Affordable Fall Family Getaways

A gold mine tour, horseback riding, a scenic train ride, a 729-foot waterfall, an apple orchard, comedy and mystery theaters, Dollywood, a Christmas Spectacular, Ripley's Aquarium, Whitewater Rafting and more—take a look at some affordable family g

Georgia’s natural beauty is at its best in the Fall. I remember as a child, a yearly family tradition was to “go see the leaves." Our family made it a day; we would stop at one of the many state parks to eat a picnic lunch and enjoy the view. That usually meant driving anywhere north of Marietta.

This week, we have five mountain getaways the whole family will enjoy without busting the budget. Among the package activities included are horseback trail riding, apple picking, theme parks and gold mining. Here are just a few of the special family activities being offered right now for day trips or an entire weekend:

Gold Fever/Horse Lovers' Package

Forrest Hills Resort and Conference Center: 135 Forrest Hill S Road Dahlonega, GA 30533. (706) 864-6456. forresthillsresort.com

Located on 140 acres of fabulous scenery, this resort offers several great getaway packages to choose from. Depending on your budget or preferences, you may stay in the hotel or a private cabin. Package rates, based on a family of four, begin at about $350 for the weekend (2 nights) and include: snack tray with hot chocolate, microwave popcorn, peanuts and bottled water in your cabin upon arrival.

  • Gold Fever Package/Horse Lovers' Package - Features tickets to an underground gold mine tour, panning for gold & gems, a glass vial to hold the gold you find, admission to tour Georgia's only working 126-year old stamp mill, plus tickets to the Dahlonega Gold Museum.
  • A one-hour guided trail ride for each guest age 8 years and up or horse-drawn carriage ride for guests of all ages.
  • Southern style breakfast daily.

No experience is necessary for horseback riding. Minimum age is 8. Riding instructions will be provided at the time of the ride. Helmets are available or you may bring your own if you prefer.

Scenic Train Ride 

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway: 241 Depot Street Blue Ridge, GA 30513. (706) 632-8724. info@brscenic.com

Located less than an hour north of Marietta, this train ride is the perfect way to enjoy a day of Fall scenery and provide entertainment for the kids. Train rides begin from the historic depot, located in the charming village of Blue Ridge and is 26 miles round trip. Enjoy the scenery of the Chattahoochee National forest, with stopovers in McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee. There is a two-hour layover, providing time to have lunch (not included) or shop for antiques and crafts. Passengers can choose from vintage climate controlled rail cars or open air rail cars. The trip is about four hours total.

Ticket Office Hours:

Monday-Saturday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Phone: (877) 413-TRAIN (8724)
Email: info@brscenic.com

Fares From November  1 to 21:

Adults (13-64): $33
Senior Citizens (65+): $28
Children (2-12): $17

Amicalola Falls

Amicalola State Park and Lodge

Located in the midst of the North Georgia Mountains, Amicalola Falls State Park is the perfect place to enjoy beautiful, natural scenery and have some family fun.  At 729 feet tall, the waterfall can be enjoyed by driving or hiking. Amicalola State Park & Lodge is just five minutes away, with super lodging rates of $59 and up. Local attractions include the Appalachian Trail, North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall, Burt’s Pumpkin Farm and the Dahloica Gold Museum. 

Hillcrest Orchards 

Hillcrest Orchards: 9696 Hwy. 52 E., Ellijay, Georgia 30536. (706) 273-3838. hillcrestorchards.net

Hillcrest Orchards is one of the most popular apple orchards in the North Georgia Mountains. It is only an hour north of Marietta and is a perfect day trip destination.This orchard offers a wide variety of apples including Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Pink Lady, Mutsu, Granny Smith, Fuji, Cameo, Winesap, Honey Crisp, Gala, Arkansas Black and Yates.

Enjoy cider donuts, homemade ice cream and fritters with apple cider or slushes. Buy apples or pick your own. Kids will enjoy the petting farm and nature trail. Depending on when you go, this orchard offers activities including hayrides, marshmallow roasts and bungee jumping. Visit their website for details, times and dates.

November Hours – Daily 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

All Inclusive Fall Package, Pigeon Forge, TN

Located about four hours from Marietta, Pigeon Forge offers more family friendly getaway packages than any other city in the Southeast and is located right next to Gatlinburg, Tennesee.  

Originally known for its outlet malls and discount shopping, Pigeon Forge has become a mecca for family entertainment. Surrounded by the beautiful Smoky Mountains, families may enjoy a huge variety of theme shows: comedy, mystery theatres, gospel shows, various Ripley’s Believe-Or-Not attractions and theme parks such as Dollywood.

Here’s a family weekend package that allows you to see “the best of” Pigeon Forge:

All Inclusive Fall Family Package: 

  • Available November 2nd - December 31st
  • Only $499 Total for 2 Adults.

Each Package Includes:

  • 3 Nights STANDARD Accommodations with continental breakfast
  • $100 Gift Card good at Tony Roma's Restaurant
  • Dollywood Tickets!

Admission to your choice of any two of these shows:

Extra Child Add-on:  $22.40

Extra Adult Add-on:  $131.54

Other Attractions in Pigeon Forge include:

  • Christmas Spectacular
  • Country Breakfast Jamboree
  • Comedy Barn Theater®
  • Cirque de Chine
  • Country Tonite
  • Dixie Stampede
  • Great Smoky Mountain
  • Murder Mystery Dinner Show
  • Hatfield McCoy Dinner Show
  • Memories Theater
  • Smoky Mountain Opry (Now Open)
  • Dollywood
  • Dollywood's Splash Country
  • MagiQuest
  • Parrot Mountain
  • Ripley's Aquarium in the Smokies
  • The Track
  • Titanic
  • The Tomb
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Whitewater Rafting / Zipline ComSoul of Motown

For more information and packages available, visit www.seepigeonforge.com

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