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Your guide to Dahlonega
All About Dahlonega
In 1829, Dahlonega, Georgia, wasn’t just any small mountain town — it was the site of America’s first gold rush. The town even got its name from a Cherokee word meaning the color gold. Today, there are many gold festivals and museums to mark this history — you can even try your hand at digging for gold — while wineries, nature trails, and performing arts venues sit just 90 minutes from the state capital of Atlanta. Located in the heart of the North Georgia Mountains, Dahlonega combines towering waterfalls, lush golf courses, and live music.
While the area’s abundant natural beauty is a major draw, 19th-century architecture, tree-lined sidewalks, and the buzz of students from the University of North Georgia make a case for spending some time in town. Wine lovers head into the verdant hills of Lumpkin County to explore the wealth of vineyards, and families flock to the historic town square for the holiday season, when twinkling lights abound.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Dahlonega?
The best months to see the town in its prime are from May to June and August to October. Because of Georgia’s southern location, you can expect humid weather at other times. Cabins in Dahlonega are surrounded by scenic drives throughout the year, with Cane Creek Falls, Dockery Lake, and the Yahoola Valley being especially resplendent in the fall. The holidays are big in Dahlonega — its festive cheer and decked-out balconies make it a popular filming location for TV specials and movies — and family-friendly parades, warming drinks, and homemade treats at the market create a heartwarming atmosphere for locals and visitors alike. Fans of traditional music won’t want to miss Bear on the Square, a celebration of bluegrass that takes place every April.
What are the top things to do in Dahlonega?
North Georgia Astronomical Observatory
Put aside some time to look up, take in Georgia’s famous big skies, and contemplate the universe with a bit of stargazing. Get a glimpse of one of the brightest planets in the sky, Venus, through the North Georgia Astronomical Observatory’s telescope. Don’t forget to call ahead, as not all tours are open to the public.
Take a step back in time to the frantic days of America’s first gold rush. Discover how gold was mined with time-honored tools, gather precious gemstones, and hear all about the site’s 130-year-old rock crusher. Rain or shine, one of the oldest mining establishments in Georgia has plenty of tales to tell.
The hills of Lumpkin County aren’t just rich in gold — they’re rich in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. Spend a day touring the region’s award-winning wineries and sample top pours along with chocolate pairings galore. Not in the mood for a road trip? Don’t worry, there are plenty of tasting rooms downtown.