10+ Things To Do In Helen GA; Where Romance Abounds

With breathtaking views and an abundance of natural settings, the North Georgia Mountains offer many destinations, such as Dahlonega and Sautee Nacoochee, which are perfect for weekend getaways. One of the top choices, Helen, Georgia, is also one of our favorite spots for a romantic escape.

Incorporated in 1913, Helen thrived as a lumber town, but the town started to decline after the mills closed. By the 1960s, the small town was desolate. In 1969, some local businessmen were discussing ways to revitalize the town and bring in more tourists. Inspired by his visits to Bavarian towns in Germany, artist John Kollock sketched out his vision for Helen as an alpine village.

The buildings took on their new look within months, and tourists responded. Today, there are many incredible things to do in Helen, GA for couples that appeal to foodies and outdoor lovers.

Looking for more weekend getaway inspiration? Here’s our list of the most romantic getaways in the USA; there’s one in every state.

Where Is Helen, Georgia?

Helen is located in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Georgia, ensconced within the Blue Ridge Mountains, a subset of the larger Appalachian range. This small town, which covers just over 2 square miles, is situated along the Chattahoochee River, providing opportunities for outdoor activities such as tubing and fishing.

Helen is approximately 90 miles north of Atlanta, making it a popular destination for weekend getaways. Despite its small size, the town offers a wide array of attractions and events, including its celebrated Oktoberfest and close proximity to natural sites like Anna Ruby Falls and Unicoi State Park.

Anna Ruby Falls
Anna Ruby Falls is just 15 minutes from Downtown Helen, Georgia.

Romantic Things To Do In Helen GA

GO: Unicoi State Park

You can’t go to the North Georgia Mountains and not enjoy the outdoors. Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to do that in and around Helen. Just four minutes north of downtown Helen, Unicoi State Park offers a zip line tour that will get your adrenaline pumping. With 19 zip lines and nine suspension bridges, the Unicoi Zipline & Aerial Adventure Tour will challenge and thrill you and your loved one as you travel through the trees.

HIKE: Smithgall Woods State Park

For those who like to hit a hiking trail, Smithgall Woods State Park offers 28 miles for all skill levels. These picturesque trails range from a short loop featuring some adult swings to longer trails that lead to waterfalls.

HIKE: Raven Cliff Trailhead

For more waterfall hikes, head to the Raven Cliff Trailhead in the Chattahoochee National Forest near Helen, where you can hike the 6.6-round trip trail to Raven Cliff Falls. Pack a picnic lunch for a truly romantic outing. If you prefer a shorter waterfall hike, head to Anna Ruby Falls, where you can hike the 0.4-mile paved trail to one of two observation decks to view the twin falls.

Hardman Farm Heritage Trail

GO: Hardman Farm Heritage Trail

If you’re looking for more of a stroll than a hike, you’ll love the Helen to Hardman Heritage Trail. This one-mile (one-way) ADA-accessible paved trail runs alongside the Chattahoochee River and includes informative signage and displays that inform visitors about native plants and animals. There also are some overlook areas right on the river, which are perfect spots for a quiet moment alone. The trail ends at Hardman Farm State Historic Site, another worthy stop for those who love local history.

Tubing on Chattahoochee River

GO: Chattahoochee River

One of the most relaxing outdoor adventures is floating down the Chattahoochee River through downtown Helen. The folks at Cool River Tubing will rent you a tube, take you to the drop-off point and help you exit the river at the takeout point. For the best experience, plan your float after recent rains. Otherwise, the water level may be low, which means you’ll have to spend time navigating the rocks in the riverbed to keep you moving.

DO: Georgia Mountain Coaster

For thrill-seekers, Georgia Mountain Coaster delivers excitement and laughter overlooking downtown Helen. The first alpine coaster in Georgia, the Georgia Mountain Coaster puts you in control thanks to the hand break on your car. You can decide if you are going too fast. Each car accommodates two people, so you can ride together or opt for separate cars and see who makes the most of their journey down the mountain.

PLAY: Alpine Mini Golf Village

What romantic getaway is complete without a round of mini golf? At Alpine Mini Golf, you can match skills to see who can sink a hole in one or, at the very least, finish the round with bragging rights. The loser can treat the winner to ice cream at Scoop De Scoop, the onsite ice cream parlor.

Cabbage Patch Kids Babyland General Hospital

VISIT: Babyland General Hospital

For a blast from the past and a hefty dose of nostalgia, head south to Babyland General Hospital, home of the famous Cabbage Patch Kids. You can tour the “hospital” and see some of the homemade dolls through the years and the most recent additions to the collections. You also can watch Mother Cabbage as she delivers the newest babies and even help name him or her.

SHOP: Downtown Helen

Throughout Downtown Helen, you’ll find plenty of cute shops and boutiques where you can find some fun mementos to commemorate your romantic getaway. A great place to start is Betty’s Country Store, where you’ll find a large selection of gourmet grocery items to pack in your picnic.

Display in Glassblowing Shop

At The Glassblowing Shop, you can find original glass artwork that will serve as a one-of-a-kind souvenir of your trip. Choose from figurines, sun-catchers, and much more.

If you want to take home some local flavor, head to Nora Mill Granary Grist Mill and Country Store. Selections include white-speckled grits, cornmeal, bread mixes, sauces, and much more.

GO: Yonah Mountain Vineyards

If you’re looking for a relaxing place to enjoy a glass of wine and a gorgeous view, Yonah Mountain Vineyards features both red and white wines. Enjoy by the glass, or buy the bottle to save some for later. If you visit on the second Sunday of the month, you can sign up for a 90-minute wine-tasting and gourmet charcuterie pairing. This intimate experience is ideal for a romantic getaway.

VISIT: Habersham Winery

Habersham Winery offers a rich variety of locally produced wines that showcase the region’s unique terroir. Guests can indulge in wine tastings, guided tours, and even participate in grape harvest events during the season. Adding to the ambiance, live music events frequently grace the winery, providing a multi-sensory experience that goes beyond the palate, making each visit memorable and enjoyable.

Restaurants In Helen GA

Of course, every romantic getaway includes some delicious meals, and there’s a lot to choose from in Helen.

BRUNCH: Helen Bakery and Cafe

Start your day off with breakfast at Hofer’s of Helen Bakery and Cafe, where you can dig into a homemade corned beef hash, Hofer’s Belgian waffle or Apfelküchle, sliced apples dipped in batter, pan-fried and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and topped with whipped cream.

Cafe International

EAT: Cafe International

For lunch, get a seat on the covered deck at Cafe International overlooking the Chattahoochee River. While the Reuben is the specialty, you also should consider the buffalo chicken wrap. And don’t skip the Bavarian pretzel with beer cheese as an appetizer. It’s the perfect start to your meal and makes a great snack if you don’t want a full meal.

Chef Schnitzel with onion and mushrooms baked with mozzarella cheese.

GERMAN FARE: Bodensee Restaurant

When it’s time for dinner, make your way to Bodensee Restaurant, a family-owned venue with a menu full of German favorites. Selections include the Tafelspitz, round beef with creamy horseradish sauce, potato dumplings, and vegetables; pork hocks for two with sauerkraut and German potato salad; and—my recommendation—chicken Chef Schnitzel with onion and mushrooms baked with mozzarella cheese.

Hotels In Helen GA

Exploring Helen is a lot of fun for couples, but indulging in some quiet time alone is every bit as enjoyable. Not surprisingly, Helen offers a variety of accommodations where you two can relax and enjoy each other.

Valhalla Resort pool

STAY: Valhalla Resort

At Valhalla Resort, you’ll love the beautiful rooms coupled with the scenic views of the mountains. You can even book their romantic getaway package, which features a stay in a deluxe king suite, a food and beverage credit you can use at the hotel’s rooftop Sky Bar, spa credits, golf access, chocolate=covered strawberries, and a bottle of bubbly in your room.

STAY: Cabins in Helen GA

Looking for more privacy? Book one of the private cottages at Smithgall Woods State Park. Choose from one with a porch overlooking a stream or one with a hot tub. These cottages are tucked into the woods, so you’ll feel like the only two people in the world.

Unicoi Barrel Campsite

For something a little more eclectic, consider a Barrel Cabin or glamping site at Unicoi State Park. As the name implies, a Barrel Cabin is shaped like a barrel and offers a quirky place to stay. If you want to try glamping, the Safari tents include all the creature comforts you could want, including a Keurig coffeemaker, mini refrigerator, air conditioning, heat, and home decor that rivals many hotel rooms.

100 Things To Do In The North Georgia Mountains Before You Die book cover

Discover More About Helen, Georgia

Ready to plan a visit? Download the Alpine Helen Travel Guide from the official Visitors Bureau.

For even more travel inspiration in and around Helen, Georgia, check out “100 Things to Do in the North Georgia Mountains Before You Die.”

More Weekend Getaways In Georgia

All articles belong to Getaway Mavens LLC, and all photos belong to us as well, unless otherwise noted. It’s all copyrighted. Please don’t repost anything elsewhere without asking us first. All rights reserved. This site uses cookies to enhance your experience.

We make no guarantees of any price listed on our site. We’re not responsible for content on external websites linked to ours, including linked resources, an external blog post, any partner site, hotel property sites, or affiliate sites. We only write about places we have vetted, but can’t guarantee that your experience will be exactly the same.

Posts may contain affiliate links at no cost to you. Several of our trips are also compensated by the respective tourism boards for the city or state we are visiting. This never impacts how we share the destination with you – opinions are always our own and we pride ourselves on that. We do not sell links or accept unsolicited guest posts under any circumstances. Don’t even ask.

United States Copyright, Getaway Mavens, LLC


  • Karon Warren

    For more than 20 years, Karon Warren has covered travel for numerous outlets such as Cruise Critic, USA Today’s 10Best and Trivago. She also shares her travel insights on her own travel site, ThisGirlTravels.com. In addition, she recently published “100 Things to Do in the North Georgia Mountains Before You Die,” a travel inspiration guidebook to the region she calls home.

    View all posts