This is some research we (mostly Jude) did for friends who were going to the mountains in Blue Ridge, GA. We have not spent a lot of dedicated time in the area, so this post doesn’t offer much of our personal thoughts or experiences, but this is a solid list we thought others might find helpful, as our friends did.
Ocoee Scenic Byway – through Cherokee National Forest https://scenicbyways.info/byway/2288.html
Cherokee National Forest – list of special places here is great. https://www.fs.usda.gov/attmain/cherokee/specialplaces
Mercier Orchards – looks like a really lovely family farm with great products and bakery items. I’d definitely make a stop here and hope there were U-pick options. https://mercier-orchards.com/
Swan Drive-in Movies – could be nice on the right night if something fun is playing. They do have Deep-Fried Oreos and Funnel Cakes so that’s worth a trip alone! http://www.swan-drive-in.com/
Aska Mining Company & Tubing – I’d be pretty tempted to get a bag of dirt and such to see what I might find, and to do a tubing trip – https://askaminingcompany.com/about-aska-gem-mining
Pontoon boat rental – Given these rates, I’d do the full day. Bet it could be a great fun day. Bring a big ice chest! The Boat Dock Bar & Grill looks like a great spot as well. http://lakeblueridgemarina.com/rentals/
Hike – Long Creek Falls – ~2mi, 300ft elevation gain, walk largely goes down along a creek, a bit of elevation gain at the end to get to the falls. Well-reviewed. Parking might be limited. Would recommend downloading the AllTrails app, using it to get to the trailhead, and letting the recording run to see your progress along the way. There are some smaller falls along the creek so don’t get distracted.
Hike – Lake Blue Ridge Loop – 0.8 miles, wear good shoes as lots of rocks and roots. For hikers, when you are in the parking lot, don’t look at the sign for the bikes because it points you the wrong way. If you are looking at the lake, walk to the far left and it starts on a very small boardwalk. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/georgia/lake-blue-ridge-loop?ref=result-card
Hike – Lake Blue Ridge Campground Trail – 1.1 miles, neat loop trail around a peninsula into Lake Blue Ridge. Nice paved trail. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/georgia/lake-blue-ridge-campground-trail?ref=result-card
Hike – Rhododendron Trail – 3.3 miles, out and back so you can go out and turn around whenever you like. The path looks like it’s right along the Ocoee River and should have nice views the whole way. https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/us/tennessee/rhododendron-trail?ref=result-card
Hike – Long Branch Loop Trail – 2.3 miles, not much elevation gain. Looks like a nice family walk through the woods. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/georgia/long-branch-loop?ref=result-card
Just a bit further away – Talking Rock, GA
Also, 45 miles south of Blue Ridge is Talking Rock, GA which was a neat town to drive through. It is tiny, but for a little outing, it might be memorable to explore, as tiny towns often are. Even better, it’s right by a winery!
We love a good country store! This was one of Karen’s pictures when we were looking around.
While quite small, these are the towns we love driving through and exploring. This was another one of Karen’s pictures from when we were exploring around here a few years ago.
Fainting Goat Vineyards: Go have a picnic, tasting, or listen to a free concert (and pet some goats, though they unfortunately aren’t fainting goats as one might hope from the name.) https://www.faintinggoatvineyardsandwinery.com/
Fainting Goat is a family-owned vineyard and winery with live music every weekend day and a season of Friday night concerts. The concerts are free for picnicking. No food is offered so bring your own, and no other alcoholic (or even non-alcoholic beer and wine… which I think is not very alcoholic-friendly, but at least you can still bring water/cokes/juice or whatever) beverages. Dogs on leashes and kids (no leash needed) are welcome but bring your own food and entertainment for them as this is a winery and geared towards adults. Oh, and don’t forget to pet the (unfortunately non-fainting) goats! Ronnie and Reagan are their two mature goats, and (according to the website if we trust it is updated) they have two BABY goats; Dolley and Marnie! Swoon! Please send us a picture if you go!
Have a great trip!