Adventures in Helen, Georgia

I love living near the ocean with sand in my toes and salty ocean air, but occasionally, it’s nice to escape the Florida heat for the mountain air.  This summer was no exception.  The kids and I loaded up the car and made the 10-hour drive to Helen, Georgia for some family adventure.

Alpine Helen is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in N.E. Georgia, located along the Chattahoochee River. This charming city is lined with cobblestone streets, quaint hotels and shops, and restaurants serving Alpine food and drink.

We stayed at an incredible Airbnb located 4 miles up the mountain and had all the comforts of home in a secluded rustic cabin.

I spent my mornings on the private deck with a cup of coffee and book enjoying the cool morning air.

The kids loved the game room, hot tub and big screen TV. 

Anna Ruby Falls

We spent our first day hiking in search of waterfalls… and we found them

Anna Ruby Falls is located a few miles from Helen in Unicoi State Park. The State Park is part of the Chattahoochee National Forest.  The water cascading over the rocks is created by two creeks.  The Curtis Creek falls drop 153 feet and the York Creek falls are a shorter but still incredible 500 feet.  The water at the bottom of the falls is part of Smith Creek which flows into Smith Lake, the centerpiece of Unicoi State Park.

Duke’s Creek Falls

Duke’s Creek Falls is a scenic two- mile out and back hike through a lush green forest. The trail descends alongside a shallow, mossy stream to the bottom of Duke’s Creek gorge where multiple waterfalls convergence at Davis Creek and Dukes Creek. At the falls, a 300-foot-long walkway connects observation decks that provide an excellent view.  Dukes Creek Falls is located a few miles from Helen and is part of the Chattahoochee National Forest.

Unicoi Zipline and Aerial Adventure

Our second day in Helen was spent in the tree tops at Unicoi State Park. Unicoi Zipline and Aerial Adventure includes over 15 zip lines, 7 skywalk bridges and 3 aerial towers ending with a zip over the lake.  The views were incredible from 75 feet in the air. The suspended bridges between zip lines required just the right combination of precise footwork and fearlessness. 

Cool River Adventures

Our third day was spent at Cool River Adventures. This park includes a rope course and rock climbing wall for all ages.  We completed the Big Adventure, a course designed for adults and kids who are 70+ lbs. It has 11 elements and a short zip line.  For those wanting even more of a challenge, Extreme Adventure has 13 elements that go across the Chattahoochee River. It is not for the faint of heart.

Tubin the Hooch

The Chattahoochee River originates in the Blue Ridge Mountains of N. Georgia and flows through Helen. Tubing on the river is a favorite activity for locals looking for a way to escape the heat (the water is cold!) during the summer months. 

A week before our trip, the first tropical storm of the season caused the river to overflow its banks.  The river was 20 inches higher than normal and closed to tubing due to rapids.  Luckily for us, the river opened on our last day and we were able to Tube the Hooch.  It was the highlight of our trip.

We rented our tubes from Helen Tubing and Water Park.  We purchased the all-day pass which allowed unlimited tubing and access to the waterpark.  It takes about 2 hours to tube the hooch. The river runs through town and past restaurants at the midway point. 

When you reach the exit point, a bus brings you back to the beginning for another trip.  If you visit, don’t forget to bring a pushing stick and water socks. 

We loved our mountain getaway and decided that we would be back.  Whether you are in search of an adventure vacation with family, a girl’s trip to sample wine or just a chance to enjoy the beauty of the mountains, Helen Georgia is just the place!