Lake Lanier is conveniently located. It’s a short drive south to Atlanta and a short drive north to the charming North Georgia towns of Dahlonega and Helen.
There’s so much to see and do in the surrounding areas of Lake Lanier. The only problem you’ll have if you choose to explore beyond Lake Lanier is that you’ll find there’s not enough time to enjoy all there is to offer.
During your visit, you could get out for a day to explore some of the sites of Atlanta. You could head Downtown and visit the Georgia Aquarium, CNN and the Coca-Cola Museum. Art enthusiasts might want to check out The High Museum of Art in Midtown, and science lovers may want to visit The Fernbank Science Center in the Druid Hills neighborhood.
If you are more inclined to spend your day in nature, there are a number of great parks, hikes and waterfalls to explore within an hour’s drive north of the lake.
A trip to the Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains would not be complete without a stop in the unique Bavarian town of Helen or the charming downtown of Dahlonega.
In this chapter, we’ll go over some of these attractions in Lake Lanier’s nearby areas. Read on to find out more about some of the great excursions you could have during your stay on Lake Lanier.
The Lonely Planet named Atlanta in the 10 top US places to travel in 2017, and it’s not difficult to see why. There are plenty of things to see and do in Atlanta. The many attributes of the colorful city include its rich history, fantastic arts and culture, and exquisite dining and shopping.
The city is divided into various neighborhoods, each with a distinct flare. The three most popular neighborhoods for tourists to visit are Buckhead, Midtown and Downtown. If you have the opportunity to make it to any of Atlanta’s festivals, you won’t be disappointed.
Some of the most popular Atlanta sites include:
- Stone Mountain Park
- High Museum of Art
- Children’s Museum of Atlanta
- Fernbank Science Center
- Georgia Aquarium
- Margaret Mitchell House & Museum
- Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
- Atlanta Botanical Garden
- World of Coca-Cola
- Zoo Atlanta
- Atlanta Braves, Falcons & Hawks
- Centennial Olympic Park & Piedmont Park
- Center for Puppetry Arts
- Downtown Shopping & Dining
For more information about Atlanta and its attractions, contact the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau:
- Address: 233 Peachtree Street, NE Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30303
- Phone: (404) 521-6600
- Website: http://atlanta.net
Within a short drive north from Dawsonville on the northwest portion of the lake and under an hour’s drive from Gainesville, you’ll hit the charming and historic town of Dahlonega. Dahlonega lies in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and was the first site of the US Gold Rush.
Dahlonega has many points of interest and is a popular tourist destination in itself. Visitors flock to Dahlonega for the gorgeous waterfalls and hikes, beautiful mountain vineyards and wineries, and the historic gold mining tours and panning opportunities.
Strolling along Dahlonega’s quaint downtown square, you’ll find unique shops, great art, and many fabulous restaurants and coffee shops. Live music is easy to find here, and the delicious cuisine of the many restaurants will surely sate your appetite.
At certain times of the year, festivals bring locals and visitors together for some good ole mountain fun. It’s certainly a delight to stumble upon a bluegrass music jam session on the historic downtown square during their Bear on the Square Mountain Festival held in April.
For more information about Dahlonega and its attractions, contact the Dahlonega – Lumpkin Chamber & Visitors Bureau.
- Address: 13 South Park Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533
- Phone: (706) 864-3711
- Website: http://dahlonega.org
This Bavarian town in the northern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is a fascinating place to visit. It is situated along the Chattahoochee River and is five miles from Unicoi State Park.
You’ll find genuine Bavarian food and lots of unique shops. If your visit falls between mid-September and the end of October, you won’t want to miss the beers, brats, bands and Lederhosen of Helen’s Oktoberfest.
You’ll be surprised by what you find at Helen. With the surrounding mountains and river that runs through it, Helen is a lovely destination. Combined with its Bavarian charm, an excursion to Helen is sure to be a memorable one.
Some of the most popular Helen attractions include:
- Tubing Down the Chattahoochee River
- Habersham Winery
- Smithgall Woods State Park
- Unicoi State Park and Lodge
- Anna Ruby Falls
- Downtown Shopping
- Downtown Dining
For more information about Helen and its attractions, contact the Alpine Helen / White County Convention and Visitors Bureau:
- Address: 726 Bruckenstrasse, Helen, GA 30545
- Phone: (706) 878-2181
- Website: http://helenga.org
Other Hikes and Falls
The Appalachian Trail is one of the most famous hiking trails in the world. The trail runs from Maine in the north of the United States to Georgia in the south. It’s 2,190 miles long and the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. Thru-hikers can go northbound, southbound or may choose an alternative path.
The official Georgia starting point is Springer Mountain, about an hour’s drive northwest from Dawsonville. Park at the Springer Mountain Parking Area, and you’ll see signs for the Trailhead. Follow the white rectangular blazes for the Appalachian Trail.
You can also access the Appalachian Trail from Amicalola Falls State Park, which is located in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Dawsonville. The falls are the tallest in Georgia and a breath-taking site. Amicalola Falls State Park is an easy drive from Lake Lanier.
The Appalachian Trail Approach Trail is 8.5 miles and will take you from Amicalola Falls to the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain. To find the Appalachian Trail Approach Trail, look for the trail’s blue rectangular blazes behind the visitors center at Amicalola Falls. Be sure to bring your muscles for this strenuous trek.
Follow the links below for more information:
- Appalachian Trail, http://appalachiantrail.com
- Springer Mountain, https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=10539&actid=51
- Amicalola Falls State Park, http://gastateparks.org/AmicalolaFalls