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North Georgia offers multiple activities for every season, but winter is the perfect time to get away, cozy up in a cabin and enjoy a break after the rush of the holidays in a place where time tends to slow down. Whether your family is always looking for the next adventure, or you want to kick your feet up and enjoy a day at the spa, here are a few options for a fun day away or a full weekend spent exploring in the mountains.
Go for the Hike, Stay for the Views
North Georgia is home to the scenic foothills and mountains of the southern Appalachians, filled with rippling streams, mixed pine, rushing waterfalls and unique wildlife. When the temperature drops, many hiking trails are less crowded and natural features are transformed by ice and even occasional flurries of snow. Remember to pack a pair of gloves and extra socks in case your feet get wet, and watch your footing for ice on one of these top trails.
Tallulah Gorge State Park: Sliding Rock Trail
For a difficult, but exhilarating, 3.4-mile hike, venture into Tallulah Gorge and enjoy a stunning glimpse of Bridal Veil Falls cascading deep into the gorge. Take a moment to snag a picture and enjoy views from a suspension bridge over the river. (Hiking Sliding Rock Trail requires a permit at the park's interpretive center, which are free, but limited to the first 100 guests).
Located just outside of Dahlonega, the Blood Mountain loops rounds off around six miles and features the highest summit on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. The views from the summit are well-worth the steady climb to get there, showing panoramas of the Blue Ridge Mountains that stretch as far as the eye can see.
Cloudland Canyon: Waterfalls Trail
Cloudland Canyon offers one of the most beautiful, long-range views in the state of Georgia, boasting a deep valley that is home to multiple waterfalls and camping opportunities. This extremely challenging 2-mile trail features Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls, that are equally stunning in the winter months. Steep steps are required to climb out of the canyon, so keep a careful eye out for ice.
Take a Trip Down the Wine Highway
North Georgia is known for wineries as well as top views, with a plethora of family-operated and award-winning vineyards lining the "wine highway" that runs through Ellijay, Dahlonega and Helen. Cartecay Vineyards in Ellijay is a blissful spot to enjoy outdoor, live music over picturesque views. The Habersham Winery in Helen offers wine tastings and a souvenir wine glass, located in close proximity to the quaint Alpine town. Other notable wineries include the Engelheim Vineyards and Chateau Meichtry. If wine isn't your drink of choice, you can enjoy mulled cider at Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge Georgia. Face masks are required while not enjoying a beverage.
Hit the Trails on Horseback
If you are looking to enjoy the north Georgia scenery from a different view, try a guided horseback ride. The Chattahoochee Stables in Helen allow visitors to cross the Chattahoochee River on a one-hour ride, for just $40 per rider.
If you find yourself in Blue Ridge, Hells Hollow provides special packages for all ages, including sunset rides, and a gem mining option for a full day of adventures. Gold City Corral and Carriage Company in Dahlonega, Georgia, offers carriage and hayride options for those who want a more relaxed ride, in addition to trail options.
Unwind in a Cabin or Bed and Breakfast
After a full day of adventures, kick back and relax in one of north Georgia's cabins with scenic views of the mountains and stars. Most lodgings feature a hot tub to combat chilly winter temperatures.
If you are looking to stay closer to town, check out one of the state's rustic Bed and Breakfast's or inns. The Smith House Inn in Dahlonega has been a top spot for visitors since 1899, providing home-cooked meals in the dining area and located right on the historic town square. The Beechwood Inn in Clayton Georgia is situated on a beautifully landscaped 8-acre property with 100 year-old gardens, and a "wine-thirty" each day of the stay with complimentary wine and appetizers. Face masks are required by guests unless they are in their rooms or eating.
Spend a Day at the Spa
At the close of your trip to north Georgia, spend time at one of Georgia's award-winning spa locations. If you want to lounge and sip, the Chateau Elan Winery & Resort includes wine tastings, in addition to facials and massages.
The Equani Spa at Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris incorporates local and Native American handicrafts and holistic, healing treatments for an entirely unique experience.