The Blue Ridge Experience: Summer Edition



Every season in Blue Ridge is special but summer is one of our favorites! The days are longer, which is perfect for a full day of exploring our quaint mountain town. Enjoy spending time on the waters of Lake Blue Ridge or boating down the Toccoa and Ocoee rivers. Go on an adventure with your family and create memories that will last a lifetime! No matter how you like to spend your summers, Blue Ridge has a little something for everyone! Here’s 15 of our favorite activities to do in and around Blue Ridge all summer long!

Cover photo courtesy of @_Chanel Josephson

Whitewater Rafting

Photo Courtesy of Ocoee Rafting

Nothing says summer adventure like whitewater rafting through the rapids and waves of the Ocoee River! You’ll cool off from the summer heat in no time as the waves splash you and leave you feeling refreshed. The Ocoee River, just a couple miles away from Blue Ridge in Tennessee,  is the perfect place for whitewater rafting. The upper part of the river was actually used during the 1996 Olympics for their whitewater events; that’s how you know it’s a great spot!

One of our favorite rafting companies is Ocoee Rafting in Ducktown, TN. They’re the oldest rafting company on the Ocoee and have been guiding whitewater rafting adventures for 44 years! Ocoee Rafting will guide you over 20 continuous rapids and many play spots. Beginners and experts alike are welcome! 

Adventures on Lake Blue Ridge 

Summers are made for relaxing and having fun by the water. All that and more awaits you at the beautiful Lake Blue Ridge! Rent a boat at Lake Blue Ridge Marina and spend the day floating on the water. Have your own boat? Hit the lake at any of these access points: 

  • Lake Blue Ridge Day use Area and Boat ramp
  • Morganton Point Recreation Area
  • Lakewood Landing Boat Ramp
  • Lake Blue Ridge Dam and Lake Blue Ridge Dam Recreation Area
  • Lake Blue Ridge Marina

Feeling hungry? Grab a quick bite to eat at the Marina’s Boat Dock Bar & Grill. They have delicious food, specialty cocktails, a great view of the lake, and live music Friday & Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon! If you’re up for a refreshing swim head to Morganton Point where you can splash in the water! Also at Morganton Point play on the beach and build sandcastles, or have a picnic in the picnic area, fish, or even go for a hike around the lake. And if you’re in town for 4th of July don’t miss out on the annual fireworks display over the lake! You never even have to leave, with numerous Escape to Blue Ridge cabins right on the lake: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/lake-side-cabins/ 

Explore the Toccoa River

Head to the Toccoa River for more outdoor fun! Canoe or kayak down the river for a relaxing day on the water. For rentals or guided trips you can look up our friends at Blue Ridge Mountain Kayaking, Toccoa River Outfitters, or Rolling Thunder River Company.

Have your own boat and want a little adventure? Take the Toccoa River Canoe Trail which is a 13.8 mile river trail beginning at Deep Hole Recreation Area. If you’re more interested in a laid back experience where you can just float, try out tubing with Blue Ridge Tubing, Toccoa River Tubing Company, or Toccoa Valley Campground Tubing.

Explore the Toccoa River from the shoreline and hike on Benton McKaye trail. Along the way you’ll run into the Toccoa River Swinging Bridge which is the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi! If you’re brave enough, walk across the 270 foot long bridge, over the Toccoa River, to the other side!

Trout Fish in Georgia’s Trout Fish Capital 

Photo Courtesy of KC Outfitters

While you can fish at both Lake Blue Ridge and the Toccoa River, there are hundreds of miles of streams and rivers for fishing in Fannin County. Blue Ridge is especially famous for their trout fishing and is known as the Trout Capital of Georgia! Find trout in Rock Creek, Copper Creek, Noontootla Creek, The Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery, and of course the Toccoa River. If you’re just starting out and need a guide to assist you some of our favorites include; Blue Ridge Fly Fishing School, Noontootla Creek Farms, and North Georgia Trout Fishing. Spend the day catching trout in the beautiful waters of North Georgia! 

Visit a Waterfall

Photo Courtesy of waterfall @hike_the_ridge with @hendersonfamilyadventures

If you want to go for a hike through the beautiful forests and mountains of North Georgia you might as well cool off with the refreshing mists of a waterfall. Blue Ridge has 4 waterfalls nearby that offer stunning views and great hikes. Our favorites are Amicalola Falls, Fall Branch Falls, Long Creek Falls, and Helton Creek Falls. For more details on where to access each falls check out our waterfall blog here: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/5-must-see-waterfalls/ 

Pick Blueberries & Blackberries at Mercier Orchards

Photo Courtesy of Forever Freckled Blog

Summer is the season for berries! Mercier Orchards grows blueberries and blackberries during the summer; and you can pick some for yourself with their U-Pick events! Check out their website for U-Pick sign-ups: https://mercier-orchards.com/u-pick/

Don’t feel like picking the fruit yourself? They also have a selection of fruits and vegetables available in their market; like sweet Georgia peaches. While you visit be sure to try some of Mercier’s refreshing hard ciders and stop by their Café for tasty treats. One of our favorite treats are their delicious fried pies available in apple, blueberry, cherry, peach, and chocolate flavors. Yum! 

See a Summer Film at the Drive In

Did you know that Blue Ridge has its own Drive In movie theater? Well that’s right we do, Swan Drive In Theater! They’ve been showing movies here since 1955! Turn back the clock and live life like you’re in the 1950’s by watching movies the old-fashioned way. Just tune your car to the radio and munch down on some delicious classic movie theater snacks; all from the comfort of your own vehicle! It’s a perfect way to spend summer nights! Check their website for movie showings: http://www.swan-drive-in.com/now-showing.php 

Georgia Mountain Fair 

Venture on over to Hiawassee, Georgia between August 13th & August 21st for some good old fashioned fun at The 70th Annual Georgia Mountain Fair! There will be carnival rides, music performances, arts & craft booths, special attractions & experiences, delicious food, a parade, a beauty pageant and so much more! This is a fantastic event you won’t want to miss! 

Live Music 

Photo Courtesy of Tooneys Music Venue

Local businesses have live musical performances all summer long! Stop by any of these establishments Friday-Sunday to listen to the sweet sounds of local artists, while you sip on craft drinks & eat delicious foods!

Downtown Adventure 

Shop till you drop & dine at delicious and trendy restaurants in Downtown Blue Ridge! Bring home treats & souvenirs from your trip from some of our favorite shops like Blue Ridge Cotton CompanyBlue Ridge Adventure Gear, Blue Ridge Olive Oil Company, Blue Ridge Mountain Mall, and so much more! After a long day of shopping on main street try out one of these delicious restaurants Chester Brunnemeyer’s Bar & Grill, Bin 322, The Black Sheep, The Dogwood, or Harvest on Main. Then grab a sweet treat at The Sweet Shoppe or Mona Lisa’s Dessert House to end the day!

Outdoor Thrills 

Photo Courtesy of Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge

Up for a day of fun-filled thrills? Reach new heights and zip through the trees at Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge or take on the ropes course Blue Ridge Adventure Park, are you up for the challenge? Or ride a rollercoaster through the mountains in Helen, Georgia. You’ll control the speed as you fly past mountains, forests, and ruins over 100 years old! Then get ready to crush it at Tank Town USA in Morganton, Georgia. Drive tanks, crush cars, fire off machine guns, and even operate construction vehicles. Tank Town is the amusement park of your action hero dreams! End the day by taking to the skies and getting an aerial tour of Blue Ridge with Blue Ridge Helicopter Tours. The views from up above are simply incredible! 

Horseback Ride 

Photo Courtesy of Appalachian Trail Rides

Ride horses on trails through the mountains, forests, and North Georgia countryside. Whether you’re just a beginner or consider yourself an expert rider there’s something for everyone. Some of our favorite stables include Appalachian Trail Rides and Cowgirl Up Stables. You’ll follow experienced guides on a beautiful trail ride. It’s a perfect activity for friends & family alike! 

Explore Historic Village 

Photo Courtesy of INOLA Blue Ridge

Feel like you’re walking back in time at INOLA Blue Ridge. INOLA  is a colonial styled village, built in the 1980’s, and is modeled after Colonial Williamsburg. The village is made up of replicas of historic buildings. As you wander around you’ll see a colonial manor house, shops, a post office, a tavern, the Wythe House, and a 1740’s chapel. Learn about what life was like in a colonial village and feel like you’re really in the 1700’s for a day. INOLA also does weddings in the chapel or pavilion; so if you have a special occasion coming up and you want to celebrate in Blue Ridge, then you know just where to go! 

Grab drinks with friends 

Photo Courtesy of Forever Freckled Blog

One of the great parts of summer is spending time with friends. Relax with your closest of friends at a local winery or brewery. Not only do many of them have live music on the weekends; but a lot of them also have beautiful mountain views, comfortable outside seating, good food to pair with drinks, and a relaxing environment to unwind in. Many even have dog friendly patios!

Some of our favorites include Grumpy Old Men Brewing, Bear Claw Vineyards, Cartecay Vineyards, Serenberry Vineyards, and Fannin Brewing Company. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a refreshing glass of wine or a cold beer on a summer’s day; while laughing with your best friends. To learn more about our local wineries & breweries and see even more of our favorites, check out our guides here: https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/beer-hunting/ & https://www.escapetoblueridge.com/blog/8-north-georgia-wineries/ 

Watch the Sunset 

Almost Everest Cabin

And absolutely nothing beats ending a long summer day full of fun, then watching the sunset. Watch it set over Lake Blue Ridge or from the top of Brasstown Bald. You can even watch the sun set below the mountains from the back porch of your own Escape to Blue Ridge cabin. Grab the family, kick your feet up, and unwind after a big day. The sunsets over Blue Ridge will leave you speechless. They are truly breathtaking and a sight you won’t soon forget! 

Hiking Blue Ridge



Calling all thrill-seekers, backpackers, and outdoor enthusiasts! We believe that the view from up above will always be greater than the view from down below! The adrenaline that motivates you to keep going and the feeling of conquering a new trail only make up a fraction of what makes hiking worth the while. The hiking trails located around Blue Ridge remind us why we are so lucky to call this beautiful earth our home!

While hiking through Fannin County you can experience the steep mountain terrain and flowing rivers, making it one of the best ways to spend a sunny afternoon. We rounded up a the top 7 trails for beginners, experts, and everyone in between. Whether you have been hiking for years or just hoping to begin, we have found that the trails can’t tell the difference!

Lake Blue Ridge Trail

Photo Courtesy of Ginny Young

Hike alongside this simple and scenic trail and experience one of the most stunning lakes in Georgia for yourself. The Lake Blue Ridge Loop comes in at about 0.8 miles and is well maintained, making it achievable for all ages. Once the hike is finished, head on over to the Morganton Point Recreation Area to splash in the cool lake at their sandy beach!

Toccoa River Swinging Bridge Trail

Photo Courtesy of Cindy Hushon

Accessing the 270-foot-long suspension bridge above the Toccoa River can be as short as a .5 mile hike or make it a 2-mile mountain hike and fully take in the beauty of North Georgia! This hike offers a cool breeze from the Toccoa River and the excitement of bouncing along the longest swinging bridge east of the Mississippi River!

The Swinging Bridge Trail is a part of the Benton MacKaye Trail (BMT) which consists of 300-miles of nature just waiting to be explored! If a 2-mile hike is like a walk in the park for you, keep following the BMT for more mountain views and a multitude of adventures!

Grassy Mountain Tower Trail

Photo Courtesy of Robert Shaw

Hiking through the Cohutta Wilderness on the Grassy Mountain Tower Trail comes with amazing outdoor perks on a 5-mile moderate hike. The adventure begins along the shore of the Lake Conasauga, a spot ideal for a picnic to fuel up for the trek. Once you make your way around the lake, the elevation and the views begin to increase. As you make your way to the trail peak, hikers can expect to see Fort Mountain and long-ranging views. The best part of this trail is climbing the stairs of the historic Grassy Mountain Fire Lookout Tower for an outstanding view of the surrounding countryside!

Emery Creek Falls

Photo Courtesy of Susan Burkley Brock

Serenity and a remote escape from civilization can be found while on the Emery Creek Falls Trail. This intermediate trail takes hikers through 20 creeks and past several waterfalls throughout the 6.2-mile round trip hike.  These double waterfalls, located outside of Ellijay, provide plenty of adventure with wildlife and green forestry surrounding your every step!

Hemp Top Trail

Photo Courtesy of Bill Lee

Hemp Top Trail offers sights with some of the highest peaks in Georgia and provides breathtaking sights of the Tennessee Valley as well. With Blue Ridge located only 10 miles away, this quiet hike will submerge you right into the beauty of the North Georgia wilderness. The abundant hardwood trees provide enough shade for moderate-skilled hikers along the 6.2-mile course and if you’re lucky you may experience a chilly mountain breeze!

Three Forks to Springer Mountain

Photo Courtesy of Ina Richards

This hike to Springer Mountain comes in at 8.6 miles round trip includes mountain peak views, tranquil streams, and a lush environment. This trail intersects with the Benton Mackaye Trail and the Appalachian Trail. Your summer hiking boots will lead you to the official end of the Appalachian Trail once you hike the 4.3 miles to view the Springer Mountain summit. At the Springer Mountain peak, you can take a rest with your portable hammock, grab a handful of your favorite trail mix, or simply sit in awe to marvel at the gorgeous views!

Jacks River Trail

Photo Courtesy of Nate Kirby

Immerse yourself in the hardwood trees of North Georgia while hiking alongside the Jacks River. Located within the Cohutta Wilderness, the Jacks River Trail invites hikers to witness one of the most captivating waterfalls in the state! This moderately challenging trail reaches a there-and-back total of 9-miles. While a highlight of the hike is the spectacular 80-foot Jacks River Falls, the trail also features wildflowers, mossy river banks, and rocky paths waiting to be explored!

Escape to Nature

View from Blue Mist Heaven

If you are looking to Escape to Blue Ridge for the weekend, one week, or even one month, there are a plethora of trails in the Blue Ridge area for you to explore! When our summer schedules get hectic, a change of scenery and a good hike can be the perfect remedy to calm our minds. Before you head out on the trails, don’t forget to bring sunscreen, a healthy snack, and plenty of water!

We would love to see your photos of when you hit the trails this summer! You can find us through our Facebook page or tag us on Instagram @escapetobr and we’ll be sure to feature you!

Cruising on Lake Blue Ridge

Steve Procko

I’ve spent the last 28 years cruising the shoreline of Lake Blue Ridge. I’ve seen and heard it all, I suppose. My friends call me Captain Katz, pretty much for my expertise on steering them into the areas safe for spawning, and away from the fish hunting sapiens. But to the naked human eye, I’m just a big old channel catfish, not good for much of anything except a great selfie if they are lucky enough to snag me. I’m happy to say that hasn’t been my destiny to date.

Today, I’ve been asked to share with you warm-blooded, gill-less persons many of the amazing amenities of the 3,300 acres of pristine clean clear waters of Lake Blue Ridge.  I’ve observed your enthusiasm for our lagoons for nearly three decades. Yes, if you can see your toes in the water, I can see up at you, as well as hear you. And you are quite the vocal species, aren’t you?  Especially when you manage to hook one of my fellow aquatic compadres. 

Fishing

Photo Courtesy of @Keepinitreelblueridge

My grandfather spoke often about the rudiments of this human sport. It is essential for those of us who have no intention of being caught just how to avoid the situation. That means that I happen to know where I shall stay clear, but where you will enjoy hooking a few of those less savvy fish for your dinner.  

When deciding on your bait as well as your choice of hook, you might want to consider which one of us you hope to snag. You’ll mostly find small and largemouth bass, white bass, spotted bass, bluegill, walleye, rainbow trout, and yellow perch at the end of your pole if luck is on your side. 

If dropping a line from shore the best places to fish are amid the rocky flats around the marina, Star Creek Cove, and the docks around the main body of the lake.  There’s also some serious consideration given to the base of the Blue Ridge Dam.

Family-Friendly Recreational Spots

The U.S. Forest Service manages two recreational areas where one can exhibit their angling skills. But I suggest these to further emphasize that there is more to a great family lake experience than getting sunburned while dunking a worm in hopes of enticing the likes of me to nip at it. 

Lake Blue Ridge Recreational  Area is located on the west side of the lake. This is a passive recreation area with a beautiful view of the lake and mountains. The boat ramp is free. This park is also a good place for quiet walks and relaxing bike rides. There is a short, easy hike along the shoreline, and also a one-mile paved loop road that is popular for walking. Kayak and paddleboards are available for rent.

Morganton Point Recreational Area is the ideal place for swimming and beaching it with the family. Open April through October, the summer months will find the waters warm and crystal clear. I don’t enjoy watching you all stumble around while attempting to have fun, so please consider water shoes for the pebble base in this area, especially for the young ones. Why you all have toes instead of webbed feet, I will never understand! There are also covered pavilions for picnicking and there are lavatories (a place with a porcelain water hole of which I cannot comprehend the need).

Ahoy, Matey!

For those of you who want to tour the lake by vessel, there are numerous means to explore our more than  60 miles of shoreline, of which only twenty-five percent is developed.

There are wonderful coves to explore all along the banks of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Star Creek Cove is the largest, located just off the channel (around the corner from Star Creek Rd.). Its expanse is about a mile long and nearly 1,000 feet across at its widest point. This allows for all kinds of recreational pursuits from canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, and motor boating, with plenty of room for all.

If you’ve come to the lake with your owned equipment, there are five different boat ramps to choose from including Lake Blue Ridge Dam, Lakewood Landing Boat Ramp, The Lake Blue Ridge Day Use Recreational Area and Boat Ramp, Morganton Point Recreation Area, and the Blue Ridge Marina. 

You don’t have your own vessel? At the Blue Ridge Marina, you can rent pontoon boats, kayaks, and paddleboards, as well as stock up on all the boating essentials supplies. A day on the lake is bound to find you hungry. The Boat Dock Bar and Grill is a great place to grab a bite to eat. On many weekends you’ll find the Marina hosting live music and events. 

Lake Blue Ridge Outfitters is located inside the Morganton Point Recreational Area. Here you can rent kayaks, SUP boards (paddleboard-kayak hybrid), fishing kayaks, paddleboards, and party paddleboards. 

Sunrise to Sunset

There are spectacular views of the mountains from every angle of the Lake, and we sea bearers, much like you, often marvel at their reflection above us. But there seem to be two different times of the day that you humans are most captivated by the views along the lake, and that would be at sunrise and sunset. 

For breathtaking sunrises I highly recommend perching atop the Lake Blue Ridge Dam, looking north and south.  There is also a new overlook on the lake in the park area next to the dam, for you shutterflys who want to capture the moment with your cameras.

Sunsets on Lake Blue Ridge are Mother Nature’s means of showing off.  One of the favorite spots to observe her color palette’s slide show bouncing off the water is at the Morgantown Point Recreational Area. 

Lakeside Cabins

I have seen the happiest land dwellers are the ones that are lucky enough to book a cabin right on the lake. There’s just something about stepping out of the house right onto the dock of the lake or ending the day soaking your cares away in a hot tub overlooking the shimmering waters of my home. Even if you aren’t big into water activities you can appreciate the beauty of your surroundings as you settle into a rocking chair with a book, a beer or a glass of wine, and simply enjoy a spectacular sunset from the porch from one of these Lakeside Cabin Rentals.

A Big Splash

That about wraps up my lake tips. For those of you who walk on land, but envy those of us blessed to inhabit the tranquil waters of Lake Blue Ridge, I encourage you to come spend time with us. We don’t mind sharing our liquid homestead, but we do ask that along with your memories and your photos that you take home from your day on the lake, also take your trash to dispose of in appropriate containers. We look forward to your next visit! 

*Featured photo courtesy of Steve Procko