Winter’s silver lining in North Georgia is that it gives everyone plenty of time to plan for the spring: farmers plan the year’s bounty, artists perfect their wares, and nature prepares to lure us out of hibernation with its annual explosion of greenery. By the time the dogwoods start blooming, there are so many festivals, fairs, and outdoor attractions scheduled, that fitting everything in would take a lifetime. With so many options to choose from, use this guide as a starting point for making the most out of this of beauty and rebirth. Here are 10 best things to do in spring in North Georgia.
Strawberry Picking at Local Farms
Pick one, pop one in your mouth. Pick with a group of friends, pick with your children. North Georgia’s climate is perfect for growing sweet, juicy strawberries, and nothing beckons warm weather like filling your own carton. A strong agricultural tradition in the region provides a bounty of farms to choose from, but start your search at LCCL Strawberry Farm in Rome and Alto’s Jaemor Farms. For a more extensive list of U-Pick farms, visit the Explore Georgia website’s “31 Places to Pick Strawberries in Georgia.”
Arts in the Park Festival
With over 170 vendors, exhibitors, and vendors gathered in downtown Blue Ridge, you’ll find yourself shopping for one-of-a-kind treasures, dining on regional delicacies, and enjoying the artistic vibrancy of the town itself. From fine art to funky sculptures, fried dough to local honey, it’s impossible to go home empty handed. Held in both the spring and the fall, the Arts in the Park festival supports the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association.
Camping at Georgia State Parks
Georgia State Parks boast some of North Georgia’s most scenic landscapes, from the highest waterfall in Georgia (Amicalola Falls) to 1,000’ deep canyons (Cloudland Canyon). Whether you’re “glamping” in an RV, car camping with friends, or backpacking into the wilds, the state park system has something for everyone. Why is spring the best time to camp at a state park? Spring camping makes for cooler nights, which makes a melted S’more by fireside taste all the better. For more information about camping, visit the Georgia State Parks website.
Visit a Winery (or Two)
Over the past few decades, the wine scene in North Georgia has flourished. From the established gentility of Tiger Mountain Vineyards (Rabun County) to the low-key elegance of Cartecay Vineyards (Ellijay), from locally-inspired Scuppernong wine to more worldly Cabernet Sauvignons, a visit to the region’s wineries is a must. Springtime brings wine festivals like Habersham Winery’s annual Winefest and the Dahlonega Arts and Wine Festival, and perfect temperatures for sitting outside and gazing over the vineyards.
Float a River
Experience North Georgia from a different vantage point this spring. Launch your own vessel, rent a tube on the Chattahoochee River from Cool River Tubing in Helen, a kayak on the Broad River from the Broad River Outpost in Danielsville, or a stand-up paddle board on the Coosa River from River Dog Outpost in Rome. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, which is more active in the spring, and for spring bloomers, such as rhododendron and mountain laurel.
Professional bikers zooming through downtown Athens while hordes of once-a-year fans line the sidewalk to cheer on the riders. Set up your chair early to reserve your spot on the sidelines, or pay a small entrance fee to one of the many beer tents lining the course. Spectators love Twilight for the all-encompassing revelry, while racers love it for the heightened intensity that thousands of spectators bring to the race. There’s really nothing else like it in North Georgia, and once you attend once, you’ll count down the days until the next one. Visit the Twilight Criterium website for more information.
Georgia Mountain Eggfest
Held at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, this event draws Big Green Egg chefs, and those who like to taste the results, from all over the United States and Canada. With savory meats, mouth-watering desserts, and even vegetarian options available, this is an event for the whole family. Eat your way from egg to egg, where enthusiastic chefs are happy to discuss recipes and techniques. If you’re not a Big Green Egg fan when you arrive, you certainly will be when you leave. More information at the Georgia Mountain Eggfest website.
Run a Road Race
Whether you’re motivating yourself to get in shape for summer, or you’re looking to qualify for the Peachtree Road Race, North Georgia has plenty of road races to offer. The Spring Chicken Run and Fun Festival in Powder Springs and the Boulder Dash in Cumming are great places to start your search.
3 Porch Farm Open House
3 Porch Farm is a dreamscape of flowers: ranunculus, witch hazel, daffodils, poppies, hellebores, peonies, roses, etc. Once per year, owners Mandy and Steve O’Shea open their flower farm to the public for a tour, plant and cut flower sale, live music, local food, crafts for kids, and more. For more information, visit their website, or better yet, follow them on Instagram to see what’s blooming.
Join a Bird Walk
Spring migration is a hot time for North Georgia birders. As birds fly north for the summer, avian enthusiasts flock to the outdoors in search of locally rare warblers, flycatchers, vireos, and other springtime visitors. The Atlanta Audubon Society and the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society lead trips throughout North Georgia during spring migration. Many trips are free and open to birders of all levels.