Naturally Beautiful Summer in Towns

Ease into Young Harris and Hiawassee’s Elevated Culture

Welcome to Georgia’s highest lake! Lake Chatuge came into view in 1942 when a dam was constructed for a water reservoir and recreational purposes. Along its shores in this part of Towns County lies the quaint town of Hiawassee and nearby, Young Harris. There are some beautiful and exciting things to see and do this summer. To get you started, we’ve pulled together a few well known and off the beaten path experiences for everyone.  

Aromatic pathways at Hamilton Gardens, located at the Fairgrounds on the shore of Lake Chatuge, holds the largest collection of rhododendrons and azaleas in the Southeast. A $5 donation helps keep the flowers blooming. And, you can take some home by purchasing plants in the nursery.

Want an easy hike that includes waterfalls? Experience Cupid Falls on the campus of Young Harris College. There is a parking lot and a short walk on a level, accessible pathway. There, Cupid Falls flows. Relax in the wooden chair swing by the falls. It’s a great way to pause the mind and enjoy the simpler things in life, like staring at moving water going somewhere, just like you.

A winding journey up the road is Brasstown Bald, famously known as Georgia’s highest peak at 4,784-feet above sea level. Visitors take a shuttle bus to the mountaintop observatory and science and history museum, or you can hike up. Steep hike alert! Impress your friends by stopping to read each interpretive sign on the .6-mile trail up, when you’re likely also to be catching your breath! When the skies are clear, you can see across North Georgia and beyond its borders to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Back at Lake Chatuge, relax on the sandy beach and swim in refreshing waters at Towns County Beach, complete with a playground. Canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and even boats can be rented from several area marinas to get out on the water.

Georgia’s Agritourism Highway signs will lead you to several wineries and farms here on the forested mountain roads. Make time for a stop on your journey.

Vintner’s Tours are back on Saturdays by reservation at Crane Creek Vineyards enveloped by the Blue Ridge Mountains in Young Harris. Come on a whim in the afternoons to sip local craft wines while you listen to the hum of bees in the distance and breathe in the scents of grape and forest. Live music on Fridays can be a relaxing start to your Lake Chatuge area weekend.

Hightower Creek Vineyards is located in the Upper Hiwassee Highlands American Viticultural Area. Their wines are crafted from a mix of old-world vines, including Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris and Merlot, along with native American and French American hybrids. Live music on Saturdays keeps your weekend going smoothly.

Visit for more summer fun in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains:

  • Hiawassee Night Markets, First Fridays on the Town Square through October, features a community-supported artisan market with live music, local shopping and farm fresh goods.
  • Live performances are on the Hiawassee Square all summer with music for everyone.
  • June 25-26: Made in Georgia Festival, produced by Lake Chatuge Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Georgia Grown, showcases items that locals have made, grown, stitched, brewed, crafted and harvested.
  • July 2: The annual Fourth of July Boat Parade begins at 10:30 am on Lake Chatuge, passing Hiawassee Beach, with fireworks later in the evening. Put on your stars and stripes to celebrate!
  • July 16-17: The 23rd Annual Butternut Creek Festival in nearby Blairsville, is one of the finest juried arts and crafts shows in the Southeast with artists representing basketry to glass, jewelry, metal working, photography, and more.