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

Helen vs. Savannah

As a part of the original 13 colonies, Georgia is a state that is alive with history and diversity. As far as land goes, the Peach State is actually the most extensive state east of the Mississippi River, meaning that there are plenty of places for families to explore during a vacation or getaway. With breathtaking mountains and vast forests to the north, marshland and bayous in the south, and oceans and beaches to the east, there’s no shortage of variety in Georgia.

Among two of the more popular Georgia tourist destinations are Helen and Savannah. While both provide fun and exciting vacation opportunities for visitors, each location possesses its own unique merits.

Which vacation hot spot is right for you? By comparing the various characteristics of Savannah and Helen, you should get a better idea as to which destination is best for your needs.Escape cabin

Comparison Dimension: Entertainment Value

Visiting Helen

Located in mountainous northern Georgia, Helen provides an array of outdoor entertainment and adventures for vacationers. If searching for waterfalls, kayaking or tubing down the Chattahoochee River, enjoying the gorgeous canopy from a zipline, hiking, biking, fishing, or panning for gold sound appealing to you, Helen is the place to be. The city takes the mountain theme to a while new level by embracing the lifestyle and architecture of Alpine Germany. Paired with a rich Cherokee history, Helen also offers an array of cultural entertainment.

Visiting Savannah

336 miles southeast of Helen, Savannah is a costal city, featuring Tybee, Wilmington, and Skidaway Islands. Those who prefer a more tropical vacation experience will enjoy lounging on the beaches, playing in the ocean, going on a dolphin-watching tour, or spending a day at Splash in the Boro water park. Savannah is also known for being the oldest city in Georgia. Because of this, travelers love to visit spots like Old Fort Jackson and the Savannah Historical District.

Comparison Dimension: Cost

Visiting Helen

There are multiple options for families who choose to vacation in Helen. Those who prefer a traditional hotel stay may find accommodations for $80-$150 a night. Other travelers enjoy staying in a multi-bedroom vacation rental, like those offered by Cedar Creek Cabin Rentals. Although prices will vary by the amount of rooms required, a typical stay in the cabins will cost around $300 per night plus tax. Because there are so many local attractions, driving and fuel costs should be minimal. Families should set a budget for attractions, with a good balance of free activities, and those with admissions costs. Staying in a cabin or hotel suite with a kitchen can help to save on the costs of meals.

Visiting Savannah

Savannah vacationers will also find themselves faced with the choice to stay in a hotel or a vacation rental. Hotel prices in Savannah are similar to those in Helen, with rates ranging from $80 to over $200 for luxury suites. Instead of cabins, many visitors to Savannah choose to stay in beach cottages which may cost from $200-$300 per night, plus tax, or historic vacation homes from companies like Stay Savannah that may cost between $200-$400 per night, plus tax.

Comparison Dimension: Family Friendliness

Visiting Helen

helen georgiaHelen is well known for is wide array of attractions and activities that are well-suited to families with children of all ages. Families can spend the day exploring state parks, geocaching, checking out local museums, riding on horseback through the Chattahoochee National Forest, learning how to fly fish, canoeing, playing mini golf, going on a carriage ride, enjoying a zipline tour, exploring gold mines, and so much more.

Visiting Savannah

In Savannah, families will have fun splashing in the water and building sand castles together. Maritime museums are available for exploration, there are numerous kid-friendly science centers, a fun water park, and tons of history to be explored.

Comparison Dimension: Available Activities

Visiting Helen

It’s easy to visit Helen on any budget, as there are plenty of free and low cost activities to enjoy. Those looking to save money may enjoy hiking, exploring nearby trading posts like Pappy’s, or checking out the fairy houses at Sleepy Hollow in nearby Blairesville. Low-cost attractions include Cool River Tubing Company, Surrey bike rentals, panning for gold, or feeding the deer at Amicalola Falls Deer Park. For those with a few extra dollars to spend, consider a horseback riding tour, hot air balloon ride, or a zipline tour.

savannah georgia trolleyVisiting Savannah

Savannah also offers an array of free to moderately-priced activities. While you may need to pay to park at the beach, you can spend the entire day on the water for just a few dollars. Free points of interest throughout the city include The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, Bonaventure Cemetery, and Forsyth Park. For low-cost fun, check out the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, go on a Hearse Ghost tour, or see Old Fort Jackson. Dolphin Magic Tours, Savannah Riverboat Tours, and Splash in the Boro are a bit more expensive, but fun, nevertheless.

Comparison Dimension: Accessibility

Visiting Helen

Even though Helen is located in the mountains, it is not difficult to reach this treasured Alpine Village. Located approximately 90 miles north of Atlanta, the journey can be accomplished from the city in just under 2 hours, via GA-400 or I-85. The city is 3 hours south of Knoxville, via the TN-68. From the west, Helen can be reached from Chattanooga TN via Highway 64 in 2.5 hours. From the east, travelers can access Helen from Greenville NC in 2 hours via I-85 and GA-17.

Visiting Savannah

Savannah is located approximately 250 miles southeast of Atlanta, and requires around 3.5 hours of driving on the I-75 and I-16. From the south, vacationers driving up from Jacksonville FL will travel for 2 hours on the I-95. Savannah is also 2 hours south of Charleston SC, via US-17 and I-95.

Comparison Dimension: The Quiet Factor

helen georgia horseVisiting Helen

Vacationers to Helen are typically in search of some peace, quiet, and relaxation. Although hotels in the area are generally quiet, there are no guarantees about the guests in the rooms next to or above your own. Those who truly want to get away from it all will book a stay in a secluded and private cabin where only the sounds of nature will surround them each and every day.

Visiting Savannah

Finding peace and quiet in Savannah will greatly depend on where you choose to stay. As in Helen, hotel stays are often peaceful, but this is not absolute. Staying in one of the historic home vacation rentals in the quiet historical district is your best bet for RR. Staying in a beach cottage may appeal to some, but keep in mind that activity levels at the beach may be high during peak season, causing excess noise.

In order to get the most out of your vacation experience, it is important to carefully consider all factors. By closely comparing two popular destinations, you can easily see which is the better fit for your interests, needs, desires, and budgeting restrictions.

Are you a Helen family, or a Savannah family? Tell us in the comments below.

Looking for more fun things to do in Helen?  Check out our comprehensive guide that shows you tons of great activies to do in Helen.