It’s time to renew your spirit on a day hike to local waterfalls … or a horseback ride on forested trails in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Discover the thrill of whitewater rafting on the famous Ocoee River. Take a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Rent a boat, kayak or SUP to explore beautiful Lake Blue Ridge. Take the family to pick strawberries, blueberries, peaches or apples. Dip a line in a clear mountain stream or river in the Trout Fishing Capital of Georgia. Play a round of golf on a world-class course fronting the Toccoa River. Your options are endless in beautiful Fannin County.
Historic Downtown Blue Ridge
Once known as an elite health resort because of nearby mineral waters, the busy and eclectic town of Blue Ridge was established as a railroad town in 1886. Today, Blue Ridge is a perfect mix of old and new, with amazing shopping and dining in a quaint small town setting. You’ll find antique and specialty shops, galleries and restaurants, plus live theater and craft breweries. (blueridgemountains.com)
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Winding through rolling hills alongside the waters of the Toccoa River, a restored rail line takes passengers from the Historic Blue Ridge Depot along a 26-mile route to McCaysville, Georgia, and Copperhill, Tennessee. Visitors disembark with time to wander the Copper Basin area and its burgeoning shops and restaurants. Trips run March thru December, with special Easter, 4th of July and holiday trips. (brscenic.com)
Lake Blue Ridge
Bass fishing, camping, picnicking, hiking and boating are all available on this scenic TVA reservoir, built by damming the Toccoa River in 1930. It features 3,300 acres of water area within 100+ miles of shoreline (80% of which is US Forest Service land). A kiosk on the top of the dam tells the story of the lake’s history, and a new public access area is situated nearby. If you don’t already have a boat, you can rent a pontoon boat, kayak or stand-up paddleboard at Lake Blue Ridge Marina (lakeblueridgemarina.com). There’s also a beach and camping area at Morganton Point Recreation Area & Campground (cfaia.org).
The Toccoa Tailwaters
Blue Ridge is the Trout Capital of Georgia and great fly fishing can be found in rivers, streams and creeks throughout the county. A favorite spot is the tailwaters of the Toccoa River, just below the Lake Blue Ridge Dam. You can fish the tailwaters or have a picnic at Tammen Park, located right on the Georgia Mountain Parkway. Visit the Fannin County Welcome Center for a free fishing guide. (blueridgemountains.com)
Appalachian Trail & Benton MacKaye Trail
The Appalachian Trail (AT) and the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) both begin at Springer Mountain, which is located in the far southeastern corner of Fannin County at the Gilmer County line. The AT makes its way through the North Georgia Mountains for nearly 80 miles, where it crosses into North Carolina at Bly Gap. The BMT separates from the AT and runs through Fannin and Gilmer Counties into the Cohutta Wilderness, and then into Tennessee and beyond. (appalachiantrail.org) (bmta.org)
Located on the BMT only minutes from the town of Blue Ridge is Fall Branch Falls. The upper portion of the falls is a series of cascades that lead to a single major drop of some 30 feet, with the water plunging into a deep pool at the base of the falls. Take Aska Road south 8 miles and turn right on Stanley Creek Road. Go 3.1 miles to the “parking lot” on the right just past the bridge over Falls Branch.
Long Creek Falls can be accessed by hiking down a short side trail from the combined Appalachian and Benton MacKaye Trails. These falls total about 50 feet in two distinct drops. A leisurely 30 minute hike to the falls is uphill on the way in, downhill on the way out.
For more waterfalls and driving directions, visit blueridgemountains.com
Swinging Bridge over the Toccoa River
A popular destination for day-hikers is the swinging bridge over the Toccoa River. This 270-foot-long bridge is the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River. The bridge is located on the Benton MacKaye Trail and the Duncan Ridge National Recreation Trail in Fannin County. It was built by the US Forest Service in cooperation with the Appalachian Trail Club in 1977. (blueridgemountains.com)
Located between Morganton and Suches off Hwy. 60, Serenberry is just a “country mile” from Blue Ridge. Sitting on land purchased by the owners’ grandparents in the early 1960s, Serenberry’s tasting room is an old barn that was converted into a “Little House” before being converted again into a tasting room in 2012. Today, Serenberry makes wines from grapes that were born and raised in Georgia. Open Thursdays-Saturdays, the vineyard hosts special events and live music. (serenberryvineyards.com)
This family owned and operated apple orchard is now in it’s 4th generation, started back in 1943 by Bill & Adele Mercier. From May thru October, U-pick events bring thousands of visitors to pick strawberries, blueberries, peaches and apples. But there’s so much more to this amazing place, including tractor tours, bakery (fried pies!), market café, farm market and store. The farm winery produces a variety of wines, plus a delicious assortment of hard ciders. It’s a great place for a day trip with the whole family. Plus, a new location in Downtown Blue Ridge offers a café, hard cider tastings and bakery. (mercierorchards.com)
Established in 1955, the Swan is one of only four remaining drive-in theaters in Georgia. It shows first-run movies year-round, with double features on most weekends. A full concession stand offers burgers, corn dogs, nachos, candy, popcorn, funnel cakes and deep-fried Oreos. (swan-drive-in.com)
McCaysville, Georgia, and Copperhill, Tennessee, are twin cities located on the Georgia-Tennessee state line. This is the destination of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, where you can get off and wander the towns. At the “Blue Line,” you can put one foot in Georgia and the other in Tennessee for a unique selfie. If you make the 10-mile drive from Blue Ridge, you can spend the day visiting historic buildings, tasty restaurants, fun shops, craft breweries, plus lovely parks. (gocopperbasin.com)
Ocoee Whitewater Center
The Ocoee Whitewater Center (OWC) was constructed as the venue for the 1996 Olympic Canoe and Kayak Slalom competitions. Since then, the OWC hosts visitors and recreational kayakers/canoers, as well as national and international whitewater competitions. This 4-acre recreation area managed by the US Forest Service offers water play, picnicking, hiking, biking and environmental education programs. The visitors center includes a nature-oriented gift shop and cafe. In addition to whitewater, the OWC features 30 miles of premier mountain biking trails. fs.usda.gov)