YOUR road trip to North Georgia will always be filled with awe-inspiring moments and fun memories. Whether it’s with your partner, family, or friends, there’s something everyone can enjoy in the North Georgia mountains and cities near Atlanta, GA. Between riding the scenic train, noshing Appalachian fudge, sipping mountain moonshine, shopping for antiques, and dancing to live bluegrass, you’ll appreciate picturesque drives to surrounding areas.
On your way to or from your cozy cabin rental, you’ll be enchanted by breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, towering trees, wild meadows, and old-charm towns that make time pass with ease. Start planning your memorable North Georgia getaway with a few of our favorite scenic drives and activities at some of the best places — within a reasonable drive from downtown Atlanta and nearby cities — worth a road trip.
Gorgeous Scenic Drives Near Atlanta, GA
Stunning drives that will have you oohing and aahing along the way can be found north of ATL and within reach of major cities and local areas nearby — including Peachtree City, Newnan, Carrollton, Griffin, McDonough, Chamblee, Norcross, Midtown, East Point, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Redan, Decatur, Brookhaven, North Decatur, Druid Hills, Lilburn, Duluth, Mableton, Smyrna, Marietta, Roswell, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Kennesaw, Cartersville, Buford, Suwanee, Sugar Hill, Buckhead, Covington, and many more!
Other than Stone Mountain Park, you just won’t find stunning natural landscapes in places like Dekalb County and Fulton County. You have to branch further for a truly relaxing and rejuvenating experience worth your time. So, gear up, pack the car, and set off to enjoy the Insta-worthy views.
Mountains & Countryside
On your way to North Georgia from the Atlanta area, and while exploring mountain towns on your Applachian vacation, you’ll end up passing through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and peaceful countryside. It’s a great introduction to the area, including Lake Blue Ridge and the Toccoa River.
North Georgia Dragon Eyes Scenic Route
As one of the most famous scenic drives in North Georgia, the Dragon Eyes Scenic Route is a must. There are 2 twisty loops, 715 curves, and 6 mountain gaps spread across 77 stretching miles. Overall, the drive isn’t too long and is a great way to keep the kids off their devices and occupied with stunning surroundings. Plus, there are hikes and pull-offs to take in the scenery!
Northern Loop — Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway
North of the Dragon Route is the Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway. One of the differences between the two drives is an additional stop at Georgia’s highest peak — Brasstown Bald — towering at 4,374 feet! This scenic route is 40 miles long with 40 switchbacks. You can also take a pitstop and hike to Anna Ruby, Dukes Creek, or Raven Cliff Falls in Helen, GA.
Southern Loop — 60/180/129/19 Scenic Loop
Headed South around the Blood Mountain Wilderness, the Southern Loop goes through the Neels, Woody, and Wolfpen Gaps. Vogel State Park is nearby, and this route even intersects with the Appalachian Trail at 2 places. Be sure to stop at Mountain Crossings outfitters to see the only place where the Appalachian Trail passes through the inside of a building!
Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway
Next up is the Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway, which features Native American and Civil War history inside the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. Starting at Prater’s Mill in Whitfield County, this 54-mile country drive takes you through the old Cohutta Mountains and rural communities. Places to check out along the way include Fort Mountain State Park and the Cohutta Fish Hatchery.
Southern Highroads Trail
Maybe you’re interested in multi-state scenic routes. If that is the case, the Southern Highroads Trail is for YOU! This fun road trip runs through mountain towns and tourist attractions in Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina. You can stop at rivers, historic sites, and charming mountain towns with museums, restaurants, and shops. This trail also overlaps Georgia Scenic Highway 197, Cohutta Chattahoochee Scenic Byway, and Highway 441 from Baldwin to Clayton.
Georgia Mountain Parkway — GA 515/US 76
As the most accessible scenic drive in the North Georgia mountains, the Georgia Mountain Parkway is a great pick! This lovely drive — featuring the North Georgia Farm Trail — starts where I-575 ends and winds through breathtaking landscapes and mountain towns. And this 4-lane highway connects Ellijay, East Ellijay, Cherry Log, Blue Ridge, Morganton, Blairsville, Young Harris, and Hiawassee for more fun!
Travel Tips for YOU
Driving in the Mountains
To ensure you have the best scenic drive possible, we have some useful tips for YOU!
- Keep in mind others and that the roads are busiest in the fall when the leaves change colors.
- You will be sharing curvy mountain roads with bicyclists and motorcyclists, so please beware of where they might be around you!
Preventing Motion Sickness
Motion sickness can ruin a great day, so here are some ways to prevent it.
- Take Dramamine or other medication.
- Ride in the front seat or be the driver if you tend to get sick.
- Avoid looking down at your phone, map, etc. on curvy roads.
- Just in case, bring motion sickness bags or containers.
- Keep cool air blowing your way and sip water as needed.
Car safety is another priority. Make sure your vehicle is road-ready before heading out on your scenic drive.
- Do a car safety check and make sure you have the necessary safety equipment in case of an emergency.
- Make sure you have enough gas and check the levels of the oil, coolant, washer fluid, brake fluid, power steering, and transmission fluid before you leave.
- Check your lights, signals, windshield wipers, tires, and brakes.
- Remember that Georgia is a “hands-free” state, so you cannot use your hands to make calls, text, or anything with your phone while operating a vehicle.
Activities for All Ages in Mountain Towns Near Atlanta
Now that you know great scenic routes near Atlanta to explore by car, let’s look at some of the best things to do around North Georgia towns.
In Pickens County resides Gibbs Gardens, one of the nation’s largest residential estate gardens — stretching actress 300+ acres. Ponds with statues, serene waterfalls and pools, butterflies, bridges, and a wide variety of blossoms adorn 16 gardens total. There’s even a mixed-European manor on the grounds!
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest
Miles of hiking trails, stunning Blue Ridge Mountain views, multiple state parks, the Toccoa River Swinging Bridge, and the Lily Pad Village in the Aska Adventure Area are just a few reasons to pay a visit to the Chattahoochee National Forest. Geocaching, picnicking, fly fishing for rainbow trout, whitewater rafting, tubing downriver, and riding horses are more fun options.
Blue Ridge Adventure Park
At the self-guided Blue Ridge Aerial Adventure Park, you can challenge 3 levels of obstacles above the ground. Make your way across suspended bridges, hanging beams, and tight ropes without falling…if you can. There are also ziplines to really get your adrenaline pumping!
Growing apples since 1943, Mercier Orchards is an enchanting place to visit in Blue Ridge, GA. You can pick apples, gaze at scenic views, buy fresh baked goods, dine at the cafe, sip apple cider, and take a tractor tour. These rolling orchards are ideal for photos and offer a classic country experience to all ages.
Ellijay Apple Festival
For more apple fun in the fall — a great time to take a scenic drive and enjoy a gorgeous getaway in the Appalachian Mountains north of Atlanta — check out the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay, GA. From fried apple pies, ciders, and jellies to arts and crafts, live music, and antique cars, this mountain festival has it all. There’s also a kick-off parade and a 5K.
Dahlonega Gold Museum
Nestled in Dahlonega, GA, the Dahlonega Gold Museum is a staple attraction for tourists. This state historic site houses artifacts and real gold nuggets from the first major gold rush in the nation that happened right here in North Georgia! The building also doubles as the oldest existing courthouse in the Peach State.
Helen’s Bavarian Alpine Village
A unique place in the North Georgia mountains has to be the town of Helen. This Insta-worthy place features the charm of Bavaria, Germany in North Georgia. Along with alpine architecture and a Blue Ridge backdrop, there are art galleries, local breweries, wine tastings, German food and beer, outdoor adventures, spas, and plenty of souvenir shopping!
Cozy Cabin Rentals Near Atlanta
Between driving from cities near Atlanta, GA, into the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains and exploring fun things to do in North Georgia, you might want to stop and tour for a while before heading back to the ATL. At Georgia Cabins for YOU, we have loads of vacation rentals for adventuring couples, families, and friends. From luxury to budget friendly and large group to pet friendly, we have the ideal cabin for YOUR relaxing mountain retreat!
- River, wooded, or mountain views
- Steamy hot tubs
- Gas or charcoal grills
- Home theaters
- Game rooms
- Wet bars
- Fully equipped kitchens
- Wood-burning fireplaces
- Outdoor lounges
- Fast Wi-Fi
- King or queen suites
- Community extras!
Plan YOUR escape from cities near Atlanta and go on an adventure in the captivating Blue Ridge Mountains and small towns of North Georgia today!