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Your Perfect Weekend Getaway Guide to Helen, Georgia

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a surprising find — a Bavarian Village with rows of timber-frame and Swiss chalet-style shops, hotels, and cabins perfect for a weekend getaway and a taste of Germany. Here’s my guide to your perfect weekend in Helen, Georgia.

I love going out and exploring the small towns in the North Georgia Mountains. Once you’ve discovered the small alpine town of Helen, you’ll never want to leave!

If you’re planning a weekend escape to Helen, this post will tell you everything you need to know about best things to do, where to eat, and where to stay.

Helen, Georgia in Fall

Things to Do on a Weekend in Helen

Fill your weekend itinerary with all these amazing things to do in Helen, Georgia. From filling up on German food to wine tastings to shopping, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

1. Pretend Like You’re in Germany

Helen, Georgia

A declining gold mine and logging town in the mid-20th century, Helen reinvented itself in 1969 as Alpine Helen, a Bavarian-inspired town, and is now the third-most visited city in Georgia.

John Kollock dreamed up the town’s Bavarian design. He saw similarities between this tiny town situated in the Appalachians and the villages set against the Alps. Helen’s sister city Füssen, Bavaria is the gateway to my favorite castle, Neuschwanstein Castle, which is featured in murals throughout Helen.

The creators of Alpine Helen achieved what they set out to do, and did it well. All the buildings adhere to Bavarian design. There are plenty of German restaurants everywhere. And in the fall, Helen hosts a huge Oktoberfest festival.

2. Go Shopping in Downtown Helen

Helen, Georgia

Helen has around 200 shops, so you can spend a whole weekend just shopping around.

Here are a few shops you won’t want to miss:

  • Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen — fudge, brittle, and other delicious sweet treats.
  • The Glassblowing Shop — unique hand-blown glass gifts and art.
  • Bavarian Clockworks — the largest display of authentic Black Forest Cuckoo clocks in North America, handcrafted German cuckoo clocks, and authentic German beer steins.
  • Betty’s Country Store — fresh produce, deli items, beer, wine, and fresh meat.
  • Christmas Shoppe — local artisan ornaments, German- and European-made ornaments, nutcrackers, snow globes, and other Christmas decorations.

3. Celebrate Oktoberfest

Helen, Georgia

September through November are the high-times for Alpine Helen since this three month period spans their annual Oktoberfest. So if you’re in town during this season, Oktoberfest is a must for your weekend in Helen!

Helen Oktoberfest is the longest running Oktoberfest in the U.S.

There is a parade, the tapping of the first keg, a line up of bands and live performances, German foods, and plenty of German and American beer.

4. Hike to Anna Ruby Falls

Anna Ruby Falls, Helen, Georgia

Anna Ruby Falls is a gorgeous twin waterfall that’s super popular to visit.

It’s just a short 0.9 mile out-and-back hike along a paved trail. The tallest of the two waterfalls is 153 feet. The smaller waterfall is 50 feet.

There are two viewing platforms where you can sit and enjoy the waterfalls. This is a really great family-friendly hike.

5. Visit Unicoi State Park

Unicoi State Park, Helen, Georgia

Unicoi State Park is known as “Georgia’s Adventure Lodge”. There’s a ton to do at this beautiful Georgia State Park.

There is a 53 acre lake where you can paddleboard, kayak, and fly fish.

They have archery, a gun range, a GPS scavenger hunt, mountain biking, ziplining, and 12 miles of hiking trails.

The Unicoi Lodge is at the center of the park with two on-site restaurants and 96 hotel rooms. If you’re looking for a really unique place to stay for your weekend in Helen, this is a great choice!

6. Go Tubing

Tubing on the Chattahoochee River is a huge summer tradition in Georgia. You can float down the river in Helen on a fun tubing adventure.

Shooting the Hooch is the ultimate weekend activity during the summer in Helen!

Companies like Cool River Tubing and Helen Water Park & Tubing will shuttle you to and from the river as well as provide tubes and life vests, so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

7. Do a Wine Tasting

Habersham Winery & Vineyards, Helen, Georgia

North Georgia is wine country, so you’re never very far from an award-winning winery. When you stay in Helen, you’re in the perfect spot to get to some of the best wineries in North Georgia.

Here are some Helen wineries you won’t want to miss:

  • Habersham Winery & Vineyards — This is one of Georgia’s oldest and largest wineries and is probably one of Helen’s best known. They’ve been making award-winning wines since 1983. The winery is open daily for wine tastings. They also have a gift shop full of fun wine gifts, gourmet foods, imported cheeses, and more.
  • Creekstone Winery — This is part of the Habersham Winery Family; they’re giving their popular Creekstone label its own winery just 3 minutes from Habersham. The new winery occupies a gorgeous French-style mansion situated on a mountaintop.
  • Yonah Mountain Vineyards — Located in the nearby town of Cleveland, this bear-themed winery offers wine tastings, wine cave tours, and live music.

Where to Eat in Helen

You can find plenty of great restaurants in Helen, especially German fare. Whether you’re looking for a quick breakfast, a fueling lunch, or a leisurely dinner, there’s something for everyone. Check out these top places to eat on your weekend in Helen.

1. The Heidelberg

The Heidelberg is a three-floor German restaurant, pub, and music hall. On the menu, you’ll find classic German fare like schnitzel and goulash.

They host live entertainment and events on their top floor.

2. The Troll Tavern

The Troll Tavern is a riverfront pub that serves both American and German cuisine. To access the restaurant, you’ll have to go downstairs under the bridge, like a good troll would.

They have patio seating, bar seating, and a large indoor dining room.

3. Bigg Daddys Restaurant & Tavern

Bigg Daddys Restaurant and Tavern is an upbeat bar and grill serves classic American fare. You can watch the game on the TV and listen to live music on weekends.

They have a nice big patio where you can sit and enjoy the fresh mountain air while you dine.

Where to Stay for a Weekend in Helen

Bedroom with bear decor in a cabin in Helen, Georgia

Helen has every type of stay for your weekend, from campsites to bed & breakfasts to traditional hotels. Renting a cabin is definitely the most popular way to stay.

We rented a cabin in the Innsbruck community, a mile up the twists and turns of the mountain, past a golf course, the Valhalla Resort, and many other beautiful cabins.

We actually saw a family of black bears roaming a small clearing outside the kitchen window, proving that this was my perfect cabin!

Where to Stay in Helen

Find the perfect place to rest your head on your visit to Helen, from the top rated accommodations to unique stays you can’t get anywhere else.

Weekend in Helen Map

Ready to spend your weekend exploring all that Helen has to offer? Use the map below to help plan out your trip!

I hope you enjoy your weekend in Helen, Georgia discovering what makes this small North Georgia town such a unique getaway!

Weekend in Helen FAQ

What is the German town in Georgia?

Helen is the town in Georgia that is made to look like an Alpine German village.

Where is Helen, Georgia?

Helen is located in the mountains of North Georgia.

How far is Helen GA from Ellijay?

It is about a 1.5 hour drive from Ellijay to Helen (about 64.4 miles).

How far is Helen Georgia from Savannah Georgia?

It’s about a 5 hour 20 minute drive from Savannah to Helen (about 286.7 miles).

What is the best month to visit Helen Georgia?

The best time to visit Helen is in the fall (September, October, and November) when you can enjoy Oktoberfest and the changing fall colors.

Is it worth it to go to Helen GA?

Helen is absolutely worth a visit! There is plenty of shopping, hiking and outdoor adventures, special events, and wineries to experience in and around Helen.

How many days do you need to see Helen Georgia?

2-3 days in Helen is enough for most people. Many people are happy with spending a weekend in Helen, enjoying the North Georgia mountain air.

More Things to Do in Helen, Georgia

Looking for more to do in and around Helen, Georgia? Check out these great itineraries and travel tips:

Ready to visit Helen, Georgia? Plan your trip with these tips.



Cabin Getaway Weekend in Helen, Georgia

Have you had a cabin getaway weekend in Helen, Georgia? Tell me in the comments!

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  1. Hey! I found you blog on GLT 🙂 This sounds like such a cool town to visit! I can understand why it would be the third most visited city! Great writing! 🙂

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