About Hiawassee

Whether you come here to relax or take part in outdoor activities, it’s easy to see why Hiawassee is a popular vacation destination.

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About Hiawassee

Located on the Hiawassee River and Lake Chatuge, Hiawassee’s name comes from the Cherokee word ‘ayhwasi’, meaning ‘meadow.’ It’s actually said that the city was named after a Native American Princess. The Southern Highlands Trail passes through here, and with a number of scenic waterfalls in the area for hiking, Hiawassee has become a popular spot for outdoors enthusiasts and those looking to escape Atlanta and other busy destinations.

Dine on southern BBQ and lobster mac and cheese in some of the coziest family-friendly restaurants around, with fast food options, cafés, diners and eateries to suit all budgets.

Renting a car is the best way to get around the area, especially if you’re planning on outdoor activities at nearby Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, just a short drive away – for the best deals, book car rental in advance and collect your vehicle at the airport on arrival.

What to do

Most activities in Hiawassee revolve around the great outdoors, with Lake Chatuge popular for swimming, fishing, jet skiing and boating as well as a range of other water sports. You’re close to Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, where you can spot wildlife including beavers and bobcats, enjoy a picnic or go hiking, fishing and camping. There are over 450 miles of trails here to explore, so pack your comfiest boots!

To relax, you could always head for Fred Hamilton Rhododendron Gardens. Opened in 1982, this is the only garden of its type in the region, and it’s at its most beautiful from April-May, when over 3,000 rhododendrons and azaleas are in bloom.

Head for The Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, which host a variety of events throughout the year, including live music from international artists at Anderson Music Hall, the circus, and the Georgia Mountain Fair every Summer.

Top Hiawassee travel tips

The nearest airport to Hiawassee is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, around 117 miles away. For domestic flights, Athens-Ben Epps is around 90 miles from Hiawassee.

For those looking to explore more of the local area, consider a day trip to a vineyard. At Hightower Creek, enjoy a guided tour and tasting before purchasing a few bottles (for yourself, or as gifts!)

The best time to visit has to be summer or from September-October, the local ‘Indian Summer’ when it’s still warm during the day and at night. July and August is hot and humid, whilst spring can be rainy.

From hiking and hunting to fishing and watersports, there are plenty of ways to stay active and have a fun-filled vacation in Hiawassee.

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