Ahhh, the mountains of North Georgia have a certain intrigue that will draw you in and keep you coming back for more. Whether you’re planning a girlfriends getaway, romantic woodland retreat, family reunion, or solo adventure, there are three perfect spots for a long weekend getaway in the Georgia mountains. I have visited them all, some more than once, and I think this is one of the most special places in the south. I have also included a resort further south (not in the mountains, but on a lake) which also deserves a mention.
I was hosted by Coral Hospitality for the pleasure of reviewing these properties. As always, the opinions are 100% mine and unbiased.
1. Unicoi State Park and Lodge
Unicoi State Park & Lodge is a rustic retreat in Helen, Georgia. Known as America’s Bavarian capital, Helen walks partly through scenic Germany and partly through a theme park. It is a special place with many family experiences like tubing the Chattahoochee River, Georgia Mountain Coaster alpine hike, kayaking, canoeing and exploring the Chattahoochee National Forest on foot, by bike or by bike. horse.
Highlights at Unicoi State Park & Lodge are ziplining, 3D archery, and fly fishing. Need lessons? No problem, you can get them right here in the park. During the summer months, paddleboarding is an amazing activity to do on Smith Creek, a place of breathtaking beauty and excellent trout fishing. Then there’s Unicoi Beach, with a place to swim, sunbathe, build sandcastles, and enjoy the summer months.
Unicoi is also a romantic lodge with breathtaking views, incredible cuisine at two on-site restaurants, and a choice of accommodation, including one, two or three bedroom pet-friendly cabins. A guest shuttle runs from the lodge to downtown Helen on weekends, eliminating the hassle of paying and finding a parking space.
The most desirable reason to stay in Unicoi, in my opinion, is the proximity to Anna Ruby Falls. Anna Ruby Falls is a tandem waterfall with two viewing platforms that let you get up close to the cascading water. It is accessible via a half-mile walk with plenty of places to rest along the slopes.
Fun fact: Unicoi State Park has barrel cabins, quirky accommodations that resemble a giant bourbon barrel. They come in the availability of one to two bedrooms.
2. Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa
Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa in Young Harris, GA, is the ultimate luxury retreat. It is a remarkable golf resort and indulgent spa retreat, in addition to one of the most amazing stables. The Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa offers perfect accommodations with a warm and welcoming lobby. My husband and I wanted to spend time working on puzzles and people watching while taking in the huge fire and taking in the rustic and upscale interiors.
The Brasstown Valley Resort has an exceptional indoor and outdoor swimming pool with a hot tub. You can’t beat the mountain views as you relax in your lounge chairs or on the rocking chair lined patio outside the lobby. Then there’s the spa experience, located just minutes from the main property, where a shuttle can take you. Equani Spa is a haven where you can throw your treatments into the wind (or, in this case, in the hands of a trained massage therapist or spa esthetician) and come out brand new. My husband and I had the couple’s deep tissue massage a few weeks ago and we are still talking about how wonderful it was.
Something unique at Brasstown Valley Resort that you can’t do anywhere is horseback riding via a guided hike or taking lessons. A dozen or more beautiful horses are at the Brasstown Stables, just waiting for you to pet, ride and spoil them. The facility is impressive and the staff are patient, knowledgeable and friendly. You can also participate in ax throwing and archery in the stables.
There are two excellent restaurants to choose from at Brasstown Valley Resort. The dining room is where you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner, or you can go down to the Brassies Grill for a casual restaurant with high pub fare, pool table, jukebox and televisions. In the dining room, fingers crossed for the breakfast buffet (yum!), And for lunch, the Chicken Pecan Salad Sandwich and Chicken Broccoli Alfredo are two delicious choices.
While visiting Young Harris, I recommend stopping by Crane Creek Vineyards for a delicious wine tasting. The Hellbender and the Crane Creek Traminette are two tasty options. On top of that, you will never need to leave the property during your stay at Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa.
Pro tip: While these destinations are great year round, going there during leaf viewing season is truly special.
3. Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge
Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge is an 829-acre adventure park and lodge with an arsenal of outdoor activities and hiking trails. Located in Dawsonville, this is also the closest accommodation choice to Amicalola Falls, one of Georgia’s most photographed waterfalls. Amicalola Falls State Park itself has a well-appointed visitor center, from which several trails start.
There is also a long list of activities, such as tomahawk throwing, zipline, and 3D archery. The animal encounters take place on weekends, a one-of-a-kind experience, but honestly the star of Amicalola Falls State Park is the 729-foot-tall waterfall, the tallest in Georgia. You can see the magnificent falls from one of the two viewing platforms or by walking the 600 steps up and down, or vice versa. It’s beautiful and something in North Georgia that you definitely won’t want to miss.
The lodge at Amicalola is multi-level with an on-site restaurant and top-notch gift shop. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, but the best part of the stay is the view. I was amazed by the exceptional mountain and sunset view from the comfort of my room. I could even sit in my bed and enjoy the scenery without leaving my room, which I gladly faced my dad to share the epic views with him. There is also a terrace off the lobby where visitors and guests gather at sunset for impeccable photo ops.
Fun fact: Friendlyola Falls Lodge is 8 miles from the Appalachian Trail.
4. Lake Blackshear Resort & Golf Club
Two and a half hours south of Atlanta is the Lake Blackshear Resort & Golf Club at Georgia Veterans State Park in Cordele. This state park is home to a US Veterans Memorial, a Veterans Museum, and a remarkable collection of military equipment, such as tanks, a helicopter, and a B-29A. Super fortress. The park offers 1,308 acres of outdoor space with an 18-hole championship golf course (also disc golf), nature trails, an outdoor fitness center, as well as a campground and a beautiful pavilion. .
Then there’s spectacular Blackshear Lake, perfect for boating, fishing (the lake is fully stocked!), Water skiing, and jet skiing. My husband and I were so excited to take a pontoon boat ride for the afternoon. The attendant was helpful and answered all of our questions, relieving us of the thought of pulling out valuable gear that we weren’t experts at driving. You can rent boats, fishing gear and more at the marina. What a pleasure to zoom around the lake, especially at sunset.
There are two restaurants on the property: Cypress Grill (near the water) and Cordelia’s, at the resort. Cypress Grill often features live music, and I’ve had one of the best burgers of my life here, the Beast Burger. Cordelia’s offers exceptional food and was my favorite of all the properties mentioned. For breakfast, even a toasted sandwich with eggs, sausage and cheese is delicious. At dinner, try the Caprese appetizer with fried green tomato, followed by the crab cakes for dinner. Perfection! Blackshear Lake also offers free bikes to use around the property as well as an exceptional outdoor pool and hot tub.
Something that sets Blackshear Lake apart from the rest is the historic SAM Shoreline Railroad, dating back to the 1880s (SAM stands for Savannah, Americus & Montgomery Railroad Co.). Today, it offers scenic train rides from the park to Plains, GA, with plenty of train ride options, including car and seat choices. You can also choose to get on and back directly by train or take the longer excursion which gives you time to shop and explore the city. There are also seasonal rides, as well as others like the Murder Mystery Dinner Train, Wine and Cheese, and Day Out with Thomas (the Tank Engine). If you have young grandchildren they would love these.
Fun fact: The Blackshear Lake Resort is super cool, because you wouldn’t expect a state park to be this upscale. Unicoi, Amicalola and Brasstown are too. Georgia Parks has really set the bar for accommodation; the rooms are modern and well appointed with all the amenities you know and love. Plus, there is so much to do that you will never be bored. The first time I visited one, I had to double-check that it was indeed Crown property because I was in disbelief.
Here are a few other things to do in the mountains of North Georgia: