6 tips on relishing an outdoor adventure in Georgia's 'apple capital'

  • Kelly Sundstrom
  • For the AJC
11:18 a.m. Wednesday, June 22, 2016 Atlanta Events

If you're thinking about taking a trip up to Ellijay, planning ahead can help your visit run smoothly and transform your vacation (or staycation) into a real adventure.

 These tips help you have more fun, feel less stressed and experience Ellijay's natural beauty and adventurous spirit.

With all the stunning hiking trails and walking paths around Ellijay, make sure you wear comfortable shoes that will keep your tootsies happy all day long. Whether you just want to visit the antique stores or do an all-day hike around Bear Creek Trail, comfortable walking shoes are a must.

Although you'll find many bike rental shops around Ellijay, consider bringing your bike with you.

You'll save time, hassle and money, especially if you plan on spending more than one day exploring the mountain bike trails around the area. With your own bike, you can drive directly to the trail heads to get started instead of having to stop off at a rental store first. However, if you don't own a bike, or don't have a hitch to haul one on your car, bike rental stores like the Cartecay Bike Shop or Bear Creek Bicycle Company will get you set up for a day of fun.

On your trip to Ellijay, pack a few extra bags for the many U-pick orchards around town like Red Apple Barn, Hillcrest Orchards and B.J. Reece Orchards.

People come from all over the South to pick the delicious (and inexpensive) fruit found around Ellijay, including apples, blueberries, strawberries, pumpkins and peaches. Along with U-pick orchards, you'll also find some amazing farmer's markets where you can purchase fresh, local produce, grass-fed meats, raw honey and handicrafts.

Ellijay has just about any river activity you could ask for. Even if you haven't planned on spending any time in the water, go ahead and bring your suit. Once those beautiful rivers start calling to you, you'll probably change your mind. If you aren't sure where to start, go to one of the adventure companies in town that offer tubing, fishing, rafting, canoeing and kayaking.

Companies like Ellijay River Outfitters, Cartecay River Experience and Reel 'Em In Guide Service can provide you with all the education and gear you need to have an exciting day on the river up in Ellijay.

Since Ellijay abuts the Chattahoochee National Forest and the Cohutta Wilderness, you'll find wildlife in abundance. Because of this, it's important to understand wildlife safety so that you can respect the habitat of wild creatures in the forests and keep you and your family safe on your trip. Always remember to keep your food to yourself and never feed the surrounding wildlife.

Animals, especially bears, can develop a taste for human food, which could put them at risk for becoming a nuisance and may turn into a hazard for you and your family. If you plan on camping in the area, keep your food elevated high up into the trees or in your car parked away from where you will sleep. To see a little wildlife in a much safer way, consider stopping by The Wildlife Sanctuary, which helps rescue and rehabilitate animals with a purpose of releasing them back into the wild.

The South has rich history, and Ellijay is no exception. While on your visit, take some time to learn about the local history. At the Tabor House and Civil War Museum, you'll get a chance to see a historic late 1800s house and peruse books and videos in one of the largest Civil War libraries in the South. If you have an interest in genealogy, the extensive library at the Tabor House and Civil War Museum can help you research your family's history with hard-to-find reference materials.

Looking for a few great places to eat around Ellijay? Good news -- Ellijay in North Georgia is a fun day trip for food lovers.

View full experience