Oktoberfest in Helen
It’s a festive season to be at Unicoi State Park & Lodge
Did you know that the Bavarian-themed downtown of Helen, Georgia is a moderately easy hike from Unicoi State Park & Lodge? The trail that connects the lodge and town is going to be your next best friend during Oktoberfest in Alpine Helen, as will the shuttle driver at the lodge – ready to deliver you and the family to the festivities and provide a ride back. Unicoi State Park & Lodge has you covered!
I don’t have lederhosen to wear when I join Oktoberfest, but that’s okay. Everyone of all ages is welcome. If you haven’t made plans yet to enjoy fall in the North Georgia mountains, I recommend Unicoi State Park & Lodge for its coziness combined with its rustic natural beauty.
Here are my Top 5 Tips on spending the weekend (or the week) in beautiful alpine country:
- Check out Georgia State Parks Leaf Watch. You’ll know when to hike in the peak of fall color. The sweetgum leaves turn bright yellow. Dogwood leaves transition to a brilliant crimson, and hickory trees shed their leaves of gold. Now you’ll know the names of a few of the trees along your walk to downtown Helen.
- You definitely want to sign up in advance for the zipline aerial adventure tour with friends and family at the lodge. It’s a thrilling challenge for someone like me who is afraid of heights, but the instructors are patient and awesome about inspiring you to “just go.” And with fall colors, your photos from the forest canopy will be great.
- Helen’s Oktoberfest started in mid-September and will run daily during the month of October. German bands from around the country and overseas perform in the Helen Festhalle, where picnic tables host guests drinking fine German beers while enjoying local offerings such as offering pastries, coffees, happy hours, and authentic favorites like spaetzle, fried cheese, goulash and bratwursts.
- Be sure to hike Anna Ruby Falls. Just a short hike or drive down from the lodge, this amazing double cascading waterfall is a sight to see – especially when surrounded by fall foliage.
- Be sure to ask the front desk when the firepit will be lit. It’s a communal gathering place for guests to relax and take in the stars, the fire, and the camaraderie. S’mores kits can be purchased in the Visitor Center or lodge store.
If you go: Festhalle for Oktoberfest is $8-$10 admission. Sundays are free; ages 6-12 half price and active/retired military is free with valid ID.
Book Your Stay: The Unicoi Lodge has 96 lodge rooms, and 29 Georgia State Park cabins across the 1,000+ acre property. Tent camping and R/V sites are also available. A complimentary lodge shuttle provides a ride to and from Helen and Anna Ruby Falls. Your driver is a local resident, so have fun gleaning town to-dos (tips are appreciated).
Check out a calendar of fall activities at Unicoi State Park & Lodge and local events. As the organizers of Oktoberfest say, it’s all about Gemütlichkeit – or people and good feelings coming together. See you at Unicoi State Park & Lodge!
By LYDIA SEA, Georgia wanderer finding off-the-beaten path places (and gems!)