The town of Ellijay, Georgia was founded in 1832 at the point where the Ellijay and Cartecay rivers come together and flow toward Carters Lake. This beautiful 3200-acre lake forms the backdrop for a perfect Georgia-mountains style family vacation and draws visitors from all over every year.
This beloved area of Gilmer County is also home to the Chattahoochee National Forest and the southernmost end of the Appalachian Trail, high up in the misty violet peaks of Springer Mountain. The Amicalola Falls State Park also lies close to Ellijay, offering trails to some of the most beautiful waterfalls and overlooks in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Come here to explore the Appalachian wilderness, splash in the lake, and make some lasting family memories.
There are also plenty of relaxing indoor activities available in and around Ellijay. Go shopping in the outlet malls, play golf on some of Georgia's most pristine emerald courses, or relax in a luxury spa. In the evening, enjoy live music and local cuisine at Gilmer County's laid back restaurants and nightspots.
Here are a few additional suggestions as you plan your trip:
- Hike the trails: Explore the Chattahoochee National Forest by foot, mountain bike or on horseback.
- Go bird watching: The forest is home to many elusive species of eastern mountain birds. Take your binoculars and bird books to the woods early in the morning and you may meet other quiet visitors doing the same.
- Go apple picking: Many apple orchards around Ellijay and Gilmer County open their doors and trees to the public in the fall, when apple picking is a cherished ritual here. Gilmer County is also the home of the Georgia Apple Festival that takes place every October.
- Take advantage of seasonal events: Ellijay is known for its live music venues and seasonal outdoor music events.
- Play on the lake: Take a boat out and watch the sun rise, go swimming, fish for bass and trout, or fly across the mirror surface of Carter Lake on a jet ski.
- Visit the Dahlonega Gold Museum: Explore this museum and historic site to learn more about the events surrounding the 1829 Georgia Mountains gold rush.
You'll find plenty of excellent places to stay in and around Ellijay. You may want to choose a vacation rental close to the activities that interest you the most. Find a secluded cozy cabin with a fireplace if you plan to arrive in winter and snowshoe along the backcountry trails. Or, rent a lakeside condo big enough to host your friends and family during the summer months.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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