Fall in Georgia is perhaps one of the most magical times of the year.
Blessed with towering mountain ranges, dramatic gorges, lush forests, and fertile valleys with crystal blue streams and lakes, Georgia is one of the best places to visit in the South.
But when it is fall in Georgia, this already beautiful landscape erupts in a spectacular feast of color from September onwards until the icy beauty of winter sets in.
The fall foliage of maple, oak, and pine trees, as well as magnolias and countless fruit orchards, and vineyards across the entire state of Georgia, is one of nature’s greatest gifts to anyone fortunate enough to witness during this special time of year.
Best Places to Visit in Georgia in the Fall
Below are just a few of the most beautiful places to appreciate magical autumn in Georgia.
1. Blue Ridge
Nestled on the slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Georgia, Blue Ridge is a charming town with all the modern amenities, with loads of lodges, shops, and quaint craft breweries and restaurants.
Surrounded by lush forests, orchards, vineyards, mountains, rivers, and lakes, makes it a prime holiday destination virtually all year round.
Also, it is a great day trip from Atlanta since it’s only a 1:30-hour drive from the city.
But it is during the fall when nature puts up a dazzling show, transforming the lush greenery into a kaleidoscope of warm reds, golds, and yellows that draws sightseers and photographers by the thousand.
Hiking, driving through the spectacular countryside, kayaking, or trout fishing in the crystal mountain streams and lakes are at their finest during this special time of year.
For those who prefer a more relaxing way of witnessing the splendor of the fall in Georgia, a 26-mile round trip on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in North Georgia will mesmerize you as you wind through the colorful landscape of the Chattahoochee National Forest.
If you want to appreciate the Georgia fall foliage within the comforts of a modern city, head straight to Atlanta.
Countless parks such as Grant, Candler, and Piedmont Park in the heart of the city, provide excellent nature trails, picturesque lakes, botanical gardens, sports facilities, a zoo, a stunning aquarium, and tons of open space for picnics or for kids to run around.
In addition, Piedmont Park is so massive (over 200 acres) that even though you’re in the city, you’ll feel you’re in the countryside because of the beautiful fall colors of Georgia.
Stone Mountain Theme Park on the edge of the city is another gem to spend the day surrounded by nature and the autumn splendor of Georgia.
A sky-ride to the top of Stone Mountain will provide unforgettable views of the city’s skyline with the Appalachian Mountains 60 miles away.
The city also holds annual cultural, music and arts, food and wine, and nature festivals during the fall celebrating this gorgeous time of year.
Read next: Weekend in Atlanta Itinerary
3. Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge
Staying within the Chattahoochee National Forest, this park is another wonderful location to admire and appreciate nature’s annual spectacle during autumn in Georgia.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic or family getaway, corporate function, wedding venue, or just an overnight stop-over, Amicalola Falls has it all, from luxury suites to basic camping under the stars.
Hiking at its very best for hikers of all fitness levels, as well as zip-lining, archery, and a kid’s play and picnic area surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery.
The star of the park is undoubtedly the Amicalola Waterfalls. At the height of 729 feet, they’re the tallest waterfall in Georgia and a sight to behold.
4. Tallulah Falls
If waterfalls or towering gorges are your thing, head straight to the quaint resort town of Tallulah Falls.
Spread alongside the Tallulah River and next to the Tallulah Gorge State Park, you could easily spend a few days lost in nature, with only the sound of rushing water to disturb the peace.
The natural beauty of six waterfalls in close proximity, including the dramatic Hurricane Falls, will leave you in awe.
Accessed by a swinging suspension bridge, it can only be surpassed by the dramatic steep-walled Tallulah Gorge.
Running for two miles in length, views of the river meandering 1,000 feet below are out of this world.
Hiking through this multi-colored oak and maple tree forest during the fall becomes even more memorable.
White-water rafting, kayaking, and dining in the charming cafes and restaurants in the town provide a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation within this stunning landscape.
5. Cloudland Canyon State Park
Tucked away in the northwest corner of Georgia on the outskirts of Trenton, Cloudland Canyon is one of the largest and most scenic parks in the state.
Miles of hiking, horse riding, and biking trails through dense hemlock forests, with spectacular scenery of the 1,000-foot canyon, rugged cliffs, cascading creeks, waterfalls, and abundant wildlife.
But when nature turns on her fall colors in Georgia, the entire forest and landscape ignite in a blaze of reds and orange…a sight to behold.
Overnighters have a choice of lodging between cottages, camping, and backpacking facilities.
6. Fort Mountain State Park
Situated in the Chattahoochee National Forest on Fort Mountain in North Georgia, this 3,700-acre park offers great outdoor activities and breathtaking scenery.
Miles of hiking and horseback trails among the pine and hardwood forests with waterfalls and a lake with beach, perfect for that refreshing dip, paddle, or just chill.
Still, the park is also favored by mountain bikers.
Loads of wildlife forage in the forests, and you also stand a good chance of spotting a bear.
Autumn in Georgia is indeed a special time, and this National Park certainly lives up to the state’s reputation. The sweeping views from the overlook deck across the valleys are incredible during the fall.
Overnight guests can stay in fully equipped cottages, various campgrounds, or backpacker sites.
7. Brasstown Bald
At the height of 4784 feet above sea level and being the highest peak in the state, Brasstown Bald is arguably one of the best places to visit in Georgia in fall.
From the observation center at the summit, panoramic views of lush valleys, lakes, and the southern Appalachian Mountains will take your breath away.
On a clear day, you may see North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee!
Several hiking trails through the mountainous terrain, including Appalachian Trail, offer majestic scenery every step of the way, while the gorgeous, multi-colored fall foliage of Georgia makes it even more spectacular.
Note that peak fall foliage in Georgia normally occurs towards the end of October or early November.
Surrounded by a scenic landscape of mountains, forests, a state park, river, and waterfalls, the tiny but super-charming town of Helen offers a wide array of activities, such as hiking, float-tubing, wine-tasting, and some of the finest trout fishing in the state. But little Helen packs in much more than that!
The cobblestone streets and the colorful boutique shops with their Bavarian architecture will send you back in time, while the aromas of traditional German delicacies wafting from the restaurants and bakeries will set your senses alight. Ambling through this fairy-tale town, you’ll be expecting to bump into Hansel and Gretel at any time.
The annual Oktoberfest held during September and October is not to be missed if you’re in Georgia in the fall. Everyone dresses in traditional costumes as the whole town come alive with Bavarian food, music, song, dance, and of course, tons of beer!
9. Anna Ruby Falls
While in Helen, drive a few miles north to the gorgeous Anna Ruby Falls through the Unicoi State Park.
These twin falls cascading over 150 feet over rocks in a densely wooded gorge are accessible by a short steep paved path from the car park.
There are plenty of benches along the way to catch your breath and take in the stunning scenery, especially during the fall.
Smith Creek offers great trout fishing, while a picnic area with tables and grills is available at the visitor’s center. Overall, a wonderful setting to witness the gorgeous fall foliage in Georgia
10. Ball Ground
Built close to where the Cherokee people played stickball, this small and scenic town is surrounded by farms, wineries, forests, and lakes, perfectly suited for a peaceful getaway into the country.
Hiking, deer-hunting, trout fishing, and numerous beautiful golf courses provide more than sufficient recreation.
The Gibbs Gardens, a few miles to the west, are not to be missed. Absolutely magnificent all year round, the blooming of over 1,000 azaleas, and acres of cosmos, mountain mint, and other wildflowers, create a symphony of color across the landscape during the fall.
The beautiful brown-reddish foliage on the 3,000 Japanese maple trees completes the picture, with picture-postcard shots in every direction. If you want to truly appreciate autumn in Georgia, this is the place!
11. Yonah Mountain
Situated between Cleveland and Helen in North Georgia, the towering 3,160-foot Yonah Mountain offers some of the finest and toughest hiking and rock climbing in the state. It’s no coincidence that the US Army 5th Ranger Training Battalion is based here.
The 4.2-mile round hike is fairly challenging, in some sections gaining 1,600 feet per mile.
You’ll trudge through dense forest and scramble over boulders and rocky terrain with stunning natural scenery all the way. The panoramic views from the summit are breathtaking.
During the fall, the rich multi-colored foliage makes the vast countryside seem as if it has been painted by an artist.
12. Vogel State Park
Located at the base of Blood Mountain and deep in the dense Chattahoochee National Forest, this beautiful and peaceful state park is one of the best places to visit in Georgia in the fall.
From September onwards, the ridges and valleys of the forest are ablaze with color reflecting in the still waters of Lake Trahlyta, with a beautiful waterfall and stunning mountain scenery as a backdrop.
Vogel State Park offers cottages and camping facilities, miles of hiking trails, swimming, paddle boating, fishing, biking, mini-golf, and a museum.
Deer, grouse, and raccoons roam the forest, while 100 species of birds live or migrate through it annually. Various species of salamanders are often spotted in the creeks around the lake.
Overall, a wonderful and serene place to enjoy the fall in Georgia.
13. Red Top Mountain State Park
A short drive northwest of Atlanta brings you to the magnificent Red Top Mountain State Park, where you can easily spend a few days surrounded by natural forest and miles of shoreline of the crystal-blue lake Allatoona.
The lush forests offer miles of great hiking and biking trails and nature photography, while the lake offers swimming, water-skiing, kayaking, and fishing from the shore or boat.
Overnighters can stay in rented cottages and yurts overlooking the water, or the park’s massive campgrounds.
14. Black Rock Mountain State Park
Situated on the northern edge of Clayton, Black Rock Mountain State Park offers a pristine landscape of lush forest, wildflowers, mountain streams, lakes, and waterfalls.
Also, it is Georgia’s highest state park, with stunning mountain scenery.
At an elevation of 3,640 feet, the foliage starts to change earlier, transforming the countryside into an ocean of color from as early as September.
Several easy hiking trails for families with small children, as well as some intense trails for those wanting to escape into the wilderness.
Black bears, deer, foxes, and bobcats roam through the forests while trout, bass, catfish, and bream are caught in the lake. Cottages and camping sites with playgrounds offer lodging options.
15. F.D. Roosevelt State Park
A beautiful 9,000-acre park situated 80 miles southwest of Atlanta offers awesome hiking and horseback riding through wooded forests, creeks, and small waterfalls.
Several lakes offer great birding and bass fishing, with tons of cottages to rent and plenty of tent, trailer, and RV campsites spread throughout the rolling hills and mountains of this park.
You can also visit the historic home of former President F.D Roosevelt and swim in the warm, spring-fed Liberty Pool that offered the President relief from Polio.
The best time to view the beautiful fall colors in Georgia in this park is in late October before the real cold arrives.
16. Sweetwater Creek State Park
For a quick escape from city life, Sweetwater Creek State Park, a stone’s throw from downtown Atlanta is your perfect getaway spot.
Two thousand five hundred acres of wildflower-filled forests, rolling hills, and rocky outcrops provide excellent hiking and wildlife spotting while cascading white-water creeks and a placid lake are ideal for fishing and kayaking.
One of the best ways to appreciate the fall in Georgia is to embark on a ranger-led paddle through the lake.
Bring your own kayak or hire one on-site. Adding a little character and history to this park are the ruins of an old textile mill that burned down during the Civil War. This is also the filming location of the Hunger Games and a few other movies.