Posted on 12/28/2023

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU: 2024 BLUE RIDGE BUCKET LIST

2024 is almost upon us! Can you believe it!? And while 2023 was an amazing year, we know 2024 is going to be even better! With every passing year, the town of Blue Ridge adds more and more new & exciting businesses to ensure families like yours never run out of fun things to do. As we move into the new year make sure that you have your Escape to Blue Ridge booked, plan to enjoy the great outdoors & the fresh mountain air, shop at our charming local boutiques and stores downtown, eat and drink local at our wonderful restaurants and breweries, and experience all that Blue Ridge has to offer in the new year! Here’s your ultimate 2024 Blue Ridge Bucket List:

*Cover Photo Courtesy of @korikwissman

Get Outdoors

Photo Courtesy of @watersedgeatstanleycreek

Kick off the New Year by embarking on a “First Day Hike” on one our local trails. With over 300 miles of trails just waiting to be explored, you can choose from some of our favorites such as the Benton McKaye Trail, the Aska Adventure Area trails, and Jack’s River Trail or some hidden gems. Hike to area waterfalls like Fall Branch Falls and Amicalola, climb to mountain peaks like Brasstown Bald and Fort Mountain, or explore the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi. If you won’t be in town for New Year’s Day, no worries – our trails are always open, regardless of the season.

Ready to find more beautiful trails and enjoy the great outdoors? Then check out Fightingtown Creek Nature Park! This charming park has over 180 acres of land to explore, including 12 miles of hiking and biking trails. Prefer to take things slow and soak in the beauty of Mother Nature? They also have picnic areas and ample opportunities for birdwatching as well. Nature lovers will just love spending their time in such a beautiful and peaceful place.

You can even take in the trails on horseback with a trail ride through the Chattahoochee National Forest! Explore the mountain trails and connect with your trusty steed as you embark on a trail ride offered by either Appalachian Trail Rides or Cowgirl Up Stables. Both stables cater to riders of all levels, providing options for both beginners and the more experienced riders.

Daring Adventures

Photo Courtesy of Ocoee Rafting

Dare to be bold in the New Year with thrilling adventures only the bravest among you will be willing to conquer! Smash into the new year at Tank Town USA in Morganton, GA, where you can drive a tank, maneuver construction vehicles, fire off some machine guns, and demolish everything in your path. It’s a fun adventure, the wannabe-action-heroes in your group are sure to love! If you prefer your adventures high up in the air then visit Blue Ridge Adventure Park, where you can zip through treetops and climb up to 50 feet in the air. Or take a spin on the Georgia Mountain Coaster in Helen—the first alpine coaster in Georgia! And during the summer months you can take to the water and try your hand at whitewater rafting! Navigate through waves and rapids along the Ocoee River with a team, offering a challenging workout and a memorable experience that will stay with you for a long time. For more thrilling adventures check out our Extreme Outdoor Adventures Blog: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/7-extreme-outdoor-adventures/

Eat Local

Photo Courtesy of Grace Blue Ridge

There’s nothing quite like the local eats you’ll find in Blue Ridge! Our mountain town is home to a variety of culinary experiences from classic southern cooking, to seafood, to Asian fusion, and so much more, there’s something for everyone! Some fan favorite restaurants in town are Chester’sThe Black SheepHarvest on MainSouthern CharmThe DogwoodROE, and Fightingtown Tavern. But over the past year, many new & delicious restaurants have emerged in town, that we must insist you add to your list! More fine dining options have come to Blue Ridge with the arrival of Grace Steakhouse. The steaks here are aged 45 days or more and are hand cut and prepared with the maximum flavor and tenderness. You’ll find that a dinner at Grace is more than a meal, it’s an unforgettable dining experience. We’ve welcomed two new lunch spots Bob’s Eatery and Jamy’s Sandwich Spot. At Bob’s you can enjoy a delicious sandwich or a giant milkshake and at Jamy’s you’ll find more sandwiches as well as soups & salads for sale. For a mid-day pick me up or quick bite to eat check out Mountain Mama’s Coffee Lounge! Nestled conveniently beside the Blue Ridge Inn and in collaboration with Folk Collaborative, this chic coffee house and lounge promises delicious & unique coffees, homemade bagels, and a cozy atmosphere to enjoy your meal. For more dining options check out our Restaurant Round-Up blog: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/favorite-blue-ridge-restaurants/

Prefer to stay in with the family and enjoy your meals in the comfort of the cabin? Our local private chefs: Chef TreyChef Eatz, and Blue Duck Eats, would be happy to accommodate you and your family’s special needs! Your chosen chef will arrive at your cabin door with all the supplies & ingredients needed to make you and your guests the perfect meal! Just sit back and relax, and watch them go! And after dinner they’ll even clean up the mess, so there’s nothing to clean up! Ready to learn more? Check out our blog the Ultimate Meal to learn all about our local chefs: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/the-ultimate-meal/

Shop Till You Drop

Photo Courtesy of The Pasta Market

You can spend all day shopping in Downtown Blue Ridge with our wide variety of shops. From fashion boutiques, artisan good shops, home décor, pet toys, and so much more, we’ve got something for everyone! Some of our favorite local shops include Blue Ridge Cotton Company and its sister store, Gather, who offer a wide selection of fashion, home decor, and kitchen goods. And when it comes to stocking up on snacks, wine, and special treats, we love visiting HucksOut of the BlueThe Pasta MarketBlue Ridge Olive Oil Company, and Tupelo Tea. For one-of-a-kind home decor items, check out PezrokMitzi’s on Main, and New Blue Home & Gift. And if you have an appreciation for beautiful art, don’t miss High Country Art GalleryMultitudes Gallery, and Fishbone Gallery. And we can’t forget crowd favorites like The Owls NestBlue Ridge Adventure WearMountain Man ComicsDeaf Man Vinyl, and OAR Finer Goods! Discover more shops to explore in our Downtown Blue Ridge shopping guide: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/shop-downtown-blue-ridge/

Try Local Craft Brews & Wines

Photo Courtesy of @kaleeds_

Say Cheers to the new year with a beer of glass of wine made right here in Blue Ridge! Blue Ridge has so many great bars, breweries, and wineries to explore but here’s a few of our favorites. For Blue Ridge brews pay a visit to our local craft breweries; Grumpy Old Men BrewingFannin Brewing CompanyAngry Hops Brewing, and Tipping Point Brewing. Our local breweries are a staple of our mountain town and we just love them! How about drinks with a view? Not only can you enjoy delicious wine at our local vineyards but you can also admire the beautiful mountains that surround the tasting barn. For wine with a view check out Bear Claw VineyardsSerenberry Vineyards, and Cartecay Vineyards. Even Mercier Orchards offers hard cider and wine! With so many fantastic places to enjoy a drink, you’ll be ringing in the new year with a buzz!

Dog-Friendly Fun

Photo Courtesy of @see_spot_go_

Blue Ridge is a town for dog lovers! With miles and miles of hiking trails to explore with your furry friend, local shops & restaurants that will welcome you both, and cabins that are happy to include every member of your family in the ultimate vacation; there’s no shortage of fun to be had with your fur baby! In the past few years Blue Ridge has expanded on their “dog-friendly” hospitality and built all kinds of new & exciting places for your pup to enjoy! At Blue Ridge’s newest dog park your dog can run and play off leash to their hearts content. Horseshoe Bend Dog Park has two fenced in dog parks where large and small dogs can play, along with paved walking trails, and more enhancements coming in the future. For more dog park fun check out Blue Ridge Adventure Dog! This fenced in dog park & shop is a blast for dogs of all shapes & sizes! They can play fetch back and forth, go for a dip in the doggie swimming pool, and even snack on a barkcuterie board. And dog owners can enjoy beers, snacks, and ice pops while they watch their dog play. These two spots are a great place to let your dogs stretch their legs and get those zoomies out before heading back to cuddle up at the cabin! For more dog-friendly fun check out our Dog Lovers Getaway blog here: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/dog-lovers-getaway-must-love-dogs/

Support Local Arts

Photo Courtesy of High Country Art

Blue Ridge is a hub for the arts, where local artists are always showing off their talents through all kinds of different mediums! In fact Blue Ridge is one of the top 5 art towns in the state of Georgia! Browse handcrafted, beautiful art at one of our local galleries like High Country Artthe Art Center, and 4 Elements Art. Attend a performance at Blue Ridge Community Theater, where local thespians eagerly take the stage in both plays and musicals. And immerse yourself in the vibrant local music scene with live performances from local artists, happening nearly every weekend at spots around town like Tooney’sMisty Mountain HopsBear Claw WineryGrumpy Old Men Brewing, and countless others!

Ride the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

A favorite tradition among our visitors is riding on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway! You can soak in the scenery as the train sets off from Downtown Blue Ridge, twisting through the North Georgia countryside to the twin cities of Copperhill, TN, and McCaysville, GA. The picturesque views from the train are delightful year-round, but fall is an especially popular time as the leaves begin to change. You also won’t want to miss the Holiday Express in December, where families can enjoy a festive ride through the countryside and kids can meet Santa himself!

Pick Your Own Fruit at Merciers

Photo Courtesy of Mercier Orchards

Embrace the change of seasons by picking your own fresh fruit throughout the year at Mercier Orchards! As the seasons change you can pick apples, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, blackberries, and more. And in the summer you can even pick beautiful wildflowers and sunflowers from the field. There’s always something to get your hands on! While you’re there, make sure to explore their expansive market that has everything from apple butter, baking mixes, home decor, and so much more. Stop by the bakery for Mercier’s famous fried pies and sample cider & wine in the tasting room. And with farm tours and exciting family fun around every corner, your family will keep coming to Merciers time and time again!

Enjoy the Summer on Lake Blue Ridge

Photo Courtesy of @tonizarghami

Summers are best spent on Lake Blue Ridge! And there’s no shortage of fun to be had on the sparkling waters of the lake. Whether you prefer cruising on a boat, splashing in the water, or basking in the sun at Morganton Point, Lake Blue Ridge is the ultimate summer destination for fun & relaxation! Kickstart your lake day adventures at Lake Blue Ridge Marina, where you can find boat rentals and everything you need for a day on the water. After a busy day soaking in the rays and living it up on the lake, stop by The Boat Dock Bar & Grill at the marina, for a great evening filled with delicious food, drinks, live music, and a picturesque view of Lake Blue Ridge. And every year when America’s birthday comes around you can watch as fireworks shoot off over the lake and reflect on the waters below. It’s a great annual tradition you won’t soon forget!

Catch a Movie at the Drive In

Photo Courtesy of the Swan Drive In

Experience a classic movie night at the Swan Drive-In Theater! The Swan Drive In has been a fixture of Blue Ridge since 1955, and continues to thrive to this day. The Drive In plays all the big new blockbuster films you crave along with some tried and true classic films. And at Christmas time you can even enjoy some of your favorite holiday films on the big screen! When you arrive all you have to do is tune your car to the radio, grab the popcorn and some classic movie theater snacks from the concession stand, and watch the movie from the comfort of your own vehicle. The Swan Drive In provides such a delightful and nostalgic way to spend an evening with the whole family!

Trout Fish in the Trout Capital of Georgia


Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Fly Fishing School

For fishing enthusiasts, there’s no better place to trout fish than in the Trout Capital of Georgia! The waters of the Toccoa River are filled to the brim with fish, ensuring that you have every opportunity to catch the ultimate trophy trout. And if you need help catching that perfect trout, then use one of Blue Ridge’s trusted fishing guides to assist you; Cohutta Fishing Company and Blue Ridge Fly Fishing School are among our favorites. You can even fish with your very own hand crafted, custom fly fishing rod from Oyster Bamboo Fly Rods.

Taste some local trout yourself at Toccoa Riverside Restaurant or see how many trout statues you can find around Downtown Blue Ridge. There’s no shortage of trout- centric fun to be had in the town of Blue Ridge- the Trout Capital of Georgia! To get the full fisherman’s experience check out our Fly Fishing Capital of Blue Ridge blog: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/blue-ridge-fly-fishing-capital-of-georgia/

Indoor Fun

Photo Courtesy of 2nd Story Entertainment

Don’t let a rainy day or chilly weather get you down. There’s still plenty of fun experiences to be had indoors! Become a pinball wizard at Vertigo Pinball or grab a few fun family photos at Flex Your Selfie Museum. Challenge the fam to a round of mini golf at 2nd Story Entertainment and come head to head with Bigfoot himself at Expedition: Bigfoot! The Sasquatch Museum! No matter the weather, there’s always fun to be had in Blue Ridge! See our Rainy Day Fun in the Mountains blog for more ideas: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/rainy-day-fun/

A Relaxing Spa Day

Photo Courtesy of Serenity in the Mountains Spa

Treat yourself to a day full of luxury and relaxation at Serenity in the Mountains Spa. The spa offers a variety of treatments including manicures, pedicures, massages tailored to your preferences, facials, body treatments, and a unique Himalayan Salt Cave that’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Bring on the pampering with wine, a charcuterie board, and delightful chocolate-covered strawberries to enjoy between treatments. You can even enjoy Serenity in the Mountains’ new deli and coffee shop that offers all your favorite drinks from Mountain Mama’s Coffee Lounge along with sandwiches & baked goods. And on weekdays, you can treat yourself to cosmetic services provided by Southern Surgical Arts Beauty Bar, offering laser and technology treatments, injectables, and fillers to maintain that youthful glow. You’ll feel relaxed in no time at Serenity in the Mountains Spa!

Take in an Annual Event

Photo Courtesy of Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association

There’s always something happening in the mountains! From annual festivals & events, holiday celebrations, live music, and more, you’ll find exciting events happening almost every month in the North Georgia area. These are some of our favorite annual events that we know you’ll absolutely love!
Fire & Ice Chili Cookoff & Craft Beer Festival: February 17th, 2024
Georgia Food & Wine Festival: March 22nd-24th, 2024
The Rhododendron Festival: April 12th-May 14th, 2024
Blue Ridge Trout and Outdoor Adventures Festival: April 27th, 2024
Blue Ridge Adventure Race: May 4th, 2024
Hiawassee Highlands Wine Festival: May 11th, 2024
Spring Arts in the Park: May 25th-26th, 2024
Lake Blue Ridge Fireworks: July 4th, 2024
Georgia Mountain Fair: August 16th-24th, 2024
Blue Ridge Mountains Wine & Jazz Festival: September 7th, 2024
Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival: September 21st, 2024
Georgia Mountain Fall Festival: October 11th-19th, 2024
Fall Arts in the Park: October 12th-13th, 2024
Georgia Apple Festival: October 12th-20th, 2024
Appalachian Brew, Stew, & Que Festival: October 19th, 2024
Halloween Safe Zone: October 31st, 2024
Blue Ridge Turkey Trot: November 28th, 2024
Light Up Blue Ridge: Last weekend in November
Mountain Country Christmas in Lights: November 28th- December 23rd, 2024

Plan an Escape

Photo Courtesy of @korikwissman

With so much to experience in Blue Ridge, we know you and your family will just love it here! So what are you waiting for? Book your 2024 escape today! At Escape to Blue Ridge Cabin Rentals we offer over 300 amazing mountain, lakeside, riverfront, cabins chalk full of amenities and luxuries that make them the perfect home away from home. From hot tubs and game rooms, to firepits and luxury kitchens, we’ve got something for everyone. Thank you for all the love, support, and escapes in 2023 and we look forward to more mountain adventures in the New Year. Happy New Year, we can’t wait to see you soon!

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