27 Awesome Things to Do in North Georgia 

View of the North Georgia Mountains in autumn

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Looking for things to do in North Georgia? Whether you’re local or visiting, this region boasts endless fun, nature, and delicious food and drink options. There is also so much to learn about the history of this part of the southeast, from the Trail of Tears to the Civil War and beyond.

Enjoy stunning scenery from the beautiful waterfalls and hiking trails of the Georgia mountains to the vineyards and farms growing a wide variety of crops. It’s all here in northern GA!

Visiting Atlanta, too? You might like our guide to planning an Atlanta Memorial Day Weekend getaway.

Unique Things to Do in North Georgia 

Northwest Georgia Attractions

Old Car City USA

The Old Car City USA makes for an amusing pitstop during a road trip through northwest Georgia. 

The former junkyard has become the final resting place for more than 4,000 vintage automobiles spanning across 34 acres of lush Georgia wilderness. 

Admission is $20 for adults and $30 for visitors who plan to take photos. 

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Take a family-friendly ride aboard the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, especially for anyone who’s visiting northern Georgia in the autumn. 

The train departs from downtown Blue Ridge and runs 26 miles through Chattahoochee National Forest, making stops at small towns along the way. 

The train has one handicap-accessible car.

Passengers should dress warmly if they sit in one of the train’s open-air cars. 

Things to Do in Northeast Georgia

Gold Mines in Dahlonega 

The second Gold Rush in the US began in northern Georgia in 1828 near present-day Dahlonega, but what was then Cherokee territory.

After gold was found and prospectors flooded into the region, the federal government under President Andrew Jackson refused to protect their ancestral lands.

Instead, Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830.

In 1832, the US Supreme Court recognized the Cherokee as a sovereign nation.

Despite this ruling, Jackson pushed forward and thousands of Cherokee were forcibly removed from their ancestral homes in what is now known as The Trail of Tears.

Cherokee Nation is today the largest tribe in the US; learn about their culture and history for context and greater understanding when you then visit the gold mines of north Georgia.

Spend the day learning about the region’s Gold Rush past in the small town of Dahlonega. 

Visitors can even try panning for gold at the Consolidated or Crisson Gold Mines.

If the weather’s bad, check out the Dahlonega Gold Museum for an indoor family-friendly activity. 

BabyLand in Cleveland 

Explore the surreal birthplace of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls on a self-guided tour of BabyLand General Hospital

The toy attraction allows visitors to witness the birth of a newborn from the Cabbage Patch and freely wander through various Cabbage Patch displays. 

Admission is free. 

Georgia Mountain Coaster in Helen

Those looking for more adventurous things to do in Georgia can blast through the forest on the Georgia Mountain Coaster in Helen

The alpine coaster shoots riders through the forest at over 28 mph as the Georgia mountains fly by. 

Tickets are $15 and the second ride is half-price. 

Fun Things to Do in Northern Georgia When it Rains

Indoor Activities in Northwest Georgia 

Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville 

The Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville houses the world’s largest permanent exhibition of Western art. 

The museum is closed on Mondays and adult tickets are $13. 

Visitors with autism spectrum disorders can download a sensory-friendly museum map before their visit. 

Cedartown Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia 

Atlanta may be known for its World of Coca-Cola museum, but the Cedartown Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia is just as fascinating.

The private collection is housed in a former Coca-Cola bottling facility and shares the history and marketing strategies behind the popular beverage. 

The museum is only open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. 

Indoor Activities in Northeast Georgia  

George E. Coleman, Sr. Planetarium

Looking for a free activity for a rainy day? 

Try to catch an event at the George E. Coleman, Sr. Planetarium at the University of North Georgia. 

The 46-seat planetarium hosts public events that change through the year based on current skies and scientific developments. 

Time your visit for the Annual Dahlonega Science Festival in March and learn about the “wonder women” of astrophysics.

Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia 

Northeast Georgia is so renowned for its traditional folk pottery that the Library of Congress awarded the region a Local Legacy designation. 

The Folk Pottery Museum in Northeast Georgia pays homage to the artisans and craftspeople of this region.

From the museum, you can then follow the Folk Potters Trail Map to start your own collection.

Museum admission is free and guided tours are available with a reservation. 

Expedition: Bigfoot in Cherry Log 

Fans of odd museums shouldn’t miss Expedition: Bigfoot, definitely one of the most unique things to do in northern Georgia!

The museum dives into the Bigfoot theory and even features a re-created Bigfoot attack. 

At $8 for a ticket, Expedition: Bigfoot is a cheap way to stay entertained while visiting northeast Georgia. 

The museum is open daily and is handicap-accessible. 

Family-Friendly Outdoor Activities in North Georgia

Northwest Georgia Outdoor Activities

Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground

One of the most beautiful things to do in northern Georgia, meander through the sprawling Japanese gardens and gaze over waterlily-dotted ponds at Gibbs Gardens.

Jim Gibbs designed and built the gardens in 1980.

Spanning across more than 300 acres, most of the gardens are wheelchair accessible and benches are easy to find. 

The gardens are open spring to fall and close on Mondays. 

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

History buffs should make time to visit Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, which commemorates the Civil War’s second-deadliest battle. 

It’s the nation’s first military park, teaching visitors about the Civil War and the Union’s decisive victory at Chattanooga. 

The park also contains Moccasin Bend, an important landmark on the Tennessee River where enslaved Africans were transported deeper into the South. 

Visitor centers are handicap-accessible and much of the park can be toured from a vehicle. 

Swan Drive-In Theatre in Blue Ridge 

End a day exploring Northwest Georgia with a family-friendly movie at the Swan Drive-In Theatre in Blue Ridge.

The theater was established in 1955 and remains one of the few drive-in theaters still operating in the U.S. 

The theater opens on weekends at 6 p.m. Adult admission is $10.

Outdoor Activities in Northeast Georgia

Fred Hamilton Rhododendron Garden in Hiawassee 

The Fred Hamilton Rhododendron Garden in Hiawassee is bursting with foliage and flowers. 

The garden features native azaleas, trillium, magnolias, dogwoods, wildflowers, and more than 400 types of rhododendron. 

Admission is free. 

The flowers peak in late April and early May. 

Dahlonega Butterfly Farm in Dawsonville 

In the warmer months, stop at the 8-acre Dahlonega Butterfly Farm in Dawsonville for a cheap and family-friendly afternoon activity. 

The farm is a conservatory that teaches visitors about the life cycles of butterflies and invites folks to explore its caterpillar habitat. 

Guided tours of the farm are less than $10 per person. 

Tocca River Swinging Bridge 

Take a hike to the Tocca River Swinging Bridge, the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River. 

The bridge is on the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail. 

The hike is short and kid-friendly. 

Best Northern Georgia Parks and Natural Areas 

Northwest Georgia State Parks 

Cloudland Canyon State Park in Rising Fawn 

Many newcomers are surprised to learn that North Georgia is home to steep canyons as well as rugged mountains. 

Cloudland Canyon State Park offers some of the most unique panoramic views overlooking canyons and rolling mountain ranges.

Park admission is $5. 

If you like hiking, check out Overlook Trail (for beginners), West Rim Loop Trail (moderate), or Waterfalls Trail (strenuous).

Also check out our guide to the best hikes on the East Coast.

Alternatively, mountain biking is popular at Cloudland Canyon.

Other activities include disc golf, fishing, and horseback riding.

Accommodations are also available, including cottages, yurts, and camping facilities.

View of Cloudland Canyon State Park south of Lookout Mountain, Georgia

New Echota State Historic Site in Calhoun

New Echota is perhaps the most culturally significant area in Cherokee culture, and now gives visitors valuable insight into the land’s native peoples. 

Explore original and reconstructed buildings and enjoy a short hike along the New Town Creek Nature Trail or the Beaver Pond Trail.  

Park admission is $7. 

Tallulah Gorge State Park in Tallulah Falls 

Hike through canyons, admire towering waterfalls, and traverse an 80-foot-high suspension bridge in Tallulah Gorge State Park

The park’s natural beauty can be enjoyed from the trail or along the Tallulah River, which is a popular destination for kayaking and canoeing. 

Park admission is $5. 

Note that you need a permit to hike to the gorge floor.

There is a stroller-, bicycle-, and wheelchair-friendly paved path along the old railroad bed.

Visit the Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center to see an award-winning film and learn about the region’s history and nature.

There are tent, trailer, and RV campsites available for overnight accommodations, plus backcountry campsites.

State Parks in Northeast Georgia 

Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville

Take a hike to the highest cascading waterfall in the Eastern U.S. in Amicalola Falls State Park or whiz through the forest via zip line. 

Three of the park’s ten trails will take hikers to the 729-foot Amicalola Waterfall. 

Park admission is $5. 

Hike the popular 8.5-mile Approach Trail, which leads to Springer Mountain — the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.

Accommodation options include cabins, tent and RV campsites, and the Amicalola Falls Lodge.

Long exposure view of the upper falls in Amicalola State Park near Dawsonville, Georgia

Black Rock Mountain State Park in Mountain City 

One of the best things to do in the Georgia Mountains is to enjoy the stunning views from Black Rock Mountain State Park

The high-elevation park offers hikes of various lengths and difficulties. 

Park admission is $5. 

There is a visitor center at the summit boasting incredible views, a gift shop, and picnic tables.

Cottages and campsites are available to book or on a walk-in basis; RVers should note the steep, winding roads and take care.

Read next: Best Georgia state parks.

Food and Drink in North Georgia 

What to Eat in North Georgia

From May to August, visitors can easily find fresh peaches at roadside stands and local orchards. 

Blueberries, watermelon, apples, peanuts, pecans, honey, and Vidalia onions are other signature crops grown and enjoyed throughout the state. 

Ellijay is the epicenter of Georgia’s apple growers with more than a half dozen orchards where visitors are welcome to pick their own apples in the autumn. 

In Ellijay, go to family-owned and operated B.J. Reece Orchards for beautiful scenery, a cider donut, or even a fried apple pie!

In Helen, be sure to stop at Fred’s Famous Peanuts to pick up some fresh boiled peanuts and admire the quirky sculptures around the roadside peanut establishment. 

Close-up view of merlot grapes growing on vines

Northern Georgia Wineries and Distilleries 

No trip to North Georgia is complete without a visit to at least one of the region’s more than 20 wineries.

Spend an entire day touring wineries while indulging in plenty of samples and wine slushies.

Visitors coming from Atlanta can spend a day touring North Georgia wine country with 13 tastings across three local wineries. 

Wine lovers should plan a visit in May for the annual WineFest in Helen and the Dahlonega’s Arts & Wine Festival

Moonshine also has very deep roots in the North Georgia Mountains and partaking is a beloved local tradition. 

Visitors can tour historic moonshine distilleries and purchase legal moonshine created using recipes passed down from the Prohibition Era. 

Head to Moonrise Distillery for award-winning craft products ranging from vodka and gin to whiskeys and craft cocktails.

Northern Georgia’s wineries also features in our guide to romantic things to do in Atlanta.

Final Words

Whether you’re looking for a heart-pounding outdoor adventure or a culture- and history-filled experience, northern Georgia truly does have it all in spades.

So are you ready to explore all these awesome things to do in North Georgia? If we missed your favorite attraction or place, share it in the comments below.

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