Best Family-Friendly Waterfalls to Visit in Georgia
From short and easy trails to more challenging hikes, Northeast Georgia has a wealth of beautiful waterfalls. Enjoy a day trip to one of these family-friendly falls, or spend a weekend exploring the area. Some locations have a $2-$5 entrance/parking fee. There are even waterfalls right here in metro Atlanta. For more resources on waterfall hikes, and on the many family-friendly trails to walk or hike in Georgia, visit exploregeorgia.org, gastateparks.org, and atlantatrails.com
This state park in Dawsonville boasts the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi. Park halfway up the mountain to reach a short, accessible path that leads directly to the falls. A variety of other trails vary in length and difficulty, so families can choose the route that suits them best. Check the park’s calendar of events for activities such as guided hikes and a birds of prey show.
A short walk on easy terrain leads visitors to a view from the flat rocks or wading areas at the bottom of Minnehaha Falls. Located near Lake Rabun in the Chattahoochee National Forest , Minnehaha Falls make a picture-perfect descent down 100 feet of stair-stepped rock formations.
Bear Gap Road, Tallulah Falls
An easy, accessible pathway leads to the 186-foot, free-falling Toccoa Falls. Located on the campus of the 1,100-acre Toccoa Falls College, this spectacular attraction is one of Georgia’s hidden gems and is ideal for beginners or families with younger kids.
107 Kincaid Dr, Toccoa
View two waterfalls in one hike! A brief, easy walk through the Chattahoochee National Forest leads to the lower falls, which are about 40 feet long. View the upper falls on the observation deck as they cascade 50 feet into the pool below. Splash in the swimming hole at the base of the falls and picnic on the rocks in this scenic setting.
U.S. Hwy. 29 S., Blairsville
Located in the Chattahoochee National Forest, Anna Ruby Recreation Area is a short drive from Helen. An easy half-mile paved trail leads to the foot of a rare set of double waterfalls. Be sure to stop at the visitor center, which offers a variety of educational programs and activities throughout the year.
3455 Anna Ruby Falls Rd., Helen
A 1 1/4-mile hike leads to beautiful Dukes Creek Falls in the Chattahoochee National Forest, where several large waterfalls are formed at the convergence of Dukes Creek and Davis Creek. The main fall is a majestic 150-foot, multi-tiered cascade. Viewing platforms make it easy to get a panoramic view of the beautiful scenery.
1699 Richard Russell Hwy., Helen
This series of six falls cascades though the 1000-foot deep Tallulah Gorge. The 2 1/4-mile round trip hike takes visitors over a dizzying 80-foot suspension bridge before ending at Hurricane Falls. Spectacular views make this state park one of Georgia’s most popular – plan to spend a day enjoying its many trails and activities.
Tallulah Gorge State Park 38 Jane Hurt Yarn Dr., Tallulah Falls
Located in Moccasin Creek State Park, this 2-mile round-trip hike begins at the shore of Lake Burton and follows Moccasin Creek to Hemlock Falls, which flows over a sheer cliff into the pool below. A sandy beach at the base of the falls makes a perfect spot for taking in the view.
3655 GA Hwy. 197 N., Clarkesville
A favorite hiking spot, this seven-mile round-trip trail in the Panther Creek Recreation Area is ideal for families with a little more hiking experience. The trail crosses sandy floodplains and crosses several smaller creeks and rock outcrops as it travels through the Chattahoochee National Forest. The multi-tiered falls end in a sandy shoreline area, perfect for resting up for the return hike.
3995 Old Historic 441, Turnerville
This 5-mile round-trip hike in the Chattahoochee National Forest rewards visitors with beautiful views of Dodd Creek, and is one of the area’s most popular hikes. Lush greenery and multiple smaller falls and cascades are found along the way. At the trail’s end, the creek plunges through a narrow, 40-foot tall cliff.
Hikes Near Metro Atlanta
Southwest Atlanta is the site of a stunning waterfall, tucked inside one of the city’s oldest forests. As you splash, stay alert for wildlife in this lush spot! Kids can also explore the remnants of a stone springhouse (with moat) and Civil War-era trenches on this former battlefield site.
Take the Marble Mine Trail to peek into the mouth of the old mine and explore four natural springs and a small 35-foot waterfall that is active in spring and winter only. Visit late in the day to catch spectacular sunsets over the lake.
Hike an easy 1-mile trail at Sope Creek Park, one of the most popular and scenic in Atlanta’s Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. The trail winds through the forest to a rushing, boulder-filled creek and past the ruins of the Civil War-era Marietta Paper Company.
Where the red and white trails converge several small waterfalls create a beautiful place to watch and listen to the rushing waters. The ruins of the New Manchester textile mill run alongside the white-water rapids, close to the falls. District 13 movie scenes were shot here, making it a must-see for tweens/teens who love The Hunger Games series!
Dalia Faupel contributed to this story.