Located only two hours north of Atlanta is your mountaintop retreat for a perfect weekend reset. Situated in the center of Dawsonville, Ellijay, and Dahlonega is Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge. Whether you can get away only for a day or for a full weekend, you’ll find refreshing, fun, and relaxing options for all ages, and even for those with limited mobility.
Feel the freedom to simply breathe, as you settle in to a beautiful room at the recently renovated Amicalola Falls Lodge, situated just a short walk from the top of tallest waterfall in the Southeast—Amicalola Falls—the spectacular natural attraction after which the park and lodge are named. And if your room faces the valley side of the lodge (highly recommended by my wife and me), the view from your mountaintop vantage point is that of the serene Chattahoochee National Forest. But breathtaking scenery and breathe-easy peacefulness are not the only experiences afforded guests of the lodge.
For dining, The Maple Restaurant at the lodge, which has its own spectacular views, offers a wide array of American and Southern-style food choices, at different price points, from their a la carte menu or their buffets. Whatever you choose, you will find large portions and high quality taste. The chef and team work to make sure everyone has options they can enjoy, as they seek to accommodate all dietary restrictions, and to the best of their ability, allergies as well (which, in our experience, was very accommodating). All of this is handled with extremely personable service (and I’m talking Disney-level service!), making every dining experience feel that much more special.
Now, for those who have had the chance to unwind, have satisfied their appetites, and are ready for a little something more, you are in the right place. The park offers opportunities, at all levels of physical activity, for adventure amid the beauty of nature, and the surrounding areas offer charming small towns to explore and enjoy.
At Amicalola Falls State Park, you can fly high in an aerial adventure park, featuring sixteen zip lines, or take on the challenges of 3-D archery, a GPS scavenger hunt, or even tomahawk throwing! The park also offers a wilderness survival camp and animal meet-and-greets. Of course, you can also do our personal favorite: take a hike (guided or on your own) up the trail leading to the renowned waterfall.
Leaving the park’s miles of trails, campsites, cabins, and lodge behind, you are just a few minutes away from the start of the Appalachian Trail, from Burt’s Pumpkin Farm, and from the nearby towns of Dawsonville, Ellijay, and Dahlonega. For those who don’t fancy themselves the outdoor adventure type, Dahlonega, especially, is a beautiful town full of rich history where you you’ll discover lots of small shops, restaurants, and other unique finds. Visit a few local historical landmarks, shop for antiques, and indulge in some specialty chocolates or fudge. Also the home of University of North Georgia, this small town is always full of life.
No matter what helps hit your reset button, let the beauty, relaxation, and adventure found in the North Georgia Mountains offer you a break from the craziness of life and create space to simply breathe.
Tomahawk Throwing Challenge:
Amicalola State Park’s newest adventure activity is a ton of fun. While tomahawk throwing is far from new, it has recently seen a resurgence in popularity. In what is most easily compared to an archery range, you are taught the basics of technique and safety and are given an hour with an instructor to see which of you and your friends can rack up the most points by throwing tomahawks at a wooden target. In our experience, an hour was the perfect amount of time. This activity isn’t based on strength or prior skill, which makes it great for both guys and girls of all ages (eight & up). So, get out there and give it a shot—or rather, a throw!
Originally Published in the September/October 2019 issue –