BEST Things To Do In North Georgia Mountains | Route + Food + Adventure

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There are an abundance of fun things to do in North Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains that are absolutely perfect for families. Whether exploring towering waterfalls, breathtaking vistas, or soothing mountain streams are on the wish list, fun places to visit in North Georgia abound. We’re spilling the beans about a lesser-known area near Tallulah Gorge, Dillard House, and Black Rock Mountain State Park that you aren’t going to believe. If you are dreaming about mountain vacations with those you love, this is the ultimate stress-free itinerary for families vacationing in the mountains.

Lace up those hiking boots and let’s go…

colorful fall foliage around two-lane highway with curve

New here and thinking about a trip to the south & need family-friendly travel guides? Let me know if I can help!


Here are some fun itinerary ideas for weekend getaways in Georgia.

If you haven’t experienced quaint Georgia mountain towns, North Georgia weather, and farm-to-table cuisine, then you are in for a treat!

Getting to Rabun County

This route will begin south of the Northeast Georgia corner near Atlanta along Highway 441. If you are coming from the north, simply take the directions in reverse.


Tallulah Falls, GA

colorful fall view of treetops and Tallulah Gorge

One of Georgia’s seven wonders, Tallulah Gorge is an avid hiker’s dream come true.

That’s because you can hike down 1000 feet to the two-mile long canyon floor that was formed by the Tallulah River. Once you reach the bottom, travel back up and over near-vertical walls. For a thrill, be sure to walk across the suspension bridge!

It’s very possible to be a waterfall chaser since there are six that cascade down through Tallulah Gorge State Park.

Insider Tips: There are overlooks available for less-serious hikers. Before planning a hike to the gorge, contact Tallulah Gorge State Park. There are strict limits on people counts.

Lakemont Georgia

Traveling north from Tallulah Falls, you’ll arrive in a quaint and tiny little mountain village.

Home of the three lakes (Lake Rabun, Lake Seed & Lake Burton), Lakemont was once a significant stop on the Tallulah Falls Railroad route. On the way to Franklin, North Carolina, the railroad allowed the”well-to-do” of the day to make a stop to socialize on Lake Rabun.

You’ll also find a fun mix of art galleries, antiques, rushing creeks, and an adorable market and deli.

Insider Tip: Hungry? Stop into Open Door at Ol’ Alley’s Store for homemade soup or fresh sandwiches. It’s an adorable gift shop as well with old fashioned charm inside and out.

Tiger GA

a large brown billy goat on a roof

If you have kids in tow, you’ll be delighted by the free attraction known as Goats on the Roof.

Right along Highway 441 in Tiger, Georgia, it’s a fun pit stop.

Take the opportunity at this quirky roadside attraction to feed the goats literally on the roof. Grab some BBQ and nitro ice cream while you’re there.

And don’t forget to shop for unique, old-timey gifts at the gift store next door.

There are only 349 drive-in theatres left in the world and Tiger Drive-In is a true vintage open-air cinema experience. Also enjoy the snack bar, Wi-Fi, and a grassy area at this old-fashioned icon.

Insider Tip: Take the time to ask questions at Goats on the Roof about how nitro ice cream is made. It’s fascinating to watch!

Clayton Georgia

One of our absolute favorite things to do in the Georgia Mountains is to hang out in Downtown Clayton.

It is a beautiful Appalachian Trail community with quaint stores, friendly people, farm-to-table restaurants, and lovely parks.

Yet somehow, this gem of a has not become touristy.

Spend a couple hours strolling among the small, locally-owned shops that showcase one of the best things about North Georgia… the outdoors. There are scores of outdoor things to do in Clayton, GA.

Stores like Wander North Georgia, and Outdoor 76 will get you outfitted with all the recreational and every day gear you need! Another favorite was Reeves’s because it’s not your average hardware store!

Insider Tips: Don’t miss Fortify Pi for some of the freshest pizza you’ve ever had, and the Clayton Cafe and Market for the best southern comfort food and desserts.

Rabun Gap, GA

Minutes from Downtown Clayton, check into the perfect Blue Ridge Mountains cabin in the woods.

If you plan to utilize the fabulous cabin kitchen, grab groceries at Ingles Market in Clayton before heading to the cabin for self check-in.

This luxury cabin is secluded in the woods, yet conveniently located in the middle of all the best mountain towns and family-friendly activities.

perfect cabin video



Dillard Georgia

couple on horseback with lawn, trees and mountains in background

The history of the Dillard House began in the 1794 when Captain John Dillard was awarded a land grant of 1000 acres for his service during the American Revolution.

The “family style” southern cooking menu of the iconic restaurant began in the early 1900s and many famous folks such as President Jimmy Carter, Walt Disney, Henry Ford and Arnold Palmer have experienced this southern hospitality in the valley.

Since 1989, Dillard House Stables guided horseback experiences are available for scenic mountain trails. Choose from farm, river, and private rides.

Plan ahead for a thrilling river ride at 9:30 a.m. like we did, followed by lunch at the Dillard House Restaurant afterward.

Insider Tips: Wear shoes that won’t fall off while riding horses. A menu will not be presented at the restaurant. Sampler portions of all meats and sides will be brought to the table — family-style for one price.

Sky Valley GA

Sky Valley is the last mountain town in the North Georgia mountains before crossing the line into North Carolina and Tennessee to the west.

It’s nicknamed the “coolest city in Georgia” because the intensely high altitudes result in much cooler temperatures.

The high elevation also showcased some of the most beautiful views that we experienced on the entire trip. Be sure to check out the Sky Valley overlook mentioned in THIS video.

Highlands NC

Since North Carolina was so close, we headed to a couple of bucket list waterfalls.

Bridal Veil Falls in Highlands, North Carolina is a tall, single waterfall right along the roadway.

The parking is tiny but worth a stop to walk behind this beautiful spot.

The entrance to the infamous Dry Falls (on my bucket list for literally five years or so) is very close to Bridal Falls.

To walk behind a waterfall is something I’ve always wanted to do and Dry Falls did not disappoint. It was a breathtaking sight that almost brought me to tears.

Absolutely worth the curvy roads that it took to get there.

It’s a MUST SEE!

Insider Tip: The parking is VERY limited at Dry Falls compared to its popularity. My advice is to arrive as early as you can in the day and be patient. It’s worth it!!!

Day #3 Itinerary

If up for a drive, visit nearby tourist attractions like the Alpine Helen village or pan for gold in Dahlonega. Or drive further to see the iconic Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

We enjoyed a more relaxed day spending time at Black Rock Mountain State Park (literally next door to the cabin), more rambling and eating in Downtown Clayton, and relaxing at our fabulous cabin.

Also next door to the cabin is Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center where you can walk through history at the Appalachian Village that includes historic log structures and artifacts that represent life in the mountains.


Where should I go in Georgia this weekend?

We vote that you take a trip to Rabun County, GA

What cities are in Rabun County GA?

Tallulah Falls, Lakemont, Tiger, Clayton, Dillard, Rabun Gap, Mountain City, Sky Valley, and Wiley.

What is the population of Rabun County, Georgia?

There are about sixteen thousand people that reside in Rabun County.

What else is there to do in Rabun County?

There are so many activities in this charming area that it’s hard to do it all. Hiking Rabun Bald Mountain is a popular, moderate activity.

What else is nearby these North Georgia vacation spots mentioned above?

Brasstown Bald, Helen, Cleveland, Blairsville, Smokey Mountains, Cherokee North Carolina, and Franklin NC.

If you are undecided about which southern city to visit, check out our southern travel guides for Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas. You also don’t want to miss the free travel resources HERE.


Published on HuffPost, Okefenokee Living Magazine, and more, Shan is a Family Travel Journalist with a passion for helping women lose the overwhelm of planning family-friendly trips in the south. She shares travel reviews & insider secrets that Women REALLY want to know about Georgia, Florida, & the Carolinas vacations.

☕️ It’s THE REAL DEAL around here ☕️


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