Did you know there are two state parks near Helen? Smithgall Woods State Park is my favorite! It is a luxurious, fully equipped haven in the woods. Creekside Cottage sits right on the water’s edge. When we stayed, the sound of the rushing stream eased our woes and brought a peaceful night’s rest.
Unicoi State Park is also in Helen, with traditional cottages, and lodge, and fun “barrel” cabins, so named because of the shape of the exterior. The barrel cabins were so much fun for the boys, and we enjoyed their charm and proximity to all the Helen activities.
Rooms at Hampton Inn Helen are spacious and clean; we adored the balcony from which we could hear the river. It’s within walking distance to a great number of attractions and eateries (even for the little legs that accompanied me.) The river was only steps from the back of the hotel, and we spent immeasurable time throwing pebbles and dipping our toes in the cool water. It’s definitely THE hotel to stay in when visiting Helen!
Looking for more about our travels to Helen? Check out more details here: 365atlantafamily.com/helen
I recommend beginning your adventure with Alpine Carriage Company. My boys loved riding the horse around the small town and feeding him a carrot afterward. It’s a wonderful way to get your bearings, if you’ve never visited before.
Stop by Charlemagne’s Kingdom to see a model railway. Alpine Mini Golf is a unique way to enjoy the sunshine, and you can finish your game at Scoop de Scoop Ice Cream Parlor, which is adjacent to the mini golf. Inside resembles an old-school soda shop, and outdoor seating is kid-friendly and fun for watching other golfers.
Did you know Sautee, neighbor to Helen, was named one the ‘100 Best Small Art Towns in America?” The Sautee Nacoochee Center includes a theatre, a history museum, dance and art studios, an art gallery, a folk art pottery museum, and an environmental educational resource center. The history museum was a win for my boys.
If you want to get some hiking in, try Dukes Creek Falls or Anna Ruby Falls. Anna Ruby is paved and short, good for strollers and young kiddos. Dukes Creek is less crowded and more rugged, but was still manageable by my young guys.
Here’s a secret…Old Sautee Market is my favorite lunch spot with the kids, and I stop every time we are in the area. Try the grilled cheese with farmer’s cheese, bacon, and tomato! The boys enjoy eating outside with the bubbles and space to run. Stop in the adjacent Old Sautee Store to look around, and be sure to ask the owner to play the antique music machine.
Stop by Hofer’s Bakery and Café for a great breakfast or lunch. Eat dinner near the water at Troll Tavern, or sample authentic German fare at Bodense.