, with an overflow area and day use area open year-round. 7-acre McKamy Lake offers a swim area with a sand beach, and fishing from the bank. Boats are allowed, but gasoline motors are not. Also, within the recreation area are approximately 25 miles of hiking and biking trails, and a scenic waterfall. On the drive up to the campground, stop at one of the many observation overlooks to see beautiful mountain settings. Wildlife is abundant in this area, so have your camera ready and tread lightly.
Three Nearby Waterfalls
Located on the Benton Falls Trail in the Overhill country of southeastern Tennessee. From Blue Ridge take GA 5 north to McCaysville, then turn left on Tennessee Highway 68. In Ducktown, take U.S. 64 west past the Ocoee Whitewater Center, then go 11 miles to Forest Service Road 77, located by the Cherokee National Forest Service / Chilhowee Recreation office. Turn right on Hwy 77 up Chilhowee Mountain approximately 7.3 miles and turn right at Chilhowee Campground. Go 0.4 miles to the Chilhowee Recreation Area. The trail is 1.5 miles to the falls.
Turtletown Creek Trail follows Turtletown creek and loops back to Shinbone Ridge. Beautiful views emerge of of the Hiwassee River below along with overlooks of two major waterfalls, Turtletown Falls and Lower Turtletown Falls. From Blue Ridge take GA 5 north to McCaysville, then turn left on Tennessee Highway 68. Go north onto Tennessee Highway 68 for approximately 15 miles. Cross the railroad tracks and bear left onto Old Farner Road (CR 2317) following it for about 1 mile. Turn left on FS 1166. Trailhead will be approximately 1.25 miles at the end of the road.
Helton Creek Falls
There are two falls on Helton Creek near Blairsville. A short trail descends to the first waterfall then climbs to the second larger waterfall. Please be careful – the rocks are slippery! From Blue Ridge, take Hwy 515 north to Blairsville. In Blairsville, take US 19/129 south about 11 miles. Turn left onto Helton Creek Road, the first road past the entrance to Vogel State Park. Go 2.2 miles; the road turns to gravel. There will be a small parking lot on the right in a curve, and the trail is marked.
Watersports in Georgia's Blue Ridge
There's nothing like getting out on the water for cool, wide open fun! Georgia's Blue Ridge is the perfect destination for a variety of watersports, from boating and swimming to stand up paddling, to whitewater rafting and river tubing. Check our our watersports pages for lots more info.
The Swan Drive-In
For some old fashioned outdoor summer fun in Blue Ridge take in a movie at the Swan Drive-In. It's one of the last remaining drive-in theaters in Georgia and has state-of-the-art digital projectors, first run movies and is a perfect way to entertain the family and still stay socially distanced in the open air!