Fall means Halloween, Thanksgiving, and fall foliage! However, it also brings other exciting activities, like apple picking, corn mazes, and visiting pumpkin patches. In this article, I’ll share the best fall activities in Georgia so that you can make the most of the season. You’ll learn where to see the best fall foliage in the state, where to buy the perfect pumpkin, and other ways to enjoy autumn that involve fun for the whole family! Keep reading for 15 things to do in the fall in Georgia, and let us know if you’re able to complete this entire bucket list.
Disclaimer: I may earn a small commission when you book activities or stays through the links in this article.
Travel to Georgia’s Bavarian-style town.
Helen may be located in Northeast Georgia, but it’ll make you feel like you’ve been transported to Germany! As a nod to the town’s German ties, you can find pop-up celebrations for Oktoberfest here during September and October. Enjoy live music, dancing, German food, and a wide selection of American and German beers. Moreover, if you’d like to have an outdoorsy weekend getaway in Georgia, Helen is also a great option! There are many stunning fall hikes to choose from between Anna Ruby Falls, Unicoi State Park, Dukes Creek Falls Trail, and Raven Cliff Falls.
Take a fall road trip through Georgia.
One of the best fall activities in Atlanta is to get out of the city and take a road trip! If you’re looking for one of the most beautiful drives in the state, check out Georgia State Route 197 (also called Scenic Highway 197). Beginning in Clarkesville, this route then crosses the Soque River and passes through Batesville and the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. Interestingly enough, Route 197 was originally used by moonshiners during Prohibition! Other contenders for stunning fall drives in Georgia include Dragon Eyes Drive through the Southern Appalachian Mountains, Lookout Mountain Parkway, which spans three states, and Coastal Highway Route 17.
Ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is a heritage railroad that takes passengers from Blue Ridge to McCaysville, Georgia. This enchanting ride through the Blue Ridge countryside is approximately 26 miles roundtrip and takes a little over an hour in each direction. Additionally, visitors have two hours to explore and relax in McCaysville. Here, make sure to check out “The Blue Line,” where you can stand with one foot in Georgia and the other in Tennessee! Although the fall foliage train runs from September to November, late October to November is when you can see the most color.
You can book your tickets here at the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway’s official website. Make sure to book your tickets early because they sell out quickly for the fall season! Note that there are three different seating options on the train: premier coach, closed coach, and open air.
Attend a fall festival or fair.
Fall festivals in Georgia mean carnival rides, arts and crafts, food from local vendors, and so much more! In total, there are hundreds of state fairs during this season. Some of the most popular options include the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay, Gold Rush Days Festival in Dahlonega, and Cumming Country Fair & Festival in Cumming. If you’d like to celebrate the fall in Atlanta, don’t miss Oktoberfest Atlanta (returns in 2022), Fall Fest in Candler Park, the Fall Festival on Ponce, and the Chastain Park Arts Festival. For a full list of fairs and festivals in Georgia, click here.
Go leaf-peeping at your local Georgia park.
It takes longer for the leaves in Georgia to start changing color than in other states due to the generally warm weather. So, while fall technically begins in September, you won’t see the best fall color until late October and early November. Once the temperature begins to drop, our state has some of the most splendid spots for fall foliage! For example, Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia, offers unparalleled views of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. If you’re up for a more strenuous hike, the top of Yonah Mountain is another good option. For an easier trek, Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth has a shorter trail around the park’s lake.
Pro tip: follow the Leaf Watch website, organized by Georgia State Parks, to track the exact timing of fall foliage in the state. Additionally, this website provides current photos during the season from various parks so you can schedule your visits to coincide with prime leaf color.
Take a stroll through Gibbs Gardens.
One of the most beautiful places to visit in the fall in Georgia is Gibbs Gardens, located in Ball Ground. Gibbs Gardens is actually one of the largest residential estate gardens in the United States, with the home and gardens covering over 300 acres. Some of the highlights within this space are the Manor House Gardens, the Japanese Gardens, and the Waterlily Gardens. During the fall, you won’t want to miss the Japanese Maples Colorfest, which runs from mid-October through mid-November.
If you want to time your visit right to see the most fall color, make sure to check the Gibbs Gardens “Bloom Update.” They do a great job of providing up-to-date photos of what the gardens look like on different days, as well as when you can catch peak bloom for different plants and flowers. When you’re ready to plan your visit, you can purchase tickets here.
Find the perfect pumpkin at a local patch.
Whether you’re looking to buy a pumpkin for Halloween or some family fun, you’ll definitely want to check out some of Georgia’s best pumpkin patches. Here are ten of the top-rated pumpkin patches in the state for you to visit this fall:
- Southern Belle Farm (McDonough)
- Washington Farms (Bogart)
- Burt’s Pumpkin Farm (Dawsonville)
- Jaemor Farms (Alto)
- The Kinsey Family Farm (Gainesville)
- Scottsdale Farms Garden Center (Milton)
- Big Springs Farms (Woodstock)
- Poppell Farms (Odum)
- Uncle Shuck’s Pumpkin Patch (Dawsonville)
- Yule Forest (Stockbridge)
Get lost inside a corn maze.
One of the best fall activities in Georgia for the whole family is to test your luck navigating a corn maze. Thanks to the state’s large agriculture industry, you can find entertaining corn mazes all over Georgia! Plus, many of the family farms that house pumpkin patches in the autumn also have corn mazes, making these spots ideal to knock out two exciting fall activities. Here are ten places in Georgia to find the best corn mazes:
- Southern Belle Farm (McDonough)
- Washington Farms (Bogart)
- Jaemor Farms (Alto)
- Mitcham Farm (Oxford)
- Copper Creek Farm (Calhoun)
- Steed’s Dairy (Grovetown)
- Yahoo Farm (Jasper)
- Poppel Farms (Odum)
- Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze (Dawsonville)
- Buford Corn Maze (Buford)
Note that some of these locations even offer haunted corn maze experiences during the Halloween season. For example, Uncle Shuck’s and Copper Creek Farm host haunted corn maze trails every Friday and Saturday night in October. You can read more about other haunted corn mazes near Atlanta here.
Pick your own apples at an orchard.
Is it really fall if you haven’t gone apple picking yet? I think not! Apple orchards in the state are all located in North Georgia, so be sure to leave plenty of time for a trip. The good news is that most of the state’s top fall activities are in this region. So, you can plan a whole weekend where you go to pumpkin patches, pick apples, sip on apple cider, and hike in colorful fall foliage. Here are the Georgia apple orchards you don’t want to miss this fall:
- R&A Orchards (Elijay)
- B.J. Reece Orchards (Elijay)
- Mercier Orchards (Blue Ridge)
- Hillcrest Orchards (Elijay)
- Jaemor Farms (Alto)
- Red Apple Barn (Elijay)
- Deep Roots Orchard (McCaysville)
Visit a sunflower farm.
If you’re like me, you may not have realized that it was even possible to see sunflowers in the fall! At Fausett Farms in Dawsonville, you can actually visit over 30 acres of these beautiful flowers in the North Georgia mountains. Plus, this sunflower field is ideally located–just south of Burt’s Pumpkin Farm and Amicalola Falls. So, a visit to Fausett Farms is easy to fit into your weekend trip to North Georgia!
Hike at one of Georgia’s state parks.
Another fun activity in the autumn in Georgia is getting outside and hiking at some of the state’s magnificent parks. Late October through mid-November provide the perfect opportunity to get some exercise and to watch the leaves change colors at your closest Georgia state park! Here are the 17 best state parks in Georgia to see fall foliage:
- Fort Mountain State Park (Chatsworth)
- Tallulah Gorge State Park (Tallulah Falls)
- Vogel State Park (Blairsville)
- Cloudland Canyon State Park (Rising Fawn)
- Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge (Dawsonville)
- Black Rock Mountain State Park (Mountain City)
- F.D. Roosevelt State Park (Pine Mountain)
- Red Top Mountain State Park (Acworth)
- James H. Floyd State Park (Summerville)
- George L. Smith State Park (Twin City)
- Providence Canyon State Park (Lumpkin)
- Moccasin Creek State Park (Clarkesville)
- Victoria Bryant State Park (Royston)
- Smithgall Woods State Park (Helen)
- Don Carter State Park (Gainesville)
- Unicoi State Park & Lodge (Helen)
- Sweetwater Creek State Park (Lithia Springs)
Georgia’s crisp fall temperatures mean that it’s an ideal season to go camping. The best part about camping in the state is that you don’t have to go far from home to find an ideal camping spot! For example, Stone Mountain Park offers traditional tent sites, RV hookups, and yurts, where you can spend the evening under the stars. Other popular camping sites in Georgia include Chattahoochee Bend State Park, Cloudland Canyon State Park, Skidaway Island State Park, Stephen C. Foster State Park, and Vogel State Park.
Go glamping in a tent, yurt, or camper.
For those who aren’t fans of traditional camping, you’ll be happy to know that glamping is one of the top Atlanta fall activities. We highly recommend Georgia Glamping Company, which offers large safari tents and cozy bell tents as accommodations in two locations: Lake Lanier at Shady Grove Campground and Clarks Hill Lake at Wildwood Park. Unlike a typical camping tent, you can expect comforts such as a hotel-quality bed, an air conditioner/heater, a mini-fridge, and even a coffee maker with Georgia Glamping!
Other cool glamping spots in the state include yurts at Cloudland Canyon, Fort Yargo, Sweetwater Creek, High Falls, and Tugaloo. There’s also Little Raccoon Key, where you can stay in a luxury canvas tent a 10-minute boat ride from Tybee Island.
Rent a cabin in the mountains.
There are tons of options for a cozy cabin in the North Georgia mountains, including staying in a state park and renting from Airbnb. In fact, almost 30 of Georgia’s state parks offer cabins of all shapes and sizes for rental. For more unique cabins, check out the historic stone cottages at F.D. Roosevelt (Pine Mountain), the Barrel Cabins at Unicoi (Helen), and the deluxe cottages at Smithgall Woods State Park (Helen).
Some of the best Airbnb cabin rentals in North Georgia are located in Blue Ridge, Helen, and Elijay. For example, this modern barn house in Blue Ridge, this adorable cabin with a hot tub in Helen, and this treehouse cabin in Elijay. These vacation rentals are the perfect way to escape for the weekend and relax!
Stay the night in a treehouse.
For a one-of-a-kind getaway to North Georgia, look no further than Stay Dahlonega‘s luxury treehouses. Their two designer treehouses, the Bed+Bough and the Daybreak, provide guests with a private escape into nature while staying just down the road from Dahlonega’s most exciting attractions. If you’re searching for treehouses in the Atlanta area, don’t miss Archimedes’ Nest at the Emu Ranch, Owl in the Oak Treehouse, and Treasure Hunt Tree House.
Visit one of Georgia’s vineyards.
Did you know that the state of Georgia has over 40 wineries? Although most of these vineyards are in the northern region, they are all easily reachable from Atlanta! So, on your fall vacation in Georgia, why not go wine tasting while also experiencing the foliage at these stunning vineyards? The top 5 you’ll want to visit this season are Yonah Mountain Vineyards (Cleveland), Kaya Vineyard and Winery (Dahlonega), Wolf Mountain Vineyards (Dahlonega), Crane Creek Vineyards (Young Harris), and Chateau Elan Winery & Resort (Braselton).
Escape to Getaway Chattahoochee.
Getaway House offers tiny cabin rentals throughout the United States. Luckily, there’s a convenient Georgia location in Suches: Getaway Chattahoochee! There are two different cabin types at the Atlanta Outpost: one-bed cabins, featuring a queen bed, and two-bed cabins, including queen bunks. These cabins are definitely a step up from normal camping. Each cabin features a hot shower, shampoo and conditioner, a private toilet, a sink, AC and heating, a stove, chairs and picnic tables, a campfire grill grate, and a cell phone lockbox.
Getaway Chattahoochee is a great way to unplug and recharge during a weekend away from the city. Plus, this location is close to incredible hikes for outdoor lovers, like the Jarrard Gap Trail, Cooper Creek Trail, and sections of the Appalachian Trail.
Celebrate Halloween at a haunted house.
You can expect some pretty amazing haunted houses in Georgia, especially as the state has become more and more of a hub for the film industry. So, if you’re visiting Georgia in October and love a scare, don’t miss the five best haunted houses: Netherworld Haunted House (Stone Mountain), Paranoia Haunted House (Canton), Fear the Woods (Stockbridge), Zombie Farms (Winterville), and Terror Mills Haunted House (Jackson). If you’d like to participate in a Halloween event but aren’t into haunted houses, check out Fright Fest at Six Flags.
Book a ghost tour in Savannah.
Are you looking to celebrate Halloween by getting out of town to do something special? We recommend heading to Savannah, which is ranked as one of America’s Most Haunted Cities. For a spooky introduction to this coastal city, book this 2-Hour Paranormal Mystery Tour, this Haunted History and Ghosts Walking Tour, or this Ghosts & Gravestones Trolley Tour. Savannah hosts various fun and frightening events during the fall, like Markster Con’s Vampire Ball, Wag-O-Ween, and A Nightmare on Congress Street Halloween-Themed Bar Crawl.
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This article was originally published in October 2020 and has since been updated.