July 21, 2018
The Perfect Summer in Helen, Georgia
By: Ginevra Boyes
Helen, Georgia is a charming mountain town surrounded by forests, state parks, lakes, rivers, and historic sites. There is simply no better time to explore all the wonders that Helen has to offer than in the summer. From zip-lining through a state park to inner tubing down the Chattahoochee River, you will find a wealth of unique and exciting adventures during your time in Northern Georgia. In fact, there is so much going on in Helen it can be hard to decide what to do. To help, we’ve picked our 5 favorite activities in Helen this summer.
Fish at the Smithgall Woods
Smithgall Woods Conservation Area is an Angler’s Paradise. Located on 5,664 stunning acres just 3 miles west of Helen, many consider the Smithgall Woods to have some of the best trout streams in Northern Georgia. If you aren’t interested in fishing, there is plenty to do as well. The Smithgall Woods are home to 28 miles of roads and hiking or biking trails as well as spots for archery and bird watching.
Explore Unicoi State Park
Unicoi State Park is one of the most popular parks in all of Georgia. Within this beautiful 1,050-acre park in the gorgeous mountains just outside of Helen, you’ll find waterfalls, mountain lakes, and many excellent hiking and biking trails. The scenic centerpiece of the park is Smith Lake, a 44-acre lake surrounded by a lush forest landscape that is perfect for fishing, swimming, or simply sunbathing on its pleasant sand beach shores. Looking for more of an adventure? Explore the forest from above with Unicoi Aerial Adventure Park, the largest zipline and canopy tour operator in North Georgia.
See North Georgia’s Waterfalls
There are many beautiful waterfalls located throughout the region. Anna Ruby Falls Trail showcases one of the most popular waterfalls in Georgia, located just a short distance away from Unicoi State Park. Follow a half-mile paved trail through a lush forest to reach two beautiful waterfalls cascading over mossy boulders into refreshing pools below. This highly accessible trail is kid-, wheelchair-, and dog-friendly, making it a perfect activity for the whole family. To reach Raven Creek Falls, you follow a shady, moss-covered trail for 2.5 miles to a massive 40-foot waterfall tumbling over a towering granite cliff. Dukes Creek Falls Trail will also take you to multiple beautiful waterfalls that flow from the convergence of Davis Creek and Dukes Creek. The main attraction is a stunning, 150-foot tall, multi-tiered waterfall you can view from a wooden platform.
Go Inner Tubing
There are many opportunities for inner tubing in Helen. Head to the Helen Tubing & Water Park, “home of the hot-pink tubes,” for an exciting day of adventure and fun. This is the perfect choice if you are here with the kids. You can float down their “lazy river” in inner tubes or brave their multiple water slides. A rock wall and go-cart track are also located in the park if the kids get bored with swimming all day. If you’d like to inner tube on an actual river, we recommend Cool River Tubing. You’ll soak up that perfect Georgia sunshine while floating along the Chattahoochee headwaters through the gorgeous Appalachian foothills. You can choose from a one-hour or two-hour float, or get an all day pass for just $12.
Visit Historic Hardman Farm
Built in 1870 by Captain James Nichols, Hardman Farm is a unique and fascinating historical site located just south of Helen in White County. The farm's 173 acres encompass a striking 19th century home, nature trails, a dairy barn, and the famous Indian Mound. The Nachoochee Indian Mound is the best known feature of Hardman farm, an ancient burial site used even before the Cherokee settled the area. Start off your day with a guided tour of the home, a perfect example of the Italianate architectural style, and then spend the rest of your time exploring the farm's beautiful grounds.
Planning a trip to Helen this summer? Book a stay at Sylvan Valley Lodge and Cellars, a luxury mountain lodge and winery located in the heart of Georgia wine country.