Looking for fun things to do in Helen GA this weekend? You’ve come to the right place!
Helen is a small town located in the Smoky Mountains of Northeast Georgia. This city has its vintage charm and an old-fashioned aura.
The town will captivate you in grandeur with its enchanting Bavarian architecture.
You’d fall for Helen the moment you park your car and are on the rustic streets. With everything on the platter, the city will bestow romance in the most beautiful aesthetics, adventures on rocky mountains and waterfalls, family fun on the mountain coaster, and beauty everywhere you go!
I fell in love with this city because it was unique and very different from the commercial world. Following German architecture, Helen is a fairytale town with vibrant colors and sweet people. It’s warm, cozy, and full of surprises.
This alpine village was founded in 1912 and is an hour and a half away from Atlanta. According to the 2010 census, only 500+ people live there. It’s an ideal place to spend your days enjoying German gastronomy, getting intoxicated with beers, and chewing on soft pretzels while you sit back and enjoy the sun.
Helen, Georgia ticks off all your boxes for an ideal vacation. Nature soothes your senses of relaxation while sports elevate up your adventurous side.
The cafes are straight out of a rom-com movie; enjoy late-night long walks while you smell pastries. Feel the excitement of a child every time you go tubing or hiking in the beautiful mountains. Lastly, feel the shivers when you step into the calm rivers and crystal waterfalls.
Here’s my list of the top things to do in Helen, Georgia, to completely experience the city.
While in Helen don’t miss out on activities that will help immerse yourself with the city (hurry while they’re hot!):
Visiting other destinations in Georgia? Check out our other delicious guides:
- 9 Must-Try Restaurants In Cartersville, Georgia
- 6 Must-Try Restaurants in Helen, GA
- Best Bainbridge GA Restaurants
- 16 Amazing Things To Do In Georgia USA
- 12 Top Things To Do In Helen GA
- Cool River Tubing—Chattahoochee River
- Helen Tubing and Waterpark
- Georgia Mountain Coaster
- Hardman Farm Historic Site
- Unicoi Lodge
- Anna Ruby Falls
- Dukes Creek Falls Trail
- Habersham Winery
- Balloon Race and Festival—Helen to Atlantic
- Nacoochee Village Antique Mall
- Helen Oktoberfest
- Smithgall Woods State Park
- In A Nutshell
12 Top Things To Do In Helen GA
590 Edelweissstrasse // +17068782665
I visited the Chattahoochee River on a sunny day for a morning walk, but came across a very festive event, called Cool River Tubing. The people cheered on floating tubes throughout the length of the river and filled the day with energy and enthusiasm. I knew this was something I wanted to experience.
Without further ado, I hopped on the bottomless tube with my paddle and floated across. The Chattahoochee River offers a fearsome stream with excellent water flow and bumpy curves.
Imagine how calming it would be to tube along the waves of the Cool River, under the open sky, with the panoramic view of the lovely Alpine Villages. I experienced slight rain on my hour-long journey; it was fun and soothing!
Cool River Tubing offers three outposts to choose from, the Chattahoochee Outpost, Headwater, and Mainstreet Booth, and is truly one of the most fun things to do in Helen!
Chattahoochee is the heart of a relaxing getaway for families and friends. It is located in Southern Appalachia and is a significant spot in Georgia’s wine country.
The Chattahoochee River runs for 48 miles. Atlanta grew around it in the preceding decades, leaving a chain of historic areas along the river’s scenic banks.
Visitors can walk the trails, sit by the river, and explore the vintage mill sights.
The Chattahoochee River is famous for fishing a divergent species of trout.
222 Edelweissstrasse // +17068781788
Fun slides, splash pads, swimming pools, and water roller coasters all scream Waterpark day out!
Helen’s Tubing and Waterpark, located in Edelweiss Strasse, has tall and speedy rides for children and adults, promised to pump up that adrenaline with a water rush and never-ending fun.
If lazy river floating is for you, go tubing for two hours with your music. Connect tubes with your friends for fun. Play games while creating memories in the middle of the Chattahoochee River. It’s a beautiful space to contemplate the many stories this place can share.
Water recreation never stops at the Helen Waterpark; it’s open until dusk. No matter how many hours you spend there, it will always be not enough.
Grab your friends and family for a tube caravan down the Chattahoochee River, and treat yourself with excitement and thrill with unique rides at the waterpark.
8409 S. Main St. // +17068781347
The Georgia Mountain Coaster is located in downtown Helen, GA.
The wind on the mountains feels exhilarating on the face; it’s serene and exciting at the same time.
The Georgia Mountain Coaster is a perfectly thrilling ride amid nature. Less dangerous than Jurassic Park, but indeed more relaxing and fun than that.
Take a memorable ride in the enchanting mountains and forests, backed by hundred-year-old ruins. Unlike any other ride, this rollercoaster lets you control and set your speed. With high-quality gears and maximized protection, it is safe for both kids and adults.
Drop the brake and feel the rush of crisp mountain air as you reach speeds above 25 mph with a trip or two down the Georgia Mountain Coaster.
Enjoy the lush green views and enticing landscapes of valleys. Lucky for me, their services offer rides until 9 PM (Saturdays). Helen looked beautiful riding down the coaster at sunset. The colorful city was painted in orange and violets.
143 GA-17 // +17068781077
Established in 1870 by Civil War Colonel James Nicholas, the Hardman House was originally called the “West End.”
The grand Italianate farmhouse is the centerpiece of this historic site. Up close, you can observe the beautiful architectural details engraved inside and out of the mansion. It’s pretty rare to witness such magnificence in a locality like that.
While peacefully touring the farm, I came across many revelations and pieces of Native American History—the Nacoochee gazebo topped Indian Mound and the 1870 Italianate mansion built for Milledgeville’s Colonel James Nichols.
Witness the 19th-century artifacts, including telephones, original lighting, furniture, Anna Ruby’s bedroom, Nachoochee dairy, and old barns. Explore the 173 acres of historic space on the vintage carriage and learn about the Indian lovers buried beneath the mound; relive and celebrate love!
1788 GA-356 // +17068782201
In the perfectly textured mountains of North Georgia, located two miles from Alpine Helen, lies the Unicoi Lodge.
Unicoi Lodge is a paradise found for all mountain lovers. So when I heard about it, I didn’t waste a second to visit the destination. The truth is, I love living the freedom nature brings, whether it’s swimming without boundaries, hanging in the vast sky on ziplines, balancing on paddleboards, or simply taking in nature and its positivity.
Centered around Lake Unicoi, this lodge offers various water recreation and mountain activities, including ziplines, archery, fishing, paddleboarding, scavenger hunt, and kayaking.
The park also extends exceptional hiking trails right from Anna Ruby Falls to Helen and Smith Creek. There are several other ventures to explore in this rustic vacation home.
Unicoi Lodge is an all-in-one powerhouse of serendipity and sports—giving you a perfect excuse to detach from work and be in touch with nature. Be it a romantic getaway, a family reunion, a cozy wedding, or a corporate destress event; it’s got you covered.
Anna Ruby Falls was exceptionally glorious in autumn, with golden-yellow leaves surrounding its aura. Located in White County, the destination is only ten minutes away from Helen. It’s a popular hiking destination for nature lovers.
Anna Ruby Falls lies in the arms of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Chattahoochee forest.
Colonel Nichols discovered Anna Ruby Falls on horseback shortly after losing his wife and child. He then purchased much of the land and named it after his daughter, Anna Ruby.
Composed of Curtis and York Creek, the fall later merges to become Smith Creek. It is paved to the platform showcasing the twin waterfalls gloriously. It’s a perfect family hike and couple excursion.
When I visited Anna Ruby Falls, the walk was breezy and minimal. I think I hiked for thirty minutes and finally met the grand Anna Ruby Falls panorama. It looked majestic from the wooden bridge.
This heavenly journey into the crystal clear waterfalls was all I needed to clear my stressed mind.
The trail goes down on a shallow path amidst the forest. The two miles journey will take you through the woods under the canopy of sun-filtered trees and lead to many gushing waterfalls that collide together.
A short detour around Davis Creek can land you by the stream of gleaming water. If the flow is not harsh, I highly suggest dipping your tips in the water.
Near the end, there’s a big wooden stairway to get closer to the waterfalls; the natural sound and the visuals will make you feel more lively and youthful.
The hike also allows you to catch a glimpse of Yonah Mountain’s uniquely shaped summit. It’s a perfect trail for families, couples, and dog lovers.
7025 S. Main St. // +17068789463
Fancy a romantic date at the classy Habersham Winery. The vineyard has earned several credits and awards for its fine Georgia wines since 1983.
Habersham Winery is located on Main Street, Helen. Their warm setting feels like a home, and classic wine gives away happy intoxication. Buy and taste one of the finest aged wines and bring cute souvenirs from Habersham. Also, do not worry if you’re not a wine person; they have beer too!
Wine tasting is intimately elegant, and this place in Habersham is precisely the place to end a romantic evening.
Want to be among the clouds? Imagine being on a dreamy balloon beside your beloved amid clear blue skies, looking into each other’s eyes. Now, that’s what I call the perfect definition of a fairytale date.
The Balloon Race festival allows you to live vicariously. While you may not participate in the race given its invitation-only policy, there are multiple opportunities for the local public.
The event follows a race between twenty bright-colored hot air balloons, starting from Helen to the finish line near Maine or Miami. The event continues for three to four days.
If you are an experienced flyer, you may be enlisted in the crew members for the race. If not, the event still hosts balloon rides for the locals in the following days.
Helen was beautiful from above the sky—witness the tall mountains, valleys, forest, greenery at 360 degrees, waterfalls, and the Bavarian city at its best.
7091 S. Main St. // +17068784069
Antiques have an aesthetic history attached to them, and the ones at Nacoochee Village Antique Mall will have you in awe. It is displayed in the 1876 Martin House with treasures of Helen’s sacred past.
Decorate your house with delicate pieces sourced globally. This unique antique wall will lend you great heirlooms, take-home souvenirs, and gifts for your loved ones. Carry a piece of Helen with you when you go back.
The destination is located in Nacoochee Village and is a sweet surrender. Visit the Nacoochee village and the antique mall in winter; the location is magnificent with snow, fairy lights, jingles, and Christmas vibes.
1074 Edelweiss Strasse // +17068781908
One of the best things to do in Helen in October is attending the biggest Volksfest, the Oktoberfest. The event continues in rain or shine, so be prepared! It’s a lively festival where you dance and drink away.
I wouldn’t miss an occasion to dress up in Bavarian-themed dresses and eat soft pretzels for two weeks. The best part, though, was playing the weirdest games and bringing in all the craziness. I had so much fun playing Keg Rolling, Hot Potato, the German Spelling Bee, and Pretzel Eating.
Don’t forget to participate in the Best Dressed and Stein Holding competitions; that’s where you win souvenirs. Lastly, let loose when the DJ hits under the open skies, and dance your heart out to Helen, Georgia’s music.
The festival is attended by six million people from all over the world, during late September and early October.
Oktoberfest symbolizes blue and white colors to signify the true spirit of the festival and the Bavarian flag—harmony, and peace. It’s termed as the celebration and welcoming of autumn.
You must be 21+ to attend the German-style beer event and competitions; carry your valid ID card at the entrance. If you couldn’t snag an advanced ticket, don’t worry. There are plenty of $8 General Admission tickets available until they hit capacity.
61 Tsalaki Trail // +17068783087
Smithgall Woods State Park is a stunning mountain retreat with six small ornamented countryside cottages, Dukes Creek, vintage wooden bridges, and forest trails.
Visit Smith Woods State Park between October and May; it’s one of the golden seasons to fish, explore, and dive in the natural surroundings. Catch and release trout in the streams of Dukes Creek Watershed, located close to the park.
While hiking, I came across multiple bird species, bears, deer, and surprisingly, also turkeys. The bridges and paved path above Dukes Creek are perfect for hiking and bicycling in the hardwoods & rocky scenic streams.
Smithgall Woods and Parks is a paradise garden amid the ruins and wilderness. This 5,644 acres of green space offers romantic outings for couples, wedding ceremonies, picnics, and family get-togethers.
In A Nutshell
Spend your days chasing the Anna Ruby and Raven Cliff waterfalls or hike to the most alluring scenic beauties by the Dukes Creek.
Wander in the Yonah mountain where the time goes slowly, and the breath is mellow. Enjoy walking around in vineyards after an adventurous experience of river rafting and tubing.
In the city of lights and colors, it’s almost impossible not to explore the nightlife. Take a picnic down the Smithgall Woods State Park, or wander downtown e at Christmas. Helen, around night, is lit, especially when parties are your calling, fests are your happy place, and late-night walks are your afterparty.
With so many things to do in Helen, you could be whatever you want to be; a wanderer, classy wine taster, party pal, or a dauntless adventurer. Helen, Georgia could be your fancy town out of a fairytale.