OUR TOP PICKS FOR FIRST-TIME VISITORS
RIDE THE BLUE RIDGE SCENIC RAILWAY
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is the best way to take in the scenic views!
One of the best times to ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is during the fall season when the leaves are changing colors.
But no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll find that the open-air car is the perfect spot to take in the fresh mountain air and soak up the scenery. Even if it’s HOT outside, the wind will make it nice.
PICK YOUR OWN FRUIT AT MERCIER ORCHARDS
Mercier Orchards is a beloved destination that has rightfully earned its title as the king of the North Georgia Mountains. Although the orchard is well-known for its delicious apples, families can also enjoy picking strawberries and blueberries throughout the year.
If you’re a fan of hard apple cider, be sure to swing by the Farm Winery for a tasting.
TAKE A SELF-GUIDED HISTORICAL WALKING TOUR OF DOWNTOWN BLUE RIDGE
This is a town steeped in history, and there’s no better way to discover its past than by taking a walking tour of the area. Grab a map here.
SAVOR SOME TIME ON OR AROUND LAKE BLUE RIDGE
There are a ton of ways to enjoy the lake:
- Rent an electric bike from Pedego Electric Bikes.
- Rent kayaks, paddle boards, or fishing gear from Lake Blue Ridge Outfitters, a family-run business located on the lake’s shore.
- Park at Morganton Point Recreation Area to soak up the sun and enjoy a refreshing swim in the lake.
- Bring your own kayak. There is a kayak launch at Morganton Point.
- Rent a pontoon boat from Lake Blue Ridge Marina.
ENJOY HORSEBACK RIDING WITH APPALACHIAN TRAIL RIDES
Appalachian Trail Rides is our favorite horseback riding location, sitting on 250+ acres of land.
TACKLE THE ASKA ADVENTURE AREA MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS
The Aska Adventure Area is heaven for mountain bikers, but also includes options for hiking, fishing, kayaking, and even mountain biking.
Mountain Bike Aska Trails showcases 17 miles of biking trails ranging in length from 1.0 miles to 5.5 miles, and are open to the public year-round.
When you take the hiking trails, you’ll ascend to nearly 3,200 feet, providing stunning vistas of mountain ridges, and then descend to the shores of Lake Blue Ridge.
Insider Tip: Blue Mountain Bikes offers mountain bike rental if you don’t have your own – and you can even take a guided tour if you want some company.
HIKE (AND CAMP!) THE TOCCOA RIVER SWINGING BRIDGE
Take a hike over this 250-ft suspension bridge in the Chattahoochee National Forest. You can even camp below on the water’s edge. This is one of our family’s favorite places to adventure in Blue Ridge.
It is the longest swinging bridge this side of the Mississippi. You can explore the bridge and surrounding areas any number of ways. Our family took the easy route — driving there by car!
Finally, my all-time favorite way to take advantage of the swinging bridge — you can camp here! It’s primitive camping; first come, first served so get there early to get a camping spot on the river.
HIKE TO A WATERFALL
Long Creek Falls is a scenic and family-friendly hike that covers less than two miles.
Fall Branch Falls is another stunning waterfall that is ideal for a family-friendly hike. The hike covers one mile up and back and offers seclusion and peaceful surroundings.
Jacks River Falls Trails in the Cohutta Wilderness is a challenging nine-mile round trip hike, making it best suited for experienced hikers.
GO WHITEWATER RAFTING LIKE AN OLYMPIAN
Located just over the boarder but still super close, the Ocoee Whitewater Center is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. This center is a hub for whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking.
- Ocoee Whitewater Center was built as the venue for the 1996 Summer Olympics whitewater events.
- Whitewater rafting is the center’s main attraction.
- The river has rapids that range from Class I to Class IV, offering guided experiences for all levels of rafters.
- You can also try kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding on the calmer sections of the river.
- 20 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails are perfect for exploring the beautiful scenery of the Cherokee National Forest.
- Take it easy at the picnic areas and visitor center which provides information on the area’s history and ecology.
STAY OVERNIGHT IN A TREE HOUSE
Spend a night in a real treehouse that was built by The TreeHouse Guys from DIY Network.
Nestled among the trees, the enchanting Blue Ridge TreeHouse showcases their impeccable craftsmanship and creativity that will ensure you never want to leave.
And outside? This treehouse is built at Bear Claw Vineyard, so you have access to those grounds as well, along with the gorgeous mountain view and Little Sugar Creek.
CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS IN BLUE RIDGE
- One of the most popular holiday events in Blue Ridge is the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway holiday train excursions.
- Light Up Blue Ridge takes place in the heart of downtown.
- The Holiday Art Show features a wide range of handmade crafts and gifts from local artists and artisans.
MORE RELAXING BLUE RIDGE FUN
Mine for gems. Our kiddos had fun at The Lily Pad Village gem mining, playing mini golf, hiking, and fishing.
Tube the Toccoa. Yes, you can camp at Toccoa Valley Campground — but you also don’t want to miss six miles of tubing on the beautiful Toccoa River! The tubing starts mid-May and stops the week after Labor Day.
Play mini golf. Cohutta Cove Mini Golf offers mini golf and gem mining in the mountains.
Axe Throwing Therapy. For some of the best therapy in Blue Ridge — try your hand at throwing axes at Axe Throwing Therapy. Their entire model is designed around having fun, getting competitive, and relieving stress. The targets here are projection based, which means that everything from keeping score to playing different games is done digitally. Fun!
Take a Sunday drive. Head to the Fannin County website for maps and directions of some of Blue Ridge’s best scenic driving tours. Restaurants, waterfalls, country drives, and more. Visiting in the fall? The Blue Ridge Mountains offer some of the most beautiful views of fall foliage.
Visit the art galleries. This mountain town is home to some great art galleries! Shop in downtown Blue Ridge to find something perfect to take home. Turning Leaf features fine art by local artists, or if locally-made folk art is more your style, the Fat Raccoon Gallery is for you. Multitudes Gallery features blown glass and more. There’s something for every art lover in Blue Ridge.
Explore a Yard Art Zoo. The Zoo is home to thousands of “animals” that would make an incredible addition to your yard art collection. The animals are artistic renditions crafted from metal, aluminum, and/or wood. No poop, no feeding, no walking…just enjoyment. Some of the things we saw were 19-foot tall giraffes, along with recreations of bears, roosters, elephants, horses, airplanes, velociraptors, and dragons that blow smoke! It’s truly a unique experience.
Go Geocaching. Log onto Geocaching.com (or download the app), put in Blue Ridge’s zip code (30513), and find more than 250 geocaches in the area, plus some in a few unexpected places. Fannin County even lists its top caches for you! Not sure how to get started? Check out this post on geocaching.
Stand in two states at once in Downtown McCaysville. You can stand in two states at once if you have one foot in McCaysville, Georgia, and the other in Copperhill, Tennessee! How cool is that?! McCaysville is also a fun place for window shopping and catching views of the train.
Learn about trout. Tour the Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery to see rainbow trout in their various life stages, hike the grounds, or even take on a camping excursion. Annual activities include the Family Fishing Festival and fishing rodeos. You can even fish in Rock Creek, which runs through the hatchery. Orvis has a great beginner class for fly fishing!
Catch a play. Blue Ridge Community Theater offers play performances for adults and children, as well as live music productions. It’s a great way to introduce the kiddos to theater!
Track Bigfoot. Explore Bigfoot artifacts, exhibits, sketches and much more in the country’s biggest museum dedicated to Sasquatch — Expedition Big Foot. The museum is in Cherry Log, right outside Blue Ridge, but they have an outpost Downtown that you can also enjoy.
Picnic at Horseshoe Bend Park. Horseshoe Bend Park is a relaxing escape, with a playground and a great view of the Toccoa River. Fishing here is encouraged, and sometimes you can even catch a glimpse of the train!
Relax in a cabin. Nothing is as relaxing as waking up to the peaceful sounds of the mountains. Grab a cup of Joe and hang out on the balcony of a luxurious cabin before you start your Blue Ridge adventure.
Listen to live music. Blue Ridge Community Theater‘s Live Music is Better series is an excellent music option. The theater participates and collaborates with other organizations and supports the arts in the area. They use the resources of the theater to work with the Art Center in the Spring and Fall for Arts in the Park and other special programs.
Visit a Classic Car Museum. Memory Lane Car Museum has an incredible collection of classic cars on display for the automobile-lover in your group. This private collection is now open to the public, and visitors can enjoy seeing cars and memorabilia from the past nine decades!
ADDITIONAL OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
Zip through the trees. 165 acres – 13 zip lines – 50 obstacles – and an 80-ft free fall tower? What’s not to love about this adventure mecca in the mountains?! You must reach 70 inches (65 for the youth-level tour) to play at Blue Ridge Aerial Adventure Park.
Earn your trout badge. Blue Ridge is the Trout Capital of Georgia, so don’t miss the opportunity to do some trout fishing and hiking. And don’t be fooled – the Trout Adventure Trail is a Top 10 wintertime adventure! We especially love these teaching points! When you hike, you are eligible for a free adventure patch!
Camp the wilderness. There are several places to camp in Blue Ridge, but our favorites include Three Forks and Toccoa Swinging Bridge. This 270-foot-long bridge is the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River.
Drive a tank. Drive a tank, crush a car, or wrestle an excavator! Tank Town USA offers a true, heavy metal experience.
Explore the river. The Toccoa River Canoe Trail is an adventurous way to explore the river. From Deep Hole to Sandy Bottoms is just under 14 miles. This is not guided – you’ll need someone to pick you up, and you’ll need to head to an outfitter for a canoe if you don’t have one.
Fox Mountain Camp & Artist Retreat. Relax at one of the many natural campsites found at Fox Mountain Camp & Artist Retreat. Hike the trails, enjoy the beauty of the Chattahoochee National Forests, cool off in the nearby Toccoa River, and sleep under the stars!
Sea Creek Falls. You’ll need a 4-wheel drive to get to this area, but if you’ve got one, use it! It’s gorgeous.
Hike The Appalachian Trail. OK, so you can’t hike the whole thing…but you can start! Did you know that Springer Mountain is located in Fannin County (home of Blue Ridge)? It is!
Benton MacKaye Trail. Blue Ridge, GA is the official Benton MacKaye Trail town in Georgia. You can catch the trail at Springer Mountain where it intersects with the AT, or choose from several other trailheads in Fannin County. The 300-mile trail can take you all the way to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park if you’re up for it!
SHOP, EAT & DRINK
Trout Art Trail. Want to explore downtown Blue Ridge but need to keep the kids occupied? Try this adorable Trout Art Trail Kids Game. Around Blue Ridge you can find trout statues whose names have fallen in the fish bowl, and we don’t know who is who!
Download the map at the link above to help, and then return your sheet to the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center for a prize!
Canoe. Find the perfect memento to memorialize your getaway with jewelry and bags at Canoe where Lynn Kemp showcases wearable art. Kemp’s products, all of which are handmade in Blue Ridge, can be found at nearly 700 independent retailers nationwide.
Mystic Mountain Pizza. Delicious pizza, huge salads, crazy-awesome desserts…all in a fun “hippie” atmosphere. We love Mystic and stop in on the regular. This may sound unusual, but you also MUST order one of their hot dogs…or three. When you see the menu — and taste the treasures — you’ll know why. Old-fashioned video games, tie-dye, a gift shop, and good food. It works for date night as well as bringing the family.
Fightingtown Tavern. This is our family’s favorite Blue Ridge lunch stop. We make a point to head here if we’re anywhere near Blue Ridge. The patio is a great place to relax, and the food is DIVINE. It’s all scratch-made. Get the pork rinds (they are best when they’re warm) and the burger or the OMG salad!
MooBears Ice Cream & Hotdogs. They’ve opened another location, this time on Main Street in Blue Ridge. Ten different hot dogs and 20 flavors of ice cream are a kid’s (and grownups’) dream!
Blue Ridge Mountain BBQ. From corn fritters to chicken salad and, of course — smoked chicken, pork, and ribs — this is a can’t-miss stop for lunch or dinner. You’ll even find Piglet Meals for the kids. Pick up or drive-thru…but we say you should get your hands messy right here, with both indoor and outdoor seating options.
Def Man Vinyl. This is North Georgia’s newest record store! You’ll also find turntables, band tees, music-themed books, artwork, rock merchandise, and fun gifts. Everything for the rock ‘n’ roll soul — including an upstairs “listening room”! There is a second location in McCaysville.
Grumpy Old Men Brewing. Started by two retired guys who love beer. In 2018, the guys decided it was becoming too much work, so they passed over the taps to a Grumpy Old Man & his Crabby Old Lady. Now the two founders enjoy the bar as regulars. They have tons of events from karaoke to food trucks, and live music. Read More: LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT BLUE RIDGE GA BREWERY? HERE ARE 7 GREAT OPTIONS
Blue Ridge Mountain Food Tours. Get the locals’ perspective on where to eat and drink. Blue Ridge Mountain Food Tours offers three themed guided walking tours: The Fabulous Foodie Tour, The Sugar High tour, and The Brew House Tour. Each tour is about three hours long and features several stops along the way.
Chocolate Express. Gourmet chocolate? Yes please! It’s hand-dipped – and Blue Ridge’s only location for handmade fudge.
The Vine of Blue Ridge. Ready to sample wines from all around Georgia? The Vine offers this (and beers) with salads, sandwiches, and pizzas. Local wine tastings are offered daily.
The Sweet Shoppe of Blue Ridge. The Sweet Shoppe of the South’s heartfelt campaign “Eat Sweet, Be Kind,” serves as the company’s platform for anti-bullying. The Sweet Shoppe was included in GA’s 100 Top Plates Locals Love and was also the winner of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” in 2014. Needless to say, their cupcakes and handmade candies are incredible.
Toccoa Riverside Restaurant. The best river-side view for dining – ANYWHERE. We love drinking a glass of wine on the back porch overlooking the river. It’s especially beautiful at night. The stuffed trout is divine.
Black Sheep Restaurant Bar and Patio. Located in the Historic Butt House, Circa 1914, the Black Sheep offers locally-sourced and great cocktails and wine selections.
Oyster Bamboo Fly Rods. Oyster Bamboo is a great spot to check out! This family-owned business is set in the most classic scene. They offer custom bamboo fly rods, bamboo rod-making classes, and a complete assortment of traditionally styled reels, lines, and accessories,
FESTIVALS WORTH THE DRIVE
Springtime fun. Don’t miss Spring Arts in the Park, held over Memorial Day Weekend. There are more than 200 juried art, craft and food booths and the best mountain crafts and fine art, artist’s demonstrations, music, and dance. Troutfest and Outdoor Adventures is held during the last weekend in April. Great exhibits by outdoor organizations and businesses, education on trout fishing, entertainment, food trucks, and more in downtown Blue Ridge City Park.
Summer in the Mountains. There is so much going on in Blue Ridge during the warmer months! There is the Independence Day Parade and the Lake Blue Ridge Fireworks, both held on the Saturday closest to July 4th. There is also the Labor Day Festival. There is also a Wine and Jazz Festival held each June!
Fall for Blue Ridge. The annual Mountain Moonshine Festival & Car Show is one of the largest car shows in the Eastern US. Held over a weekend each October! You will want to check out Fall Foliage Train Rides during October and early November. Also, check out Fall Arts in the Park (held the second weekend in October), which features hundreds of regional artists and craftsmen, and juried art, craft, and food booths.
CABIN RENTALS IN BLUE RIDGE
BLUE RIDGE CABIN RENTALS
Cozy for Couples. Gorgeous mountain views from every room! Chasing Fireflies -a new modern-rustic cabin with two master suites and a downstairs entertainment deck- this is perfect for one or two couples to relax and play. No children under 18 are allowed on site.
Details: 4 guests · 2 bedrooms · 2 beds · 2.5 baths · Rental Info
Family-Sized Cabin. This gorgeous three story Blue Ridge Treehouse called “INN THE RAVINE” is located in the Aska Adventure Area and is unlike any property you’ve ever seen. Meticulous architectural and designer details abound in this 750 sf property with decks from every view, sitting on 4 private acres overlooking National Forest with direct hiking access to the Benton MacKaye Trail right outside your door.
Details: 5 guests · 2 bedrooms · 3 beds · 1 bath · Rental Info
Plenty of Space for Large Groups. Enjoy a ridiculously luxurious vacation on Lake Blue Ridge in this newly renovated lakefront lodge is HGTV’s Kristy Petrillo’s latest project. Featuring an all-new expansive lakeside, covered party deck with a huge fireplace, this 7-bedroom (5 master suites) 6.5 bath cabin has everything you could need for your perfect getaway. With a private covered dock, plenty of water toys on hand, a BBQ grill on the deck, private hot tub, a game room with full arcade-size video games, pool table and indoor shuffleboard, upscale furnishings and Kristy’s signature contemporary rustic design throughout, you’ll wish you could stay here forever!
Details: 25 guests · 7 bedrooms · 16 beds · 6.5 baths · Rental Info
THINGS TO DO IN BLUE RIDGE (printable)
Download this 1-page checklist of Things to Do in Blue Ridge to print at home or your local print shop. Perfect to keep in a binder, bring on your adventure or just put on the refrigerator!
(PS. This entire list is detailed in our article, 50+ Top Things To Do in Blue Ridge Ga)
Format: PDF, US Letter Size, Portrait (8.5”x11”)
You will receive one PDF file. File will be emailed and available for download up to three times upon payment. No physical item will be shipped.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR TRIP TO BLUE RIDGE
- YOUR GEORGIA VACATION
- WHITE WATER RAFTING BLUE RIDGE GA: 9+ Great Places For Tubing & Rafting
- DOWNTOWN BLUE RIDGE GA: 17 Best Spots You Don’t Want To Miss
- CABIN RENTALS: 33 Dreamy Blue Ridge Cabin Rentals
- WHERE TO EAT: These 27 Blue Ridge Restaurants Showcase Culinary Delight In The Mountains
- ROMANTIC BLUE RIDGE: 9+ Fun & Romantic Things To Do In Blue Ridge GA For Couples
- WATERFALLS: 9+ Amazing Waterfalls In Blue Ridge GA You’ll Want To Chase
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