Barrow Patch checked out ExploreGeorgia.org for some last-minute suggestions for Labor Day weekend road trips. Ranging from an hour's drive to a 4-and-a-half-hour trek, take your family on a day trip adventure to one of these 10 places. All attractions are open Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3.
1. Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville, Ga. — About an hour's drive 50 miles from Barrow County
According to ExploreGeorgia.org, this is a great family destination for the adventure-set — at 729 feet, Amicalola Falls is the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. Plan to spend the day hiking the many trails, ranging from short journeys to an 8-mile approach trail that will lead you to Springer Mountain, the southern end of the Appalachian Trail.
2. Chestatee Wildlife Preserve in Dahlonega, Ga. — About an hour's drive roughly 50 miles from Barrow County
At the Chestatee Wildlife Preserve, visitors can observe more than 50 different species of exotic and domestic wildlife, including a rare White Siberian Tiger, chimpanzees, panthers and other animals. From there, visitors might want to check out Tallulah Gorge State Park, which features the famous 1,000-foot deep gorge, thundering waterfalls and a thrilling suspension bridge. After hiking the gorge, visit the Interpretive Center, which has wildlife exhibits and an entertaining film about the gorge and surrounding area.
3. Indian Springs in Flovilla, Ga. — Less than an hour-and-a-half drive about 65 miles from Barrow County
Thought to be the oldest state park in the nation, Indian Springs is, according to ExploreGeorgia.org, an experience you and your family won't want to miss. The springs in the park were used by Creek Indians for centuries to heal the sick and keep the well healthy. Today, visitors can still sample the spring water. Activities include swimming, fishing and boating, a museum and miniature golf.
4. Helen, Ga. — An hour-and-a-half drive about 60 miles from Barrow County
This Northeast Georgia village is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Chattahoochee River and, according to the Alpine Helen/White County Convention and Visitors Bureau website, has a rich history linked to the Cherokee Indians and Indian burial mounds as well as early settlers who arrived to mine for gold and cut virgin timber for a the lumber industry in the early 1900s. Helen is a re-creation of an alpine village complete with cobblestone alleys and old-world towers and offers shopping, camping, both rustic and luxury mountain cabins, restaurants, bed and breakfast inns, mountains, theater, recreation, scenery, family activities, waterfalls, museums, history, art, fishing, tubing, golf and more. The convention and visitors bureau has compiled a convenient list of events happening in or near Helen today through Monday.
5. Brasstown Bald near Blairsville, Ga. — A 2-hour drive about 85 miles from Barrow County
The highest point in Georgia at 4,784 feet, Brasstown Bald is famous for its views of fall foliage, but the 360-degree scenery attracts visitors from summer through fall. Hike a steep half mile from the parking lot to the top of the mountain, where there’s an observation deck and visitors center. Three other hiking trails — up to 6 miles long — cross the mountain. According to ExploreGeorgia.org, hikers should take a light jacket as even in the August heat the mountaintop can be breezy.
6. Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in Blue Ridge, Ga. — A 2-hour drive about 95 miles from Barrow County
For a great family day trip, according to ExploreGeorgia.org, travel to Blue Ridge and hop aboard the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway for a four-hour ride through history. This train ride takes visitors from Blue Ridge to Copperhill/McCaysville, where riders will stop for a layover, with enough time to eat lunch, shop or just enjoy the view before a return trip to Blue Ridge.
7. Banning Mills in Whitesburg, Ga. — A 2-hour drive about 100 miles from Barrow County
ExploreGeorgia.org calls Banning Mills is a natural adventure wonderland with a strong historical and cultural background. The Tree Flight Canopy tour features more than two miles of cable and wood bridges and zip lines, one of the longest and highest in the world. Visitors can enjoy horseback riding on historic trails and participate in a team challenge on the Low-High Ropes Course and GPS Challenge. Banning Mills also offers many food options, a spa and a Historic Country Inn.
8. Chickamauga National Battlefield in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. — A 2-and-a-half-hour drive about 140 miles from Barrow County
This park commemorates one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, where more than a quarter of the soldiers were killed, wounded or missing. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the 5,000-acre battlefield and hear an audio-tape retelling of the three-day conflict that claimed 34,000 Union and Confederate lives.
9. Providence Canyon in Lumpkin, Ga. — A little more than a 3-hour drive about 200 miles from Barrow County
Experience the breathtaking colors of Georgia’s Providence Canyon, also known as Little Grand Canyon, where the soil creates a natural painting at this unique park. Visitors can enjoys views of the canyon from the rim trail. In Lumpkin, visitors will also find Historic Westville, an outdoor living-history museum that depicts an 1850 west Georgia village.
10. General Coffee State Park in Nicholls, Ga. — A 4-and-a-half hour drive about 220 miles from Barrow County
For an educational family trip, ExploreGeorgia.org suggests visiting this Georgia gem, which is known for it agricultural history at Heritage Farm, featuring log cabins, a corn crib, a tobacco barn, a cane mill, barnyard animals and much more. Visitors can also see many rare and endangered plants and animals, including the indigo snake and gopher tortoise.
For even more places around Georgia to visit, check out www.ExploreGeorgia.org.
Has your family already made plans for the Labor Day weekend and Monday's holiday. Tell us what you're going to be doing in comments below.