Finding The Best Vacation Spot In Georgia: Helen vs. Ellijay

Everyone knows that the mountains are a beautiful and fun spot for an enjoyable north Georgia vacation. The area is filled with charming and quaint towns, which feature kind-hearted locals, incredible views, and lots of fun attractions. But when you’ve only got enough time to steal away to one spot for your family getaway, you’ve got to be able to decided which place is right for you: Helen or Ellijay. What’s the difference between the two cities, anyway, and what can you expect from a trip to each? To help simplify your decision, we’ve broken down some of the major factors that go into planning a vacation, from entertainment, to cost, and everything in between.

Comparison Dimension: Entertainment Value

Helen – No matter what time of year you decide to embark on your north Georgia vacation, you’re sure to have a blast in Helen. During the warmer months, travelers love to get wet by tubing together, kayaking, or visiting a local swimming hole. This is also a great time to enjoy a hike, in search of local wildflowers and native animals. When the weather cools off, vacationers like to take short day-trips from the cabin to visit nearby snow parks where they can go snow tubing, sledding, skiing, snow boarding, or just play. The wintertime also brings holiday parades, the festival of tress, and Christkindlmarkt. Other attractions, like bike tours, carriage tours, zipline canopy tours, horseback riding, museums, gold mining, and more, are available for families to visit and enjoy throughout the year.

Ellijay – Ellijay is home to many interesting spots to visit, and things to try. Those who are looking to get a real rush, be sure to bring your bathing suits and make the trip to the Cartecay River Experience. This tubing adventure takes the sport to a new level, with faster currents, small rapids, winding bends, and even a drop off of a waterfall. You may also choose to rent kayaks or canoes at this location. Fishermen will delight in teaching their children the sport and spending a day on the water with Reel ’em In Guide Service. For something a bit more laid back, plan a visit to Hillcrest Orchards, where you can pick fruit, visit the store, play on a playground, walk the orchards, or visit the on-site museums. Tabor-House and Civil War Museum is another “must” for history buffs. And if you’re coming during the fall, be sure to attend the Apple Festival, which is held in October of each year.Gold Peak Treehouse

Comparison Dimension: Cost

Ellijay – Visitors to Ellijay may choose to stay in a hotel, or in a cabin. Generally speaking, hotels will cost approximately $60-$100 per night, depending on your exact requirements. Cabin stays are quite popular in Ellijay, and costs will vary, based upon how many bedrooms you would like, the types of amenities you require, and if you would like a waterfront or mountain view. For a family of four, you should plan on spending between $180-$300 per night on your rental. Activities like window shopping and hiking may be free, but remember to factor in the “per person” costs for attractions like the River experience, or museum admissions.

Helen – Those who make Helen the spot for their north Georgia vacation will have the option of either staying in a hotel, or staying in a cabin. Depending on where you book your hotel, and the size of your room or suite, you will pay anywhere between $60-$100 per night. Staying in a cabin will be a bit pricier, at approximately $300 per night, but families will enjoy more space and amenities. The good news is that a cabin with a game room, hot tub, or fire pit, or that is located along a creek or waterfall, can provide you with free activities to do. Having your own kitchen will also cut back on meal expenses. You’ll also find numerous free attractions throughout the Helen area, but the costs for activities like water/snow sports, tours, and panning for gold will vary.

Comparison Dimension: Family Friendliness

Helen – Helen was made for families to relax and play together. Whether you have younger children, older kids, or both, you will be able to keep them entertained. Stay competitive by going head-to-head during a round of Alpine mini golf before picnicking at the highest point in Georgia – Brasstown Bald. Teens may want to hike to the top, but little ones may prefer to take the tram. From here, you can see four states at once – a great learning experience for kids! There are adventures to be had by youngsters, big thrills or older children, and tons of new things for everyone to learn – big and small.

Ellijay – Although Ellijay is a family friendly north Georgia vacation spot, it is generally better suited to older children. Activities like local history museums, farms, or the apple orchard may not hold the interest of very young children or toddlers. In addition, the Cartecay River Experience means swift water tubing, which can be frightening to little ones. Take the time to assess the ages of your children, and how suitable these activities would be for them.

Comparison Dimension: Durationnorth georgia vacation

Ellijay – When planning a north Georgia vacation, it’s always in your best interest to give yourself a few days. This is because you need plenty of time to explore the area, and visit all of the attractions that you would like without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. Remember, your getaway is about relaxing and renewing yourself – not running yourself ragged. Most guests will find that they can experience all of the highlights of the Ellijay area over the course of a weekend.

Helen – There’s a lot to experience in Helen, so we recommend making your north Georgia vacation last for at least 3 days and 2 full nights. This will ensure that you can see all that you want to see, without having to cram too many activities in one day. You may find, though, that you need even more time in the area in order to get the full “Helen Experience”.

Comparison Dimension: Accessibility

Helen – Located just under 2 hours north of Atlanta, Helen is very simple to access. The drive along the GA 400 and Interstate 85 is extremely simple, even for those travelers who are unfamiliar with the area. You’ll find that it is just a stone’s throw away from neighboring areas, like Nacoochee-Sautee and Dahlonega, making nearby attractions very accessible, as well.

Ellijay – Ellijay is situated 78 miles north of Atlanta, making the trip just under 1.5 hours. The city can be accessed via Interstate 75 and Interstate 575. Although further from Dahlonega than Helen, scenic Blueridge is quite accessible from Ellijay.

No matter where you decide to go on your north Georgia vacation, you’re sure to have a wonderful time enjoying the sights and sounds around you with your family. By taking the time to compare and contrast between two popular destinations like Helen and Ellijay, you will find that it is far easier to plan a vacation that will allow your family to have fun, and connect with one another. Which of these two cities do you think would be best for you and your loved ones?