Earth's Gift to Helen

The Outdoors in Helen 

Cool River Zipline Adventures

If it’s a beautiful day, slip on your sunglasses and head for Bigg Daddy’s Restaurant and Tavern’s outdoor patio. First, you’ll want to order a drink from the fully stocked bar. The bartender can blend delicious cocktails or you can browse the Beer Board’s list of great brews and microbrews. As you savor your drinks, look over the extensive menu with appetizers like Bigg Daddy wings, salads, gourmet sandwiches, burgers, entrees and dessert. Ask your server about the daily food and drink specials like Wednesday’s 50¢ wings and discounted beers, Friday and Saturday Chef’s Creations or Sunday’s discounted Bloody Marys or Mimosas. Every weekend there is live music, making your meal at Bigg Daddy’s even more fun. Of course if your team is playing, you’ll want to watch on one of the seven big screens in the bar, enjoying the same great munchies, tacos and pizza.

Floating Down The Stream

Decide on your adventure, change into your river clothes and choose one of the colorful tubes and a life jacket. Then, hop in the river and start floating. Half way down climb the stairs to the waterslides before returning to the river. In probably the most unique tubing adventure at Cool River Tubing you can choose from a long ride or a short ride, one ride or all day trips on the Chattahoochee and even add on unlimited sliding on the twisting course in the woods at Alpine Crest Resort. There are three convenient places to purchase tickets: the Chattahoochee Outpost, the Headwaters Outpost or the Mainstreet Booth. At the end of the trip you will be back at your car, or will take the famous blue and white bus back to your starting point. It’s always a great day when you “Shoot The ‘Hooch!”

The Best of Romance and Fishing

Smithgall Woods State Park may be one of the most unique destinations in the United States. Not only is it famous for fishing on Dukes Creek but also its six beautifully decorated cottages are perfect for romantic getaways. The beautiful property is quiet enough for small weddings or challenging enough for hikers and bicyclists. For every visitor, though, it is a great place to spend time in the outdoors. One of Georgia’s most premier trout streams, Dukes Creek, runs through the park. Always wanted to learn to fly fish? Take a class at the park. Five miles of trails and 18 miles of roads give visitors a chance to explore hardwood trees, streams, foliage and wildlife. Once a month rangers give guided van tours, going by the famous covered bridge, and guided hikes on various trails. There are also lessons on falconry as well as programs for children.

Just as spring gives way to summer at Anna Ruby Falls, guides take small groups of people on a night hike to the Falls. It’s not quiet – in the distance you can hear the thunder of the water dropping 153 feet to the creek and babbling in the creek making its way to Smith Lake. It’s not completely dark, either, as thousands of fireflies wink as you make your way through the woods. Although you really don’t need the instruction, the guide tells you to stop. The eerily green glow of the foxfires has come into view. Foxfires are fungi that live in the wood of decaying trees, and after the sun sets, the vibrant green glow becomes evident. The forest seems enchanted. Then you look up and see millions of twinkling stars and you know you are experiencing something magical. Tours are given in May and June by reservation.

An Enchanted Forest

On the River Weddings

You and your fiancé will not find a more romantic or picturesque place for a wedding than Helen, Georgia. Whether your destination wedding will include friends and family or just the two of you, it won’t be hard to find the perfect site. Dreams come true at the Alpine Wedding Chapel where you can choose from one of three sites: the Little Chapel, the Garden Room or the Chapel with its 22-foot cathedral ceiling. On the River Weddings features a simple, lovely original church building to host an indoor wedding. Or step outside to the banks of the Chattahoochee River for a breathtaking outdoor event. Other beautiful venues include churches, barns, inns, vineyards, state parks and even the ballroom and grounds at Babyland General Hospital. There are plenty of vendors to help you customize your perfect day and many choices for lodging for your wedding party.

The Roar of Anna Ruby Falls

Many people think the heart of a forest is quiet and still. Obviously, they have not visited the Chattahoochee National Forest where the thunder of rushing water over a rugged cliff breaks the silence. Water from Curtis Creek drops 153 feet and York Creek tumbles 50 feet to form the twin Anna Ruby Falls. Start your journey at the Visitors Center and take an easy walk to the falls and the two observation decks. For the visually impaired, Lion’s Creek Trail has handrails and braille signs telling the story of the creek and the local environment. The Smith Creek Trail is a more arduous hike, connecting Anna Ruby Falls to Unicoi State Park. Enjoy the deck, find a spot along the creek to picnic and take home a souvenir made by a local artisan from the gift shop.

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