15 Best Things to Do in Cleveland, GA

Cleveland, GA
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Seventy-five miles north of Atlanta lies the city of Cleveland, the county seat of White County, also known as the “City of Mountain Breezes.”

The city gets its nickname because of its elevation, standing 1,570 feet above sea level.

The people formally adopted the name Cleveland in 1870.

Previously, they called the town Mount Yonah, back when the region still belonged to Habersham County.

The city had stood as the area’s capital of gold mining, too.

People going to the towns of Clarkesville, Dahlonega, Gainesville, and Nacoochee passed Cleveland, sitting at the crossroads leading to these towns.

Today, you can visit Cleveland, Georgia, for equal doses of history, culture, and nature.

You can explore the city’s town square, featuring a historical building dating back to the 1800s.

Did you know that the Original Cabbage Patch Kids came from Cleveland?

If you’ve ever had one of these toys as a kid, you owe it to yourself to visit their birthplace.

Do you want to know more about Cleveland, GA?

Here’s a list of the best things to do in the city:

Learn Local History at the White County Historical Museum

View of White County Historical Museum
Thomson200, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Between 1859 to 1860, the city of Cleveland constructed the original brick building that housed the White County Courthouse.

It stands in the town center, too, so you won’t miss it.

Local tradition, passed down through oral narratives, says that black slaves molded and fired the bricks in the building somewhere near Mt. Yonah.

View of White County Historical Museum
Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Today, the building houses the White County Historical Museum.

You’ll find collections of clay pottery and historical artifacts showing how people lived in the Northeast Georgia mountains.

Are you interested in genealogy?

You can visit this museum’s record room for your research.

Spend the Night Outdoors at the Yonah Mountain Campground

Complete your outdoor experience at Cleveland by spending the night at the Yonah Mountain Campground, deep in the heart of the majestic North Georgia Mountains.

The campsite accepts all types of campers, so if you want to pitch a tent or pull up in an RV, you are welcome here.

You can check out the nearby lakes for boating excursions or fishing trips during your stay.

You can even go water skiing.

Otherwise, you can enjoy canoeing or tubing in the rivers.

After your adventure, you can drive 4 miles to the nearby town of Helen for shopping and delicious German beer.

See the Animals at the Buck Shoals Wildlife Management Area

If you want to check out the local wildlife, your best bet is the Buck Shoals Wildlife Management Area, a 650-acre property teeming with animals.

You’ll find a landscape filled with rolling hills, ponds, and hiking trails.

Likewise, the mixed pine-hardwood forest makes the area ideal for various animals, like deer.

The abundance of deer in the area attracts hunters, who visit during scheduled hunting events.

Other events involve fishing because the area also features a Chattahoochee River access.

Moreover, you can visit the place anytime, provided no hunting events.

Go Camping at Boggs Creek

If you’re planning to go on an outdoor adventure with friends, why not bring them to Boggs Creek in Cleveland?

Depending on the season, the place is a terrific place to set up camp and fish.

Return to your roots in nature in this one-of-a-kind attraction.

You’ll have to pitch your tent at the large campsite if you want to stay for a weekend.

However, you can explore the place to your hearts’ content during the day, from sunrise to sunset.

Just about every outdoor activity is possible here, from hunting, fishing, hiking, and picnicking.

You can even do some birdwatching.

Remember the Cabbage Patch Kids at Babyland General Hospital

View of Babyland General Hospital
Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Do you want to know how Cabbage Patch Kids are born?

Visit the Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland to see thousands of Cabbage Patch Kids and Little People waiting for families to let them into their homes.

Adults would also enjoy this toy store because of its unique Southern Style design and the surrounding seasonal gardens.

While you explore the facility, you can see a wall of autographed photos showing the famous people who visited Babyland.

The gift shop also offers everything your Cabbage Patch Kid needs, including bibs, bottles, and clothes.

Enjoy More Wine at the Serenity Cellars

The family-owned Serenity Cellars is a boutique winery that offers fine Old World wines.

When you visit the North Georgia Wine Country, drop by.

You’d want to enter the winery’s tasting room and enjoy their offerings amid a cozy ambiance coming from the fusion of music and art with Tuscan sensibilities.

Otherwise, you can just browse their selections for gifts to bring home to your friends.

Starting on Friday night, the winery also hosts live entertainment for your weekend enjoyment.

These shows take place in their Piazza, where you can also relax with your favorite wine.

See Rare Animals at the North Georgia Wildlife Park and Safari

Over 400 animals call the North Georgia Zoo home, so you can never say you haven’t seen enough animals.

Bring your family to this wildlife park and let them marvel at rare animals they’ve only seen in books or movies.

Likewise, your kids will never forget their experience at one of Georgia’s largest petting zoos.

Besides petting, your kids can also feed various miniature and rare livestock.

For example, the zoo cares for potbelly piglets, miniature goats, deer, sheep, and donkeys.

The zoo’s other amenities include a guided wildlife walk, a safari drive-thru, and a chance to encounter exotic animals up close.

These animals range from alligators to wolves, too.

Sip Fine Wine at the Yonah Mountain Vineyards

Yonah Mountain Vineyards
Frank Sapp / shutterstock.com

Start your Cleveland adventure by climbing to the foot of the historic Mount Yonah and visiting the renowned Yonah Mountain Vineyards.

The winery features over seven varietals, contained in 20 acres of the sprawling 200-acre property.

What better to enjoy fine wine than with a spectacular mountain view?

That’s what you’ll get at Yonah Mountain Vineyards.

Since its 2014 opening, the vineyard has provided guests with award-winning wine, displays of local artwork, a snug fireplace, and a gorgeous view of the mountains.

You can also join a tour and wine tasting at the only wine cave in Georgia.

You’ll also hear fantastic stories about “the oldest mountain in the world” and enjoy samples of future vintages during the tour.

Stroll among the Flowers at the Lavender Lamb Farm

If you know anyone obsessed with lavender, bring them to Cleveland to visit the Lavender Lamb Farm.

This farm is a dream come true for the owners, Susan and Herb Lamb, who founded it in 2016.

Watch them swoon as the lavender farm opens up to the magnificent mountain views and meadows filled with lavender.

You’ll get tempted to frolic among the lovely flowers, so don’t pass up the photo opportunities.

The farm also has a gift shop, where you can buy lavender products, such as soaps, bath bombs, lip balms, body lotions, candles, linen sprays, spice blends, and aromatherapy necklaces.

Go Trout Fishing at Cannon Falls Lodge

On the other hand, if you still want to go fishing, you can join the hundreds of fly fishermen from around the country visiting Cannon Falls Lodge.

Why do these people go there?

The lodge offers the best trophy trout fly-fishing experience in the whole South.

Thanks to the lodge's secluded area, you get to fish to your hearts’ content without hassle.

You can fish at any of the three streams in the property, containing brown, brook, and rainbow trout.

The streams are always cool and clear because the water is near the spring source, high up the mountains.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Marvel at the Power of Nature at the Anna Ruby Falls

Anna Ruby Falls
Sean Pavone / shutterstock.com

The city of Helen also features outstanding natural attractions, such as the Anna Ruby Falls, which you can find at the Chattooga Ranger District.

When you visit, you’ll find not just one but two waterfalls.

One waterfall is at Curtis Creek, falling from 150 feet, while the other is at York Creek, falling from 50 feet.

When these falls merge, they form Smith Creek.

Anna Ruby Falls
Sean Pavone / shutterstock.com

If you want to go there, you’ll have to hike along an interpretive trail half a mile long.

Don’t worry, though, because you’ll see perfect views to fill your camera roll.

On the other hand, the 0.15-mile-long Lion’s Eye trail sits near the visitor center for people with visual and physical disabilities.

Anna Ruby Falls
WorldTraveler_1 / shutterstock.com

Learn US History at the Hardman Farm Historic Site

Just twelve minutes away from Cleveland is the town of Nacoochee, where you can visit the historic Hardman Farm site.

This 173-acre Hardman Farm also features one of the most recognizable landmarks in Georgia, the Nacoochee Burial Mound.

In 1870, Capt. James Nichols built the house according to the grand Italianate style, featuring a 19th-century parlor and a dairy barn.

Its name was “West End” because of its location at the Nacoochee Valley.

You can also check out the historical Nacoochee Indian Mound, an old Native American burial site, when you visit the property.

This site probably existed before the Cherokee arrived in the area.

Check Out the Artwork at the Helen Arts and Heritage Center

View of Helen Arts and Heritage Center
Michael Rivera, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 2007, the city of Helen established a non-profit organization called Helen Arts and Heritage to foster art appreciation in the community.

The center showcases collections and exhibits featuring the creations of local artists and the research of local historians.

Likewise, residents and tourists can also visit the center to appreciate the featured works and join together as a community.

You also won’t run out of art to check out because the gallery changes its exhibits six times a year.

In the winter, the center holds a youth exhibit; while in the fall, the adults take their turn.

Throughout the year, the center also hosts art classes and history events, so don’t miss out.

If you’re a military veteran, you can also avail of free and exclusive art workshops every Tuesday afternoon, lasting for six weeks.

Try More Wine at the Habersham Winery

Fifteen minutes away from Cleveland sits the city of Helen, Georgia, where you can visit the Habersham Winery and sip their award-winning wines.

Since 1983, the winery has made the finest wines earned over 150 medals in national and international competitions.

The winery is also one of the oldest and biggest wineries in Georgia.

You’ll always get satisfying wines at this winery because it uses only the finest grapes and oak barrels to create their vintage-dated and varietal Creekstone wines.

The winery’s original Habersham Estates label also uses vinifera and French-American grapes.

Admire the Craftsmanship at the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia

North Georgia is home to all kinds of skilled potters, and if you want to see their works in one place, you need to visit the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia.

You’ll see the finest examples of the South’s folk pottery and other grassroots art forms when you visit.

Likewise, you’ll see exhibits and collections showcasing the men and women who made unforgettable crafts out of the earth of the Georgia mountains.

See the works of the well-known folk potter families in North Georgia, such as the Hewells, Fergusons, Dorseys, and Meaders.

The museum is open to the public.

Final Thoughts

The city of Cleveland offers a perfect blend of historical, natural, and cultural attractions to satisfy curious travelers.

If you love wine, you’ll also love the charming and lovely wineries scattered around town.

When you’ve had your fill, you can venture to the nearby cities of Helen or Nacoochee and check out the attractions there.

In all, your Cleveland trip should leave you with enough memories to last a lifetime.

Otherwise, you might get tempted to come back again and again.

After all, why shouldn’t you? You might have missed some places on your first go-round.

Book your trip to Cleveland, Georgia, today!