Woman at the Dahlonega Spa Resort
Credit: Art Meripol

You may not have heard of Dahlonega, Georgia, but it just might be your new favorite small town. Set in the North Georgia mountains, the town sits at the crossroads of history with a past that includes a gold rush, stories from the Civil War, and a booming wine trade poised to bring the city into the future. If you're looking for a weekend getaway, Dahlonega is an easy trip from Atlanta, Knoxville, Birmingham, Greenville, or Chattanooga and there are a lot of great reasons to make the trip.

Here are seven great reasons to visit Dahlonega this fall:

Hit the Trail

Dahlonega is the Appalachian Trail's southern gateway and from September 8 – 10 the town will celebrate everything that the trail has to offer outdoor enthusiasts. The 7th Annual Dahlonega Trail Fest will feature outdoor activities, including backpacking, kayaking, horseback riding, and mountain biking, as well as plenty of options for those who prefer the great indoors including music, food, vendors, and more.

It's Wine Time

There are so many vineyards and wineries in Dahlonega, that it is basically the Napa Valley of the South. Pick a designated driver and then go sample the wares at the Habersham Winery, Cavender Creek, and the Montaluce Winery or any of the stops along the Dahlonega Wine Trail. Alternatively, skip the car and take part in the Dahlonega Wine Walk that takes thirsty travelers on a wine tour of downtown.

Walk Through History

Dahlonega's downtown may be listed on the National Register of historic places, but it feels perfectly modern with plenty of shops, live music performances, and bustling cafés filling the 19th century buildings. Walk the quaint Main Street, catch a show at the historic Holly Theater that was built in 1946, and dine at the Historic Smith House inn, which dates back to 1898.

Get Your Ghost On

If you're looking for a family-friendly Halloween activity, sign up for one of Dahlonega's not-too-spooky ghost tours that offer a glimpse into the city's haunted past. Stroll through the eerie Mount Hope Cemetery, look the ghost in the Old Courthouse, and see if you can spot "The Colonel" in the town square

Go For The Gold

Head to the Dahlonega Gold Museum to learn all about the gold fever that swept through the town in the 1800s. Pick up a gold nugget chocolate bar before you visit the old Gold Stamp Mill in Madeleine Anthony Park, to see how gold was extracted from ore, and visit the Crisson Gold Mine in the foothills of the mountains that surround the town or head underground to the Consolidated Gold Mines.

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Go Birdie Watching

Golfers have been flocking to Dahlonega for years to play a few rounds at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club at Achasta. Don't let the gorgeous view of the Georgia mountains nestled behind the Chestatee River distract you from working on your swing or sinking a few putts.

Get Well

If you're looking for a girls' weekend away or an under-the-radar destination bachelorette party, consider Dahlonega. The area is filled with day spas, wellness retreats, and spa resorts like the Dahlonega Spa Resort. Follow a day on the wine trail with a day at the spa for the perfect weekend retreat.