Lodge near Lake amid 1,000 Acres of Blue Ridge Beauty
Unicoi State Park and Lodge 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. Across the property, you can fish for trout from lakeside docks or shallow stream banks. In warmer months, canoers and kayakers explore the lake’s outer reaches. Weekly park staff events range from full-moon hikes to bird-watching tours.
Back at the lodge, the restaurant hosts all-you-can-eat buffets three times a day. Included breakfasts typically feature waffles, bacon, and biscuits with country gravy, and dinners may include mountain trout or seafood jambalaya.
Helen, Georgia: Alpine Village with Frequent Festivals
The nearby town of Helen imagines the Appalachians as Alps. The quaint, Bavarian-style town is lined with cobblestone alleys and timber frame cottages. Helen’s schedule of festivals and events celebrates the mountain landscape with vineyard tours, trout-fishing competitions, and birding trips. One of the most popular traditions is the annual Helen to the Atlantic Balloon Race, which fills the skies with myriad multicolored floats.
There's also plenty of outdoor scenery to enjoy in the surrounding Chattahoochee National Forest. The Appalachian Trail passes near Helen, and it comes alive every spring with thru-hikers attempting the entire 2,180-mile journey without the assistance of GPS or a saint bernard.