[Updated 8/13/2022] 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 in Georgia 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 fall foliage in Georgia transforms with 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 25 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
- Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Festival
- Scarecrows in the Garden
- Atlanta Chili Cookoff
- Foxfire Mountaineer Festival
- Georgia Mountain Fall Festival
- Stone Mountain Games and Highland Festival
- Mountain Moonshine Festival and Car Show
- Dancing Goats Folk Fest
- Zombie Farms Haunted House
- Gibbs Gardens
1. Hike to the Top of Brasstown Bald
Intersection of Highway 180 and Spur 180 • 706-896-2556
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
Sept-Nov Open Fri-Sun • 125 Bannister Road, Dawsonville • 770-772-6223
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. The corn maze and pumpkin patch will open for the 2022 season in early September and will remain open until early November.
3. Go Apple Picking at Mercier Orchards
Daily Aug-Sept • 8660 Blue Ridge Drive, Blue Ridge • 706-632-3411
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.
Arguably the most popular place for apple picking in Georgia is Mercier Orchards. This Blue Ridge-based, family-owned apple orchard has been producing bountiful harvests for over 75 years now.
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.
4. Take a Ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Sept 21, Oct 1-Nov 7 • Depot Street, Blue Ridge • 877-413-8724
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 Blue Ridge Mountain 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
Sept 8-11, 15-18, 22-25, 29-Oct 30 • 1074 Edelweiss Strasse, Helen • 706-878-1908
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
Oct 9-10 & 16-17• 1729 South Main Street, Ellijay • 706-636-4500
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 GA. 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
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 fall colors of in Georgia, 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
Sept-Nov, Hayride Sept 15-Nov • 5 Burts Pumpkin Farm Road, Dawsonville • 706-265-3701
There are plenty of fun things to do during fall in Georgia, but arguably none are as popular as finding that perfect pumpkin to take home and carve into a Jack-O-Lantern.
There are plenty of pumpkin patches all across Georgia you can visit, but one of our favorites (and one of the most popular in the state) is Burt’s Pumpkin Farm.
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
Oct 15-16 • Public Square, Dahlonega
Thousands of visitors visit the charming mountain town to get a glimpse of Georgia fall colors and visit the wineries in Dahlonega GA.
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, food vendors and restaurants gathered around the town’s public square and Historic District.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Cabin Rentals in Dahlonega GA
10. Family-Friendly Fun at the Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival
Sept 17-Oct 30 • 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain • 800-401-2407
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 an exciting show featuring the Emerald City Jugglers.
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
3085 Black Rock Mountain Parkway, Mountain City • 706-746-2141
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 the best wineries in the North Georgia mountains provide an exquisite combination of delicious drinks and striking 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
Sepr 22-Oct 2 • 2245 Callaway Rd, Marietta • 770-423-1330
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 the Puppy Pals Comedic Stunt Dog Show, or cheering on your favorite pig from Rosaire’s Royal racers, there’s fun to be had for all ages.
They even host a star-studded lineup of musical guests, which will feature major artists like Josh Turner and Corey Smith, as well as a wild Bull Riding show.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Fall Fairs in Georgia to Visit
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
Sept 23-24, 30, Oct 1-2, 6-9, 11-16, 18-31, Nov 4-6, 11-2
Stone Mountain Park, 1313 Netherworld Way, Stone Mountain • 404-999-3327
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 several years 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, “The Undying Horror” and “Parasitic,” 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!
16. Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival
Sept 15-17 • Downtown Blue Ridge • 770-546-9614
If you’re eager to experience autumn in Georgia, the 11th annual Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival will kick off your season with live music, good food, and cold drinks this September.
Something new they’re adding for 2022 is an hour-long train ride through the North Georgia countryside on the Kiwanis Blues Train.
You’ll get to see the North Georgia fall colors while enjoying live music, appetizers, and drinks.
There are also several great bands performing this year, including Men in Blues, The Crossroads Band, and Packrat’s Smokehouse.
READ MORE: The 13 Best Restaurants in Blue Ridge GA
17. Scarecrows in the Garden
Oct 1-31 • Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta • 404-876-5859
Starting October 1, the Scarecrows In the Garden exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Garden could be a great addition to your Atlanta autumn adventures.
Amateur and pro decorators are welcome to enter their handmade scarecrows to the exhibit, with the colorful fall foliage in Georgia providing a seasonally festive backdrop.
The exhibit is open alongside the botanical garden’s Fest-of-Ale (evenings from 5 to 8PM), so you can enjoy live music and craft beers while admiring the artful scarecrows.
The garden is also home to numerous plant varieties like maples, roses, and conifers that are sure to impress with those fall colors in Atlanta.
The garden is also home to an impressive five Nationally Accredited Plant Collections, include their gorgeous orchids, maples, carnivorous plants, and magnolias.
18. Atlanta Chili Cookoff
Oct 1 • Brook Run Park, 4770 North Peachtree Road, Dunwoody • 404-456-4655
If you want to admire the fabulous fall colors near Atlanta while also enjoying some great food, the Atlanta Chili Cook Off is the place for you!
There’s live music, vendor booths, arts and crafts for the kids, and numerous food trucks (if you’re still hungry after all the chili sampling).
If you’d like to support your favorite local business, the list of competitors has already been posted online.
The October 1st event is a great way to get in the spirit of autumn, see the early fall colors in Georgia, and have fun with the whole family.
READ MORE: The 25 Best Day Trips From Atlanta GA
19. Foxfire Mountaineer Festival
Oct 2 • Rabun County Civic Center, 201 West Savannah Street, Clayton • 706-746-5828
The Foxfire Mountaineer Festival is the perfect opportunity to experience fall in North Georgia and celebrate the culture of the Appalachian Mountains.
This annual fall festival offers a variety of activities for people of all ages to take part in.
There are several field events for children, like horseshoes, cornhole, a 3-legged race, and a greased pig chase!
You can listen to live music and check out the animals at the petting zoo, all while enjoying the colors of fall in the North Georgia mountains.
There are also different vendors where you can shop for handmade jewelry, artwork, and knick-knacks, making this a great place for some early Christmas shopping.
Local restaurants will be there as well, giving you a little taste of North Georgia’s culinary craftsmanship.
20. Georgia Mountain Fall Festival
Oct 7-15 • Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, 1311 Music Hall Road, Hiawassee • 706-896-4191
The Georgia Mountain Fall Festival is a 9-day event that is sure to keep you entertained. In fact, there’s so much to do there, you might need the whole week just to get to everything!
In 2022 they’ll have a series of live musical performances, educational demonstrations, a Cowboy Circus, and even a Bengal tiger show.
This year they’re adding carnival rides, courtesy of the largest traveling amusement park in the world. There will be over a dozen different rides, include bumper cars, a carousel, and a ferris wheel.
The Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds also offers camping and RV sites by Lake Chatuge, where you can get the perfect view of the Georgia fall foliage and enjoy the cooler temperatures that come with the changing seasons.
These campgrounds in North Georgia also have a playground, a full-time security guard, and Wifi access.
21. Stone Mountain Highland Games & Scottish Festival
Oct 15-16 • Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E Lee Boulevard, Stone Mountain • 770-521-0228
The Stone Mountain Highland Games and Scottish Festival is a weekend-long event in October that features pipe bands, Scottish athletes, Highland dancers, and Scottish weaving.
2022 marks the 50th anniversary of one of the premier Scottish festivals in the country, with people come from all over the country to attend.
You won’t need to find a babysitter for this festival because there are loads of activities for the kids as well, including an archery range, arts and crafts, and a haggis hurl.
There are also Scottish athletic events for the wee ones to participate in, such as the hammer throw, caber toss, and the sheaf toss.
READ MORE: The 15 Coolest Covered Bridges in Georgia
22. Mountain Moonshine Festival & Car Show
Oct 21-22 • GA Racing Hall of Fame, 415 Hwy 53 East, Dawsonville • 706-216-5273
The Mountain Moonshine Festival & Car Show has been an annual event for over 50 years now, and it’s a great way to enjoy the colors of fall in North Georgia.
The festival features a 3-day car show, along with vintage car races. You’ll have the opportunity to meet legendary race car drivers and see some authentic moonshine-hauling cars.
With over 250 different arts and crafts vendors, there’s bound to be something here for everyone on your Christmas shopping list.
The funds generated from this festival also go towards a good cause, as it provides support for the children in the community.
The location also offers RV parking for those who want to stay and enjoy the festivities for the whole weekend.
23. Dancing Goats Folk Fest
Oct 22-23 • Hefner River Park, 1557 S. Main Street, Ellijay • 478-718-6596
The Dancing Goats Folk Fest offers an utterly unique experience. Where else can you learn about southern Appalachian culture and see goats compete in Georgia’s only goat beauty pageant?
The live performances range from bluegrass music to down-home mountain ballads that may just get those goats to start dancing.
They also have storytelling, also known as “Mountain Internet” because it gives them a chance to pass down the history of the Appalachian mountain region.
There will be vendors selling traditional Southern foods, a folk art show and sale, and activities that will keep the children entertained.
You’ll also have the opportunity to watch the goats compete for the crown in all kinds of wigs, tutus, and hats. May the best goat win!
24. Zombie Farms Haunted House
Oct 1-29 (Weekends only) • 568 Smithonia Road, Winterville • No Phone
Open Friday and Saturday nights in October (except Friday, Oct 7), this is not your typical haunted house in Georgia.
Zombie Farms Haunted House has been open for 10 years now, and they’re doing something big to celebrate in 2022.
They offer a one-of-a-kind experience, featuring a ¾-mile walk through a spooky forest filled with monsters and ghouls that are sure to scare and entertain.
Their 2022 theme will be “The Year of the Clowns.” So if you’re seeking a unique way to experience Georgia’s fall foliage, chainsaw-wielding clowns and zombies scattered through the woods should certainly fit the bill!
25. Gibbs Gardens
Open Wed-Sun, Closed Mon & Tue • 1987 Gibbs Drive, Ball Ground • 770-893-1880
Gibbs Gardens was founded by Jim Gibbs, who comes from generations of gardeners and plant lovers.
This is one of the largest residential estate gardens in the country (over 250 acres), containing 24 ponds, 32 bridge crossings, and 19 North Georgia waterfalls.
If you’re looking to admire the stunning fall colors near Atlanta, Gibbs Gardens offers an array of encore azaleas, a fall Georgia wildflower meadow, and Japanese maples that are especially beautiful in autumn.
The attraction’s other features include rose gardens, daffodil gardens, hydrangea gardens, and a sculpture garden where each statue represents one of Gibbs’ grandchildren.
The property also has a cafe that sits beside five ponds of water lilies. So you can enjoy your meal with a view, and browse a gift shop where you can buy jewelry and pottery. –by Christina Maggitas; with additional reporting by Samantha Dickens, featured image of Brasstown Bald via Canva