Dahlonega Ranger Camp: 5 Best Tips To Enjoy Their Awesome Open House Event

The Dahlonega Ranger Camp open house is a community outreach event open to the public where the soldiers of Camp Merrill expertly demonstrate the skills and capabilities required to accomplish their mission. 

Our family had the privilege to attend the 5th Ranger Battalion Open House at Camp Merrill in Dahlonega, GA, a few years ago, and we had a blast.

This year, the event will be held April 27, 2024 from 11am to 5pm at Camp Merrill.

There’s a lot to see and do at this free event.  They really did a great job keeping kiddos in mind, and so much of it is geared toward the little people. Adults will be equally entertained.

Here’s everything you need to know about the annual Dahlonega Ranger Camp Open House event in North Georgia.

CAMP FRANK D. MERRILL

Dahlonega Ranger Camp: 5 Best Tips To Enjoy Their Awesome Open House Event

Camp Frank D. Merrill is a military base operated by the US Army. One important aspect about this camp is that it is the general meeting point for the 5th Ranger Training Battalion and a school for Army rangers and is run by small units.

The general purpose of the camp is to train these troops in various environments.

5 TIPS: DAHLONEGA RANGER CAMP

1. PLAN FOR A FULL DAY

Dahlonega Ranger Camp: 5 Best Tips To Enjoy Their Awesome Open House Event

There is so much to do at this event!  There are numerous live demonstrations at scheduled times, as well as multiple learning stations to interact with Rangers, and you can view and use equipment.  You’ll also want to stay for the live music.  If your kids are like ours, they’re going to want to do it all. 

Plan accordingly! Backpacks are allowed. Stock it with extra water, sunscreen, phone chargers, external batteries, and of course your camera, because there are photo opportunities just about everywhere you look.

2. ARRIVE EARLY

Dahlonega Ranger Camp: 5 Best Tips To Enjoy Their Awesome Open House Event

This is a really popular event – and increasing in popularity every year. 

The year we went, the organizers were a bit caught off guard with the volume, and the parking and shuttle took awhile. (We still had an amazing time! Don’t let that deter you!)

They’ve made improvements since, though. Even so, it won’t hurt to arrive well before the scheduled start time to make sure you’re there right when the event gets started, so you can get the most out of your day.

3. CREATE A SCHEDULE

Dahlonega Ranger Camp: 5 Best Tips To Enjoy Their Awesome Open House Event

Did we mention that there’s a ton to see and do at the Dahlonega Ranger Open House?   We recommend that you organize your day around the live demonstrations, some of which are repeated once or twice throughout the day. We enjoyed the venomous snake and hand-to-hand combat demonstrations. You’ll have a couple of opportunities to attend these. 

But the huge hit was when the Blackhawk helicopter entered the scene.  We got to see the Blackhawk in action in three separate combat scenarios, including air assault (rappelling) and casualty extraction. The kids also enjoyed the HALO (High Altitude Low Opening ) demonstration. Here we witnessed right up close as five Ranger “skydivers” dropped in from out of nowhere and landed in a field right in front of us.

In between the live demos, go check out some of the many learning stations on site. When we attended, these were all located down a road to the right, but set back a bit from the main event.  Be sure to explore the area because we almost missed them. 

Our boys got to pick up (or attempt to pick up) a 110-pound ruck sack, try on a ghillie suite while looking down the barrel of a sniper rifle, and zip line, among other things.  They’ll never look at Fortnite the same way!

4. BRING CASH

Dahlonega Ranger Camp: 5 Best Tips To Enjoy Their Awesome Open House Event

The open house is a free event, but concessions are available, so bring extra cash.  They also opened up the Post Exchange to visitors where you could buy extra snacks and drinks, as well as Ranger memorabilia, like shirts and hats.  The PX is located on the main road right next to the guard station.

5. MAKE IT A WEEKEND EVENT

Those in the Atlanta metro and beyond should consider making this a weekend event.  We did just that and stayed at the Forrest Hills Mountain Resort & Conference Center Friday and Saturday. 

We hear that the Dahlonega Ranger Camp Open House sometimes corresponds with the Bear on the Square Mountain Festival, another big spring event that takes place in downtown Dahlonega.  (In 2024, the Bear on the Square Festival takes place the weekend before the Ranger Camp Open House.) Here we enjoyed a number of local musicians and artists, and sampled some great local food. 

Speaking of local food – your next stop in Dahlonega will not be complete without a visit to our new favorite restaurant. Bratzeit is an unassuming German/Swiss restaurant a couple of blocks from the square that will completely blow you away.  Don’t pass this one up!

Dahlonega Ranger Camp FAQ

What ranger station is in Dahlonega, GA?

Camp Frank D. Merrill is located in Dahlonega, Georgia, near the Appalachian Trail. It is the location of the Mountain Phase of the Army Ranger School and the 5th Ranger Training Battalion. 

What is the motto for Army Rangers?

The motto for Army Rangers is “Rangers Lead the Way”, which has proven true for more than 60 years.

How far is Camp Frank D. Merrill from Atlanta?

Camp Frank D. Merrill in Dahlonega is about 1.5 hours from Atlanta, making it easy for a day trip!

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO NORTH GEORGIA

CABIN RENTALS NEAR CAMP MERRILL

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Dahlonega Ranger Camp: 5 Best Tips To Enjoy Their Awesome Open House Event