The 20 Best Things to Do in North GA in July 2022

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Although many people wait for the fall colors to reach their peak, summer is truly prime time for visiting the North Georgia mountains.

The Chattahoochee National Forest is lush and green, the temperatures are 5º to 10º cooler than they are in metro Atlanta, and the myriad lakes and waterfalls offer excellent options for cooling off after a hike. 

Whether you want to find new ideas for fun day trips from Atlanta, or you’re planning a weekend getaway, we’ve got you covered!

Read on for our list of the 20 best things to do in North GA in July, from theatrical productions and music festivals to the requisite 4th of July celebrations.

READ MORE: 101+ Things to Do in North Georgia

 

Things to Do in North GA in July Guide

  1. Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Firework Special
  2. 4th of July Lake Chatuge Boat Parade
  3. Sautee Summer Music Fest
  4. Downtown Blue Ridge Market
  5. Summer Spectacular: Live Music with Max and Maggie
  6. Old Timers’ Parade
  7. Dahlonega 4th of July Parade and Celebration
  8. Red, White & Blairsville
  9. Independence Day – Fireworks in Downtown Ellijay
  10. 4th of July at Vogel State Park
  11. The Games Afoot 
  12. Community Quilt and Fiber Arts Exhibit
  13. Guided Hikes with the Benton MacKaye Trail Association
  14. 2022 BRMAA National Juried Photography Show
  15. Butternut Creek Festival
  16. The Sound of Music
  17. Shimmy Rock Festival and Fundraiser
  18. Harvest Festival
  19. Mountain Music & Moonshine Festival 
  20. Riedel Sensory Workshop and Tasting

 

Blue Ridge, GA -Scenic Railway - things to do in North GA
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, photo by Bret Love and Mary Gabbett

1. Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Firework Special

(Blue Ridge GA, July 2)

The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway offers a variety of different themed trips throughout the year, including the Fall Foliage ride in autumn and the Holiday Express ride at Christmas.

To celebrate Independence Day, they’re offering a “Firework Special” on July 2, which is a 4-hour round-trip journey celebrating America.

The railroad takes a 26-mile path alongside the Toccoa River and through the scenic North Georgia countryside.

The trip includes a 2-hour layover in the twin towns of McCaysville GA and Copperhill TN, where you’ll get to watch dazzling fireworks light up the night sky.

Tickets can be purchased on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway website.

READ MORE: The 25 Best Things to Do in Blue Ridge, GA

Lake Chatuge Boat Parade - things to do in Northern Georgia
Photo courtesy of Lake Chatuge Chamber of Commerce

2. 4th of July Lake Chatuge Boat Parade

(Hiawassee GA, July 2)

Lake Chatuge is nestled between the gorgeous Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina and some of the most magnificent North Georgia mountains.

Chatuge is one of the region’s most popular lakes for boating, with numerous public boat ramps and two marinas offering rentals.

The annual Lake Chatuge Boat Parade finds tons of boaters lining up in the Sunset Bay Cove to show off their boats, which will be decked out with all sorts of American-themed decorations.

This year the parade will be happening on July 2, from 10:30AM to Noon. It’s free, both to enter as a contestant and to simply watch.

The most creatively decorated boat and the boat with the most red, white, and blue will each win a $50 prize!

READ MORE: The 20 Best Lakes in the North Georgia Mountains

Sautee Summer Music Fest - summer in Georgia

3. Sautee Summer Music Fest

(Sautee Nacoochee GA, July 2, 9, & 16)

For the first three Saturdays in July, the Sautee Nacoochee Center near Helen GA will be hosting the Sautee Summer Music Fest on their outdoor stage.

Gates for the festival will open at 6 pm, with live music from 7PM to 9PM. General admission seating will be on the lawn, so be sure to bring your own chairs!

Tickets are available at the gate or by phone, and cost $12 for adults, while students are free.

On July 2, Native American singer-songwriter Ryan Little Eagle will be performing.

July 9 will feature Appalachian folk musician Elliot Sperin, while July 16 will showcase a performance by Hiawassee-bred artist Wyatt Espalin.

In the case of inclement weather, all concerts will be moved indoors.

READ MORE: 40 Facts About the History of the Banjo (From Africa to Appalachia)

Panorama photo of Downtown Blue Ridge, GA - Georgia in the summer
Photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

4. Downtown Blue Ridge Market

(Blue Ridge GA, July 2, 9, 16, 23, & 30)

The Downtown Blue Ridge Market will take place each Saturday throughout the month of July.

Along with getting to browse all of the shops and restaurants in Blue Ridge GA, myriad vendors will be set up in front of the courthouse.

These vendors will be offering everything from delicious baked goods, farm-fresh produce, and honey to handmade arts and crafts, hand-crafted furniture, and more.

The Saturday market will start at 9AM and run through 1PM.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Blue Ridge Georgia Cabins to Rent

Serenberry Vineyards - North GA attractions
Photo courtesy of Serenberry Vineyards

5. Summer Spectacular: Live Music with Max and Maggie

(Morganton GA, July 3)

Located in Morganton GA, just 6 miles east of Blue Ridge, Serenberry Vineyards & Winery is hosting their annual Summer Spectacular on July 3.

The event will include a backyard cookout from 1 to 5PM,  with all proceeds going towards the Fannin Country Family Connection.

Featured artists Max & Maggie will be playing classic Appalachian music from 2 to 5PM, which is sure to have you  dancing and having a grand ol’ time.

While you’re there, be sure to take a stroll through the wineries vineyards and sample some tasty Georgia Wine!

READ MORE: The 15 Best Wineries in the North Georgia Mountains

Old Timers' Parade - things to do in Georgia mountains
Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Business Association

6. Old Timers’ Parade

(Downtown Blue Ridge GA, July 4)

The Old Timers’ Parade is a parade in Blue Ridge that started back in the 1950s, and continues to entertain folks every year on the 4th of July.

It’s a time to celebrate the holiday, as well as the history of Blue Ridge GA and Appalachian Culture. 

Antique vehicles drive down the street, and tons of local businesses and other organizations join the fun by decorating their store windows.

People are encouraged to dress in period attire if they wish to help bring the essence of historic Blue Ridge to life.

The Independence Day parade starts at 10AM, and all are welcome to watch!

READ MORE: Lake Blue Ridge Boat Rentals, Cabin Rentals, Camping & Fishing

4th of July Dahlonega - things to do in July in Georgia

7. Dahlonega 4th of July Parade and Celebration

(Dahlonega GA, July 4)

The annual Dahlonega 4th of July Parade and Celebration is the perfect way to celebrate Independence Day.

The festivities kick off bright and early at 8AM with a Firecracker 5K run.

If running isn’t really your idea of a holiday celebration, the Patriotic Parade in the Historic Square starts at 11AM.

After the parade concludes, there will be free concerts in Hancock Park by Jessie Albright & The Inconceivable at 2PM and 4:30PM.

Throughout the day you can shop, eat at Downtown Dahlonega restaurants, and sample wines from Dahlonega wineries. There will also be food trucks, including The Inked Pig BBQ and Kona Ice, for visitors to enjoy.

The day will come to an exciting close with a fireworks show at UNG’s Drill Field, which starts at 7PM.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Dahlonega GA & Lumpkin County

Mural in Downtown Blairsville GA - attractions in North Georgia
Mural in Downtown Blairsville GA, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

8. Red, White & Blairsville

(Blairsville GA, July 4)

Make your way to Meeks Park in Blairsville GA on the 4th of July to join the hometown Independence Day celebration of Red, White & Blairsville. 

Along with dazzling fireworks, there will be bounce houses, face painting, food, and fun activities for the whole family.

Across the road on the North Georgia Tech campus, there will also be several food trucks selling snacks such as boiled peanuts, cotton candy, kettle corn, and pork rinds.

Admission is free, but there are a limited number of reserved parking spots available for purchase at the Chamber of Commerce office.

Tickets for a huge raffle giveaway are also available for just $10 each.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Blairsville GA & Union County

Downtown Ellijay 4th of July Celebration - fun things to do in North GA
Photo via Facebook

9. Independence Day Fireworks in Downtown Ellijay

(Ellijay GA, July 4)

This event is another great option for celebrating the 4th of July in North Georgia.

The annual Independence Day Fireworks will take place in downtown Ellijay GA, with festivities starting at 3PM.

There will be live music for visitors to enjoy throughout the downtown area while shopping from local vendors.

At 6PM there will be an exciting Fourth of July parade, and the exciting fireworks display will begin to light up the night sky around 9PM.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Cabin Rentals in Ellijay GA

Lake Trahylta in Vogel State Park, North Georgia Things to Do
Vogel State Park, photo by Rachael Seeley

10. 4th of July at Vogel State Park

(Blairsville GA, July 4)

One of the oldest and most beloved North Georgia State Parks, Blairsville’s Vogel State Park offers a ton of outdoor recreation opportunities as well as cabins,

There’s even more to do on July 4th, when the Independence Day celebration starts at 7:30AM with a 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk. After that, there will be a flag-raising and salute to veterans at 9:30AM.

There will be fun family-friendly events throughout the day, including a sandcastle-building competition, pedal boat race, sack racing, and even greased pole climbing!

The park will also host a bike parade decorating contest, and a cottage and campsite decorating contest. All winners will be awarded free nights of Vogel State Park camping!

The final event of the night– a special concert featuring In His Name– takes place at the Lake Pavilion at 7PM.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Restaurants in Blairsville GA for Foodies

The Games Afoot - North GA things to do

11. The Game’s Afoot

(Blue Ridge GA, July 7-24)

Written by Ken Ludwig and directed by Michael Dunham, The Game’s Afoot will be running at the Blue Ridge Community Theater from July 7 through July 24. 

The story is set in December 1936. Broadway star William Gillette, who is admired for his leading role in the play Sherlock Holmes, invites his cast members to visit for the weekend. 

However, things suddenly go awry when one of the guests is found stabbed to death. From there it’s up to Gillette to assume the persona of his world-renowned character to track down the killer.

The entertaining play is a thrilling and hilarious mystery that’s sure to have you on the edge of your seat!

READ MORE: The 15 Best Treehouse Rentals in the Georgia Mountains

Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association Quilt & Fiber Arts - unique things to do in North Georgia

12. Community Quilt and Fiber Arts Exhibit

(Blue Ridge GA, Through July 9)

The annual Community Quilt and Fiber Arts Exhibit is put on by the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association, whose mission is to provide artistic opportunities for individuals and the community.

This exhibit will take place at the Art Center’s Richard Low Evans Gallery, and will celebrate the traditional heritage of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the classic craft of quilting.

The gallery will have a variety of both traditional and modern-style quilts for purchase, all of which showcase the immense talent of local quilters.

The show is open to the public from May 27 through July 9. Note that any artwork purchased during the exhibit’s run must be picked up on July 10 and 12. 

READ MORE: The 10 Best Places for River Tubing in North Georgia

Beginning Of The Benton MacKaye Trail in Blue Ridge GA - North Georgia activities
Benton MacKaye Trail by TranceMist, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

13. Guided Hikes with the Benton MacKaye Trail Association

(Cherry Log GA, July 15 & 18)

The Benton MacKaye Trail Association was created to help protect the Benton MacKaye Trail and inform people of the incredible outdoor opportunities the ever-popular Georgia hiking trail provides.

Each month the BMTA schedules a few guided hikes of varying difficulty levels that visitors can participate in.

In July, there will be two guided BMTA hikes in Georgia. The first will take place on July 15, and will be a moderate 5- to 6-mile hike along the Cartecay River (a popular place for kayaking and river tubing).

The second hike will take place on July 18, and will be a moderate 5-mile hike that follows the Benton MacKaye and Jack’s River Trails.

If you want to join one or both of these hikes, be sure to RSVP by July 18.

READ MORE: The 30 Best Hiking Trails in North Georgia Bucket List

 2022 BRMAA National Juried Photography Show - Georgia in July

14. 2022 BRMAA National Juried Photography Show

(Blue Ridge GA, July 16 – August 27)

The 2022 BRMAA National Juried Photography Show is an awesome way to showcase your own photographs, or to get to see some incredible photos from other talented individuals.

All photographers are welcome to submit their work for consideration, regardless of skill level.

All original photographic media (including both film and digital images) are accepted, and prizes totaling $3,000 will be awarded.  

The exhibit will be on display for viewing in the Richard Low Evans Courtroom Gallery at the Art Center in Blue Ridge GA from July 16 through August 27.

READ MORE: 15 Great Places to Go Horseback Riding in Georgia

Butternut Creek Festival - free things to do in North Georgia
Photos by Theron Clore of Murphy, NC

15. Butternut Creek Festival

(Blairsville GA, July 16 – 17)

One of the finest arts and craft shows in Georgia, Blairsville’s Butternut Creek Festival has been designated a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society multiple times. 

It’s arguably one of the best things to do in North Georgia in July that is not Independence Day-focused.

Held annually on the third weekend in July, the event takes place at Meeks Park on Saturday, July 16 from 10AM to 5PM and on Sunday, July 17 from 10AM to 4PM.

The festival will showcase the work of more than 70 artists and craftsmen, working in mediums such as fabric art, decorative painting, photography, pottery, scrimshaw, jewelry, and woodturning.

There will also be live art demonstrations, as well as live music and plenty of good food. Admission and parking are free, and there’s a shuttle service from the parking lots to the festival site.

READ MORE: The 40 Best North Georgia Cabins to Rent

The Sound of Music - summer in Georgia

16. The Sound of Music

(Dahlonega GA, July 22-24, 28-31)

The 1958 Rodgers & Hammerstein classic The Sound of Music is making its way to the Historic Holly Theater in Dahlonega GA this July.

If by some chance you don’t know the Julie Andrews film (which was based on the Broadway musical), it takes place in Austria in the late 1930s.

The story follows the life of Maria, a nun who becomes the governess to a widowed Navy officer’s 7 children and brings music into their lives.

Personal and political issues arise (see: the rise of the Nazi Party in Europe), but the power of music and family ultimately triumphs above all. 

Including favorite songs like “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” and “Edelweiss,” this classic musical is sure to pull at your heartstrings.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Cabin Rentals in Dahlonega GA

Shimmy Rock Festival and Fundraiser - Georgia in the summer

17. Shimmy Rock Festival and Fundraiser

(Hiawassee GA, July 23)

Shimmy Rock is a festival and fundraiser whose proceeds will benefit REACH of Cherokee County and the Welcome Home Veterans Tribute.

The event will take place at Towns County High School in Hiawassee GA on July 23, from 10AM to 5PM.

The festival will feature food, vendors, and raffles as well as an evening of guest musical performers.

Local bands you can look forward to include The Rude Carpenters, Shimmy Mob, and Raw The Mountain Tops. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Hiawassee GA & Young Harris GA

Guided Tour at the Hardman Farm State Historic Site in Helen GA - activities to do in summer vacation
The Hardman Farm State Historic Site, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

18. Harvest Festival

(Sautee Nacoochee GA, July 23)

The annual Harvest Festival will take place on July 23 from 10AM to 3PM at the Hardman Farm State Historic Site. 

There will be an acre of pesticide-free corn that guests can harvest from while enjoying live music, old-fashioned games, antique tractor displays, and more.

There will even be some cute, cuddly farm animals to pet while you’re there!

Admission is just $6 per person (children 5 and under are free), and includes the farm-fresh corn.

READ MORE: The 25 Best Things to Do in Helen GA

Mountain Music & Moonshine Festival - North Georgia Music Festival

19. Mountain Music & Moonshine Festival

(Downtown Blairsville GA, July 29 – 31)

Starting on Friday, July 29, and running through Sunday, July 31, the Mountain Music and Moonshine Festival will be filled with live music, good food, and of course some tasty adult beverages!

Kicking off the weekend on the 29th, the Union County Historical Society will be hosting a concert in the old courthouse on the Blairsville Square. The Friday show will feature Mike Lane, and admission is completely free. 

The festival activities take place on Saturday and Sunday (rain or shine) from 10AM to 5PM. There will be music in and around the square, local vendors, moonshine history, ax throwing, and more.

Make sure to head to Grandaddy Mimm’s Distilling Co. on Saturday, July 30th at 5PM for the parking lot party.

You’ll get to enjoy performances by Heart of Pine, The Bone Daddy’s Band, Tommy Townsend, Rick Davenport, and headlining act Keith Anderson.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Breweries in Georgia

Yonah Mountain Vineyards - Georgia mountain attractions
Photo courtesy of Yonah Mountain Vineyards

20. Riedel Sensory Workshop and Tasting

(Cleveland GA, July 31)

Yonah Mountain Vineyards is a 200-acre family winery situated at the base of Yonah Mountain near Helen GA. They create world-class wines and host a variety of different events throughout the year.

This July they’re hosting a Riedel Sensory Workshop and Tasting, which is an especially unique type of wine tasting with a Riedel ambassador.

It provides the opportunity to do a comparison between the Performance Cabernet glasses and the new Veloce Cabernet glasses. 

With the cost of admission, you’ll get a 4-piece set of the newly released Riedel Veloce glasses, a Riedel Performance Cabernet glass, and of course some delicious Yonah Mountain Vineyards wine to drink!  -by Christina Maggitas

 

Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

Growing up in rural south Georgia, Christina Maggitas developed a love for nature at a young age and spent the majority of her formative years outdoors. Since first visiting the Great Smokey Mountains with her family as a child, she has always admired the beauty of the Blue Ridge region and spends as much time as she can hiking north Georgia. She has a passion for writing and storytelling with the hopes of inspiring others to enjoy the great outdoors. Currently, Christina is a senior at Kennesaw State University where she is studying Journalism and Emerging Media.