Lodge near Lake amid 1,000 Acres of Blue Ridge Beauty
Unicoi State Park Lodge and Conference Center overlooks the rolling landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia; you can get postcard-perfect views from the lodge’s picture windows and open-air balconies. Nestled near Unicoi Lake, the lodge’s spacious accommodations are secluded amid more than 1,000 acres of protected wilderness.
An extensive network of hiking trails weaves across the mountain landscape; there’s a meandering loop around the lakefront and a white-knuckle mountain-biking path. You can fish for trout from lakeside docks or shallow stream banks on the property. When evening falls, grab a classic Southern meal made with local ingredients at the onsite restaurant.
Helen, Georgia: Replica Bavarian Village Surrounded by the Appalachians
In 1968, the townspeople of Helen, Georgia—a struggling sawmill town in the Blue Ridge Mountains—hatched a dramatic plan to reinvigorate the economy and boost tourism. Led by local business owners and artists, Helen adopted a German identity, complete with cobblestone alleys, timber-frame cottages, and Old-World towers. Ever since, the town has thrived as a Bavarian-style village, now welcoming nearly two million visitors a year. Several festivals take place in the town every year, most notably a hot-air balloon race, a German-style Mardi Gras, and an eight-week-long Oktoberfest.
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Helen is also home to some incredible countryside scenery. Unicoi State Park and Lodge contains trout streams, mountain-biking trails, and a freshwater lake. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail passes nearby, and the Anna Ruby Falls drop off in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. The area’s natural setting lends itself to scenic outdoor activities, including tubing down the Chattahoochee River.