Best Things to Do in Ellijay, Georgia
If your family loves hiking the beautiful North Georgia mountains, tasty restaurants, and delectable tree-ripe apples, Ellijay, Georgia is for you. These 9 things to do below in Ellijay are perfect for your family. Here are our favorite things to do in this scenic area of North Georgia, just an hour-and-a-half north of Atlanta:
Take a Hike
Families who like to hike (or just want to try it) will enjoy scenic walks along Carters Lake in Ellijay. With four different trail options, visitors will get to see waterfalls, animals, and gorgeous scenery. There are two Georgia State Parks near Ellijay, too. At Amicalola State Park, about 30 minutes southeast of Ellijay, see the biggest waterfall in Georgia; consider an overnight stay or a quick snack or souvenir in the lobby of the beautiful Amicalola State Park Lodge. Amicalola is also the southernmost point of the Appalachian Trail, so you may see some hearty, long-distance trekkers on your hike. At Fort Mountain State Park, about 30 minutes northwest of Ellijay, see an ancient Native American rock wall and sweeping views of the Appalachians.
Try a Great Restaurant
For healthy, homemade food we love Cantaberry on the square in Ellijay. The friendly restaurant staff and fresh sandwiches and salads are perfect after a few hours of hiking. We like River Street Tavern for good food and good fun. Don’t let the tavern name fool you. You can totally bring your kids. For dessert, don’t miss Abby’s in downtown Ellijay for ice cream, fro-yo and nitro coffee.
Find a Farm
Be sure to stop by Mountain Valley Farm for the best grass-fed beef around. Animal lovers will have a blast at Cartecay Farm which has adorable critters like goats, chickens and bunnies. Silly Billy Goat Farm has Nigerian Dwarf Goats. What’s not to love?
Families with kids of all ages (even teenagers) love to visit Build an Ark Animal Rescue, which truly is an Ellijay treasure. Visitors love to pet, feed and hold the animals (think dogs, cats, pigs, goats, horses) at this sanctuary.
Visit the Apple Orchards
Ellijay is full of the best apple picking orchards in Georgia, all minutes from the town square. At Hillcrest Orchards kids can play on multiple playgrounds, go down giant slides and enjoy the petting zoo. Also, check out R&A Orchards and Mack Aaron’s Apple House. Keep in mind though that orchards are typically seasonal, so check websites for days they are open.
Sure, you could definitely camp in Ellijay, but if you like a little luxury with your outdoor adventure, try glamping. We are crazy for these dome tents near Carters Lake. They come with actual beds, a cowboy kitchen and the best part, an outdoor shower and bathtub. Elaste’Yi is a farm, complete with goats and chickens, where people can glamp in either a dome tent, a cool air stream, or a cabin.
Join in the Fun
Check out Ellijay’s calendar of family-friendly events including the annual Georgia Apple Festival which takes place over two weekends in October. On the day after Thanksgiving, visitors can always catch Light up Ellijay. The adorable Cherry Log Festival with arts, crafts and music takes place every October. Ellijay throws an amazing 4th of July parade and fireworks display every year, too. From May thru October the Ellijay General Store hosts Pickin’ on the Porch every 2nd and 4th Saturday with bluegrass music and BBQ.
Ride the River
During the hot months, cool off by tubing or kayaking down the Cartecay River with the Cartecay River Experience. Ellijay River Outfitters also offers tubing and kayaking tours through this scenic mountain region.
Try fly fishing from some of the prettiest rivers and streams in North Georgia through Reel ‘Em In Guide Service. Experienced guides will take you on either a wading or floating fishing trip where you will learn all the techniques of fly fishing. Kids over twelve are welcome.