Closest Mountains To Florida & How It Compares To Beaches

Are you looking for the best mountaintop experience near Florida? If so, the mountains of Helen, Georgia are the place for you to go. In fact, the closest mountain to Florida is Mount Yonah, sitting at 3,143 feet above sea level. Climb up Mount Yonah and experience views that rival any other range on the East Coast.

While Florida can’t be beaten when it comes to the beach, nearby Helen, Georgia tops Florida for a powerful mountaintop experience.

At some point, almost everyone craves a rustic mountain experience, so we’re here to let you know why you might want to choose a mountain escape over the beach, how long it takes to reach mountains near Florida, and what you can do once you arrive.

Reasons to stay in a mountain cabin for your vacation from Florida

Beach condos are fun, but no amount of sun and sand can replace the relaxation and fun of peaceful mountains, trees, and remote luxury. One of the best reasons to choose a mountain cabin vacation is that your stay will be enjoyable regardless of the weather. When planning your vacation far in advance, it may be hard to say whether beach weather will be conducive to fun or not. Tropical storms and hurricanes might cancel the plans altogether, and even rain or lightning puts a major damper on a coastal Florida trip. Although it rarely gets very chilly in Florida, a seasonal cold spell or windy day can ruin the water experience.A mountain cabin stay is an enjoyable rain or shine, hot or cold. The mountains provide an amazing experience in ideal weather, but hiking, unlike beach tanning in Florida, is a great way to stay warm in all seasons.When it’s raining, snowing, or even too hot to go outside, spacious cabins are meant to be enjoyed on the inside. Unlike Florida beach hotels or condos, our mountain cabins will allow you to stretch out and be together at the same time, enjoying many past times from cooking a good meal together, to relaxing in the hot tub or playing a game of pool.

Some of the best parts of the mountain experience are in season when a Florida beach is less appealing too: Oktoberfest and autumn leaves are fall experiences that might be better suited if your vacation has to take place during that season.

A cabin in the woods is also a perfect place to spend family holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, or New Year’s. Family vacation times when the kiddos are out of school are great times to enjoy an adventure in the woods too. Bundle up and enjoy toasting s’mores over an outdoor fire pit. If your children believe in Santa we’re betting you’re more likely to hear the sleigh bells in the north Georgia mountains than you might at the beach. Just saying!

And perhaps best of all, the mountains near Florida offer a different experience. Helen, Georgia has unique shops and wineries that can’t be found in Florida or anywhere else for that matter, and there’s something truly special about the mountaintop views that rival a beach sunset.

Read on for a more detailed comparison of the two destinations and details on travel times.Hickory Wood Cabin

The North Georgia Mountains vs. The Beaches Of Florida’s Gulf Coast

When it’s warm, the beaches of Florida’s Gulf Coast may be calling your name, but the allure of the cool, peaceful North Georgia mountains may also sound appealing. Although they’re very different vacation destinations, each has its draws.

Which spot is ideal for your next getaway? This detailed comparison of the two popular retreats should help you to decide with confidence and ease.

Comparison Dimension: Entertainment value

The North Georgia Mountains

A visit to the mountains offers something for everyone to enjoy. For adventurers, entertainment may be found in the form of kayaking, rock climbing, or mountain biking. Nature lovers will enjoy hikes and horseback rides through the Chattahoochee National Forest or fishing. History buffs will be kept occupied by historic Dahlonega, and the legends of Sautee-Nacoochee.

Families can go tubing together, try a zipline tour, or play mini-golf, and shoppers will be delighted by numerous antique stores. People from all walks of life come to be entertained in the Helen area.

The Florida Gulf Coast

Many beach-goers enjoy the luxury of soaking up the sun and lazing on the beach all day, but that doesn’t mean that there’s any shortage of entertainment along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The Gulf Coast, which is home to five of the top twenty beaches in America, features both charming towns and swinging vacation destinations. Visitors can enjoy water sports, parasailing, snorkeling, visiting theme parks like Busch Gardens, or taking in the nightlife of popular beach towns. If you want to visit waterfalls, here are the 8 best waterfalls in Florida.

Comparison Dimension: Cost

The North Georgia Mountains

Northern Georgia is budget-friendly. There are plenty of options for accommodations and attractions, based on what you would like to spend. Booking a stay in a hotel, for example, may cost from $80-$200+, per night for just a single bedroom and bath, whereas a roomy and private modern cabin rental will cost around $300 per night (plus taxes and fees). The number of nights that you choose to stay is very flexible.

Most of the local attractions are relatively inexpensive, however, those costs should be considered as well. Finally, you’ll need to set a budget for meals. To maximize savings, you may choose to stay in a cabin or hotel suite with a kitchen, so that you can prepare your own food.

The Florida Gulf Coast

The Florida Gulf Coast also provides vacationers with choices for their accommodations. Hotels may range from $50-$150+, per night, but travelers should be mindful that the less expensive facilities will be located further away from the beaches. Beach rentals, like condos and cottages, can also be rented, and tend to range from $200-$400 per night, depending on the season and the beach.

Many Gulf Coast beach rentals must be reserved for at least a week, so expect to factor in those costs. If your accommodations aren’t located on the beach, you may need to plan for the costs of commuting to the water each day and any possible parking fees. Budget for any major attractions or activities that you and your family would like to try, and consider daily meals. As with northern Georgia, your best bet is to book a rental with a kitchen to reduce costs.

Comparison Dimension: Family Friendliness

The North Georgia Mountains

The areas surrounding the north Georgia mountains are very family-oriented and offer a plethora of activities for children and adults alike. Families can bond as they work together to canoe down a river.

They can explore the Alpine village of Helen via bike or Surrey bike rentals, learn about America’s first Gold Rush in Dahlonega, or descend into a gold mine and pan for treasure.

Families of all sizes also enjoy hiking all of the nearby waterfalls. A ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is also a lot of fun for family groups, as is tubing down the Chattahoochee, or learning to fish in the local spots.

The Florida Gulf Coast

Families can have a blast splashing and playing on the beaches of Florida’s Gulf Coast. From building sandcastles to chasing the tide, to collecting seashells, there’s plenty to do and see. For safety, parents need to keep an eye on the kids whenever they are out in the water, as unexpected swelling in the waves can occur.

Those visiting the central coast can also take advantage of spending the day at Busch Gardens, whereas those along the Gulf Coast Pan Handle may enjoy playing in the sand dunes together. Due to the popularity of the Gulf Coast during Spring Break, however, families with younger children may want to avoid visiting during March and April.

Comparison Dimension: Available Free Activities

The North Georgia Mountains

Regardless of what your budget is, you’ll be able to find suitable activities to enjoy in the mountains of northern Georgia. Free museums like The History Museum of Sautee-Nacoochee, The Gourd Place, and Babyland General Hospital are all local family favorites.

Even window shopping is a blast in the Helen area. Exploring The Christmas Shoppe or trying free samples at the Hansel and Gretel Candy Kitchen doesn’t cost a dime. Visiting the numerous Georgia State Parks like Unicoi, Tallulah Gorge, and Amicalola Falls is very low-cost and can fill entire days with fun.

Tubing and bike rentals are quite affordable, and even the larger attractions like zip-lining are moderately priced. Helen also celebrates numerous festivals with no entry fee throughout the year, making the visit even more special.

The Florida Gulf Coast

Beach bums will have it made if they can book accommodations right on the beach. In this case, hunkering down in the sand and playing in the waves will be free each day.

Frugal vacationers can also avoid spending by wandering among the vendors and people-watching at Pier 60. Visiting St. Andrews State Park is a low-cost option, as is renting bicycles to ride along the beach paths together. Taking surf lessons, parasailing, or heading to Busch Gardens is more costly, but will create lasting memories.

Comparison Dimension: Accessibility

The North Georgia Mountains

Driving up into the north Georgia mountains may sound like a challenge, but it’s actually extremely straightforward. The Alpine village of Helen is situated approximately 90 miles north of Atlanta and can be reached by I-85 and GA-400, which are well-maintained for safe travel. Read more about travel time from Florida to the north Georgia mountains below.

The Florida Gulf Coast

Florida Gulf Coast Panhandle areas, like Pensacola, may be reached via I-85 and I-65, and the most commonly visited Gulf Coast cities, like Clearwater and Tampa, are generally accessed by I-75.

These major interstates provide a direct and open route without backroads during low-traffic periods but may bottleneck during major travel holidays like Spring Break, Independence Day, or Memorial Day. Travelers should be advised of the possibility of severe weather on the trip during hurricane season as well.

Comparison Dimension: Quiet Factor

The North Georgia Mountains

Though northern Georgia’s towns are usually bristling with activity (especially during Oktoberfest), absolute peace and quiet are always possible when you decide to stay in a private and secluded cabin rental.

The Florida Gulf Coast

The beach can be quite peaceful in the off-season, but during the peak spring and summer months, expect some level of noise from other tourists – especially if you’re staying in a condo or hotel on the beach. Even relatively quiet neighbors will create normal noise from closing doors, walking, and talking nearby. Noise ordinances are usually in place to prevent late-night rowdiness, but Spring Break may be a time to avoid for those who value quiet.

Are you a beach person, or a mountain person?

If Cedar Creek Cabins sounds like the right spot for you, click here to see our fabulous cabins for yourself!

Travel time from Florida to the nearest mountains

If you’ve chosen a mountain cabin stay in the nearest location, it’s time to plan your trip.

From Tallahassee, Florida, the travel time to Helen, Georgia is only six hours. The drive can be made without stopping and is relatively short considering the rewards of reaching your destination.

By comparison, the mountains of Boone, North Carolina are over nine hours away from Tallahassee, a 50% longer travel time that eliminates an entire day of your vacation spent on the road alone.

If you’re farther south in Florida, the travel time from Miami to Helen is eleven hours, which is a long haul but still lands you in the nearest mountains to Florida without having to stop somewhere overnight.

And for those of you looking to fly, Helen is less than two hours from Atlanta’s airport, Hartsfield-Jackson International. The busiest airport in the US, Hartsfield Jackson almost always has cheap available flights from any major Florida city, and you can rent a car for a short ride to your destination once you land!

When you decide to visit these inspiring mountains, you’ll need a place to stay and we’ve got you covered there as well. That is unless you’d prefer to rough it at Unicoi State Park. We believe you’ll prefer to go upscale at one of our high-end luxury cabins.

Once you’re here, you’ll likely want some activities to enjoy these mountains. We’ve got you covered there with our comprehensive things to do page.

If you are looking for the perfect mountain cabin rentals from Florida, Mount Yonah in Helen, Georgia is your destination. We’ll see you at the top.

Top 4 Ways To Enjoy The Outdoors At The Closest Mountain To Florida

Because of the beauty of Helen, Georgia, we are sure you will want to get out of your cabin and experience the great outdoors. When it comes to northern Georgia there is truly something for everyone, so grab your group and get ready to have some fun outside!

Here are four of our top recommendations for making your vacation to the closest mountain to Florida truly special while grabbing some fresh mountain air.

# 1: Hit the Hiking Trails

Numerous hiking trails dot the landscape of the closest mountain to Florida. One of the most popular destinations for hiking can be found at Unicoi State Park, which is also home to Anna Ruby Falls. The trails in this park range from easy to challenging, but in autumn, all of them will offer spectacular views of the leaves changing colors and of the waterfalls themselves.

Another great trail to try which offers gorgeous fall scenery can be found in The Chattahoochee National Forest Scenic Area. The DeSoto Falls Trail is 2.4 miles long and is of moderate difficulty. The trail, which was named for explorer Hernando DeSoto, is absolutely breathtaking during the peak leaf season in autumn.

As you traipse through the vast timberland forests among brilliant hues of red and orange leaves, you will chance upon two separate waterfalls on Frogtown Creek.

Florida residents will feel like they are far away from home when they visit the famous Appalachian Trail, with accessible trails from the Amicalola Falls State Park. With over 75 miles in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest alone, the Appalachian Trail has beautiful views and many different potential days or overnight hiking trips.

# 2: Fishing

A favorite pastime of the north Georgia locals and Florida visitors alike is fishing. The Chattahoochee River is home to an incredible number of trout which makes it perfect for the avid angler. There are some nice bass waiting for you in the lake at Unicoi State Park, and plenty of other public trout streams within a half-hour drive of Helen for spin or fly fishing. Keep in mind there are state regulations on the size and seasonal timing for when you can keep fish that you catch, and much of the year is catch and release.

If you have ever wanted to try your hand at fly fishing, there is a fabulous opportunity you will come upon in Helen, Georgia at Unicoi Outfitters.  Unicoi Outfitters is located in Nacoochee Village and is well known for its fly fishing lessons. All of the guides at Unicoi Outfitters have been specially trained and certified to teach newbies and offer refresher courses for those who have not engaged in the sport for some time or simply want to improve their fly fishing technique.

Beginners will definitely want to sign up for the Gilligan Special. This introductory course will allow you to learn all of the basics of fly fishing from professionals. Your guide will start by training you on the basics of casting and fishing instruction in an hour-long session, followed by two hours of actual fishing on one of Unicoi Outfitters’ trophy trout streams.

The store provides all of the rods, reels, flies, and other fishing equipment. You’ll have a great time and you might just find a new hobby!

# 3: Biking

One fun way to explore the village of Alpine Helen is to rent a (non-traditional) bike from Woody’s Mountain Bikes. You and your sweetheart or even your entire family can all jump in and enjoy an extremely unique way of creating memories and enjoying the sights and sounds of the mountains while breathing in that crisp, mountain air.

Biking offers a fun way to discover hidden shops and gems within the Helen area while also enjoying the nature around you and bonding with your family or friends.

# 4: Horseback Riding

No matter what your age or experience level, everyone can enjoy a horseback ride through the Chattahoochee National Forest. Depending on how long you would like to be on the trail, you will have numerous packages and options from which to choose.

If you would like, you can request a sunset ride for romance or you can even incorporate a stop for fishing and a picnic into your ride. Regardless of what you choose, however, you are sure to have a wonderful and unforgettable horseback riding experience in the north Georgia mountains.

#5 Gold Panning

Of course, there is a lot of history in north Georgia, including the Georgia Gold Rush, which took place between 1828 and 1933. Skip the Florida heat and try some cool mountain air while you hone your gold panning skills at the Crisson Gold Mine or Gold N Gem Grubbin’.

Upon taking a scenic drive to the historic town of Dahlonega, Georgia, you will find a variety of other gold mines open to the public.

Idea #5 Visit Helen, Georgia

While Florida has many cultural influences, one that isn’t prevalent is a German Bavarian influence. Hence, the little town of Helen, Georgia will be a surprise to many Floridians.

An artist, who had spent time in Germany in the 1960s, redesigned the town, creating a town with gingerbread detailing and German-themed restaurants.

Enjoy the mixture of Appalachian and German food, artistry, and local history in the museums, stores, galleries, and restaurants in Helen, Georgia.

Other entertaining destinations within reach of the North Georgia Mountains

  1. The Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta: If you have kids, this is definitely number one. This is the most amazing aquarium in the U.S. You can hang out in the underground glass tunnel surrounded by aquatic creatures for hours. It’s that cool. No need to worry about eating, they have great dining with lots of healthy choices.
  2. Stone Mountain and the Laser Show: Another one for kids and adults alike.  The park is one of a kind, with a massive mountain to climb, or just admire the view from above on the Summit Skyride. The laser show at night is a must-see. The kids will love the train that circles the park.
  3. Six Flags over Georgia, just outside Atlanta. If you or your family and friends enjoy roller coasters, this is a day trip that will keep the kids busy and excited about all the rides while the adults relax with a cool beverage.

Useful links for Florida visitors to the north Georgia mountains

Related To North Georgia

Click here to visit our guide to the north Georgia area. Inside it, you’ll find the following articles and insights for making the most of your future mountainous adventures.

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