Helen GA – A Top Tourist Destination in Georgia

Why do you come back to Helen GA year after year? Is it the fall foliage or hot air balloon races? Maybe you are drawn by the longest Oktoberfest celebration in the world. Helen has become a top tourist destination in Georgia for several reasons including its history, charm, proximity to recreational activities, and local culture. Come and find out what makes Helen Georgia so special.
Deep Roots
Like most of northern Georgia, Helen was home to the Cherokee nation before the arrival of European settlers. You can still feel the Cherokee influence today in place names and other historical sites like the Track Rock Gap petroglyph site. For many years, settlers and the Cherokees worked together. In 1813, the Cherokee Nation approved the construction of the Unicoi Turnpike, a wagon road through their territory leading from the Savannah River headwaters northeast into Tennessee. Highways 17 and 75 now sit where the old road used to be. Sadly, the Cherokee nation was forcibly displaced later that century though their influence remains today.Gold Rush and Timber Baronsgold
The country’s first gold rush didn’t start in California. It started in 1828 when gold was discovered in the Nacoochee-Helen Valley. Miners worked the land extensively including the current site of the historic England Gold Mine, the site of Helen’s current gold mine. The gold rush ended when miners hightailed it west leaving Helen to fend for itself.Thankfully, logging filled the void left by the miners. As sawmills rose, the railroad came to town as well. In fact, Helen GA is named after the daughter of a railroad surveyor. The two forces combined to make Helen a lumbering powerhouse through the early 20th century.

Reinvention and Re-creation
Like the gold rush before it, eventually, the timber industry came to a halt and Helen began a slow decline. That is until 1968 when several local businessmen got together to save their special town. They knew Helen was a special place with a lot to offer. So, working with an artist who had served in Germany, they turned the town of Helen GA into a Bavarian re-creation complete with gingerbread trim, bright colors, and cobblestone alleys bringing the Alps to the Appalachians and cementing the town’s place in the hearts of tourists for decades to come.

Enduring Qualities
Today, Helen’s miraculous transformation from a struggling timber town to a tourist powerhouse is complete. People come to Alpine Helen GA and return here season after season, year after year. There is so much for everyone to see and do.

  • Float down the Chattahoochee River.
  • Hike to the famous Anna Ruby Falls, a double waterfall.
  • Participate in one of the many festivals each year.
  • Take a carriage ride through the rustic, old-world streets.
  • Go horseback riding through the forest.
  • Sip on local wines.
  • Golf, shop, dine and so much more!
  • Georgia Cabin Rentals

Helen is a special place and a top tourist destination in Georgia. Its history reveals a constant recognition of the beauty of the landscape and the integrity of the people. Find out why so many people have already fallen in love with this unique place called Helen.