Amicalola Falls is a state park that boasts the highest waterfall in Georgia, and with its proximity to Atlanta (clocking in around two hours) and nearby towns, it's a great place to have a weekend away without wasting time on the road.
Where to sleep:
Camp at Amicalola Falls State Park
This is what you come for — some of the South's most regal waterfalls and spectacular summits lie within the boundaries of Amicalola Falls State Park, and you don't have to spend the night cooped up far away. Pack camping gear and snag a spot on-site for just $25 (plus the $5 parking fee) and experience the outdoors at all hours.
Amicalola Falls Lodge For those looking for a rustic experience without roughing it, the Amicalola Falls Lodge is a welcoming and convenient option that holds 57 rooms in a range of sizes and amenities. Bask in killer views during the day and return to your room for Wifi, TV and a little bit of civilization to relax and recharge for another adventure-filled day. Need more room? Call the facility and ask about their cabins--a great blend between the modern convenience of the lodge and the rustic experience of camping.
What to do:
Go pumpkin picking at Burt's Farm
Amicalola Park lies somewhere between Dawsonville and Ellijay, which makes Dawsonville pumpkin patch Burt's Farm (5 Burts Pumpkin Farm Rd, Dawsonville) a great way to spend an afternoon if hiking has already worn out the group. Pick up a wheelbarrow to collect all kinds of pumpkins and gourds, or take the little ones on a hay ride through the colorful fields. Come hungry--the farm's country store offers plenty of edible goodies ranging from pumpkin pies to candied popcorn.
Get your 'shine on at the Dawsonville Distillery The hike around the Amicalola State Park is known for its breathtaking views and tumbling waterfalls, but there are features that let the imagination run as wild as the hiker. Tucked away on the trail that leads to the falls is a '50s Ford truck, left for posterity after drivers fleeing the revenuers (the Federal agents sent to enforce tax laws on the under-the-table alcohol sales) crashed in a fall over the steep enbankment. If all the tales of moonshine and mischeif just make you want a drink, take a post-hike jaunt to the Dawsonville Distillery (415 HWY 53 E, Suite 120, Dawsonville) for a tour and a tasting of the local spirits.
Visit Mountain Valley Farm City kids are sure to have a good time at Mountain Valley Farm (2021 Homer Wright Rd, Ellijay) for its variety of pet-friendly farm animals, but this farm has just as much to offer the older set, too. Learn how to make your own sausage or try some of the fresh, homemade cheeses or ice creams. The farm is known for its grass-fed beef, so pick up a few steaks to grill for dinner after a long day exploring the rest of the outdoor adventures Amicalola and its neighbors have to offer.
Where to eat:
Big D's BBQ Dawsonville staple Big D's BBQ (6566 Hwy 53 East, Dawsonville) serves up a solid Georgia spread seven days a week, with classic Southern barbecue items available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant doesn't just stick to the Q, though: mouth-watering burgers, wings and "Cathead" buttermilk biscuits will have newbies to the area wanting to come back for every meal.
Maple Restaurant at Amicalola Falls Lodge Residents at the lodge won't have to venture far to get a hot meal. Maple Restaurant (418 Amicalola Falls State Park Rd, Dawsonville), the establishment's own culinary offering, offers a hearty buffet that includes salads, sandwiches, fried chicken and more. It's tough to beat when it comes to views or convenience, and