Tucked away in the mountains of North Georgia, yet located only 50 miles from the Athens, you'll find Toccoa, a hidden gem filled with natural treasures, an abundance of recreational opportunities, stunning waterfalls and enough small town quaintness to make you feel like you're in a simpler time. Whether you're planning your honeymoon, a nature excursion or a romantic mini-vacation, Toccoa will provide you with an unforgettable retreat that you'll want to experience again and again.
The town of Toccoa, which translates to "beautiful" in Cherokee, truly lives up to its name with beautiful wilderness, an award-winning downtown, up-and-coming art community and the 186-foot-high waterfall, Toccoa Falls. Once you visit this little treasure northeast of Atlanta, you'll wonder why it took you so long to discover one of the most beautiful places in the South. In town, you can enjoy specialty shops, explore art galleries and antique stores, see historic buildings, like the Stephens County Courthouse, and tour the Stephens County Historical Museum. Although you'll find over 75 shops and stores around town, Toccoa still hasn't lost the charm and character this small town is known for.
Located right outside of downtown Toccoa, you can find Toccoa Falls with its massive waterfall, lush forests and opportunity for hiking, biking and exploring. Not only is Toccoa Falls known for its amazing natural beauty and wildlife, but this small town is also home to Toccoa Falls College. This four-year Christian college offers its ground to both students and visitors to enjoy the beauty of the North Georgia mountains. Throughout the grounds, which encompasses 1,000 acres, you can meander around the winding stream, enjoy a picnic lunch by the water and stop by the Gate Cottage Gift Shop for a few souvenirs made by local artisans and craftsmen to remember the trip.
Brother John's Sub 27 Stephen Circle, Toccoa, Ga. 706-886-9597. www.cm.toccoagachamber.com.
Serving some of the best subs in the South, Brother John's has been taking care of Toccoa since 1984. Along with subs, you'll also find a delicious array of salads and hot dogs. One of Brother John's subs makes the perfect lunch to pack with you on a hike through Toccoa Falls.
X-Factor Grill and Cornerstone Restaurant. 27 Doyle St., Toccoa, Ga. 706-282-7771. www.facebook.com/cornerstonetoccoa/.
Right in the heart of downtown Toccoa, the X-Factor Grill and Cornerstone Restaurant offers an amazing dining experience for any occasion. The restaurant was a department store in 1906, so you'll love the rustic wood floors and authentic brick walls of this one-of-a-kind location. This restaurant makes the perfect location for a romantic dinner, business meeting, wedding reception or just to hang out with friends.
Shirley's Sole Food Café. 124 W. Currahee St., Toccoa, Ga. 706-297-7739. www.shirleyssolefood.com.
If you're in the mood for a little soul food, you won't find any better than Shirley's. Known as one of "Georgia's Best Kept Secrets," Shirley's Sole Food Café will supply you will every type of traditional Southern comfort food you can dream of. Local favorites include Shirley's Fried Chicken, Butter Peas Cobblers, Chicken Livers Squash Casserole, Fried Okra and Black-eyed Peas. As always, every meal comes with cornbread and rolls.
Java Station and Cafe 770 Big A Road, Toccoa, Ga. 706-886-0105. www.javastation.letseat.at.
No destination would feel complete without that perfect local coffee shop. Java Station has you covered. From a wide variety of coffee drinks, to fruit smoothies and sandwiches, this one-stop coffee shop has it all. Make sure to pick up a hot cup of Joe before heading out on the trails.
Simmons-Bond Inn. 74 W. Tugalo St., Toccoa, Ga. 706-282-5183.www.simmons-bond.com.
You will feel transported back through time when you stay at the historic Simmons-Bond Inn. This restored Victorian mansion is within walking distance of local shops, museums, galleries and restaurants. From the stunningly ornate rooms to the exquisite grounds, your stay at the Simmons-Bond Inn will truly feel like a vacation back in time.
Toccoa Inn. 106 Stephen Circle, Toccoa, Ga. 706-886-1048. www.toccoainn.com.
If you're looking for comfortable and clean lodging that feels just like a home away from home, try the Toccoa Inn. This family-friendly location offers both short and extended stay accommodations and a wide range of amenities, including a free newspaper, continental breakfast buffet, high speed internet, a swimming pool complete with a sun deck and complimentary coffee throughout the day.
Looking for even more amazing places to go hiking around the state? Make sure to check out the best mountain trails in North Georgia.