25 Fun Things to do in Dahlonega GA with Teens (2024)

2 men and 2 women, a family, in front of DeSoto Falls in Norhtern Georgia, one of the fun things to do in Dahlonega GA with teens.

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Are you looking for fun things to do in Dahlonega GA with your teenagers? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Finding things to do with your teenagers is tough anywhere.  In the North Georgia Mountains, where everyone is talking about the wineries it is harder.

Recently we visited the North Georgia Mountains with our teenagers and absolutely fell in love with Dahlonega.

Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dahlonega is more than just wine tastings. It is outdoor adventures, rich history, scenic drives, and Hallmark Channel small town vibes.

Feeling overwhelmed with what to choose? The following are my favorites

Best Things to do

  1. Shop Downtown Dahlonega
  2. Hike Amicolola Falls
  3. Visit the gold mines

Let’s get to it.

Here are 25 fun things we found to do in Dahlonega with your teens.

What is Dahlonega GA known for? 

Dahlonega is mainly known as being the home of the first gold rush, long before Californians staked their claim. It was the site of the first major gold rush in the United States in the early 19th century.

Today, visitors can still find gold in the nearby creeks and pan for it in the same places the miners did. In addition to its wine and gold-panning attractions, Dahlonega is known for its quaint downtown area with shops, galleries, and restaurants. Visitors can also enjoy numerous parks, lakes, and trails throughout the region.

Additionally, Dahlonega is near the end of the Appalachian Trail. If you’re interested in learning where to hike the famed trail, you can visit the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Visitor Center in Dahlonega.

Fun Things to do in Downtown Dahlonega GA

1. Downtown Dahlonega Public Square

Dahlonega Public Square is a great place to start your visit. Located right in the heart of downtown Dahlonega, the public square is a popular gathering place and home to several festivals throughout the year. 

The square features lovely landscaping and plenty of seating, making it the perfect spot to relax. It’s a great place to set up a meeting spot with your teens. The downtown is not very big and you can send everyone off shopping in their own directions.  

You will also find unique shops, eateries, and art galleries that add to the quaint charm of the square. Visitors can take part in outdoor events such as farmers’ markets, live music performances, and more. The Dahlonega Public Square is a must-see when you’re in town! 

During the holidays, the square is decked out with old fashioned Christmas decorations and festive lights that bring a bit of extra cheer. 

2. Dahlonega Gold Museum

picture of an old wooden table and gold mine influence inside of the Dahlonega Gold Museum.

Visit the Dahlonega Gold Museum to learn more about the region’s famous gold mining past. The museum is located in the old Lumpkin County Courthouse, the centerpiece of downtown Dahlonega. 

It features displays and artifacts that provide a thorough overview of the area’s gold mining history. Learn about the area’s first inhabitants, early settlers, and their efforts to establish a successful gold industry in the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

View historical documents, photographs, and numerous artifacts from the Georgia gold rush.

The historic building museum also includes an interactive display that allows visitors to pan for gold as it was done during the gold rush era. This is a great place to start before you visit the gold mines later.

Location: Downtown Dahlonega

3. Historic Holly Theatre

a picture of the marquee outside the Historic Holly Theater. Seeing a show here would be a fun thing to do in Dahlonega GA

Located in the heart of Dahlonega, the Historic Holly Theater is a wonderful spot to visit if you’re looking for some live entertainment. This single-screen theater was built in 1925 and has been delighting guests ever since. 

From musicals to movies to plays, this theater has something for everyone. Whether you’re in town for a show or just want to take in the atmosphere, the Historic Holly Theater is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening.

Location: Downtown Dahlonega

4. Shop Downtown Dahlonega

a 2-story home, formerly the Jones Leibel House, decorated with Christmas Lights, red bows and wreaths. Currently home to Grateful Days clothing store in Dahlonega GA

If you’re looking for things to do in Dahlonega with teens, then head downtown to experience some of the best shopping the town has to offer. You’ll find a variety of local shops and boutiques, each offering unique things to do in Dahlonega GA.

My teens’ personal favorite was Grateful Days, a boho boutique filled with eclectic fashions and jewelry. 

 The Town Square is the perfect place to start your shopping experience, with lots of stores and vendors to explore. Be sure to check out No. 3 Vintage for vintage finds, and the Sp0ice and Tea Exchange for all your spice and tea needs.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect souvenir, the latest trends in fashion, or a special gift for someone, you’ll be sure to find it all in Downtown Dahlonega. 

5. Dahlonega General Store

The decorated window of Dahlonega General Store

Dahlonega General Store has been a fixture in the historic town of Dahlonega since the gold rush days of the mid-1800s. It is the perfect place to find unique gifts, local souvenirs, and essential supplies. 

The store has an incredible selection of items ranging from handmade pottery to Cherokee baskets, jams, books, and just about anything you can think of.

The store also carries locally made snacks and products from the nearby North Georgia Mountains. They have specialty sauces, candies, jams and jellies, baked goods, snacks, craft beer, and so much more. 

6. View the Christmas Lighting in Dahlonega

2 people standing in front of a wooden sleigh and wooden reindeer in front of a Christmas tree in Downtown Dahlonega GA

If you’re visiting Dahlonega GA in December, then be sure to check out the Christmas Lighting! This annual event takes place during the first weekend of December when the town of Dahlonega is filled with holiday cheer. 

The town square is lit up with festive lights and decorations, and visitors can enjoy a variety of entertainment, including live music, food trucks, and hot chocolate. 

There are also activities for kids, such as a visit from Santa and a petting zoo. During the event, be sure to take a stroll down Main Street to enjoy the twinkling lights and decorations. 

At night, head to Holly Theater to watch a classic Christmas movie. Enjoy this festive holiday celebration and make unforgettable memories in the North Georgia Mountains!

Even if you can’t make it during the lighting festival itself, you’ll still find plenty of Christmas things to do in Dahlonega Ga in December.

You may fall in love with Dahlonega like we did. Check out the pros and cons of living in Georgia if you’re considering moving.

7. Antiquing in Dahlonega

If your teens like vintage, they will enjoy the number of antique shops in Downtown Dahlonega.

There are several antique stores throughout the area offering a wide selection of collectibles and vintage items. One of the most popular spots is the Gateway Antique Mall. This mall has a vast selection of items from furniture and jewelry to fine art and more. The prices are reasonable and you can find something for everyone! 

Other great antique shopping spots include Gold City Antiques and Collectibles and Antiques & Collectibles of Dahlonega.. Each store has its own unique selection of items and is sure to have something special to take home. 

8. New Orleans Food Bourbon Street Grille

Powdered sugar beignets in downtown Dahlonega New Orleans.

If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, New Orleans Food Bourbon Street Grille in Dahlonega, Georgia is the place to go. 

Offering authentic New Orleans-style Creole and Cajun cuisine, you can enjoy all your favorite dishes in this cozy restaurant located in the heart of downtown. 

They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, with dishes ranging from jambalaya to po’boys. 

The restaurant also features live music on select nights and a large outdoor patio for al fresco dining during the warmer months. 

Get the beignets, you won’t be disappointed!

9. Eat Ice Cream

Treat yourself to a cool treat while exploring the North Georgia Mountains with a visit to one of Dahlonega’s ice cream shops. Kilwins is an old-fashioned popular ice cream shop. Downtown Connie’s Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop and the Picnic Cafe and Desertery are all steps from the town square. Plus, these locations offer more than just ice cream, pick-up gourmet chocolates, or homemade desserts for later.

10. Dahlonega Farmers Market

Dahlonega Farmers Market is the perfect place to explore the freshest produce, handmade crafts, and delicious treats. This unique market offers a wide selection of locally grown produce and other homemade items from local artisans and vendors. 

Enjoy fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, jams, jellies, and honey, as well as local dairy products, meats, and fish. 

There are also lots of unique souvenirs and crafts that make for great gifts and keepsakes. 

If you’re visiting on a Saturday from May to October, this is a great way to get out and meet the locals!

11. Picnic Cafe and Dessertery

Picnic Cafe and Dessertery cafe to get delicious food and baked goods one of the most fun things to do in Dahlonega.

If you’re looking for a unique and delicious place to grab a bite in Dahlonega, look no further than Picnic Cafe and Dessertery.

Picnic Cafe and Dessertery is the perfect spot for a leisurely lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch. 

Their menu offers something for everyone with a variety of classic American dishes and sandwiches, as well as homemade desserts that will satisfy any sweet tooth. 

12. Dahlonega Walking Tours

Are your teens into ghost tours? Dahlonega Walking tours have a Historic Ghost tour, Dahlonega History Tour, and a Food and Cultural Tour that your family may enjoy.  The tours are about an hour with the exception of the food tour at 3 hours. My teens have always enjoyed a food tour because they get to eat while learning a little history and fun facts along the way. 

Check prices and availability here.

Tourist Attractions in Dahlonega GA

13. Consolidated Gold Mine

Back of man's body as he descends into the caves at Consolidated Mines a fun thing to do in Dahlonega GA with teens.

If you’re looking for a unique experience in Dahlonega, then visiting the Consolidated Mine is an absolute must. This historic mine is situated in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains and is known to have been the most successful gold mine in the region.

The Consolidated Mine was originally established in 1887 and has been open to the public since 1965. 

When we visited, we took the underground gold mine tour, exploring the old gold mine and all of its equipment, as well as learning about the history of the area and how gold was mined during the time. 

The tours are both educational and fun and will leave you with a better understanding of what life was like during the Gold Rush period. There are demonstrations of darkness and explosives on the tour so if you have younger kids who may be easily frightened stick to the above-ground gold panning.

Location: Dahlonega, about 1 mile from Downtown.

14. Crisson Gold Mine

a Map of all the places gold was found in North Georgia.

Crisson Gold Mine is a one-of-a-kind experience that allows visitors to step back in time. This family-owned and operated gold mine has been in business since 1847, and offers visitors the chance to pan for gold, gemstones, and fossils. 

Visitors can also view an antique stamp mill, visit a gold and gemstone sluice and take a guided tour of the mine. Guests can even take home some genuine gold dust after their visit. 

A variety of gemstones and fossils can also be purchased at the store on site. This is the perfect adventure for anyone looking to explore the history of mining and the gold rush that took place in the area.

Tickets: Stop into the Dahlonega Visitors Center downtown and get a Gold Fever Package for discounted tickets to the gold attractions.

15. Chestatee Wildlife preserve

Located on the outskirts of Dahlonega, Chestatee Wildlife Preserve offers a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The preserve is home to more than 100 species of animals, including birds, reptiles, mammals, and amphibians. 

Visitors can explore the park’s 3.5 miles of hiking trails that wind their way through the lush North Georgia Mountains. 

Additionally, guests can participate in educational programs, such as nature walks and talks, bird watching, and reptile encounters. Chestatee Wildlife Preserve is a great place for families or individuals looking for a relaxing escape into the outdoors.

16. The Smith House

fun things to do in dahlonega ga 1 Are you looking for fun things to do in Dahlonega GA with your teenagers? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Photo courtesy of Hotels.com

Located in the heart of Dahlonega, The Smith House is an iconic eatery and inn that has been serving locals and visitors alike since the 1940s. 

With a menu of Southern-style comfort food, The Smith House is a great spot to get a taste of the North Georgia Mountains. This historic restaurant features a charming atmosphere, and the walls are adorned with old photographs and memorabilia. 

From classic favorites like fried chicken and catfish to barbecue pork and hand-cut fries, The Smith House is sure to have something for everyone in your party. 

The Smith House is also the site of the oldest gold mine in the North Georgia Mountains. Founded by gold prospectors in the 1840s, the mine is said to have produced some of the largest nuggets ever discovered during the region’s gold rush. 

Although no gold has been mined here since the late 1800s, the history of The Smith House and its association with the gold rush still make it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

Outdoor Things to do in Dahlonega GA

17. Amicalola Falls State Park

family at the base of Amicalola Falls in the Northern Georgia Mountains. Challenging hike up many stairs but a fun thing to do in Dahlonega GA

Amicalola Falls State Park is a stunning destination that should not be missed when visiting Dahlonega. Boasting the tallest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River, this park is known for its stunning natural beauty. 

You can get up close and personal with the falls here, but it is a steep climb. It is stairs, so that makes it a bit easier. Our family enjoyed getting to the top and looking over the waterfall.

Hike the many trails throughout the park and take in the stunning views of the North Georgia Mountains. 

There are several different trails ranging from easy to difficult. The East Ridge trail provides a challenging hike with panoramic views of the surrounding area. For those looking for a more leisurely experience, the Amicalola Falls Loop Trail is an easy .9-mile hike that offers spectacular views of the waterfalls. 

While this is the most popular in the Georgia State Parks, there are nearby parks for hiking as well.

18. North Georgia Astronomical Observatory

If you’re looking for a truly out-of-this-world experience while in Dahlonega, then be sure to check out the North Georgia Astronomical Observatory. Located just a short drive away at the University of North Georgia, the observatory is a great way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy the beauty of the night sky.

Public viewings happen weekly on Fridays from 8 pm to midnight.

The North Georgia Astronomical Observatory features two 12-inch telescopes that are perfect for stargazing and moon gazing. The observatory offers free astronomy classes throughout the year and a variety of educational programs designed to bring astronomy to life for children and adults. There is also a small gift shop with books, maps, and souvenirs related to astronomy and space.

Visitors are encouraged to bring their own snacks and drinks, as there are no food or beverage options at the observatory. But you can be sure to find plenty of peace, quiet, and starry nights here!

19. Red Oak Lavender farm

Lavender against the background of mountains and sky, Georgia. Lavender against the background of mountains.

Just a few miles away from downtown Dahlonega is Red Oak Lavender Farm. This charming family farm has been growing lavender for almost 10 years and has established itself as a popular destination for tourists. 

With its sprawling fields of fragrant blooms and breathtaking views of the North Georgia Mountains, it’s easy to see why Red Oak Lavender Farm is a popular spot for visitors. Whether you’re looking for a unique activity or just want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, make sure to check out Red Oak Lavender Farm.

20. DeSoto Falls

2 men and 2 women, a family, in front of DeSoto Falls in Norhtern Georgia, one of the fun things to do in Dahlonega GA with teens.

Located near Dahlonega, DeSoto Falls was an easy out-and-back hike. We took the wooded trail, which is about .5 to 1 mile to the falls. 

The trail is fairly easy, so all skill types should be able to hike it. The trail ends at the waterfall. 

This spectacular falls is not one you get to go up close and personal, but it was still one of my favorites. The hike through the trees and along the winding river was an enjoyable one that both the teens in my group enjoyed as well.

21. Gibbs Gardens

Gibbs Gardens is a spectacular botanical garden set on 220 acres of rolling hills. Gibbs Gardens boasts 16 distinct gardens ranging from Japanese, Daylily, and Water Lily to a charming English cottage garden. 

This is not only the variety of gardens but lovely winding trails throughout the property. Visitors can also enjoy a peaceful stroll through their majestic Perennial Garden or along one of their many streams. 

With over 3 million daffodils, azaleas, and other plants in bloom throughout the year, Gibbs Gardens is a must-see for nature lovers visiting the area. In addition to its breathtaking gardens, Gibbs Gardens also features a Butterfly House and hosts a number of special events and educational programs. 

The gardens are closed in January and February, so plan accordingly.

22. Lake Zwerner Trail

For those who are looking for a more serene outdoor activity, the Lake Zwerner Trail in Dahlonega is a great way to spend the day. Located in the Chattahoochee National Forest, this three-mile loop trail offers stunning views of the surrounding woods and the beautiful Lake Zwerner..

During your hike, you will encounter various wildlife and can enjoy fishing, picnicking, and swimming in the lake. 

23. Kayaking and Canoeing

fun things to do in dahlonega ga 2 Are you looking for fun things to do in Dahlonega GA with your teenagers? Then you’ve come to the right place.

One of our favorite outdoor activities is kayaking and canoeing. While it was too cold when we visited Dahlonega, I plan to return to travel down the Chestatee River and the Chattahoochee Forest.

If your teens haven’t experienced a river with rapids, the Etowah or Chestatee have class I and II rapids, making it a good start for beginners. 

In addition to the Etowah or Chestatee, you can kayak down the Yahoola Creek and the Chattahoochee rivers. 

If you have adventurous teens, this would be a great activity to include on your trip to Dahlonega.

24. Suches Loop – Georgia’s Dragon

If you’re looking for an exciting adventure for teens in Dahlonega, Georgia, the Suches Loop, or “Georgia’s Dragon,” is the perfect option. This iconic drive is one of the best things to do in Dahlonega, as it features a unique combination of winding curves and steep mountain roads. 

The Suches Loop is roughly 30 miles long and can be completed in about two hours with stops. Along the route, your family can enjoy stunning views of forests, rivers, and meadows as they cruise along at low speeds to take in all the sights. 

While you may not be ready to let your teens drive the Suches Loop offers a thrilling ride that they are sure to love!

25. North Georgia Wildlife and Safari Park

North Georgia Wildlife and Safari Park is a perfect destination for nature lovers and families. This park offers an up-close look at some of the region’s most impressive wildlife. Visitors can view over 400 animals, including white-tailed deer, bison, zebras, and camels. 

The park also offers guided safaris and educational programs, such as Animal Conservation Day. On this day, guests have the opportunity to learn more about the animals they observe and meet zookeepers who help maintain the park. 

For a unique experience, guests can even take a hayride tour around the preserve and explore its natural habitats. With its diverse animal population and incredible views of the north Georgia mountains, a visit to North Georgia Wildlife and Safari Park is sure to be a memorable adventure!

Festivals in Dahlonega

26. Bear on the Square Mountain Festival

The Bear on the Square Mountain Festival is an annual celebration of Appalachian culture in Dahlonega, Georgia that happens every spring, in mid to late April.

Enjoy music and acoustic jams in the square. shop handmade items from the mountain regions’ best artists.

And finally, the best is the art of storytelling as professional storytellers share a cherished Appalachian tradition.

27. Gold Rush Days Festival

It wouldn’t be the city known for its gold rush if there wasn’t a Gold Rush Days Festival. And if you’re looking for kid friendly things to do in Dahlonega, festivals are a great way to involve the whole family.

Happening in October, a great time to visit Dahlonega, and enjoy the Dahlonega Lumpkin County area with festival food, parade, performances and more.

The Gold Rush Days Festival has been voted one of the top 20 events by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Map of Things to Do in Dahlonega

Where to Stay in Dahlonega

Luxury: Dahlonega Square Hotel and Villas

Budget: Holiday Inn Express and Suites

Unique: 27 on Park

Getting Around in Dahlonega

You will want a car to get around Dahlonega as there is no public transportation. You can get Uber or Lyft, but as it’s a small town they may not be as readily available. You can check car retinal rates here:


Where is Dahlonega GA?

Dahlonega is in the North Georgia Mountains, about 68 miles to Atlanta, and 21 miles to Gainesville, Georgia

What are free things to do in Dahlonega GA?

Walking the town square and many hikes in Dahlonega are free. Window shopping, driving, and stargazing are free.

What should you not miss in Dahlonega?

Don’t miss any of the Dahlonega events such as tree lighting, or weekly farmers’ markets. You’ll enjoy the small-town feel.

Final Thoughts: Things to Do in Dahlonega

Is Dahlonega worth visiting? Absolutely. There’s a reason it’s featured in a few Hallmark movies. It has charm, history, great food, fun and eclectic shops, and gorgeous scenery. 

I think if your teens like any of those things, you can find something to do in Dahlonega.

You might also like our review of Helen Georgia, which has plenty of things to do near Dahlonega GA. It’s easy to combine a trip to Helen when you visit Dahlonega.

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