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Helen GA Travel Guide – What to do in Helen GA

Helen GA is a picturesque mountain town in Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia.   What makes this beautiful town unique, is that's it's completely themed like a Bavarian Alpine village.   The town of Helen features cobblestone streets, the unique look of an Alpine village and architecture, shops, live performances, all with a classic German flare.

Interested?   Let's go ...

Updated: 3/22/2022

Our Video of North Georgia, featuring Helen GA

Where is Helen Georgia?

Helen GA is located in White County Georgia, on the Chattahoochee River.  Georgia Highway 75 runs right through and is the main road used to access.  Helen is about 100 miles north of Atlanta, the Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains.  The city is surrounded by the Georgia Blue Ridge, and sits at an elevation of 1,400ft.

History of Helen Georgia

The town of Helen GA was incorporated as a town on August 18, 1913.  The town was laid out by John E. Mitchell of St.Louis.  A local lumber official recommended his daughter's name as the name for the town.  Given many of the town's citizens worked for the lumber company, very few argued, and the name Helen was used.

As the lumber business began to decline, the city re-branded itself in 1969 as a Bavarian themed tourist town.  Today, tourism is the key to Helen's success and economy.  Helen has become one of the Georgia's most popular tourist attractions, especially in the Fall during its popular Oktoberfest.

Where to stay in Helen GA

They key to enjoying your stay in the beautiful bavarian themed town of Helen GA is to find the perfect place to stay.  Options for where to stay in Helen GA include riverside, downtown, resort and park locations, and even remote out of the way options.  Options for where to stay include:

  • Cabin Rentals/AirBnBs
  • Hotels
  • Camping

Cabins in Helen GA

A popular choice for many visitors to Helen GA, especially since the covid pandemic are cabin rentals.  Cabins provide safe and clean accommodations with numerous amenities, at very reasonable prices.  You'll find many different cabin rental options in and around Helen GA, and you're sure to find at least a few that meet your needs, and make the kids happy too!

Hotels in Helen GA

The most popular accommodation option when visiting Helen GA are hotels, and for good reason.  Hotels provide may nice amenities, and reasonable prices, and often place you right the heart of the activities in Helen.  There are a number of really nice, and highly rated hotels in Helen GA.  Here are our top picks:

Camping in Helen GA

Whether you're looking for luxury RV hookups, or a simple tent camping site with a great spot to hang that hammock, Helen GA campgrounds provides you with a number of great options.    You'll enjoy relaxing outdoors in one of the many quiet campgrounds, going to sleep with the crackling sound of a fire, waking up to coffee and the sounds of nature at its best.  Camping allows you to not just adventure into the outdoors, but to experience it during your entire stay in Helen GA.  

Best Restaurants in Helen GA

Not only is Helen GA themed as a Bavarian town, but it has authentic Bavaria dining to back it up as well!  

Pretzels, sausage, schnitzel, and craft beers are just a few of the great tasting food items you can expect to find in Restaurants in Helen GA.   If you aren't into Bavarian food (it's ok, not everyone is), there are plenty of other dining options as well.  You'll find something for everyone in the family!   

Restaurants in Helen even offer different style options, from formal to very relaxed and casual.   There are even a number of very family friendly options as well.

Here are our selections for the best restaurants in Helen GA:

Oktoberfest in Helen GA

Oktoberfest Helen GA

By far, the largest event for Helen GA is Oktoberfest, which begins in September, and runs through the first week of November, has been tradition for more than 50 years.  The event includes multiple weeks of beer, food, dancing, and singing.  Oktoberfest in Helen GA is the longest running celebration of its kind in the United States!

The event is held in the city's Festhalle

You'll also find many Merrymakers of all kinds, and from all over, dressed in traditional German attire, including lederhosen and dirndls, and there is not shortage of polka music!   

Oktoberfest begins in September with the Oktoberfest Parade in early September.   Similar to the real-deal in Germany, celebrations differ greatly from week to week, and from weekdays to weekends.  Weekends are more popular with tourism and young college groups, while weekdays are more family-friendly.

Oktoberfest in Helen Georgia is open to all ages, and there is an Admission fee, which does not include , with food and drink.   During the week, the event begins at 6 p.m. throughout the week and at 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Christmas in Helen GA

Christmas in Helen GA

Helen GA was voted one of Southern Living's Best Christmas Towns in the US and for a number of good reasons:

  • Beautiful natural surroundings
  • Alpine aesthetic
  • Holiday Decorations
  • Numerous Holiday activities
  • The Christkindlmarkt - A traditional german Christmas Market
  • and more!

Christmas in Helen GA is truly a magical and wonderful experience.  Who can turn down an Alpine themed town, decorated to the hilt with Christmas decorations?  Hard to resist, right?

Lighting of the Village

Lighting of the Village Helen GA

Photo by: Clevergrrl

Christmas in Helen GA begins shortly after the completion of Oktoberfest, and opens with the Lighting of the Village ceremony the day after Thanksgiving.   On Friday, the village is lighted to begin the holiday season, and Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at Riverside Park.  Local groups perform Christmas music the whole time, and children are invited to meet with Santa from 5PM to 7PM.

Christkindlmarkt at Marktplatz

Christkindlmarkt Helen GA

Photo by: anil_raj

Christkindlmarkt is a traditional German event that offers everything from unique Christmas decorations, gifts and assortments of sweet and savory foods, drinks and candied holiday treats.   These treats, fill the town with Yuletide scents like mulled wine, freshly baked cookies, and other baked goods.  

You'll find Helen’s Christkindlmarkt in Helen's downtown Marketplatz, where plentiful merchants will be selling gifts and treats to your hearts content.  The event has grown so much, that it expanded into Helen Festhalle for 2021.

At Christkindlmarkt, you'll find lots of holiday handmade crafts, ornaments, decorations for your home, and more.  You'll also find delicious fudge, candied apples and more freshly baked goods than you'll know what to do with.  

Annual Christmas Parade

Helen GA Christmas Parade

Photo by: Melkir

Of course no Christmas is complete in a small mountain town, without a Christmas Parade, and Helen GA has a fantastic one!  The Parade is scheduled each year, around the 2nd week in December.  Your family will love the display of hand-crafted and beautifully designed floats, characters, and horse-drawn carriages that parade through town starting at 2pm.   Oh, and did we mention lots of sweet treats are tossed to the kids (and yes, you adults as well) along the way?  Could it get any better?

The mile-long parade begins at the Helen Welcome Center, behind on Edelweiss, goes west, then turns on Chattahoochee Street, then right onto Main Street and ends at Betty's Country Store. 

You can watch the parade from Edelweiss Strasse, Chataloochee Street, or North Main Street.

Things to do in Helen GA

Rather than ask, what to do in Helen Georgia, it would be easier to answer what not to do.  Helen itself is full of things to do, and surrounded by even more things to do, with a short drive.

Just a few of the many things you can do in Helen GA are:

  • Tubing and Ziplining
  • Shopping at one of the numerous locally owned shops, including unique craft shops
  • Ride the Alpine Mountain Coaster
  • Eat at one of the many restaurants, including many that have german themed food.  Hofer's of Helen is very famous.
  • Enjoy the beautiful park
  • Attend one of the many events that happen throughout the year

Nearby, you can visit:

Tubing in Helen GA
About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.

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