Nestled in the foothills of North Georgia’s mountainous landscape, Blue Ridge defies the expectations of a sleepy small town. You’ll find delicious, upscale dining, boutique shopping, incredible natural beauty, and much more packed into just a few square miles. In essence, Blue Ridge is everything you’d hope for during a mountain getaway to your picturesque cabin rental in the North Georgia mountains.
Lush, rolling Appalachian peaks surround the town, giving you endless nooks and crannies worth exploring. You can hike, pick apples, float on a lake, or just sit back and enjoy that good old Southern hospitality. With so many activities available in the area, we know planning a vacation can seem overwhelming, so we’re sharing 21 can’t-miss things to do in Blue Ridge.
No matter what kind of trip you have in mind, Mountain Vibe Vacations will provide an unforgettable stay. Mountain Vibe’s spacious rentals are located all around Blue Ridge, plus a few properties in nearby towns.
Once you’ve checked into your cabin, here’s everything you should do next.
1. Ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Once used by local mining and timber industries, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway has since been converted into a well-appointed passenger train that immerses visitors in local scenery. Today, the train follows the meandering Toccoa River upstream to two picturesque sister towns: McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee. Secure your ticket to through the Georgia Mountains by booking in advance, as this four-hour adventure sells out quickly.
2. Go tubing on the Toccoa River
Just outside Blue Ridge, the tranquil Toccoa provides a real-life lazy river experience and one of the best outdoor adventures in the region. Pick up your inflatable inner tubes from Toccoa River Tubing or the Toccoa Valley Campground, which rents out hot-pink tubes. As you ride downriver, try to spot trout and bass swimming below the surface. When you’re done for the day, hop out and head to the Toccoa River Swinging Bridge, a suspension bridge stretching 270 feet in length above the river. You can explore the bridge and riverbanks via a short hike.
3. Raft down the Ocoee River
Looking for the ultimate Blue Ridge adventure? You can ride heart-pounding waves during a whitewater rafting excursion on the Ocoee River, famous for its assortment of Class III and Class IV rapids (for context, rapid classification runs from the relaxed Class I to the rip-roaring Class V).
The Ocoee is also home to a world-class whitewater center, where parts of the 1996 Summer Olympics took place. In other words, this river isn’t for the faint of heart. Book a guided rafting trip with an outfit like Wildwater Rafting or Ocoee Rafting, and make sure to bring a change of dry clothes.
4. Chase waterfalls
In Blue Ridge’s waterfall country, visitors will find dozens, if not hundreds, of stunning cascades. You’ll need to put in a short hike to reach some, like Long Creek Falls and Little Rock Creek Falls, but you can see many other water features from the comfort of your car.
One of those is Amicalola Falls, the traditional start of the cross-country Appalachian Trail. Park by the visitor center and enjoy a picnic lunch while you watch the thundering water, or drive to the top of the falls for even more views.
5. Cast a line
Blue Ridge is often called ‘Georgia’s Trout Fishing Capital,’ as brookies, rainbows, and brown trout swim in more than 100 miles of nearby waterways. The surrounding recreation areas are perfect for beginners.
A guided fly fishing expedition with Cohutta Fishing Company is an excellent way to get your feet wet or strike out on your own for a day of quiet angling. Bass, sunfish, and other, more rare species also abound near Blue Ridge, giving you plenty of casting opportunities. Before you hit the water, you’ll need to pick up a one-day fishing license, which costs non-residents just $10.
6. Float on Lake Blue Ridge
This blue reservoir makes for an idyllic spot to while away summer afternoons paddleboarding, canoeing, or relaxing on a pontoon. Start your family fun at the Lake Blue Ridge Marina, where you can grab lunch at the Boat Dock Bar & Grill and rent watercraft of all kinds. Once you’re out on the water, you can explore around the lake until the sun sets or simply drop your anchor in one of the peaceful coves.
7. Hiking near Blue Ridge
Considering its prime location in the Appalachian mountains, Blue Ridge is surrounded by dozens of hiking trails where anyone can get outside. Here are a few of the most popular.
Appalachian Approach Trail to Springer Mountain
This Appalachian Approach Trail to Springer Mountain hike starts at Amicalola Falls, beneath a famous stone archway where countless AT thru-hikers have begun their treks from Georgia to Maine. You’ll climb up to the falls and then onward to Springer Mountain, the trail’s official southern terminus. This 16-mile hike will likely take all day, giving you a little taste of the AT in addition to great views.
Aska Adventure Trail Area
Enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike, the Aska Adventure Trail Area comprises 17 miles of trails for hikers, bikers, and even hunters during season. You can decide where and when to hop on these trails, making for several possible routes, and it’s just as easy to turn around and head back to the car once you’ve had your fill of the fresh air and quiet forest.
Benton MacKaye Trail to Fall Branch Falls
Another famous thru-hike, the Benton MacKaye Trail runs almost 300 miles from Springer Mountain to the north border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But this short section near the Aska Adventure Trail Area takes just half an hour to walk, featuring a waterfall and many native Appalachian plants.
8. Hop on a bike
As much as hikers will love Blue Ridge’s trails, cyclists will be equally pleased by the riding in the area. You can bike to overlooks and waterfalls, mountaintops and valley floors — with such varied terrain, there are plenty of trails available for different skill levels.
Serious cyclists should set aside a day to visit the southeast’s mountain biking mecca, the nearby town of Ellijay, Georgia. Meanwhile, road bikers can cruise along Main Street or Old Highway 76 for a relaxed, scenic ride.
9. Ride a horse
If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring expansive green hills from atop a horse, you’re in luck — several companies provide guided horseback rides in the Blue Ridge area.
A short drive outside of town, Blue Ridge Mountain Trail Rides at Hells Hollow has been guiding riders for over 25 years. Don’t let the name alarm you; this peaceful ranch is more like a slice of heaven, where guests can ride horses, fish in a catch-and-release pond, and even mine for gems.
10. Take a high-flying adventure
Visitors can fly down a high-speed zipline at Blue Ridge Aerial Adventure Park, which offers one- to two-hour guided zipline tours across 165 acres of greenery. The one-hour tour includes seven zipline rides, while the extended two-hour package will get you a full mile of cable time.
After your tour, head over to the adventure park to try your hand (and feet) at the aerial challenge course, a thrilling, rope obstacle course suspended in mid-air.
11. Practice your golf game
Tee off at Old Toccoa Farm, a semi-private, 18-hole course with views of the surrounding Chattahoochee and Cherokee National Forests. Your play time also comes with access to The Tavern, an on-site restaurant and bar overlooking the 9th hole. If you’re traveling with kids, you can get them started with mini golf (and gem mining) across town at The Lilly Pad Village.
12. Pick apples at Mercier Orchards
Fourth-generation family-owned Mercier Orchards holds the title of the largest apple orchard in the Southeast, consistently landing atop travel guides to the Blue Ridge area. You can pick apples when they ripen in fall, but many more fruits grow at the orchards, including blackberries, peaches, and strawberries. While the kids pick, the adults can sip a glass of Mercier’s signature hard cider, brewed and bottled right on the farm.
13. Catch a movie at Swan Drive-in theater
A beloved town institution, the Swan Drive-in theater has been showing blockbusters since 1955. If you’re planning a romantic date night during your vacation, the Swan should be a must-see. Purchase popcorn, funnel cakes, or deep-fried Oreos from the concession stand before cozying up in your car to enjoy the show.
14. Spot Bigfoot at the Sasquatch museum
Just off Highway 515, you can get to know anything and everything about America’s favorite cryptid. The Expedition: Bigfoot! museum devotes more than 4,000 square feet to chronicling info about Bigfoot, from life-sized exhibits to interactive displays, footprint casts, and much, much more. If you happen to glimpse a Sasquatch in the woods around Blue Ridge, report your sighting to the museum’s research center, where you’ll also find the world’s only dedicated Bigfoot research vehicle.
15. Explore downtown Blue Ridge
Blue Ridge’s downtown area runs along East and West Main Street, two parallel avenues abuzz with shopping and dining options. Savor Southern staples at Harvest on Main or Smokin’ E’s BBQ and Bar, then pick up some souvenirs and sweets at Huck’s General Store. If the kids are getting antsy, they can burn off some steam at the Downtown Blue Ridge Play Park.
16. Raise your glass at local wineries
Serenberry Vineyards, located in Morganton, Georgia, is a favorite for wine tastings and flights. But any aspiring connoisseur will have to plan a visit to Bear Claw Vineyards. This family- and pet-friendly winery features a one-of-a-kind treehouse, cornhole games, and glasses of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon in a tranquil environment.
17. See what’s brewing in Blue Ridge
Nearly every Appalachian town has its own brewery, and Blue Ridge is no exception. In fact, you’ll see more than a few within the town’s borders. Highlights include Grumpy Old Men Brewing, Fannin Brewing Company, Tipping Point Brewing Co., and Angry Hops Brewing, each with its own unique menu. Hopheads might be hard-pressed to keep up… but you’ll have to save some time to sample another Blue Ridge delicacy: moonshine. Swing by Blairsville, Georgia’s Grandaddy Mimm’s distillery for a taste of pure white lightning.
18. Listen to live music
You can catch live music at the town’s breweries, wineries, and restaurants, but Blue Ridge also hosts several music festivals throughout the year. The Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Festival takes place downtown on the third weekend of September, drawing musicians and audiences for hours of performances.
The fun kicks off with a ride on the Blues Train, where you can listen to live music aboard the Scenic Railroad. You can also catch bluegrass jam sessions in McCaysville’s Horseshoe Bend Park throughout the month of September.
19. Get your art on
The Appalachian region’s rolling hills and lush greenery have inspired artists since time immemorial. You can experience art in Blue Ridge just by walking down the street — stop by downtown galleries and pause to admire the town’s many public artworks, like the Trout Art Trail.
This delightful series of decorated trout sculptures is the brainchild of the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association on Main Street, which hosts rotating exhibitions and Arts in the Park events.
20. Watch a live theater performance
The popular Blue Ridge Community Theater is renowned for sharing evenings of live theater that all audiences can enjoy. From comedies to Broadway musicals to dramas, there’s truly something here for everyone. As the holidays approach, you’ll want to snag tickets to their special themed shows, like an evening of Appalachian ghost stories around Halloween and “Scrooge! The Musical” in November and early December.
21. Pamper yourself with a spa treatment
With so many great outdoor activities, Blue Ridge might seem to be all about rugged wilderness — but don’t worry, there’s also an appreciation for the finer things in life. You can book pedicures, cleansing facials, and soothing massages at Serenity in the Mountains or TeaTree’s Boutique Spa. Treatments at these spas will help you refresh both your mind and body, energizing you for more days of exploring Blue Ridge.
Get Ready to Visit Blue Ridge
Between laidback relaxation and heart-pounding thrill rides, there’s something for everyone to experience in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Make sure to check local event calendars before you go — you never know what’s happening in this quaint, mountain town.
Book your Blue Ridge getaway today!