Spring Break Splash at Unicoi State Park & Lodge

North Georgia has its own state of mind. It’s a beautiful escape, especially in the spring, as rivers are full and flowing and wildflowers are sending first blooms from the once-frigid winter soils. Birds are everywhere!

My friends and I are on Spring Break at Unicoi State Park & Lodge.

We are so at home in this 1,000-acre park just outside of Alpine Helen, an easy-to-get-around town with a Bavarian-inspired vibe of architecture, food and spirits and cobblestone walkways.

I’ve assembled a working itinerary to give us a few ideas about what to do on our mountain-style adventure. Hardly any driving is needed and that’s something we intended on this vacation.

Unicoi Beach and Smith Creek Tavern

Spread out the towels on Unicoi Beach by the mountain lake. You can also paddle board, kayak, and naturally relax, savoring these moments away from your daily routines.

Tonight, we are eating at Smith Creek Tavern here in the park’s lodge, named for the mountain stream that runs through Unicoi State Park. Smith Creek Tavern is a cozy, upscale-yet-rustic dining room and full bar with an entertainment area for musicians who play some weekends, a pool table and shuffleboard along with televised sports games.

Zip Lines and Waterfalls

Want views like a bird? Register with expert guides to try out Unicoi Zipline and Aerial Adventure Tour of the lush and biodiverse tree canopy at Unicoi State Park & Lodge. Feel the spring breezes whoosh by as you glide through the sky above the lake. I’m going to inquire about renting a GoPro video camera to record our zip line experience and keep it with us this week as we make memories exploring the park.

Waterfalls splash the landscape throughout North Georgia, from Cloudland Canyon in the northwest to Tallulah Gorge in the northeast.

Just down the road is one of the area’s most visited waterfalls, Anna Ruby Falls, formed by Curtis and York creeks that fall side-by-side. Legend says a local Civil War soldier, Colonel John H. “Captain” Nichols, found these falls on horseback and named them after his only daughter, Anna Ruby. We loved the easy hike to Anna Ruby Falls from the national park’s entrance on a paved surface. Along the way are interpretive signs about the area’s natural history. There are slight inclines and it’s an average of 45 minutes round trip – depending on how long you stay and admire the falls. I’ve been inside the Visitors Center before and you want to check it out at the entrance to the falls trail.

Fire Pit Stargazing and Trail to Helen

One of our days we plan to make a tasty picnic basket with all sorts of goodies from Betty’s Country Store. This local hotspot in Helen, founded in 1973, has an amazing selection of fresh produce, deli meats and cheeses, beer and wine, gifts, and bakery selections. Walking to Betty’s from the lodge is a refreshing 2-mile hike.

That night we plan to relax by the firepit in the courtyard of Unicoi Lodge and enjoy some star-gazing. Though close to the small town of Alpine Helen, the country night sky is dark enough to show every star imaginable. We’re going to see how many constellations we can recognize.

Georgia State Parks Geocaching

My friends and I have been working on completing our Parks GeoTour passport and Unicoi State Park was next on our list. Once I have those last 9 keywords, I plan to turn my passport in to receive the Mountains Region Geo Coin. This has been a fun way to learn about orienteering and to explore the great outdoors.
If you go, check out the special package offers with discounts on overnight rates and some amenities. We just arrived here, and I am excited to indulge in the itinerary I’ve outlined in a destination that’s perfect for connecting us to all the culture of the North Georgia mountains.

  • Brenda F.

The Adventure Begins Today! 706-878-2201

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