time for a Daytrip

Take a short drive east on Hwy. 515 to explore Union County and Beyond

When you head east from Blue Ridge on Hwy. 515, you’ll discover a whole new world to explore! Whether you spend a few hours or a couple days, you’ll find great restaurants, cute shops, friendly people, fun festivals and an abundance of amazing natural attractions.

First Stop: Union County

If exploring the great outdoors is your thing, you’re headed to the right place. Blairsville-Union County is only 30 minutes away, but home to a variety of great attractions.

Reece Heritage Farm

This historic site explores the life of famed “farmer poet” Byron Herbert Reece with early-1900s buildings and exhibits that capture rural life in Appalachia. There’s a poetry walking trail, longer hiking trails, petting farm, pavilion, creek and gift shop/museum (reecefarm.org)

Vogel State Park

Georgia’s second state park was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Open year-round, the park features a CCC museum, as well as campsites, cottages, swimming lake, putt-putt golf and hiking trails. One easy trail will take you to Trahlyta Falls, which is a beautiful stepping-stone waterfall that cascades down 40 feet. Longer, more strenuous hiking trails also begin within the park and nearby. (gastateparks.org/vogel)

Helton Creek Falls

Tucked away in a rhododendron grove, this double waterfall is easy to get to. If it’s warm, bring your bathing suit for a shockingly cold dip at the upper falls, which drops about 60 feet into a small swimming area. A short hike allows you to explore the beauty of both the upper and lower falls of Helton Creek. Download the North Georgia Waterfall App (free for Android and iOS) and explore all of the area’s many waterfalls. (fs.usda.gov)

Walasi-Yi Center

Not ready to hike the famous Appalachian Trail? Visit the historic Walasi-Yi Center at Neel Gap, where you can root on the thru-hikers while you shop at the outfitters and explore the only place where the 2,192-mile-long trail passes through a man-made structure. (mountaincrossings.com)

Civilization, too

If shopping is more your style, historic downtown Blairsville offers a variety of unique shops and boutiques carrying one-of-a-kind finds and treasures (most stores are pet friendly!). And after a day full of adventure, you’ll be ready to sample all the great dining options — from good ol’ Southern cooking to exquisitely presented plates. Be sure to check out these other options, too:

Grandaddy Mimm’s Distilling Co. — Taste an authentic moonshine recipe born in the Georgia mountains, then take home a pint or two of your favorite flavor. Ask about tours, live music and other events while you’re there.

7M Family Farms — There’s nothing better than fresh, local produce, and it’s in-store year-round at this local farmstore. Plan to spend a little extra time to enjoy a meal at the always fresh farm-to-table restaurant on-site.

Melissa’s Salon & Spa — Call before you go for an appointment at this one-person-at-a-time salon & spa. You’ll enjoy impeccable, personal service since you’ll be the only client there! (386-559-1089)

Top of Georgia

Brasstown Bald — Rising 4,784 feet above sea level, Brasstown Bald is the highest peak in Georgia. On a clear day, you can see four states plus the Atlanta skyline. Explore the museum, watch a video, and learn about early Georgia history. You can take a shuttle to the top, or enjoy a short but strenuous hike on the paved Summit Trail. (gofindoutdoors.org/brasstown-bald)

Bell Mountain

This hidden gem looks out over scenic Lake Chatuge. While the drive up is steep and curvy, it’s all paved with parking at the top, so no hiking is required. A lookout deck with wooden stairs leads to elevated points of interest. (facebook.com/BellMtn)

Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds

Located along the shores of Lake Chatuge, the Fairgrounds plays host to several popular events, including the annual Georgia Mountain Fair (August) and the Georgia Mountain Fall Festival (October). Other events include world-class bluegrass, country, gospel and rock ‘n’ roll concerts; a Big Green Egg festival; a rodeo; a classic car show; a craft beer and barbecue festival; holiday lights; and more. There’s even on-site camping. (georgiamountainfairgrounds.com)

Cross the Border

WagonMaster Adventure Ranch

WagonMaster Adventure Ranch — Just across the border in Murphy, NC, lies this popular destination for family fun. There’s something for everyone here, including gem mining, gold panning, paintball, skeet & pistol shooting, mini golf, wagon rides, bounce house and more. You can rent a boat for a tour of Lake Apalachia and the waterfalls, or rent a cabin or RV site and spend the whole weekend. An event center is the perfect place for weddings and family reunions. (wagonmasterranchresort.com)

For detailed local area information including dining, lodging and events, stop by the Welcome Center at 129 Union County Recreation Road. Or visit us online at VisitBlairsvilleGa.com.