You know it’s nearly fall in Georgia when the sweltering heat of summer gives way to a cool, crisp morning breeze, and you start swapping out bikinis and board shorts for boots and sweaters.
And when the first maple leaves begin to transform, and suddenly everything becomes pumpkin-themed and flavored, you know fall is officially here in full force!
When this magical time of year rolls around, there’s plenty of fun activities to look forward to.
From enjoying Georgia’s fall fairs and festivals to picking apples and visiting a pumpkin patch to find the perfect one to take home and carve into a Jack-O-Lantern, there’s a good reason why this is so many people’s favorite season.
It’s particularly magical when the North Georgia mountains become blanketed in brilliant shades of red, yellow, and orange. The temperature is just right for exploring the endless natural beauty and outdoor attractions the state has got offer.
To help you make the most of the season, read on to see 15 of our favorite fun ways to experience fall in Georgia, each of which can be enjoyed with a special someone or with family and friends!
READ MORE: 101+ Things to Do in North Georgia
Fall in Georgia Activities Guide
- Hike to the top of Brasstown Bald
- Navigate the Corn Maze at Uncle Shucks
- Go Apple Picking at Mercier Orchards
- Take a Ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
- Experience Oktoberfest in Helen
- Attend the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay
- Drive the Richard B Russell Scenic Byway
- Find the Perfect Jack-O-Lantern at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm
- Celebrate Gold Rush Days in Dahlonega
- Family-Friendly Fun at the Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival
- Watch the Sunrise (or Sunset) at Black Rock Mountain State Park
- Wine Tastings in North Georgia
- Carnival Rides at the North Georgia State Fair in Marietta
- Rent a Cozy Treehouse in the North GA Mountains
- Frightful Fun at Netherworld Haunted House
1. Hike to the Top of Brasstown Bald
One of the most notable signs that autumn in Georgia has arrived is when the leaves start to transform into those fabulous warm-toned hues.
If you’re looking for a place to see the changing fall colors at their most dynamic, Brasstown Bald should be #1 on your list.
Towering 4,784 feet above the incredible 867,000-acre Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, Brasstown Bald is the tallest mountain in Georgia, making it a great vantage point for eyeing all of the colorful fall foliage.
After a short, steep .55-mile hike up the mountain (or a quick trip on the shuttle bus) you’ll reach a viewing platform that offers breathtaking 360-degree views. On a clear day you can see Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee!
Due to its higher elevation, Brasstown Bald is one of the first places in Georgia where the leaves begin to change. So you can visit a little earlier in the season and still get to see some fantastic fall colors.
2. Navigate the Corn Maze at Uncle Shucks
Trying to see if we can find our way through all of its crazy twists and turns has been a longtime family tradition.
The maze is set in a 15-acre field of corn, with around 4 miles of trails to make your way through. Luckily, they give you a handy guide to help you navigate, with checkpoints along the way.
There are plenty of other family fall activities at Uncle Shucks, including taking a tractor-driven wagon ride, playing on the tire mountain, picking a pumpkin from the patch, and roasting marshmallows at the bonfire.
For older kids and adults, there’s also a haunted trail known as “the Dark Rows” after the sun sets.
3. Go Apple Picking at Mercier Orchards
Apple orchards are especially prominent in North Georgia, growing a variety of apples that begin to ripen in August and September. Visiting an orchard and picking some of that delicious fruit is another popular fall family activity.
Located on 300 acres of pastoral land, they usually have plenty of apples to choose from, including Granny Smith, Arkansas Black, Detroit Red, Gold Rush, Crimson Crist, Mutsu, and many more varieties.
Your admission for “U-Pick” apple events includes a ride on the tractor through the farm, where guides will give instructions on how to pick the fruit and plenty of time to search for the brightest, juiciest apples.
Note that Mercier’s U-pick apples are in short supply this season due to the late frost in April. Call before you go to see what options they may have available!
4. Take a Ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Taking a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is a fun and entertaining way to experience fall in GA, while also learning more about the state’s past.
Departing from the historic depot in downtown Blue Ridge, the train takes guests on a scenic 26-mile round-trip journey along the Toccoa River to the twin towns of McCaysville GA, and Copperhill TN.
Throughout the four-hour trip, you can gaze out the window in awe at the picturesque views of the North Georgia mountains as they dazzle with the vibrant jewel-tone shades of fall.
While you take in the sights, you can also listen to stories told by the conductors and “car hosts,” who have a wealth of information about the Appalachian culture and history of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Blue Ridge, GA
5. Experience Oktoberfest in Helen
One of the most popular cultural festivals in the USA (and the longest-running celebration of its kind in the country), Oktoberfest in Helen GA is an iconic fall festival that takes place from mid-September to early November.
The celebrations take place in the city’s Bavarian-style Festhalle, and involve lively traditional music, dancing, outfits, food, and massive steins of beer.
Rows of long tables are set up so that visitors can enjoy the festivities while listening to German-style polka bands and other musical acts that have come from all over the country.
Every day of the festival brings all kinds of joy and celebration, which reach its peak at the immensely popular Oktoberfest Parade. So it is definitely a day you won’t want to miss!
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Helen GA
6. Attend the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay
Known as the “the Apple Capital of Georgia,” the town of Ellijay GA is most famous for its apple orchards and hosting the annual Georgia Apple Festival.
Offering two weekends of celebration (Oct 9-10 & 16-17, 2021), the fall festival features over 300 vendors, including food, hand-crafted items, and on-site arts and crafts demonstrations.
The 50th anniversary celebration in 2021 will also include the always-popular parade and antique show.
The festival takes place at the Lions Club Fairgrounds in Ellijay. Note that parking is limited, but there’s a free shuttle service. Bus routes and parking areas are marked on a map on the Georgia Apple Festival website.
Admission is $5, but children ages 10 and under are able to enjoy the festival for free!
7. Drive the Richard B Russell Scenic Highway
Also known as Hwy 348, the Richard B Russell Scenic Highway stretches 23 miles between the charming mountain towns of Blairsville and Helen.
However, if you want a longer road trip, it can be extended by continuing north to Hiawassee, or taking the 40.6-mile Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway loop.
But the Richard B Russell Scenic Highway itself boasts plenty of natural beauty that is only heightened by the colors of autumn, which make the drive’s stunning scenery especially captivating.
Along the route, there are plenty of places to stop and admire the changing fall foliage, such as Smithgall Woods State Park and nearby waterfalls including Dukes Creek Falls, Helton Creek Falls, and DeSoto Falls.
There are also several incredible overlooks along the way where you can stop and admire the breathtaking views. Hogpen Gap is one of our favorite places to watch the sunset.
8. Find the Perfect Jack-O-Lantern at Burt’s Pumpkin Farm
There are plenty of fun things to do during fall, but arguably none are as popular as finding that perfect pumpkin to take home and carve into a Jack-O-Lantern.
Owned by Johnny and Kathy Burt, the farm grows more than 20 varieties of pumpkins on 50 to 70 acres of farmland each year. So you’re practically guaranteed to find one to suit your family’s liking.
Along with picking out a pumpkin, you can also take a hayride around the farm that ends on top of a mountain, where you’ll get an awesome view of Amicalola Falls and the pumpkin patch below.
Before you leave, make sure to check out their country store, where you can browse all sorts of delicious pumpkin-flavored goodies and seasonal decorations to make your home feel more festive.
9. Celebrate Gold Rush Days in Dahlonega
Celebrating the area’s discovery of gold in 1828 (which sparked America’s first major gold rush), Gold Rush Days in Dahlonega is held every year on the third full weekend in October.
Thousands of visitors visit the charming mountain town to get a glimpse of the fall colors. You can also enjoy a variety of festivities, including family-friendly games, face painting, wheelbarrow racing, live music, and a gold panning contest.
The festival features a massive parade with jubilant marching band music, which ends with the coronation of the Gold Rush Days King and Queen.
You’ll also find over 200 art & crafts and food vendors gathered around the town’s public square and Historic District.
Plan on coming back to visit the area around Christmastime, because Dahlonega has some great Christmas Tree Farms where you can cut your own tree!
READ MORE: The 10 Best Waterfalls Near Blue Ridge GA
10. Family-Friendly Fun at the Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival
One of the most popular and beloved Georgia fall festivals, the Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival offers family-friendly fun for all ages.
You can enjoy a journey around the mountain aboard a locomotive, enter a pie-eating contest, or watch a mesmerizing new show starring award-winning magician Aaron Radatz.
Once the sun goes down, the festivities continue as Stone Mountain Park lights up with the new “Glow By Night” event.
This outdoor adventure takes guests through classic storybook tales that come to life through thousands of dazzling lights in 10 different themed areas. Overall, there are more than 40 illuminated scenes to see.
There will also be a new pumpkin-themed laser show set to the music of all your favorite Halloween songs, along with a nighttime parade!
READ MORE: The Best North Georgia Christmas Events
11. Watch the Sunrise (or Sunset) at Black Rock Mountain State Park
Located on the Eastern Continental Divide at an altitude of 3,640 feet, Black Rock Mountain State Park is Georgia’s highest state park and encompasses some of the most beautiful scenery in Georgia.
With the elevation comes some truly breathtaking views, and one of the best ways to experience them is by checking out the park’s 5 scenic overlooks.
The Black Rock Overlook provides a bird’s eye view of the nearby town of Clayton, while the Cowee Overlook and Nantahala overlook offer views of the park’s northern wilderness.
But the best place to catch a spectacular sunrise is at the Blue Ridge Overlook. There you can watch the sun as it lights up the morning sky, spotlighting the vibrant red, orange, and yellow hues of the changing foliage.
To watch the sunset after a full day of exploring, make your way to the Tennessee Rock Overlook (accessible via the 2.2-mile Tennessee Rock Trail), which provides outstanding views of the Blue Ridge Mountains’ fall colors.
READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Clayton GA
12. Wine Tastings in North Georgia
It may surprise some people to learn that the unique climate and geography of the Blue Ridge Mountains provide the perfect conditions for growing grapes and producing wine.
But North Georgia is home to a number of wineries that provide an exquisite combination of delicious drinks and striking mountain views for guests ranging from novices to serious wine connoisseurs.
Some of our favorites include the beautiful Crane Creek Vineyards, Bear Claw Vineyards (home to the Blue Ridge Treehouse), and Habersham Vineyards & Winery, one of Georgia’s oldest and largest wineries.
Each one offers a variety of delicious (and, in many cases, award-winning) wines as well as acres of beautiful grapevines.
You can explore them on guided tours that allow you to take in the spectacular scenery and enjoy the crisp autumn air.
13. Carnival Rides at the North Georgia State Fair in Marietta
Attracting around 300,000 people each year, the North Georgia State Fair is a huge fall event in Georgia that has been entertaining visitors for generations.
Every year they offer an exciting new lineup of classic carnival rides, games, and live performances to keep you entertained, along with a ton of yummy food vendors.
Whether you’re visiting with the exotic animals at the Eudora Farms Petting Zoo, watching life-like dinosaurs in action at the Jurrasic Kingdom show, or cheering on your favorite pig as they race and swim during the Robinsons Racing Pigs & Paddling Porkers event, there’s fun to be had for all ages.
They even host a star-studded lineup of musical guests, which is 2021 will include popular artists like Gabby Barrett, Chase Rice, John Langston, and Mark Willis.
14. Rent a Cozy Treehouse in the North GA Mountains
If you’re an avid nature lover (as we are), chances are you probably climbed a few trees during your childhood, or maybe even had a treehouse of your own.
And while those small, rickety treehouses of our youth might not seem quite as appealing in adulthood, there are several treehouse rentals in the mountains that are far more luxurious!
Fully equipped with all the modern amenities you could need (along with added bonuses like spacious decks, hot tubs, and fire pits), these North Georgia mountain treehouse rentals offer a serene nature escape where you can enjoy the cool mountain air and striking fall foliage.
With options ranging from more quaint treehouses tucked away in the woods to more upscale ones with breathtaking mountain views, a stay in a cozy treehouse is a great way to immerse yourself in the autumn colors of Georgia!
15. Frightful Fun at Netherworld Haunted House
If you’re looking for some frightful fun during fall in Atlanta, the Halloween haven of Netherworld Haunted House has returned for its 25th year and is filled with all sorts of spooks and scares.
Named the “scariest haunted house” by Oprah Magazine for the second year in a row, Netherworld features Hollywood-style special effects, elaborate sets, and monsters of nightmarish quality.
The walk-through attraction will be featuring two brand-new haunts this year, “Rise of the Netherspawn” and “Return to Planet X in 3D,” along with some classic characters from years past.
Note that this heart-pounding haunted house is NOT for the faint of heart, so only enter if you’re really ready for a good scare! -by Christina Maggitas; featured image of Brasstown Bald via Canva