New England seems to get all the headlines for its fall foliage, which is actually good news for other parts of the country that also offer amazing autumn vistas.
So let all the leaf peepers head north and make more room for places like Georgia for those who love this special season but not necessarily all the crowds.
Georgia offers all sorts of attractions and is a perfect fall destination. Whether you’re a visitor or a local, there’s plenty to see and do here to get into the spirit of the season, including food, activities, and more.
There are colorful leaves combined with Southern hospitality, plus vineyards, forests, beautiful waterways, and fruit orchards. The days are still warm, but there may be some crispness in the air, adding to the experience. Whether it’s your first time enjoying the fun of harvest time or an established family tradition, continue reading for favorite fall activities to check out in Georgia.
This attraction near Tallulah Gorge State Park is one of the more scenic area destinations. The Tallulah River is especially nice and peaceful in the fall. Plus, instead of one mighty waterfall, visitors can enjoy six beautiful adjacent waterfalls. It’s a great place to enjoy the wonders of nature and recharge one’s batteries before winter moves in.
Fort Mountain State Park
This 3,700-square-foot park within the Chattahoochee National Forest is worth checking out for outdoor rec fans, whether you’re a solitary explorer or love doing outdoorsy things with friends and family.
The park boasts plenty of ways to appreciate the changing of the season, with miles of trails through the forests for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and more. Or, if you want to simply stay put and enjoy the scenery, you can do that near beautiful waterfalls, a beach, or a lake.
The city of Helen boasts one of the best Oktoberfests around. It’s fun to visit any time of the year, but in the fall, the citizens really pull out the stops and immerse the community in Bavarian spirit. This means plenty of beer, oompah music, sausages, sauerkraut, and other traditional elements are all on tap. Even if you’ve haven’t made it to Germany (yet), the charming town will make you feel like you’ve taken a trip abroad, with quaint shops, exotic food, and cobblestone streets.
If you’ve already made it to Helen, continue your exploration of the northern part of Georgia by visiting this nearby natural treasure. The mountain, at 3,160 feet tall, presents all sorts of hiking and climbing options, from gentle hikes to more advanced scrambling and even some technical hardcore scaling. If you’re eager to see an amazing natural color palette, you can’t do much better than what you’ll see in the trees, including all sorts of oaks. One of the best ways to see the sights is a 4.2-mile round-trip hike around the mountain.
Sweetwater Creek State Park
Although geographically close to Atlanta, this park could be many miles away in terms of how remote things feel. It’s a great getaway, especially in the fall when it’s still bright. The park provides 2,500 acres of space to explore and appreciate nature, including hiking trails, fishing holes, and a big lake. There’s room to launch a kayak or canoe and have a leisurely paddle. If you ask nice and time it right, you can even get one of the park staff to provide commentary. Fun fact: part of “The Hunger Games” was filmed here.
The big city surprisingly can be a memorable destination in the fall. It’s not as hot or humid as summer and a lot of the summertime tourists have gone home and the kids have gone back to school. That means there are fewer crowds at places like Zoo Atlanta or Piedmont Park. Many of the area parks are perfect places to explore and enjoy the changing of tree colors, with nature trails and urban forests. After your expedition, grab a bite to eat before heading home at one of the city’s amazing restaurants. No need to travel too far into the country.
Vogel State Park
Another gem within Chattahoochee National Forest is this state park which is also a great place to spot wildlife. Fall is a perfect time to see all sorts of migratory birds on their journey south. Many of them stop at the various streams or Lake Trahlyta. The lake also offers plenty of room to swim, paddle boat, or fish, and visitors can also check out a museum and mini-golf course.
This historic community has plenty of fall wonders to check out. It’s a good gateway to great fall activities, including deer hunting, trout fishing, and hiking. Or check out the Gibbs Garden, a year-round destination that includes all sorts of exotic plants and flowers, including more than 1,000 azaleas.
Cloudland Canyon State Park
One of the largest and most beautiful state parks in Georgia is Cloudland Canyon, with 64 miles of hiking paths winding through the fall foliage in this stunning park located on the edge of Lookout Mountain. There is also a gorge and two waterfalls here.
Fall and winter are especially nice times to visit the waterfalls. When the weather is cooler and the water does not evaporate as quickly, the water flow is at its highest. There are also opportunities for caving, mountain biking, and horseback riding at this state park. The stunning fall foliage in this state park can be admired in a variety of ways.