Located under two hours from the bustling city of Atlanta and only thirty minutes from Tennessee, the Blue Ridge region of North Georgia is truly a hidden gem. This remote mountain region is the ideal retreat for both big city swingers seeking a slower pace and snowbirds escaping the harsh winters of the northeast and midwest.
Comprised of a fair amount of uninhabited, protected land, several small towns, and plenty of local charm, North Georgia is truly a special place—especially when the seasons change, the leaves fall, and a chill falls over the region.
If you’re wondering what to do in North Georgia during the wintertime, you’re in luck! We’ve put together this handy guide to help you plan your Blue Ridge Adventure.
Winter Weather in North Georgia—What to Expect
Many are surprised to learn that winter in Northern Georgia is actually quite mild despite the mountain location. The Blue Ridge destinations do get a bit more chilly than other Georgia towns, but not near the extent of other mountain destinations—which is a refreshing change for many visitors!
December, January, and February see average highs in the low 50’s and average lows in the low 30’s.
Though North Georgia is certainly no stranger to an occasional snowflake, you won’t have to worry about treacherous travel conditions and shoveling a path to your vacation rental. In general, Northern Georgia only averages 2-3 inches of snow per year.
To summarize, the winter weather in North Georgia is chilly with occasional snowfall.
Winter In North Georgia—What To Pack
As noted above, the temperature can vary 20+ degrees between the day and night, so pack a variety of layers to transition from day to evening comfortably.
We recommend packing items including long pants, long sleeve shirts, vests, cardigans, jackets, gloves, scarves, and boots.
Winter in North Georgia—Why Visit?
Winter is a popular time to visit North Georgia for several reasons.
Many northern visitors or guests from colder climates enjoy the mild mountain winters. With temperatures rarely falling into the 20’s, our mountain town enjoys a chilly but inviting winter climate.
Fellow southerners often consider winters in North Georgia on the chilly side but embrace the outdoor activities and the occasional snowfall that is such a rare joy in much of the south.
The area comes to life in winter with a plethora of winter activities and attractions that are ideal for families and couples alike. We promise you’ll fall in love with our charming mountain towns, especially during the holidays!
Top Winter Things To Do In Northern Georgia
If you’re wondering about things to do during the winter in North Georgia, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few of the area’s most popular attractions, activities, and events.
Hit The Trails
It’s not a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains without a scenic hike and many of our vacation rentals conveniently located near some of North Georgia’s best trails. Adventurers can explore the winter landscape and hunt for some of the region’s most scenic waterfalls with nothing more than a comfy pair of shoes and an adventurous spirit. Enjoy a quick out-and-back trip or plan an extended trek on the main trail that connects to the larger Appalachian Trail system or the popular Aska region.
There are hundreds of hiking trails in the Blue Ridge and many overlaps, which can be a bit confusing for beginners. Check out our North Georgia trail guide for more info on nearby trails and scenery.
And remember, if hiking isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other ways to explore the mountains. Try biking, horseback riding, or even a scenic drive.
For more information on what trails you can't miss while visiting check out Top North Georgia Hiking Trails
Relax at a Day Spa
There’s nothing like a little rest and relaxation, especially during a mountain getaway! Relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect at a local Blue Ridge day spa. With services ranging from a simple Mani/Pedi to a full day’s worth of relaxation, you’re sure to find just the spot to kick back and relax; facials, massages, and soaks galore!
Check out this guide to Spas in North Georgia for a great recommendation on local purveyors.
PS - you can also enjoy a spa day at home by booking a cabin with a hot tub!
Though the North Georgia mountains don’t see much snow, there are several other destinations within driving distance if you’re seeking a little adventure. The closest mountain destinations are 2-3 hours away, so we recommend snow activities for a full day trip into the heart of the mountains. Here are a few recommended locations for snow activities:
Scaly Mountain Outdoor Center
Photo Credit: lopez_f.14 via Instagram
Address: 7420 Dillard Rd, Scaly Mountain, NC 28775
Phone: (828) 526-3737
Hours: Seasonal; call to inquire
Distance to Ellijay: 2 hours
A year-round adventure destination, Scaly Mountain Outdoor Center offers a wide array of activities for guests of any age. Winter activities include ice skating, snow tubing, and trout fishing.
Cataloochee Ski Area
Photo Credit: maryashlyn_g via Instagram
Address: 1080 Ski Lodge Rd, Maggie Valley, NC 28751
Phone: (828) 926-0285
Hours: 7 a.m. - 5 p.m., Seasonally
Distance from Ellijay: 2.5 hours
Cataloochee Ski Area offers 18 pristine slopes for skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and more! There are slopes for every age and experience level and lessons are available on-site for true beginners.
Moonshine Mountain Snow Tubing Park
Photo Credit: abbyltierney via Instagram
Address: 5865 Willow Rd, Hendersonville, NC 28739
Phone: (828) 696-0333
Hours: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Seasonal
Distance from Ellijay: 3 hours
A great destination for groups, Moonshine Mountain Snow Tubing Park is fun for the whole family. As the name suggests, Moonshine Mountain specializes in snow tubing adventures—no skiing or snowboarding allowed.
Wine & Dine
The Blue Ridge Mountains offer an impressive selection of great options for wining and dining on any budget.
Beer enthusiasts will be pleasantly surprised at the plethora of breweries in Northern Georgia. A few favorites include Grumpy Old Men Brewing, Fannin Brewing Company, and Blue Ridge Brewery—to name a few. Enjoy the flavors of the Blue Ridge with pleasantly paired food items and live entertainment.
If wine is more your style—fret not. North Georgia is home to more than 20 wineries, each of which offers a distinct history and process for fermenting tasty adult beverages. Sip, savor and enjoy the scenic mountain views from the cozy comfort of a tasting room. Visit this complete list of North Georgia Vineyards for a list of local favorites.
Rest assured that there’s plenty of dining options to help fill your belly after a fun day of bar hopping. Nosh on homestyle comfort favorites at Cantaberry or warm up over some tacos and tequila at La Catrina. For a true taste of the south, check out Southern Charm in downtown Blue Ridge. Or, if you really just want to grab a quick fix for dinner, check out a North Georgia pizza joint, perfect for picking up a pie to-go.
Celebrate the Holidays
The holidays are a magical time of year, especially in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The scenery comes to life as small towns are decked out with festive fare and families flock to take part in annual traditions.
Visitors seeking beautiful holiday scenery will love the ornately adorned trees at Ducktown’s annual Festival of Trees event. Each year, the local schools, businesses, and organizations in Ducktown celebrate in style with extravagant Christmas trees; it’s quite a show! This event is totally free of charge and a great way to spend time sightseeing with family and friends.
For an adventure, book a lively trip on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Christmas Express. Offered seasonally during the holidays, this historic trail system takes guests along a scenic ride along the Toccoa River. The Santa Express ride is completely Christmas themed and includes a meet and greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus, caroling, holiday snacks, and a souvenir gift. The event is only an hour-long, making it perfect for young children. Tickets sell quickly, so we recommend booking in advance to ensure you have a spot for this special event!
Of course, it wouldn’t be the holiday season without shopping, and there’s no shortage of charming local shops in the Blue Ridge! From unique specialty shops where you can find an array of locally-made goods to art galleries, home decor stores, and more, there’s a destination for any budget or item you’re seeking. Check out our Blue Ridge shopping guide to start your holiday shopping list!
The Blue Ridge Mountains are calling your name—isn’t it time you answered? Don’t let the cold scare you away… there’s plenty to do and see in North Georgia during the winter!
Peruse our impressive array of Blue Ridge cabin rentals and plan your getaway today!