Best Things to Do in Helen, GA: Activities, Attractions + More

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Are you thinking about visiting Helen, GA sometime soon? No surprise, as it’s one of the most fun and friendly vacation destinations in the American South. If you’re looking for some recommendations for things to do in Helen, GA, keep reading; these are some of the very best!

The city of Helen is one of the best places to visit in Georgia, especially if you’re traveling with your family, a group of friends, or that special someone. Conveniently situated just an hour and a half from Atlanta, it’s a captivating place with a rich history, beautiful scenery, and tons of fun activities. There’s a lot to do and see in the shadow of the gorgeous North Georgia Mountains.

Notably, Helen is also home to a large number of prominent wineries and breweries. Indeed, you can experience the many tasty beverages of Helen during its annual Oktoberfest festivities. The whole town comes alive to rediscover its Bavarian roots. With such a warm atmosphere and no shortage of Helen, GA cabin rentals, it’s no wonder Helen is Georgia’s third most visited city.

Anna Ruby Falls, one of the most popular attractions in Helen, GA
Helen, Georgia offers a wealth of beautiful natural features, including stunning waterfalls, towering mountains, and lush woodlands.

Attractions in Helen, Georgia: 10 Fun Activities to Try

Helen is a unique and beautiful location where tourists can enjoy a small taste of German culture. With such a wide variety of activities and festivals, there’s no end to the fun you and your loved ones can have here.

To help you make the most out of your trip, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite things to do in Helen. Take it from me; checking out these activities and attractions is a surefire way to turn your visit into an unforgettable adventure.

1. Explore the Downtown

Helen is a relatively small town, comprising just two square miles. Nevertheless, it’s dense with hidden gems, especially in the downtown area. In Downtown Helen, you’ll discover a beautiful recreation of a genuine Bavarian village. Furthermore, there’s no shortage of locally owned shops, restaurants, and other small businesses.

Street view of Downtown Helen, Georgia
Downtown Helen is an attraction in and of itself with its distinctive and traditional Bavarian architecture.

There’s so much to see that just walking through the city is an experience all its own. The streets are lined up with traditional German architecture. At the same time, horse-drawn carriages wander the roads, making it feel like you’ve taken a trip back in time. All the while, you’ll be delighted by the tantalizing aromas of the fresh-baked German delicacies and desserts coming from almost every open door. It’s like taking a trip back in time.

People walking the pet-friendly streets of Helen, GA
With shops, restaurants, and other activities, there’s no shortage of fun stuff to do in Helen, Georgia.

Best of all, the downtown area is completely pet-friendly. No member of your family will feel excluded from the many fun Helen, GA activites. Not even the furry ones.

If you like the great outdoors, no visit to Helen is complete without a visit to the ever-popular Anna Ruby Falls. This stunning double waterfall situated in Unicoi State Park is one of the most renowned Helen, Georgia attractions. Luckily, it can easily be reached after a quick half-mile stroll from the Visitors Center. The paved path drifts through the forest and next to Curtis Creek, which is itself fed by the falls.

Anna Ruby Falls, a popular tourist attraction in Unicoi State Park
The rushing waters of Anna Ruby Falls are one of many sights to see while hiking in Helen. | Credit: Chanilim715

Elsewhere, Raven Cliff Falls offers yet more scenic beauty to take in. Situated just outside of Helen, the trek there is about 5 miles roundtrip. Throughout the journey, you’ll see colorful wildflower fields, splashing streams, and countless eye-popping landscapes under canopies of high tree branches.

A view of Mount Yonah as seen from Chambers Lake
The trail at Yonah Mountain is one of the best things to do in Helen, GA, for veteran hikers. | Credit: Tony Ciccarello

If you really want to push yourself, though, one of the best hiking trails can be found at Yonah Mountain. This 4.5-mile path is a real test of endurance, but the mountaintop views along the way and at the end are more than worth it. Just make sure you’re up to the challenge before you commit to this expert-level hike.

3. Treat yourself to some incredible regional cuisine

Foodies, take note. Helen boasts a variety of fine dining establishments where you can enjoy delicious regional cuisine, including traditional Bavarian dishes. First, though, for a taste of Southern hospitality, check out Cowboys & Angels. This eatery is renowned for its succulent hamburgers, juicy steaks, and friendly atmosphere.

An overhead view of the outdoor dining area at Troll Tavern, a popular Helen, Georgia attraction
Troll Tavern offers a perfect view of the Chattahoochee River, one of the best attractions in Helen, GA. | Credit: Michael Rivera

After that, head down to the Troll Tavern for a diverse selection of appetizers and entrees. Troll Tavern takes its name from its distinctive location, just below a bridge beside the beautiful Chattahoochee River. It’s a feast for your stomach and your eyes!

Of course, you can’t visit the Oktoberfest capital of Georgia without trying some authentic German food. In that case, a trip to Hofbräuhaus Restaurant is in order. This place has more than ten different German beers on tap, a complete menu of German specials, and covered picnic tables for a memorable open-air dining experience. Don’t forget to satisfy your sweet tooth with a visit to Hofer’s Bakery, which offers a wide selection of fresh-made German desserts.

Close-up of a bowl of Brunswick stew
Brunswick Stew is just one of the delicious delicacies tourists can taste at North Georgia Barbeque. | Credit: j_lai

Finally, finish up your gourmet vacation at the famous North Georgia Barbeque in nearby Cleveland. This roadside restaurant serves up the finest ribs and Brunswick stew in the area. The portions are really generous, so you can eat to your heart’s desire. It’s one of the best places to visit Helen, GA when you’ve got an appetite.

4. Enjoy a romantic couples’ spa treatment

In need of some serious rest and relaxation? Better yet, are you traveling with your significant other and hoping to enjoy a romantic retreat? What could be more sensual than treating yourselves to a couples spa treatment? Helen has several options for those looking to indulge.

Close-up of a masseuse's hands holding a bottle of oil
Experience a new level of bliss with the Bindi Oil Massage option at Naccoochee Crossing Wellness Center.

A good choice is the Nacoochee Crossing Wellness Center, which has a specially designed treatment area made to accommodate couples. You might choose from a range of medical spa treatments. The most popular choice is the Bindi Oil Massage. This massage makes use of flower extracts and aromatherapy to hydrate your skin, nourish aching muscles, improve blood flow, and unwind your nervous system.

Another good option is the Mandala Wellness Retreat and Spa, which offers two-person versions of all its treatments so that couples who want to unwind together can do so. You can select from an extensive menu of treatment choices, picking and choosing your own perfect spa experience.

A tourist experiencing a relaxing massage, one of the best things to do in Helen, Georgia
Of all the popular Helen, GA activities, getting a massage at one of its renowned spas is surely the most luxurious.

Finally, there’s the Mountain Laurel Creek Inn. Here, you can enjoy a range of unique treatments in the intimate Oasis Spa. The Relaxation Package for Two offers two hours of unmatched side-by-side pampering. If you’re wondering what to do in Helen, GA to help you regain peace of mind, here’s your answer.

5. Explore the beautiful and historic Hardman Farm

Situated just south of the town is one of the most revered historic attractions in Helen, GA. The Hardman Farm Historic Site includes some of the area’s most prominent and photographed features. It’s also home to a considerable legacy.

The sign for Hardman Farm Historic Site, one of many things to do in Helen, GA for history buffs
Since the 1870s, Harman Farm Historic Site has become one of the most beloved things to do near Helen, GA | Credit: Dsdugan

For example, the Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound has profound connections to the indigenous peoples of the region. It’s so profound, in fact, that it’s been entered into the National Register of Historic Places. While visitors do not have permission to stroll around on the sacred ground itself, it can still be photographed and enjoyed from a distance.

Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound, a sacred indigenous site near Helen, GA
Though visitors can’t tread close to Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound, they can take photos from afar. | Credit: mouse

Mind you, that’s not the only noteworthy attraction found at Hardman Farm. The site was originally founded by Captain James Nichols in the 1870s. The central farmhouse is an exquisite example of majestic Italianate architecture and has been inhabited by numerous famous families over the years. Admission to the farms comes with a full estate tour, including a walk through the 19th-century house, a visit to the dairy farm building, and more.

6. Ride off to the beautiful sunset on horseback

Have you ever wanted to gallop across Northern Georgia at full speed, feeling the cool air whistle through your hair? If so, good news. Sunburst Stables offer several different types of horseback riding adventures, even including a complimentary cabin stay in the rustic countryside.

Close-up of a horse's face
For those dreaming of riding a majestic horse like this, Sunburst Stables is a must-visit attraction in Helen, Georgia.

You can delight in the stunning lush landscape on a one-hour Moonshine Still Ride that carries you on a three-mile trip to a centuries-old moonshiner’s distillery preserved deep in the woods. Or, you might pick the Four-Hour Lunch Ride, which takes you across the forest and down into Batesville valley for lunch or dinner.

Last but not least, The Sunset Ride leads you on an epic three-hour journey to an elevated getaway where you can rest, relax, and enjoy marvelous views of the golden sunset before taking the ride back.

A group of tourists on a horseback riding trip near Helen, Georgia
Horseback riding is one of the best and most fun ways to explore the landscapes of Northern Georgia.

The land used by Sunset Stables comprises more than thirty miles of scenic mountain trails. Whether you opt to take it slow and steady or at high speed, either way you’ll have experienced one of the very best things to do in Helen, GA.

7. Have a ball at Alpine Helen Mini Golf Village

Are you looking for fun stuff to do in Helen, GA? Well, the Alpine Helen Mini Golf Village isn’t your typical golf experience. This excellent park includes an 18-hole golf course bordered by beautiful flower gardens. Even better, it features its own on-site ice cream shop, the Scoop De Scoop.

A stack of mini golf putters laying on the green
Not sure what to do in Helen, GA to keep the kids occupied? Pick up a putter and head to Alpine Helen Mini Golf.

In addition to tasty frozen treats and zany golf challenges, there’s a whole park worth exploring here. The gardens are gorgeous and well-maintained, with sprawling tree tops providing relaxing shade. Why not bring a picnic basket and make a day of it?

A green mini golf ball teetering on the edge of the hole
With fun activities, tasty ice cream, and affordable scenery, a trip to Alpine Helen Mini Golf Village is always a hole in one.

The best time to check out this exciting park is March through November, as the weather’s usually warm and pleasant. If you wish to visit in December, January, and February, then call ahead as operating times differ according to seasons. If the weather conditions aren’t too chilly, the park remains open until late evening.

8. Take a hot air balloon ride across the state

What better way to get a bird’s eye view of the Georgie landscape in all its majesty than by taking a hot air balloon trip? If wandering joyfully throughout the sky has been a dream of yours, you’ll finally get your chance to float among the clouds when you visit Helen, Georgia.

Tourists experiencing a hot air balloon ride, one of the most popular things to do in Helen, GA
Taking a hot air balloon ride is a great way to experience the scenery of Northern Georgia in a unique and memorable way.

Enjoy the expedition with your buddies, your significant other, or even on your own as you explore the world from an all-new angle. From the balloon, you’ll enjoy a one-of-a-kind view of such North Georgia landmarks as Lake Lanier, Stone Mountain, and the many impressive skyscrapers of the Atlanta skyline.

The shores of Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier is just one of the many beautiful attractions in Helen, Georgia to see during your balloon ride. | Credit: Thomson200

Additionally, keep your eyes open for Georgia’s indigenous wildlife, like deer dashing in the valleys or red-tail hawks soaring through the skies. This really is one of the best things to do in Helen, GA, if you’re an animal lover.

9. Board a traditional train at Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Looking for a great way to see a lot of Northern Georgia and have a unique experience at the same time? The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway has you covered. Offering a four-hour, 26-mile, round-trip journey, it’s a great way to unwind while taking in spectacular views.

A passenger locomotive in use by the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Of all the Helen, Georgia things to do on this list, riding the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is one of the coolest. | Credit: Thomas Hawk

Your journey starts in the small, charming mountain town of Blue Ridge, located in the Chattahoochee National Forest, not far from Helen. Before the trip begins, consider shopping around. Blue Ridge is called the “Antique Capital” of the world for good reason, after all.

Chattahoochee National Forest, a natural attraction in Helen, GA
The Bleu Ridge train ride provides some of the most beautiful views of Chattahoochee National Forest. | Credit: ChattOconeeNF

Once you board the train, your journey will bring you through the mountainous regions and bushy woodlands lining up the beautiful Toccoa River. Ultimately, your trip will take you over the Georgia border and into Copperhill, Tennessee, where you can dine and shop to your heart’s content. After a two-hour stopover, guests can re-board the same train to return home from one of the best things to do in Helen, GA.

10. Unleash Your Inner Child at Babyland General Hospital

For more than three decades, the Georgia mountains have been the home of BabyLand General Hospital and its rather unique residents. Don’t be fooled by its name though, this “hospital” is actually a sprawling museum dedicated to Xavier Roberts’ Cabbage Patch Kids!

The exterior of BabyLand General Hospital, one of the most well-known places to visit in Helen, GA
While unassuming at a glance, BabyLand General Hospital is one of the most unique places to visit in Helen, GA. | Credit: Michael Rivera

Located in nearby Cleveland, visiting this doll hospital is one of the most popular things to do near Helen, GA. Best of all, admission to the facility is entirely free. As you walk through BabyLand’s kid-friendly collection, you will discover Mother Cabbage sitting beside the Magic Crystal Tree with her countless Cabbage Patch Kids, beckoning you to find your perfect match.

The original Cabbage Patch Kid doll, on display at BabyLand, a notable attraction in Helen, GA
The first-ever Cabbage Patch Kid is just one of many attractions in Helen, GA on display at BabyLand. | Credit: Richard Elzey

Yes, that’s right. You can “adopt” your own Cabbage Patch kid here! Whether you have your own crop of little ones or you’re looking to relive some nostalgic memories, there’s plenty of love about this one-of-a-kind attraction.

Find More Attractions in Helen, GA + Other Southern States

From horseback riding and hot air balloons to mini golf and a Cabbage Patch Kids hospital, there are a lot of fun and unusual things to do and places to visit in Helen, Georgia. But the Peach State isn’t the only destination in the south worth exploring.

If you’re interested in discovering more attractions in Georgia and beyond, make sure to browse some of my other travel guides. You’re sure to find something you absolutely love.

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