Georgia Mountains & Beach Together

It’s Summertime at Unicoi State Park & Lodge!

In the middle of the North Georgia Mountains, where clear river water runs in rivulets and rushes down rivers into Unicoi Lake, you get two things: the mountains and the beach.

Just outside Alpine Helen in the North Georgia Mountains is a wide beach on the shores of Unicoi Lake. Unicoi State Park & Lodge brings together two popular elements that commonly do not coexist on vacations – a beach blanket bingo kind of vibe with elevated explorations!

That’s right. A summer vacation at Unicoi State Park & Lodge means embracing the 53-acre Unicoi Lake with its own sandy beach, and all the hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and waterfall viewing that you want. Our kids made an itinerary for us to spend the week doing beach, lake, and mountain activities. I don’t think we can do it all, but one day at a time … oh to be a kid again!

Watercraft rentals at the Visitor Center get us in and out on the water. Day visitors (with a $5 day parking pass) and overnight guests have access to hourly or longer rentals: kayaks, paddleboards, and aqua cycles (Thursday through Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm). Rentals are secured on a first-come, first-served basis, so get yours early.

Even those with the best balance can find paddle boarding a challenge on flat waters. But that’s the refreshing part. Kerplunk! Ah.

Some of the best trout fishing is here – no secret – but some of the best fly fishing can be done at Smith Creek down by the Kissing Bridge!

Grandpa brought his own fly-fishing gear. He has not pulled it out since his more frequent fishing days. Being at Unicoi State Park & Lodge and fishing in the mountain streams brought back a side of him we’re stoked to see: relaxed and fulfilled and with a few fresh trout that we flavored with seasonings and grilled for dinner one night.

The kids chose fly-fishing lessons from the park guide who taught them the basics: the parts of a fly rod and the art of the cast, what different lures mean, and even how to think like a fish. They loved it. They made fast friends with their local park guide and made plans to fly fish together again at the end of this week. Go fly fishing with a guide.

We brought our own bikes for trail riding on more strenuous paths through the forests and fields. Just a word of caution as the park ranger at the Visitors Center said that the mountain biking trails are minimally maintained and we did find the trails a bit challenging at times.

Just down the road from the park entrance is one of the area’s most visited waterfalls, Anna Ruby Falls, formed by Curtis and York creeks that fall side-by-side. There is also a daily shuttle service to Helen provided by Unicoi Lodge. Or you can hike fewer than two miles there. The kids wanted mountain-style candies and drinks. Also, there are many wineries in this area and that are great for selecting gifts.

Check out all the adventures: Screaming Eagle Aerial Adventures (zip line in the trees and an option over the lake), kayaking, guided nature hike, fly fishing class, mountain biking, paddleboarding, axe throwing, archery & gun range. Book Online or call 706-878-2201.

If you go, check out the special package offers with discounts on overnight rates and some amenities. Beware of the kids’ itineraries, as you may need a vacation after your vacation!

  • Julianne P.

The Adventure Begins Today! 706-878-2201

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