12 Budget-Friendly Attractions in Helen, Georgia

Chattahoochee River flowing behind Nora Mill-lr

Chattahoochee River flowing behind Nora Mill [Photo Credit: Alpine Helen-White County CVB]

No matter the age, everyone is a kid at heart when it comes to Helen, White County and the Sautee and Nacoochee areas in North Georgia, about 90 minutes north of Atlanta. And fun here is affordable for any budget.

  1. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Helen’s downtown.
  2. Seek out the perfect souvenirs and gifts in the hustle and bustle of Helen’s shopping street while German music adds oom pah pah from outdoor speakers.
  3. Pastries at Hofers German Bakery in downtown Helen

    Pastries at Hofers German Bakery in downtown Helen [Photo Credit: Alpine Helen-White County CVB]

    Pick up sweet treats at the authentic German bakery or candy shop.
  4. Tour the world’s largest Alpine model railroad museum at Charlemagne’s Kingdom.
  5. Watch glass blowing at The Glassblowing Shop.
  6. Paint your own “green theme” child-safe toy at Elfmade Toys.
  7. Follow a round of adventure golf with a scoop or two of ice cream at an old-fashioned parlor.
  8. Continue family time during your mountain getaway in the foothills of the Appalachians by teaching kids about the great outdoors at Unicoi State Park with seasonal programs.
  9. Smithgall Woods State Park  [Photo Credit: 365 Atlanta Family]

    Smithgall Woods State Park
    [Photo Credit: 365 Atlanta Family]

    At Smithgall Woods Conservation Area, where there are more than 5,500 acres of land, learning is fun for the whole family with special events like Kids Day at the Park and Junior Ranger Camp.
  10. Another can’t-miss bonding opportunity? Children and their “big person” can fish in a stocked lake during Youth Fishing Days at Buck Shoals.
  11. Make your way to BabyLand General Hospital and be there when a baby arrives at this Southern-style mansion in Cleveland that sits majestically on a 100-acre spread in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains. Be sure to check the calendar for a full list of their spectacular seasonal events.
  12. Following a day of kid-friendly fun, share a meal and memories at multi-generation-pleasing Mully’s Nacoochee Grill, Nacoochee Village Tavern & Pizzeria, Old Bavarian Inn Restaurant or Unicoi Restaurant.

When you are ready to hit the hay, Helen has hotels with swimming pools and lodge rooms at Unicoi State Park.

Learn more about Helen, Georgia here.

katieMom-on-the-go and Laurie Rowe Communications PR pro Katie Reeder graduated at the top of her class from the Calhoun Honors College at Clemson University with a degree in Communication Studies. Katie resides in Cumming, Georgia – between the beautiful mountains of North Georgia and the lights and action of nearby Atlanta.

6 Picks for Oakland Cemetery’s Vintage Street Fest

On Sunday, Oct. 5, Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery turns back the clock to the Victorian era at the 35th annual Sunday In the Park festival. From noon to 6 p.m., the city’s oldest cemetery will be bustling with music, dancing and more, all with Victorian flair!

VarsityOf course, no festival is complete without delicious fare, and Sunday In the Park will feature food trucks to suit every fancy. Atlanta establishments like The Varsity and Six Feet Under will be dishing up classics alongside newcomers Pallookaville, Mighty Meatballs and W.O.W! After a hearty meal, cool down with a unique frozen treat from Al A Carte Frozen Bananas.

More than 10 bands will perform throughout the day, alongside storytellers, dancers and street performers. Here’s our roundup of the must-do activities during this one-of-a-kind Sunday funday:

Peek inside Oakland’s mausoleums

Only at Sunday In the Park are Oakland Cemetery’s intricate mausoleums unsealed and opened to the public. Visit the vaults and marvel at the craftsmanship that went into creating the final resting place for some of Atlanta’s sons and daughters.

Make a toast at the Teddy Bear Tea

Gather the kiddos for storytelling and a spot of tea with Miss Sara Dipp-A-Tea. The Teddy Bear Tea is a Sunday In the Park tradition not to be missed!

costumesHave an excuse to wear petticoats

Channel your inner Southern belle or bust out your steampunk threads and get in on the fun during the Victorian costume contest at Lion Square. All iterations of Victorian garb are welcome!

 

 

Tour like a Victorian

It’s not every day that you can visit a Victorian cemetery from atop a carriage. Get a one-of-a-kind view of Oakland’s historic grounds on a horse-drawn carriage ride that evokes days gone by.

SIP Kids Area_SIPShow off your skills

Professional and amateur shutterbugs alike can show their best shots at this exhibition. Top spots in the color and black-and-white categories win $100 gift cards to Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Give the gift of green

Oakland’s plant sale will have heirloom roses, garden mums, Don Shadow’s Rose of Sharon and many more specimens ready to take home. And for those of you with two brown thumbs, remember that plants are always a lovely gift!

All Sunday In the Park proceeds benefit the Historic Oakland Foundation, which maintains Oakland Cemetery in partnership with the City of Atlanta. For more details, visit www.oaklandcemetery.com.

Georgia Fall Bucket List

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  1. Admire the fall foliage at Georgia State Parks: A blanket of red, orange and yellow covers Georgia each fall and there is no better place to take it all than at a Georgia State Park. Check out the Top 15 Georgia State Parks for Peak Color and plan your autumn visit. Don’t forget to keep an eye on Georgia State Park’s Leaf Watch to make sure you visit when fall color is at its peak.
  2. Cheer on your favorite football team: ‘Tis the season for tailgating! Whether you’re a Bulldog, Yellow Jacket, Falcon or an Eagle – fall is the perfect time to sport your team colors and cheer on your favorite team!
  3. Find the perfect pumpkin at a Georgia patch: Pile the whole family in the car for a pumpkin pickin’ adventure! Georgia is full of fantastic farms that produce some of the prettiest pumpkins you’ve ever seen. Click here to find a pumpkin patch near you.
  4. Get lost in a corn maze: Combine #3 & #4 for the best fall day ever! There are top-notch corn mazes all across the state each bearing a unique design. Click here to find your way to amazing family fun.
  5. Rent a cabin for the weekend: Take advantage of the cooler temperatures by cuddling up in a cabin with the ones you love! Trust us, a cozy cabin will be exactly what you need after a day full of leaf peeping, corn mazin’, and pumpkin picking! Search Georgia’s cabin rentals here.
  6. Scare up some fun at a haunted house: Be prepared to face your fears at one of Georgia’s famous haunted houses. Georgia is home to such famous haunted houses as Netherworld & Haunted Cavern. Learn more about Georgia’s haunted houses here.
  7. Pick apples in northwest Georgia: Autumn is apple season in Georgia and several Georgia farms offer U-Pick apples during the fall season! Pick a bushel full of apples and impress your friends with fresh apple pie, apple cider, apple cobbler (we could go on). Click here to learn more about apple picking in Georgia.

13 Budget-Friendly Things to do in Augusta, Georgia

Riverwalk

Georgia’s second oldest and second largest city, Augusta, has been welcoming guests with Southern hospitality for decades and continues to with its charm and easily accessible location along Interstate 20, 150 miles southeast of Atlanta. Steeped in history, culture, art, music and more, this is the place for nonstop fun that doesn’t break the bank.

Did you say “free?!”

1. Plan to visit Augusta during a free First Friday event, a family-friendly celebration in downtown Augusta held on the First Friday of each month from 5 until 9 p.m. Watch as local artists create masterpieces on the sidewalk, browse art galleries and watch live musical performances.

2. During the week Tuesday’s Music Live is America’s largest luncheon concert series. Held in the nave of Saint Paul’s Church, the concerts include musical styles ranging from classical to jazz. After the concert, eat a catered lunch in the River Room. The concert is free, but lunch is $10 and served at noon.

3. Take a hike! Well, maybe just a stroll. Walk along the Augusta Riverwalk, Augusta’s top attraction, featuring a children’s playground and various gardens. Two museums are located off the walkway along with the Jessye Norman Amphitheater and several restaurants. Great for families out for some fresh air along the Savannah River. This two-tiered park runs for three blocks.

4. Did you know? Sundays are free at the Morris Museum of Art. See the work of Southern artists and art of the South at the Morris Museum of Art. Look for Artrageous! Sunday activities for children are also free.

5. Have your picture taken anytime with the Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown. His life-size statue is located in downtown Augusta across from Augusta Common Park.

6. Do you dare? Tempt your fate at the Haunted Pillar, at the corner of 5th and Broad Streets. According to legend, an attempt to move or even touch it could result in death.

7. Visit the oldest independently formed black Christian church, Springfield Baptist Church, and then see the sculptures next door at the Springfield Village Park.

8. Sacred Heart Cultural Center, c. 1897, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features towering twin spires, graceful arches, 15 distinctive styles of brickwork, ninety-four stained glass windows, a barrel vaulted ceiling and intricately carved Italian marble altars. Free tours are available as well as a gift shop showcasing local artists, gifts and accessories.

Hungry for more? Try these almost free options:

Enjoy regular admission into any of the following Augusta museums and historic homes for less than $5: Augusta Museum of History, Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson, Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and the Morris Museum of Art.

Nacho Mamas BurritoGet your fill-up at Nacho Mama’s in downtown Augusta where they “roll’em fat.” Enjoy unusually large portion sizes for unusually low prices. Don’t believe us? How about grubbing out on The Godfather – loaded with pulled pork, guacamole, black beans, their house-made spicy mango habanera salsa, piled high with cheese, lettuce, salsa and sour cream. Served with Spanish rice and pinto beans all for $8. We recommend grabbing a to-go box in advance.

Free fall fun! 

Ferris WheelAugusta is the destination for fall fun…sample these options without touching your savings during the annual Westobou festival, October 1-5.

1. Wander and wonder at art exhibits by Savannah College of Art and Design Alumni.

2.Take a ride on the Westobou Wheel, a Ferris wheel, set up on the Parade Grounds of the Old Richmond Academy, offiering a bird’s-eye view of Westobou, October 1-5.

3.Catch a screening of “The Goonies,” 6 p.m., October 4, at the Historic Parade Grounds at the Old Academy of Richmond County. Check out all of Westobou’s offerings.

Where to Stay?
With a convenient location just off Interstate-20, Augusta is just a short drive from many southeastern cities. Budget-friendly hotels and packages are available with rates ranging from $40-$139 a night. For more information about Augusta, please contact the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800.726.0243 or find them online at VisitAugusta.com.

Five Kid-Friendly Activities at Oktoberfest

helen3

Helen is Georgia’s hub for everything German. It became known as a tourist capital shortly after remodeling the whole town to look like a German village in the Bavarian Alps. The town is also known for the longest running Oktoberfest in the United States, which is running now through November 2nd. The festival ushers in the fall leaf season, which puts visitors right in the middle of the changing of the leaves in the beautiful North Georgia mountains. Oktoberfest is a celebration. This means tasting Bavarian beer and bratwurst and learning how to dance, and there are plenty of things to do that the whole family will enjoy!

1. Have a night on the town: Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Helen’s downtown. Shop for souvenirs and gifts while listening to German music from outdoor speakers. Make sure to pick up sweet treats from a German bakery or visit Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen. Paint your own toy at Elfmade Toys.

427871_157991154328711_1396450194_n2. Take your kids on an adventure: Zip lining through the North Georgia trees at Nacoochee Outdoor Adventures, or Cool River Zip lines is the perfect activity for kids starting around age 9 and up.  Take a hike and experience the changing of the leaves. Every Saturday in October, Unicoi State Park Lodge hosts a guided hike from the lodge to Helen.

3. Experience Halloween: There are some really fun haunted adventures in the North Georgia area. Take a haunted hayride, or find your way through a corn maze. Petting zoos and outdoor movies are also a must of the fall season!

5. Attend the annual Oktoberfest parade: A German parade kicks off the celebration and normally occurs on the first Saturday of the festival. Afterward, play a game of mini golf or walk around the town.

Photo Credit: Sussman Imaging

4. Experience Germany: “Oompah-central” is the Hall where the bands play and people dance. Although it may be overwhelming for some parents because of the crowd, kids are allowed. It is the perfect place to try hot-off-the-grill German-style wursts or sausages, and dance to traditional German music.

 

Bring the whole family to the North Georgia mountains and experience Oktoberfest and Germany without leaving Georgia! Hotels fill up very quickly, so book your trip today. Click here for more information on Helen, Georgia and Oktoberfest.