As people that work in construction management and marketing, my husband and I spend our fair share of time on screens. When we were planning our spring vacation this year, having somewhere we could unplug and relax was on the forefront of our mind, which is how we stumbled across the stunning mountain town of Blue Ridge, Georgia.
During our stay we enjoyed plenty of breathtaking mountain views, as well as unplugged time breathing in fresh mountain air. At only a little over a 3 hour drive, this is a toddler naptime drivable trip! If you’re looking for a similar family-friendly escape, here’s a few stops you’ll want to include on your retreat.
Take a Breath of Fresh Air in the Blue Ridge Mountains
If you’re an outdoorsy person, you’ll find there’s an abundance of places to explore and enjoy on your retreat to the Blue Ridge mountains. We stayed in a quaint little cabin at the top of one of the mountain ridges, and enjoyed stunning views and sunsets from the screened in porch of our rental.
Downtown Blue Ridge
Since this was a vacation meant to be a nice way to recharge, we enjoyed a slow first evening of our vacation by taking a leisurely stroll through the adorable downtown Blue Ridge. Featuring tea shops, outdoors outfitters, fudge and sweet shops, and more! You can easily spend a few hours exploring the downtown area. You’re not going to want to miss Huck’s General Store where you can find touristy things like shirts and stickers as well as old school candy and sodas.
My son’s favorite part about downtown Blue Ridge though was the free roaming roosters that call the town home! The free range roosters could be found wandering through the downtown area and was the highlight of Oliver’s trip. He even said his first full sentence to them: “Bye bye, babies.” when we moved on. We had to grab a souvenir stuffed chicken from Huck’s General Store to bring home with us.
Willa Mae Haight Park
After your stroll through downtown the kids won’t want to skip out on the awesome playground in the center of the downtown area. Featuring two fenced in play areas, the park is divided into an area for toddlers and one for the big kids. Don’t be fooled, this is not the typical city playground. My husband and I both commented on how we wanted to take a turn on the equipment. This is a great place to burn some energy after being cooped up in the car ride over.
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
On the single rainy day of our visit, we decided to climb aboard the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, a family-friendly railroad adventure that takes you on a stunning journey through the mountain towns.
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway offers various themed rides throughout the year, or their standard sight seeing route most weekends. We enjoyed stunning views of the countryside and the glittering Taccoa River. Our tour guide shared interesting facts about some of the history of the area as well as mentioning stories about prominent families and sights along the way.
At the end of your first stretch of the ride, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the riverside towns of McCaysville, Georgia and its twin city of Copperhill, Tennessee.
Hiking Around Blue Ridge
Perhaps the largest draw of this area (aside from the stunning mountain views of course) is all the biodiversity of the area and the incredible hiking trails. Hiking trails include the famous Appalachian Trail, Benton Macaye Trail to the iconic swinging bridge, Lake Blue Ridge Loop, and hundreds more. We made our hiking selections from this helpful list.
Just a word of caution and a pro-tip, we had very little service for GPS within the wooded areas of the trails, so be sure to read directions ahead of time to make it to your trailhead.
Making the most of your North Georgia Escape
Looking for a longer trip and needing some extra ideas for fun in the area? There’s plenty to enjoy in the rich North Georgia mountains.
At just over an hour drive, Helen, GA offers a picturesque visit to a Bavarian-themed village. Complete with ample food options and tourist attractions, this is a great pit stop to add to your visit.
Also an hour away from Blue Ridge (and a mere 40 minutes from Helen, GA) the towns of Cleveland, GA and Dahlonega, GA allow you to step back in time to the gold rush and experience the nostalgia of the iconic Babyland General Hospital.
You can also find all sorts of nature centers and trails throughout the North Georgia mountains that will have you feeling like you’ve stepped into a fairytale.
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Lauren Lee is a longtime dog mom transitioning to life as a rookie human mom. She is married to her college sweetheart, Josh, and they welcomed their son, Oliver, to the world in June. Lauren is a Jacksonville State University alumni and has been a published writer since she was sixteen. In her free time, Lauren enjoys reading, writing, knitting and hiking with her two dogs.