If you’re looking to keep spring break close to home, about an hour and a half north of Atlanta, just past the strip malls and new housing developments, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is the lively town of Dahlonega, Ga. Dahlonega is the site of the country’s first gold rush and there is still gold in them there hills, although it’s more of the tourist variety now, than the shiny yellow metal.
My family visited Dahlonega last fall and had a great time learning about the Dahlonega Gold Rush with the Gold Fever Tour package. The package includes admission to the Dahlonega Gold Museum that is housed on the town square in the old courthouse; a tour of the Consolidated Gold Mine, an underground mine just outside of town; and a tour of the Crisson Gold Mine. In addition, the package includes gold and gem panning. You can read all about our Dahlonega Gold Tour experience, as well as our recommendations if you don’t have time to do it all.
We also spent time roaming around Downtown Dahlonega. On Saturday afternoons from 2 -5pm in late April – early Oct., locals bring their banjos and fiddles and gather at the Gold Museum for the Appalachian Jam. The General Store is a great place to find everything from panning equipment to toys to homemade jam. We had several restaurants recommended to us and settled on Connie’s Ice Cream Parlor and Sandwich Shop – mainly because I love ice cream. We also headed out of town and ate at the award winning Smokin Gold BBQ. I would recommend the brisket – Mmmmm it was Gooood.
Dahlonega is also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The start of the Appalachian trail is right outside of town and there are eight waterfalls within Lumpkin County and the surrounding areas. If you’re only hitting a few of the waterfalls, go with the big ones like Amicalola Falls State Park and Anna Ruby Falls. We tried to find Dick’s Creek Falls and had some difficulty, plus although pretty, it wasn’t as spectacular as the other two.
My next trip to Dahlonega will include horseback riding at Gold City Corral. They have 1 hour, 2 hour, half-day and chuck wagon tours. My boys loved riding last year at spring break when we stopped at Roosevelt Stables at FDR State Park.
If you want to stay in Dahlonega, here are some ideas:
Carson’s Run - We stayed here during our visit. Here are some photos of the cabin - make sure to read the comments too. This was a great location, easily accessible to everything, yet it felt very private. It’s also big enough if you wanted to share with another family.
Forest Hills Mountain Resort looks like a good option too with daily breakfast, Chuck Wagon Dinner, the onsite petting zoo, pony rides (children 11 and under) or horseback rides for 8 and older, Bonfire with s’mores on Wed., outdoor pool (well maybe not), walking trails, sand volleyball.