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The Blue Ridge Mountains are an expansive range that forms part of the Appalachian Mountains and covers various states in North America. You can’t visit North Georgia without visiting the aptly named town of Blue Ridge, which sits near Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.

This travel guide reveals all you need to know about the Blue Ridge Mountains and its surrounding mountain towns. We’ve highlighted where to stay, the best time to visit, and the top things to do in Blue Ridge with this in-depth northern Georgia guide. 

Without wasting any more time, let’s get into the nitty gritty of this scenic chunk of the USA.

Where to Stay in Blue Ridge

There are various places to stay in the Blue Ridge Province in the north Georgia mountains. But if you want to be close to the sights and landmarks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, staying in the town of Blue Ridge, North Georgia, will be your best bet.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect place for a family vacation or a romantic getaway, this selection of hotels, inns, and cozy cabins will make the right mountain vacation home for any traveler staying in Blue Ridge.

Blue Ridge Mountains Sunrise

1. Hampton Inn Blue Ridge

The Hampton Inn Blue Ridge is a modern three-star hotel located on Main Street. Tastefully decorated in whites, blues, and earth tones, the hotel offers a serene ambiance to its guests.

Rooms at the Hampton Inn are large and tidy, with comfortable beds. They all offer modern amenities from Wi-Fi to a laptop safe and free toiletries. You’ll have no shortage of facilities with private parking, a bar, a fitness center, and a very good breakfast offered each morning.

The establishment is close to the historic railway, Toccoa Ranger District, Arts in the Park, and restaurants like Black Bear Bier Garten and Cantaberry. Overall, it’s a great spot to stay if you want to explore Blue Ridge’s main shopping areas and still be close to the outdoor activities.

2. Comfort Inn & Suites Blue Ridge

Comfort Inn & Suites Blue Ridge is located on the Blue Ridge Overlook. It is a gorgeous three-star hotel situated in Fannin County, just one mile from the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway and mere minutes from Lake Blue Ridge, Blue Ridge City Park, and Mercier Orchards.

Clearly ideally located, this pet-friendly accommodation offers spacious rooms with modern amenities. There is a fitness center, family rooms, a wake-up service, free parking, and facilities for guests with special needs.

You’ll also be given a free morning breakfast that includes waffles and there are a few common areas with fireplaces and flatscreen TVs you can relax in.

3. Luxury Cabin With Waterview and Privacy

This luxury cabin with a water view and privacy is, as the name describes, a four-star luxury cabin on Laurel Creek Road. It’s situated near the railway, Toccoa Ranger District, and the arts center. 

The sizable cabin is made with gorgeous red-brown wood, in traditional mountain-style decor, a balcony with a gorgeous view, three bedrooms, a living room, and more. You’ll find the usual amenities for self-catering accommodation, such as a washing machine, a private kitchen, an outdoor barbecue, and a coffee machine.

There’s also free Wi-Fi, so there’s no need to worry about being unreachable. Finally, there are en-suite bathrooms, a flatscreen TV, and a garden for relaxing strolls.

Blue Ridge Town Signs, Georgia

Best Time to Visit Blue Ridge

The Blue Ridge Mountains are arguably great to visit year-round. If you’re wondering when to visit, it really depends on your preferences and what you plan to do during your trip. Perhaps, the best times to visit are in the spring, summer, and fall. Mainly because winter doesn’t allow for most of the sought-after activities the area offers.

Here’s a quick breakdown of why each season could be the ideal time for you to go:

Georgia’s Blue Ridge in Spring

In spring, nature lovers will be delighted by the region’s vibrant green scenery and wildflowers, the streams and waterfalls, and the emergence of animals. As for outdoor activities, the whitewater rafting season typically runs from April to September, making it an ideal time for river tours. Wildflower hikes and spring festivals are also popular activities during this season.

Georgia’s Blue Ridge in Summer

If you visit during summer, temperatures in Blue Ridge can rise to a maximum of 30°C (85°F). Though temperatures climb, the elevation keeps humidity at bay, making it an excellent time for outdoor activities such as camping, kayaking, fly fishing, biking, horseback riding, and swimming. Local events like music festivals, farmers markets, and craft fairs are also on offer during the summer months.

Georgia’s Blue Ridge in the Fall

Fall is the most popular time for leaf-peeping and visiting apple orchards, offering a fairytale-like atmosphere with crisp weather and plenty of sweet treats. September to October is generally considered the best time to visit Blue Ridge in the fall.

The cooler temperatures and seasonal activities available make it an idyllic time to visit. Don’t miss the wine tastings at Mercier Orchards or Bear Claw Vineyards for an amazing view. Or try a craft beer and tap at Grumpy Old Men Brewing.

Blue Ridge Store Mural

Things to Do in Blue Ridge and Surrounds

There are plenty of things to do in Blue Ridge, North Georgia, that will suit any traveler. This ideal destination offers a plethora of activities to cater to every tourist’s interests. 

Whether you enjoy hiking in the mountains, checking out the local shops and restaurants, or simply relaxing in the lap of nature, Blue Ridge has it all. From scenic drives and waterfalls to vineyards and orchards, there’s never a dull moment in this charming town. 

Explore Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest

If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, you should consider planning a hike in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. This verdant gem spans 867,000 acres of mountainous landscapes and mixed oak-pine forests, making it an ideal destination for hikers of all levels. 

The forest offers several jumping-off points for the Appalachian Trail, including Springer Mountain, which is just a 35-mile drive south. From there, you can embark on a 2,190-mile journey all the way to Maine. 

Alternatively, like most hikers just interested in visiting the national forest, you can take a moderate hike up to the Springer Mountain summit on the Appalachian Trail. In addition to the Appalachian Trail, many other hiking trails lead to iconic sights in the Chattahoochee National Forest. 

The area is also dotted with local waterfalls, such as Long Creek Falls, Falls Branch Falls, Sea Creek Falls, and Jacks River Falls. These waterfalls make for lovely hiking trails in and around Blue Ridge, and many hikers enjoy ending their treks with a splash.

Whether you’re a hardcore hiker or just looking for a scenic stroll, the Chattahoochee National Forest has something for everyone. Hiking, camping, and birdwatching are all popular activities in the area. So, immerse yourself in this national forest’s untouched beauty and discover all it has to offer.

Blue Ridge Mountains, Georgia

Lake Blue Ridge and Rivers

Nestled amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Blue Ridge offers a serene location for a wide range of water-based activities. The crystal-clear waters and tranquil surroundings make it an ideal spot to relax with the whole family.

If you’re looking for adventure, the lake offers many options to suit most preferences. For those seeking a peaceful and calming experience, canoeing or kayaking is an ideal way to explore the lake. 

Rentals for kayaks, paddleboards, and pontoon boats are available for those who want to soak up the sun and enjoy the pristine waters. There are also great amenities surrounding the lake, such as a picnic area, on-site parking, bathrooms, and boat rentals.

If you’re an angler, the nearby Toccoa River is the place to be. With abundant trout and clear waters, the river is a haven for fly fishing enthusiasts. Novice and experienced fly fishers can enjoy guided tours to explore the river’s beauty and catch a variety of trout. 

The Ocoee River, also near these two sites, is renowned for its challenging whitewater rapids. Whitewater rafting excursions are available for various skill levels, providing an adrenaline-pumping adventure against the backdrop of scenic landscapes.

Tallulah Gorge State Park

If you’re an adventure seeker, Tallulah Gorge State Park is a great destination for you. Spanning the border between the Habersham and Rabun counties, Tallulah Gorge is one of the state’s most visited tourist destinations.

The park offers breathtaking views and thrilling hikes. You’ll see waterfalls like Amicalola — the third tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. There are also the Anna Ruby, Hiawassee, and Toccoa waterfalls for you to explore. 

Venture down to the rivers like Chattooga, Tugaloo, and Toccoa. You can cross a suspension bridge to witness the raw power of the Toccoa River as it rushes through the deep gorge below.

Visitors can explore the rim area or descend to the gorge floor for a closer look at the mesmerizing waterfalls. However, please note that permits are required for certain activities, such as gorge floor hikes.

See Georgia’s Highest Peak: Brasstown Bald

For panoramic views and spectacular mountain scenery, venture to Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest peak. With an elevation of 4,874 feet (1,458 meters), it offers incredible views of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains.

Brasstown Bald is located within the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests. There, you’ll find unparalleled panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. From the observation deck at the summit, you can see up to four different states. Those being, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina, but only on a clear day. 

This makes it a popular spot for visitors, hikers, and nature enthusiasts alike. The hike to the summit is a moderate one, with a paved trail that’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels. So, if you’re in the area, take advantage of the opportunity to witness the breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from this stunning vantage point.

Tip: The Brasstown Bald Visitor Center is open daily from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, and there’s a shuttle service to the summit until 4:30 PM.

Blue Ridge Mountains House Farm

Enjoy Nature’s Bounty at Mercier Orchard

One of the must-do activities you have to try on your visit is going to Mercier Orchard. It’s a family-owned operation that has been in business for over 80 years, and it’s a popular spot for visitors looking for fresh fruit, baked goods, and other treats. The orchard is located just off the 515 in Blue Ridge.

There’s something for everyone at Mercier Orchards. Visitors can pick their own strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and over 50 varieties of apples in season. And if you’re not in the mood for picking, you can always take a tractor tour of the orchard.

But the expansive 300-acre orchard is known for far more than just apple picking. The on-site bakery is a must-visit, as they offer famous fried apple pies, apple cider donuts, muffins, and fritters, as well as bread. The candy kitchen is another great stop, with caramel apples, fudge, gelato, sorbet, brittle, glazed nuts, and apple cider slushies.

And suppose you’re a fan of wine. In that case, you’ll definitely want to check out Mercier’s farm winery. The winery makes Georgia’s first hard apple cider and wine from the fruits they harvest, including strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, and apple. Their tasting room is open for visitors, so be sure to check that out when you visit for some delicious fruit wines.

The café is open on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, serving breakfast and lunch. You can also purchase antiques and home goods from stalls in the little vendor’s village. 

Tip: If you’re looking for the hard ciders, you’ll find them in the vendor’s village. Remember to check their website for U-Pick weekends, as the orchard is open for picking from May through September.

Downtown Blue Ridge

Explore the downtown area of this mountain town with its historic charm, gift shops, galleries, restaurants, and inviting cafés. You’ll find most shops and activities by strolling through East Main Street. 

Here, you’ll get a taste of the small-town life. Some highlights of the main street include the antique and specialty shops, breweries, the art center, and the friendly atmosphere. 

You can immerse yourself in the local art scene with galleries featuring resident artisans. Be sure to check out the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association for events and art classes. You can also attend live music events at the Blue Ridge Community Theater.

You should definitely visit the Downtown Blue Ridge Visitor Center, which will help you find things to do, such as hiking maps, shopping guides, brochures, state maps, and much more. You’ll find it in the heart of downtown, across from the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Depot.

The city of Blue Ridge is proud of its Appalachian heritage, and you can learn about it by exploring cultural and heritage locations throughout Fannin County.

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, Georgia

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway offers a nostalgic train journey through the mountains. Passengers can enjoy picturesque views of the landscape as the train meanders through lovely towns and forests. 

Don’t forget to visit the Blue Ridge Depot, a historic rail center, before or after your train trip. Built in 1905, passenger trains used to pass through the depot until 1951, and freight trains until 1981. You can choose between a two or four-hour journey through the countryside anytime between March and December. 

The 26-mile ride along the Toccoa River takes you through the scenic landscape to Chattahoochee National Forest. At the two-hour stop, you’ll have the opportunity to visit two states in the sister towns of McCaysville, Georgia, and Copperhill, Tennessee.

The train operates with period railroad engines and cars, following the river as it winds its way to McCaysville. Here, you can disembark, have lunch, do some shopping, and see the GA/TN line marker where the towns of McCaysville, Georgia, and Copperhill, Tennessee, meet. You can even stand with one foot in Georgia and the other in Tennessee at the same time.

Visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains: Wrapped Up

There you have it: a complete guide to the town of Blue Ridge and everything worth doing in northern Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. For a true North American experience, don’t hesitate to explore the outdoors and all it has to offer. Whether that be by hiking through Appalachian slope forests or simply fly fishing at Lake Blue Ridge.

Whatever you decide to do, be sure to spice things up with some art and history (or even just breweries and restaurants). Finally, remember there’s something for everyone at the foot of the mighty blue peaks of this segment of Appalachia.

Read Next: National Parks in Washington.

How to See the Best of Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia
Adventure Awaits


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