One of the finest ways to find your perfect travel destination is by choosing a location that offers the best of both worlds.
It should be someplace amidst the serenity of nature, between the mountains, but also somewhere with the prettiest buildings and streets to give you the quintessential town-like feel.
Helen, located in Georgia's White County, is a mountain town.
Hence, it can very well be a combination of the best of both worlds in the eyes of a true traveler.
Tubing through the Chattahoochee River, going back in time at the antique malls, hiking, and standing beneath magical waterfalls are just some of the most exciting things to do in this city.
You can also explore vineyards and breweries with picturesque views, have a fun-filled day at a fantastic water park, immerse yourself in culture and history at the art galleries, museums, heritage centers, and nature parks, or even spend a relaxing day at a golf village.
With so many things to offer to tourists, the city is truly a traveler's gem.
These are the best things to do in Helen, Georgia:
Witness Finesse at the Helen Arts & Heritage Center
This non-profit organization is situated at the Old City Hall.
The Helen Arts & Heritage Center is open to visitors from Monday through Thursday, free of charge.
It is famous within the country for its excellent exhibits and workshops.
Classes are held on varied subjects like pottery, acrylic, oil and water painting, jewelry making, scarf painting, collage, and basket making, among many others.
These events are all organized by volunteers who are often themselves artists.
It is a treat to watch the amalgamation of pure art and heritage with that goodness and service to all.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Unicoi State Park & Lodge
Located beside the highway, Unicoi State Park & Lodge is another fine spot for travelers not to miss.
Huge hill areas, endless woods, massive lakes, and treehouses await you at this 1,050-acre state park.
Activities you can enjoy here include indoor games, archery, animal watching, fishing, birdwatching, butterfly watching, hiking, and more.
The park grounds also comprise barrel cabins, boating areas, camping grounds, gift shops, restaurants, a community hall, dog parks, swimming beaches, and lake trails.
It would be best to set aside at least an entire day to explore Unicoi State Park & Lodge, as the list of activities you can enjoy here is almost endless—and endlessly fun.
Stroll through the Stunning Alpine Mini Golf Village
Located on South Main Street, Alpine Mini Golf is a mini-golf course designed like an Alpine village.
It is a win-win area for families, solo travelers, and visitors of all ages.
The landscape looks pristine, and the course is well-maintained with excellent services and playing areas.
Apart from this, the entire area is like a miniature village, with picture-perfect cottages, playing areas for children, recreational spaces for families, sports areas, a stunning flower garden, and exhibits.
The village is pet-friendly, too.
Alpine Mini Golf has a number of shopping and dining facilities for guests to enjoy as well.
Aim Your Game at AxeBilly
Ax-throwing is one of the most famous and loved activities in Georgia, and AxeBilly is the one and only ax-throwing sports area in the county.
Hence, it is cherished by the locals, and the tourists stay curious about it.
Today, it remains to be one of the city's top tourist attractions.
The facilities accommodate both groups and solo players.
Double lanes are available for larger groups to enter.
In the case of families wanting to celebrate occasions like birthdays, AxeBilly is open for private bookings.
Enjoy the Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience of River Tubing
As exciting as it looks, river tubing plays a significant role in drawing national tourists from all over Georgia to the city of Helen.
Once you have taken the donut-shaped tube, be prepared to slip through the prettiest river areas and deep alpine vegetation and spot mind-blowing views of forests and lakes.
Most routes run from the Chattahoochee River to the Appalachian Mountains.
Walk through the Helen's Vibrant Downtown Area
Lose your senses to the aesthetic beauty of Downtown Helen.
The area features stunning architecture, with beautifully decorated sets of Bavarian-style buildings on stretches that make the streets look like sets from a medieval movie or a toy land.
There are many market areas with restaurants and antique shops, artifact corners, and entertainment areas for people of all ages.
The downtown area is also known for its hand-blown glass sculptures at places like the Glass Glowing Shop.
Another famous attraction is the Hansel and Gretel Candy Kitchen, which always smells of fudge, caramel, and candies.
Get Your Adrenaline Pumping with Cool River Adventures
Cool River Adventures provides tourists with a set of thrilling outdoor activities that can be enjoyed solo or with families.
Ideal for both children and adults, tubing through the river is a signature sport in Helen.
Their other offerings include zipline sports, three different aerial adventure sects, and wall climbing for youngsters and professionals.
The rope courses are very well-maintained, with different levels for everyone in the family.
The setting around the area has picturesque views.
A resting area is also available with friendly staff.
Engage with Your Family at Helen Water Park and Tubing
Helen Water Park and Tubing is the best place if you are looking for fun outdoor water activities.
You can go on tours through the river with your family.
Alternatively, if you are an adventure lover, go for free boundless tubing through the active river and get some magical green canopies above you.
The children and adults can both enjoy the water park with simple activities like boating o fishing.
Water rides are also readily available with small pools for more safety.
The area has restrooms and restaurants for you to relax and freshen up after the fun.
Settle with a Sip at Helen's Vineyards and Breweries
A mountainside town like Helen is bound to have the finest breweries and vineyards with the finest sips and the best views to complement your drink.
There is the famous Unicoi Wine Trail, which makes sure the travelers get the finest and most varied flavors of the foothills.
Sit back and relax with that perfect glass of fine wine and enjoy the perfect gourmet meal to complement the whole experience.
More places to check out include: Habersham Winery & Vineyards; Alpine Brew Deck; CeNita Vineyards, Winery & Tasting Room; Elite Excursions and Wine Tours of North Georgia; and many more.
Go Hiking in the Mountains of Helen
As Helen is a mountain town rich with natural attractions, it offers a wide range of outdoor activities.
It depends on your choice, whether you want to go on hiking experiences in professionally maintained areas like nature parks like Unicoi State Park or other options like Bartram Trail, which offers both hiking and wine tasting.
If you are a fan of rugged free woodlands and hiking areas and rough and natural mountainous paths, then you can simply go to Mount Yonah or any branch of the mighty Appalachian Mountains.
Get Blown Away by the Georgia Mountain Coaster
It is better not to miss out on the real gut-wrenching adventure at the only alpine coaster in Georgia, Helen's Georgia Mountain Coaster.
The coaster is located in downtown Helen.
You will be passing through Georgia's magnificent mountain lands and woods at your own pace.
Yes, you can control your own speed at this coaster.
The views will be mostly of forests and ruins that are over a hundred years old.
These coasters are built with the best Germanic gliding machinery, completely safe and secure for you and your partner to ride through.
Experience the Best of Both Worlds at Nacoochee Village Antique Mall
Nacoochee Village Antique Mall truly offers the best of both worlds.
This one-of-a-kind mall is located at the historically significant Martin House, with over three floors and an area of over 7,000 square feet.
The specialty comes from the availability of fine collectibles and antiques for men, women, children, and elders.
Browse through glassware from the olden times, antique cutlery and showpieces, stamps, brooches, and leather items.
The house, white in color, looks like a royal cottage from the olden times, the staff is friendly, and the collections vary.
Play an Exciting Game of Laser Tag at Alpine Fun Factory
Alpine Fun Factory is the place to go to if you're looking to have the time of your life.
The place is packed with activities for visitors to enjoy, one of the most famous offerings being laser tag.
They have a bounce zone that's open to people of all ages and not just children.
You can try out their slides, jumpy houses, obstacle courses, as well as a jousting arena and a boxing ring if you want to have a little more harmless fun with your family and friends.
They also have their own skating rink, so you can finally try out your skating dreams if you want to.
Taste Hofer's Bakery's Baked Delights
Hofer's Bakery was opened by a pair of German immigrants who came to the United States in the 1950s.
Now, their little bakery has turned into a nationally recognized establishment.
The food in this bakery is made to show off the combined magic of old-world quality with modern European equipment.
You can tell their pastries are made with love and care with every bite that you take.
Take your pick from various types of bread, among other baked goods.
You can dine in at the cozy cafe or order a bunch of goodies to take home with you.
They also take wedding cake commissions if you ever need them.
Try Out the Delectable Dishes of Big Daddys Restaurant and Tavern
Enjoy a delicious meal with your family at Big Daddys Restaurant and Tavern.
The atmosphere is cozy and casual, and that, paired with the delectable dishes they serve, makes it one of the best places to eat in the city.
Their soups are an absolute treat, and you'll want to try some of them.
You'll have a wide selection of sandwiches and burgers to choose from, depending on your preferences.
There are also chicken wings that come in various flavors, so do sample them if you still have room in your stomach.
Have a Pizza Party at the Nacoochee Village Tavern & Pizzeria
The Nacoochee Village Tavern and Pizzeria can be found on South Main Street.
This restaurant offers its patrons a combination of a classic American tavern and craft pizzerias.
The ingredients they use are the best of the best, such as unbromated and unbleached flour, fresh spring water, and natural yeast, to ensure the most scrumptious dishes for their customers.
Their pizzas are made fresh every day and are hand-stretched and formed before going into their stone oven.
The restaurant also boasts a 50-seat, temperature-controlled patio, where you can eat in a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere while enjoying the lovely view through the clear glass windows.
Dine at Muller's Famous Fried Cheese Cafe
Muller's Famous Fried Cheese Cafe can be found just two minutes off Main Street, and it's an excellent find for any food enthusiast out there.
They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, so make sure to have at least one meal there, and try to come back to try more of their dishes.
Their restaurant is family-owned and operated, with the head chef having a certificate in Culinary Arts from a restaurant management institute in Prague, so you can be sure that your food is in good hands.
Go Nature Tripping at Helen’s Scenic Hiking Trails
Helen is known for its scenic hiking trails and there are several jumping points in town you can try.
Among them is the Helen To Unicoi Trail, which begins in Unicoi Hill City Park.
This moderate level 5.2-mile trail leads across Smith Creek where you’ll meander through beautiful mountain laurels and rhododendrons, and ending your hike at the Unicoi State Park Lodge.
You can go hiking, running, or just stroll along the paths; you can also bring your leashed dogs on the trail.
The Helen To Hardman Heritage Trail is only a mile long and starts at the Welcome Center; it also follows the Chattahoochee River from Helen to the Hardman Farm State Historic Site.
Make a few stops and see some plants and wildlife native to the area; the trail is also pet-friendly and ADA-accessible.
You’ll also enjoy several hiking trails along Smithgall Woods State Park, with accessible trailheads from Helen’s Highway 75 to Alternate 75.
Discover the splendid nature views at these hiking trails.
See the Cool Vintage Cars at the Corvair Springfest
Love Chevrolet’s Corvair models? Then, you wouldn’t want to miss the annual Corvair Springfest event.
For two days in April, over a hundred Corvair owners gather at Edelweiss Strasse to celebrate all things related to this classic car model.
The tradition has been running for more than 35 years and features different Corvairs like the 1963 coupe, the 1964 and 1965 Monza, the eight-door 1964 Greenbrier, the 1964 Spyder, and many more.
See these amazing classic automobiles and meet other car enthusiasts and collectors.
Catch the attractions from races, raffle draws, swap and meet events, to the countryside rally, door prizes, and much more.
And of course, you’ll also get to enjoy servings of German beers and dishes at the event.
The Corvair Springfest is hosted by the Corvair Society of America’s regional clubs including Corvair Atlanta, Heart of Georgia, Queen City Corvair Club, Vulcan Corvair Enthusiasts, and Corsa South Carolina.
Enjoy the Activities at Nacoochee Adventures
Bring your family to Nacoochee Adventures for some thrilling outdoor activities.
You’ll find this attraction along South Main Street offering plenty of fun experiences and a bit of North Georgia’s rich history, too.
Zoom your way on the ziplines from the short Moonshine Canopy Tour to the more exciting Big Zip Intimidator; you can also choose the Gold Mine Canopy Tour and Big Bear Canopy Tour packages.
The Giant Swing is sure to give you that adrenaline rush as you’re lifted 50 feet from the air, dropped for seconds of free fall, and swing.
Ready for a workout challenge? See if you have the skills to finish the three-level high rope Yonah Quest Challenge Course.
For something more relaxing, rent a bike for a day and discover more sights in this Alpine Mountain Town.
If you want to go camping you have several lodging options like the Cozy Tree House, the Secluded Tree House, or the more off-the-beaten-path Ceek Tree House.
For more a comfortable stay, you can book the Cabins or try a different experience and stay at the Gypsy Vardo Wagons or the Pioneer Covered Wagon.
You’ll surely have memorable Nacoochee Adventures!
Have a Luxurious Stay at Valhalla Resort
Breathtaking views, excellent amenities, and a comfortable stay are all the things you’ll experience at Valhalla Resort.
This premier resort hotel is located in Bahn Innsbruck and is perfect for a relaxing getaway.
Choose from the hotel’s 25 modern-style suites, or book their family-friendly Bungalows, Private Villas, and Townhomes.
Pamper yourself and get rejuvenated at the hotel’s Solasta Spa with services like facials, massages, and more; likewise, go for a workout in the fitness room.
Want to practice your golf swings? You can book tee times at the Valhalla Golf Club.
Play tennis or bocce ball at the courts, and include wildlife tours in your itinerary, too.
Enjoy your stay at Valhalla Resort.
Get Bags of Fred’s Famous Peanuts
While you’re in Helen, don’t miss dropping by Fred’s Famous Peanuts on Clayton Road.
This roadside store, owned by Fred and Dianne Jenkins, has been around since 1982.
From selling boiled peanuts, the store now has several additions with recipes and homemade products you’ll love.
Aside from getting free samples of “The Best Peanuts In The Mountains”, take pictures with the old folks by the peanut shack, or pose beside the basket of flowers and the waterwheel.
Likewise, have a quick racquetball game on the court.
Take your bags of boiled peanuts, or try the fried pork rinds, some sweet peanut brittle, and tasty Tillamook Beef Jerky.
They also have assorted jellies, jams, and preserves, along with flavored butter, pickle relish, and chow-chow.
Bring home some salad dressings, sauces, and marinades, and buy handmade items and merchandise for mementos.
Get delicious food finds at Fred’s Famous Peanuts.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Stand by the Mystic Anna Ruby Falls
Just a 15-minute drive outside Helen, Anna Ruby Falls receives close to a million visitors on a regular annual basis.
It is one of the finest attractions to drive out to when you're visiting Georgia.
You have to take a 15-minute hike to get the finest view of water gushing down through hilly rock formations from a considerable height, with lush greenery on both sides, and then flowing through smaller rocks.
The area sure looks like those wallpaper images you would dream about.
There are railings and pavements to help travelers of all ages.
There is also a gift shop where you can shop for goodies.
Surround Yourself with Art at the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia
A pottery museum can be as unique as it gets.
Located in Sautee Nachoochee, less than 10 minutes away from Helen, the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia perfectly holds upright the Georgian grassroots of native art, ethnicity, and culture.
It can be called one of the best museums of its kind in the southeast.
Some of the pieces of folk pottery go back to as early as the 1840s.
These artifacts are finely preserved and proudly displayed to the museum's eager visitors.
Regular exhibits are held here, too.
Some of the artifacts are as huge as four feet.
The display and presentations are enhanced by audio and visual aids, which engage the visitors and entertain them through their tour.
See and Sense the True Beauty of Helen at Lavender Lamb Farm
Lavender Lamb Farm can turn out to be one of the most unique things a traveler can find on their trip to Helen.
A tiny and breathtaking lavender farm sure sounds magical.
It's located in Cleveland and is a 20-minute drive away from Helen.
The area has long stretches of lavender cultivation practiced seasonally, which therefore makes for those fine lilac valleys, perfect for capturing in photos.
Apart from this, the area has a gift shop that processes all that lavender into the most organically precious and true-to-form perfumes, soaps, body oils, candles, scents, incense tubes, and more perfectly smelling goodies.
This place will surely refine your senses.
Give Your Heart a Peaceful Treat at the Romeo and Juliet Indian Mound Tragedy Site
Put this historic site on your itinerary and add a beautiful, heartwarming visit to your fabulous Helen journey.
The Romeo and Juliet Indian Mound Tragedy Site is located across from the Hardman Farm.
Just a few miles outside of Helen, it is a burial ground of two star-crossed Indian lovers whose lives ended there.
Their resting place is marked by the majestic white and red tomb-like structure you'll find amid a lovely, lush green valley.
The area has beautiful cattle spread all around it, and the grass somehow manages to look perennial and fresh all through the year, just like the tale of perennial love.
The spot is a favorite among photographers.
Stroll and feel alive here.
Offering the best of both worlds is Helen's specialty, and you won't find anything quite like it anywhere else.
Whether you're exploring the natural greenery and forests or walking along its streets and taking in its hospitable atmosphere, there's a lot to do and many things to see.
So, plan your trip today and get ready for an adventure when you finally set foot in Helen.