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To help you plan a weekend, About North Georgia editors have come up with their Top Ten getaways.

10. Visiting Downtown Atlanta

Atlanta SkylineYou probably can't name all the great things to do in downtown Atlanta. A visit to Grant Park, taking in the Cyclorama and the zoo, or just walking around the park itself. Margeret Mitchell's apartment and the Gone With the Wind Museum, The Atlanta History Center, Underground Atlanta, Sweet Auburn, the state Capital, a Hawks/Thrashers/Braves/Falcons game, Centennial Park, The Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola... We could go on and on. Spend the night at Westin Peachtree Plaza (Info Rooms), a 73 story hotel with a revolving restaurant at the top. The most exciting elevator ride in the Southeast! A Roadside Georgia tip: Behind the Peachtree Plaza is Walton Spring, site of the first inn of Atlanta.

9. Sightseeing on Lookout Mountain

America's First Tourist destination, Lookout Mountain is still a great place to go with or without kids! Rent a room at the Chattanooga Choo Choo then See Rock City. There are plenty of hiking opportunities along the mountainside, our favorite being a late afternoon hike from Point Park (that's actually in Tennessee) to Sunset Rock. While you're in Tennessee, make the short hop to Ruby Falls. Don't forget to stop by Cloudland Canyon State Park.

8. Lake Lanier

Think Lake Lanier is just a good boating destination? You're half-right. This vast resource has just about everything around its shores. Championship golf, four star hotels, an excellent history museum, and plenty of outdoor recreation, especially camping. We like the Emerald Point Resort (Info Rooms) in Lake Lanier Islands. This upscale facility has just about everything you need on premises. Our tip: If the area around the dam is open, the Laurel Ridge Trail is a great way to see it!

7. Stone MountainStone Mountain Park
Sure, you could probably only go to see the carving or the fireworks, but you would be missing a lot. Start early at the antebellum plantation, ride the sky lift, loop the mountain on a locomotive, ride the riverboat, check out the auto museum and then take in the laser show. Book a room at Stone Mountain Inn (a Marriott hotel) (Info Rooms) and do it all again the next day. Our favorite: is a five and a half mile trail that loops the mountain. All you have to do is find it!

6. Outdoors recreation in Ellijay-Blue Ridge

There is plenty to do in this section of the Chattahoochee National Forest. For skilled hikers, try a section of the Benton MacKaye Trail (you might meet our publisher there, its one of his favorites). Try antique shopping in either downtown Ellijay or Blue Ridge. Stop and ride a horse at Adventure Trail Rides, then take the family on an adventure from a bygone era, riding the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.

5. Georgia's High Point, Brasstown Bald

Highest point in a spine of mountains known collectively as Wolfpen Ridge, Brasstown Bald is a great place to find outstanding scenic views. It's a beautiful drive any time of year, but be careful in the winter. Once you've worn yourself out on the trail to the top, cozy up with that special someone in a hot tub at Enota, one heck of a great place to stay (we recommend the Seneca). You'll find something for everyone, whether the kids want to ride a bike or you want to hike to one of the area's five remote waterfalls. Nearby is the alpine village of Helen, Georgia, Vogel State Park, and a section of the Appalachian Trail.

4. Rome
This major northwest Georgia city is truly a great find for those who don't yet know of Rome's many charms. There is a Jameson Inn (Info Rooms) on Highway 411 that really is a great value. From here, start with the Martha Berry Museum and Oak Hill (her home). Take some extra time to follow the easy path through the estate gardens. Stop at the Chieftains Museum and visit the home of Major Ridge, a leader of the Cherokee Nation. Don't forget to see The Civil War era fort at the top of Civic Center Hill. On the second day visit the Rome Area History Museum and Myrtle Hill Cemetery, then climb the Clock Tower and take the walking tour (brochure at railroad depot at Civic Center Hill).

3. Chickamauga Battlefield

The bloodiest two days in the history of the United States occurred here on September_19, 1863 and September_20, 1863. The creation of this, the country's first National Military Park was a form of closure for thousands of American veterans, North and South. Today the places where the heaviest fighting occurred are connected by trails, the best way to see the park, or by a driving tour, also interesting, but you will miss some key places. Stop by the visitor's center to see the Fuller Gun Collection and to get more information on the tour. Once you've finished in the park, head north on Lafayette Road to Fort Oglethorpe. Then tour Barnhardt Circle, visit the Sixth Cavalry Museum.

2. Dahlonega
Although not the site of the first discovery of gold in North Georgia, Dahlonega and nearby Auroria were the center of the Georgia Gold Rush of 1829, the first "rush" in America. Dahlonega is Cherokee for gold and is one of the centers of Georgia's second great Gold Rush, tourism. Stop by the old courthouse and visit the Dahlonega Gold Museum. Take a few minutes to view the unique film presentation. Then cross the traffic circle to the Chamber of Commerce. Visit the downtown shops and stop for lunch at the Smith House. Visit Auroria, (follow Highway 9 to Auroria Road. It goes straight ahead when Highway 9 turns right). Book a cabin at Cavender Creek then hike one of the many nearby hiking trails

1. Tallulah Gorge State Park and Chattooga River Whitewater on Section IV the Chattooga River
Reservations required for whitewater

Site of the first major environmental battle in the world, Tallulah Gorge became a state park ten years ago. Under the direction of the state and Georgia Power the gorge has once again become a popular tourist stop. Within its boundaries are hiking trails, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, camping, a beach, and the Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center. Eat some of the internationally famous food and rest up at Glen-Ella Springs Inn (Info) just minutes from the state park. On the second day head to Clayton, then east on Highway 76 to Southeastern Expeditions. This is one for adults and older children and it's the ride of your life. Six hours of heart pumping excitement that you will never forget. Deliverance Rock, Raven's Cliff, Sock-em' Dog Rapids, Decapitation Rock. Then try one of the many hikes that make Rabun County an outdoor paradise. The only bad thing -- you'll have to wait until March to try the whitewater rafting.

North Georgia Travel
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Article Links
Adventure Trail Rides
Appalachian Trail
Benton MacKaye Trail
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Brasstown Bald
Chattahoochee National Forest
Chattooga River Whitewater
Cherokee Nation
Chickamauga Battlefield
Clock Tower
Cloudland Canyon State Park
Dahlonega Gold Museum
Georgia Aquarium
Georgia Gold Rush
Glen-Ella Springs Inn
Helen, Georgia
Lake Lanier
Laurel Ridge Trail
Lookout Mountain
Major Ridge
Point Park
Rock City
Sixth Cavalry Museum
Tallulah Gorge State Park
The Atlanta History Center
The Civil War
Vogel State Park
World of Coca-Cola
sky lift

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