11 Things to Do in Helen, the Beautiful Bavarian Town in Georgia

For outdoor adventurers living on the east side of the U.S. like us, North Georgia is the place to be! It’s very popular for its great outdoors, waterfalls, and the picturesque Bavarian town in Georgia that many like to refer to as the “German town in Georgia“.

And then, of course, there’s the Blue Ridge Mountains. I mean, with over 300 miles of hiking trails, Blue Ridge is definitely a great place for hiking lovers.

city of helen georgia

Without a doubt, Alpine Helen is the more charming side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s also one of Georgia’s most visited cities–taking the number 3 spot, and it has about 570 residents. Imagine that!

alleys shops in the german town in georgia

And at just 2.1 square miles, it captures the hearts of millions of people every year! It’s the most beautiful German setting, right in the state of Georgia.

How to Get to the Bavarian Town in Georgia

The city of Helen is located in North Georgia, just a 90-minute drive from Atlanta.

people walking down the street in the bavarian town in georgia

For my fellow Floridians, this charming Bavarian town in Georgia turns out to be a great 7 hr 30 min drive from Downtown Orlando.

From Orlando, you’ll take Florida’s Turnpike towards Ocala, and eventually merge onto I-75 N. After crossing the Georgia state line, be sure to make a stop at Georgia’s Visitor Center.

a couple standing next to the welcome to georgia sign

There are many tourism magazines available that will be great for planning your stay in Georgia. Oh, and don’t forget to stop by the iconic Georgia state sign to take pictures!

the streets of helen a bavarian town in georgia

Where to Stay in Helen

Helen, Georgia is a great travel spot any time of the year. However, to get the most out of all the outdoor fun, minus the cold weather, the best time to visit is Spring and Summer. The downside of this is that it gets really crowded.

helen ga for couples

If you don’t mind the cold weather and are just planning to stay within the village itself, then Fall and Winter are great, too. Especially in Fall, when you get to witness all the beautiful foliage of the North Georgia mountains around the town.

11 Great Things to Do in Helen, Georgia

There is a LOT to do in Alpine Helen! I realized I still have a lot to explore. Nonetheless, I was able to make the most of this trip during the day that I was here.

I can honestly say that Helen is one of my favorite cities in Georgia. Here are some of the things you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Helen.

a couple sitting by the river in georgia

1. Have breakfast at Hofer’s Bakery

Starting your day off with a delicious breakfast from a genuine German bakery is a very unique experience that everyone will love.

At Hofer’s of Helen Bakery and Cafe, you’ll find a delightful selection of freshly baked goods as well as various options that you can take to-go.

Many visitors frequently visit this charming cafe before embarking on their daily activities since it’s a place where you can find a complete breakfast menu in a place that stays true to the Bavarian village experience.

Before adding Hofer’s Bakery to your Helen, GA itinerary, keep in mind that it does get pretty busy, especially in the morning.

hofer's bakery in helen

Therefore, arriving early is my number one recommendation if you want to visit this German bakery. Hofer’s opens daily at 8 am and closes at 5 pm Monday – Thursday, and at 6 pm Friday – Sunday.

2. Go Lazy Tubing on the Chattahoochee River

lazy tubing on Chattahoochee River

This is one of the best things to do in Helen and I encourage you to not leave the city without doing this.

Tubing down the Chattahoochee River is a great outdoor activity for the whole family, and it lasts around 2.5 hours.

Depending on the level of the water, there will be some exciting twists and turns!

lazy tubing on Chattahoochee River

To enjoy the tubing experience, only the pink tubes from Helen Tubing can be used. Private-owned tubes are not allowed.

The fee for the tubing is $10 per person Monday – Friday, $14 on weekends, and $16 on holidays.


3. Visit the beautiful Anna Ruby Falls

Right in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest, you will find the beautiful Anna Ruby Falls.

This waterfall is one of the best attractions in Helen, GA and I think of it as a sanctuary with cooling mists, rainforest vibes, and beautiful scenery.

anna ruby falls in helen georgia

How long does it take to hike Anna Ruby Falls?

From the parking lot, you can follow the 0.4-mile paved trail which will lead you to the waterfalls. The trail is very slippery, hiking shoes or really good sneakers are recommended.

For avid hikers, the Smith Creek 4.6-mile Trail is a great adventure that takes you from the base of the waterfalls to the Unicoi State Park.

anna ruby falls in helen georgia

How much does it cost to go to Anna Ruby Falls? For every person 16 and older, there is a $3 fee.

Anna Ruby Falls is open daily (weather permitting) from 9 am to 6 pm. However, nobody is allowed to go on the trails after 5 pm. You can visit the Georgia Tourism website for more information.

4. Take Pictures at the Alpine Wedding Chapel in the Bavarian town of Georgia

Whether or not you’re planning on getting married any time soon, the Alpine Wedding Chapel is a must-see in this Bavarian town in Georgia!

alpine helen wedding chapel in the Bavarian town in Georgia

This beautiful chapel is a great photo op, especially during the day when you can see the contrast between the wood and the lush greenery. Even if you’re traveling solo, this picturesque Chapel is worthy of a picture!

5. Visit a vineyard

There are a handful of vineyards in Helen, Georgia! On our most recent visit to Helen, Georgia, we decided to visit Yonah Mountain Vineyards and we fell in love with the whole vibe. The grounds are also very nice and pretty!

We did the Yonah Wine Flight and tasted four of their delicious wines. The vineyard atmosphere is very romantic and it’s probably one of the most popular Helen, GA attractions for adults. Great for couples and groups of friends!

This charming Bavarian town in North Georgia is a place that you should visit at least once, but you're not gonna want to leave! #AlpineHelenGA #ExploreGeorgia Click To Tweet

6. Eat ice cream at Soda Jerks

I’m not big on sweets or ice cream, but this one, in particular, is actually one of my personal favorites. The ice cream from Soda Jerks is velvety smooth and tastes delicious!

This is a very low-key and laid-back ice cream shop that qualifies to be the icing on the cake for this trip. 

More Things to Do in this Bavarian Town in Georgia

7. Have dinner by the Chattahoochee River

When it comes to food, unfortunately, you won’t find many options for us vegetarians. Nonetheless, many restaurants in Helen, GA have great salads on their menus and delicious quick bites.

riverfront restaurants in the Bavarian town in Georgia

Pro Tip: For the best views of the Chattahoochee River, arrive early to grab seating spots on the patio. 

8. Go gem mining in the Bavarian Town in Georgia

Being right in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains has its perks for doing lots of outdoor activities.

Going gem mining or gem hunting is another one of those things that you just have to do. You’ll try your luck going through the dirt-filled buckets, and it’s super fun.

gem mining in georgia

You could get your hands on rare earth gems, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, amethyst, and more! This is one of the most memorable experiences I have had from my trip to Helen. 

Unfortunately, I lost all my pictures from the day I did the gem hunting, but I still have the gemstones. PS. don’t mind my bunny in the picture! LOL

9. Go hiking at Unicoi State Park 

For those who love camping, hiking, and outdoor adventures, Unicoi is a treasure meant to be found. Unicoi State Park is located just 2 miles northeast of Alpine Helen.

the lake at unicoi state park in the bavarian town of Helen Georgia

Although I only did a short hike, it was enough to realize that this is a hiker’s paradise. Unicoi State Park is on my list of the most beautiful state parks in Georgia.

Here, the North Georgia mountain views are truly mesmerizing! Besides hiking, you can also do paddleboarding, GPS scavenger hunt, and zip-lining. You can even rent a GoPro right at the park!

10. Visit the Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound 

For history buffs like myself, this archaeological site is a good place to stop. The Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound is located right on the corner of highways 17 and 75, just 4 minutes away from Alpine Helen.

nacoochee indian mound things to do in the bavarian town of helen georgia

This Mound is a burial site, and graves were likely placed on this site before the Cherokee Tribe came to this area.

It’s a very interesting spot filled with a rich history. Bring your camera because this site is worthy of pictures! 

Interesting Fact: The Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound is placed on the National Register of Historic Places

11. Visit a candy store

If you’re always in need of a sugar fix, you will find many options for candy and treats in Alpine Helen.

Candy shops are super popular around here and I’m sure you’ll find just about any type of candy.

Not to mention, you will also be able to get your hands on candy apples, chocolate truffles, and delicious fudge.

What are Some of the Best Places to Stay in Helen, Georgia?

We’ve gathered just a few of our recommended unique places to stay near Helen, Georgia as a starting point to plan your visit.

However, there are many more options you can explore that include stunning mountain views as well as glamping options at a short drive away from the village.

1. Valhalla Resort Hotel

This luxurious hotel in Helen offers a range of amenities including a rooftop bar, an in-house spa, golf facilities, world-class dining, and 24-hour room service.

2. Biscuit Inn

Located just four miles north of town, the pet-friendly Biscuit Inn is perfect for animal lovers. The themed rooms are equipped with bone-shaped dog beds, dog bowls, and gourmet dog biscuits.

3. The Heidi Windmill Suites

This is a great option if you’re looking for something that embraces the Alpine theme. The Heidi offers unique features like a windmill suite, fireplaces, and private patios.

4. Unicoi State Park & Lodge

The best place to stay in Helen for outdoor lovers is definitely Unicoi State Park & Lodge! At Unicoi, you have lodge hotel rooms, pet-friendly cabins, backcountry campsites, and unique cabins made from former wine barrels.

5. Rental Cabins

For groups or couples looking for a more private stay, you’ll find many rental cabins in Helen that can make your stay feel like an all-around mountain retreat!

6. Helendorf River Inn

Located along the scenic Chattahoochee River and right in the center of Helen, the Helendorf River Inn offers riverfront rooms with private balconies, fireplaces, kitchens, and Jacuzzis.

This is a great place to stay if you prefer something that’s within walking distance from the village.

7. Holiday Inn Express & Suites

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites boasts a great location and provides more amenities for those who prefer a more complete hotel atmosphere with a fitness center and indoor pool.

What are you most excited to see in Alpine Helen, Georgia? Let me know in the comments!

helen georgia oktoberfest


The biggest celebration in the city of Helen, Georgia!

When? Sept. 26th – October 27th, 2024

Helen Oktoberfest runs daily from Thursday to Sunday through September and daily from Sept. 26 to Oct. 27, 2024.

Get details

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11 Things to do in Helen Georgia
Yanitza Ninett
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Yanitza is one 1/2 of the Next Stop Adventures dynamic duo with 15+ years of hiking experience and adventure travel. As a PADI-certified Scuba diver, she's also passionate about ocean conservation. When she's not exploring the great outdoors, Yanitza obsesses over The Vampire Diaries and dreams of traveling to Spain.

34 thoughts on “11 Things to Do in Helen, the Beautiful Bavarian Town in Georgia”

  1. Wow, Georgia looks beautiful! I love finding little hidden gems like this when traveling. I have a cute little Bavarian town a few hours away from me, perfect for a weekend getaway. I have never been to Georgia, but will add this to my must visit list when I go 🙂 Great post!

  2. Georgia looks like a great place to visit! I love cute little Bavarian towns. There is one a few hours away from me that I love to take weekend trips too (Frankenmuth, MI). I love the culture and food! Great post, enjoy learning about different countries 🙂


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