Dahlonega is a small, quaint mountain town in North Georgia surrounded by vineyards. I find it completely idyllic- there is a reason it consistently ranks one of the cutest small towns in America! It was originally the site of the U.S. gold rush of 1828, and it now has boutiques, hikes to local waterfalls, wineries, and the cutest town square.
The town is located just over an hour outside Atlanta and is the perfect day trip when you need to escape the city. Fun fact- this is the town where Zac Brown is from! He actually used to have a distillery there on Town Creek Church Road that I’ve gone to, but it shut down. However- if you are a big fan, check out the new Zac Brown’s Social Club in the State Farm Arena.
Ryan and I went this past Saturday and didn’t really have much of a plan, which was perfect because my favorite thing to do in Dahlonega is to simply walk the town- the square is full of cute shops! I always end up with a few items that you can’t get anywhere else.
The General Store is a must-see: it’s a classic filled with touristy old-time gifts, candy, and local trinkets! My absolute favorite shop on the square, though, is The Humble Candle. It’s full of adorable home gifts and has a specific selection of Christian themed items, as well (on this trip I picked up an adorable book of daily devotions!). It even has a cute prayer wall in the back, where you can take a Bible verse with you- I just love that!
There are eight wineries around the town to visit (the town was the runner up for Best Wine Town by Garden & Gun!), as well as speciality tasting rooms. The town’s website has a full list here.
We went to Wolf Mountain Vineyards and Winery, which is an award winning winery nestled in the North Georgia Mountains. I’m not a huge wine aficionado, so I got a glass of the sparkling rosé (it tastes way better than their regular rosé, but it’s a winery so I say go ahead and try them all before you decide for yourself, haha!). I honestly went for the views- the mountains are stunning and it was already beginning to feel like fall. I really want to go back once the leaves have started changing!
Since we had to drive back to Atlanta, Ryan and I each just had a glass, but a tasting is $20, and they have snacks available to order as well, including pizzas and charcuterie plates. Wolf Mountain also has a famous Sunday brunch that is on my list!
To round out our day, we decided to get an inner tube and float down the river before the drive back! As summer almost ends, we figured it could be our last chance. We used Appalachian Outfitters Tubing, which is the tubing service that is open the latest in Dahlonega (the others close around 4 PM). It was only $6 per person, and they even held our car keys for us while we floated for an hour. They also had the option where you could get out, swim, and even walk down a path to tube through the route again before you returned to your car, so if you wanted to go longer, you could.
We went tubing in Helen last year, so I had a pretty high bar set (Helen tubing is unmatched- it’s long, peaceful, and you float through the town!). This was a very different experience- it was a bit shorter (although cheaper), the river is right by the road so it was a little less relaxing. Overall, it was the best way to end a hot day and I will never not love tubing in Georiga, but if you’re able, I would recommend doing it in Helen so you can spend the whole afternoon and go through the town. However, this spot was filled with a ton of turtles, which was a plus- it was very cool to see them!!
If you’re going to Dahlonega for a whole weekend, I recommend visiting the other nearby towns. Last year for our September trip, Ryan and I went to Helen and Ellijay, which are both nearby. Helen is a Boavarian-themed town, and Ellijay is famous for apple picking. I’m definitely planning a mountain fall trip to do all three in a weekend!
I also want to go back for the Gold Rush Days, which is a town festival in Dahlonega that happens on the third weekend of October every year. The town also lights up for an old fashioned Christmas every year, so that is also on my list for December!! Note: The Gold Rush Days has since been cancelled for 2020, and will return in 2021.
Have you ever been to Dahlonega? What’s your favorite small town? Let me know in the comments!
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