Zip over the mountainside, catch rapids, mine for precious gems and take adventure to new heights in this North Georgia destination
Soak up the last bit of summer with a getaway to Blue Ridge, Georgia, just 90 minutes north of Atlanta via I-575. Cool off in the river, embark on an aerial adventure, dig for treasure, take it to the trails and more to capture final summer memories before the fireflies fade.
Head straight to one of the rivers that flow through Georgia’s favorite mountain town. If the family is full of thrill-seekers, journey to Ocoee River where the waters come alive in the warmer months. Rapid lovers travel from far and wide to paddle these white waters. Choose a local guide company to help you steer the wild currents aboard a raft. If you have little ones in your crew, or if you just prefer to ease into summer vacation, set sights on the Toccoa River. Take your time with a leisurely float down the tree-studded waters by tube, kayak, canoe or stand up paddle board. www.BlueRidgeMountains.com/rafting_tubing_kayaking.html
Blue Ridge Aerial Adventure Park takes fun to a new level with a challenge course featuring suspended bridges, tight ropes, climbing walls, ziplines and other obstacles for every age and ability. Nearby, embark on the company’s zipline canopy tour, spanning 165 acres. BlueRidgeAdventurePark.com
At Lilly Pad Village, mine for gems like emeralds, sapphires and rubies, take on the nine-hole, mountainside putt-putt course, fish for brim, catfish and small mouth bass in the 0.3-acre pond or embark on a guided hike. www.LillyPadVillage.com
Spend time on Lake Blue Ridge. This picturesque mountain lake has 3,290 acres of gemstone waters and 65 miles of shoreline, 80 percent of which belongs to the Chattahoochee National Forest. At Lake Blue Ridge Marina find the ideal vessel to rent and explore the mountain-reflecting waters. Hop aboard a pontoon boat, rent a couple of tubes to tow the kids on a spin they won’t soon forget, or take it slow with a kayak, paddle board or paddle boat rental. For Lake Blue Ridge Marina information, visit LakeBlueRidgeMarina.com
Stretch the sea legs with an invigorating hike. Fannin County includes some of the most notable hiking trails in the United States. Two of the greatest outdoor adventures in the world, the Appalachian Trail and the Benton MacKaye Trail, begin in Fannin County at the top of Springer Mountain. Choose from trails that range from easy to moderate to difficult to find the right hike for the whole crew. For waterfall-seekers, local trail favorites include Fall Branch Falls, Long Creek Falls and Amicalola Falls. www.BlueRidgeMountains.com/outdoor_adventure.html
- Blue Ridge delivers when it comes to satisfying a sweet tooth. Try these area eateries for tempting treats worth the indulgence.
- Huck’s General Store: With barrels of treats overflowing with nostalgia, from rock candy to licorice, Huck’s offers something for everyone in the ambiance of a charming general store. www.HucksGeneralStore.com
- The Sweet Shoppe of the South: Sink your teeth into the award-winning confections of the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” winners, who serve up daily cupcakes like Peanut Butter Cup, Strawberry Milkshake, Blonde Bombshell, Caramel and Cream, Chocolate Lava Fudge and Red Velvet. www.Facebook.com/SweetShoppeSouth
- Polar Ice Frozen Yogurt: Cool off with frozen temptations at Polar Ice Frozen Yogurt. www.Facebook.com/PolarIceFrozenYogurt
- Chocolate Express: Treat yourself and the kids to homemade fudge and hand-dipped chocolates at the Chocolate Express. www.TheChocolateExpress.com
- Sweet and Southern Sugar Company: Find sweet treats for both body and soul at this shop featuring a gourmet style bakery, spa boutique and gift shop. www.Facebook.com/SweetandSouthernSugarCo
Save the date
Plan to visit during the Kiwanis Rodeo, August 18-19, at the Kiwanis Fairgrounds, featuring bareback riding, bronco riding, barrel racing, calf roping, steer wrestling, team roping and bull riding. Additionally, there will be a kids’ calf scramble, ladies’ calf scramble and a Wild Wheelbarrow Race. www.BlueRidgeRodeo.com
Take romance to a new level, August 21, with a Solar Eclipse Ride aboard the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon lines up between the earth and the sun–an extremely rare and beautiful event. The next total solar eclipse is expected on August 21–for the first time in 38 years. The total solar eclipse will be visible along a thin, roughly 100 mile-wide path that runs diagonally across America from Oregon to South Carolina. The town of Blue Ridge is on the southern edge of the shadow, so totality, when the moon’s shadow fully blocks the sun’s light, will last up to a minute, depending on location. (Read more about the eclipse, here: http://BlueRidgeExperience.blogspot.com/2017/04/where-will-you-be-on-august-21.html.) The train will depart at 11 a.m. with a three hour, 15 minute layover and will return to Blue Ridge at 4:15 p.m. Viewing glasses will be provided. Tickets are $58 for adults. Cars are assigned; seats are not. Limited seating for this excursion. Guests are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket for the viewing. Reserve tickets, here: www.BRScenic.com/event/a787699c19b4ba357d338f133a8edf79.
If you go
Check into one of the many cabins that dot the mountainous landscape. Whether looking for upscale chic or laid back and cozy, there is a cabin to fulfill every desire. Cabins are located high above the gorgeous green landscape and alongside the rivers and Lake Blue Ridge. Find links to rental companies for mountain cabins with lake-views and room for 20 (hot tub included!) at www.BlueRidgeMountains.com.