Summer by the Waterfalls

Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge keeps us cool with mountain lodge vibes and outrageously fun adventures!

Last night, the sunset over the North Georgia mountains made the forested range change colors dramatically. Three of us – friends from college – are taking a mid-week summer vacation at Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge. As we sat outside on the stone patio by the fire pit and the day ended before our eyes, we seemed to feel more reflective.

It’s not every day that such beautiful scenery surrounds me. The North Georgia Mountains are special, cooler in the hot Southern summers, and as unhurried as a beach town on the coast.

  • Did you know? You can book a Sunset Dinner Package for two, with a discounted stay in the cozy lodge, dinner for two at Cascades Restaurant, and a bottle of House wine to enjoy while watching the sunset over the mountains. Inquire here.

My friends and I are majoring in ecology and biology. We are here with our sketch books to challenge our artistic skills in drawing the patterns of leaves, the colors of early summer wildflowers, and the cascading way the water plunges more than 729 feet from the top of Amicalola Falls down to the reflection pond. It’s Georgia’s highest waterfall and one of the highest cascading waterfalls east of the Mississippi River.

  • Did you know? Guided waterfall hikes can be booked in advance. A state park interpreter will meet you in front of the new Visitor Center to begin the hike, which can be moderate to strenuous during the hour-and-a-half tour – well worth it!

We also brought two dogs, made possible by the generosity of the park’s two pet-friendly cabins – these reservations go quickly, so reserve soon!

Amicalola’s cabins have a blend of rustic appeal and modern comforts. Can’t we just live here?! We don’t want to leave the easiness of the full kitchen, our own bedrooms, heating and air conditioning, deck, fireplace, and satellite TV. Ask about the two cabin locations at Wooded Mountain Top (more ideal for group reservations) or Creek Side Below the Falls (we’re in this spot).

We love the dinner buffets at Cascades. Even though we have a cabin kitchen, it’s nice to be treated to an evening without planning, cooking, and doing dishes. Because we are here mid-week, it seems a bit easier to get last-minute reservations. And we are discovering new things to do after meeting people for drinks and hearing about their ideas and adventures here.

One of the couples we chatted with recommended the zip lining, so we did that yesterday. The guides made us feel genuinely confident as we climbed up to the first platform to commit to that first leap. Plus, the suspension bridges – they’re not something to take lightly – provided a spectacular view of the forest floor below. Your mind and your body work together. Add in a layer of trust earned with your guide – it’s an incredible adrenaline rush.

We have zip lined before, but this experience is all about altitude. There are two Super Zips: Stanley (1,000 ft long) and Ralph (2,000 ft long) over the Amicalola Gorge valley at about 300 feet high! Inquire here.

Back on the ground, we’re happy to hike and check out all the indigenous plants. My favorite is mountain laurel, in bloom now with delicate pink-white blossoms and symmetrically placed pink spots.

If you feel adventurous, there are Hatchet Throwing and Archery programs, and more. Or maybe you need a more casual respite, like reading on the patio overlook, relaxing by evening firepits, which even in summer feels so ideal.

Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge is centrally located among Dawsonville, Dahlonega, and Ellijay. Think antiques, wineries, local eateries, and explorations – if you want to leave your cozy accommodations. We may. We may not! That’s the cool part about group vacations. We get up each morning and plan (unless we have a reservation).

We’re so glad to be here in our cabin, taking in each day as it comes with sketching, journaling, hiking with the dogs, and eating well. It’s your turn!

– Gwen T.

The Adventure Begins Today! 706-344-1500

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