Bavaria? No. Trade the Alps for the Appalachians, and you’ll find the tiny, charm-packed town of Helen, Georgia nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains along the Chattahoochee River.
Covering only 2.1 square miles and home to a mere 430 residents, this cozy re-creation of a Bavarian Alpine village lays claim to receiving the third highest number of tourists in the state. And it’s no wonder. With its captivating cobblestone paths and a rustic German atmosphere, you’ll wonder if you’ve time-traveled to days gone by.
History of Helen GA
Helen GA was originally founded by the Cherokee Native Americans and later became home to European homesteaders who immigrated to mine the gold and harvest the timber. In 1969, zoning was adopted to ensure that all building design would be in the German Bavarian style.
Surprisingly, this small, picturesque mountain town offers a lot of activities. Fishing, golfing, biking, kayaking and horseback riding are popular.
But arguably, the most-loved activity and the thing you must do is go tubing on the Chattahoochee River. It’s a fun time for all ages and you can rent one of the brightly-colored inner tubes from one to several hours. Be prepared, though – the water is cold, but also refreshing during Georgia’s hot summer months.
Unicoi State Park offers nature trails and lake activities, and there are hills and waterfalls all around Helen. Anna Ruby Falls has a dramatic 153-foot waterfall and is only around half a mile hike on a paved trail. There observation platforms at the end of the trail for your Instagram moment. The 200-foot waterfall at Dukes Creek Falls is also easily accessed from the Chattahoochee National Forest. There is also a platform, but this time at the base, for photographs. Raven Cliff Falls is just outside of Helen. It’s a longer 2.5-mile hike, but the spectacular scenery at the 60-foot falls makes it a worthwhile venture. [Read more things to do in Helen GA]
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