By Alli Hill
Georgia’s picturesque scenery and abundance of outdoor activities make it a prime vacation destination for all ages. It doesn’t cost much to enjoy a few days in the great outdoors, especially when there are a multitude of state parks that offer just about everything you could ever want on-site. Once you experience the wonders of Georgia’s beautiful wilderness, you may say good-bye to pricey resorts for good.
Tucked inside the beautiful Chattahoochee National Forest lies Unicoi State Park, a scenic area just a stone’s throw from the alpine village of Helen. This park gives you the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere without sacrificing modern accommodations like Wi-Fi. The park itself is brimming with activities year-round, everything from hiking and biking trails and a lake for fishing to sports facilities and picnic shelters. There’s also an on-site restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so you may never need to leave the park until your vacation is over.
If you care to venture out of the state park, head to Bodensee for authentic German cuisine. This fine dining restaurant reflects the heart and soul of Bavarian-inspired Helen. They’re serving up lunch and dinner options so you can sate your appetite just about whenever you like.
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For a little more universal fare, head to Cafe International and enjoy dining with a waterfront view. This tasty eatery features fan favorites like the Reuben, French dips, and classic hamburgers. Locals and tourists alike love this place because of the homey vibe, view of the river, and good selection of international cuisine.
Train enthusiast or not, you can’t help but have fun at Charlemagne’s Kingdom. This scale model railroad exhibit mirrors the German countryside from the Alps to the sea. This work of art is about as unique as they come, and you’ll appreciate the fine details and craftsmanship put into this beautiful project.
Aside from its notoriety as a German-focused town, Helen is also known as a river tubing destination. During the warmer months, you can rent a tube from Cool River Tubing and cruise down the Chattahoochee (don’t worry, their bus will bring you back at the end of your trip!). They also feature a zip line, rock wall, and ropes course.
This little park is situated in the midst of downtown Helen and is open to the public to enjoy. Here you get the best views of the town, along with a playground, hiking trails, picnic areas, and a charming gazebo for picture perfect moments. It’s also within walking distance to shops and restaurants in Helen.