Image of the Market at Clayton Cafe North Georgia

25 Best Things to do In Rabun County

25 Best Things to do In Rabun County: Guests are always asking us “what is there to do while in the Northeast Georgia Mountains?”  We have compiled a non-exhaustive list of our past guests favorite things not to miss while visiting our area of the North Georgia Mountains. While numbered, they are in no particular order.

25 Best Things to do In Rabun County

Guide to North Georgia and the Best Things to do in Rabun County: Guests are always us “what are the best things we need to see and do while staying at Beechwood Inn in the North Georgia Mountains? To craft a relevant response we now ask our departing guests what they enjoyed during their visit. So we have compiled a non-exhaustive list of favorite things not to miss while visiting our corner of Northeast Georgia. While numbered they are really in no particular order. Also, if we have missed your favorite location please send us a note.

Guide to Rabun County and the North Georgia Mountains – 25 Best Things to do in Rabun county

Things to do in our Corner of the North Georgia Mountains – Rabun County

1. Visit The Market at Clayton Cafe: Bold new gathering place/coffee/bar/wine sipping location/bakery on Main Street in downtown Clayton. Its the kind of unique shop/noshing establishment you would expect to find in a big city, but here it is in Clayton, Georgia.  Operated by our friends Teka Earnhardt, Bonnie Edmonds and Danny Benson, it adds a whole new interest to a visit to our corner of North Georgia. They even carry our Beechwood Inn labeled North Georgia Wines. So for a cup of Joe, an espresso or a glass of wine with some decadent pastry – stop in for a visit.

2. Enjoy Dinner at Fortify Kitchen and Bar, Clayton, GA: Fortify is located in Historic Downtown Clayton, one of our hippest mountain towns. It’s the best restaurant in Northeast Georgia for upscale Southern-Style Farm to Table Cuisine and also specializes in Farm to Table craft cocktails. Chef Jamie Allred focuses on elevated favorites such as veal tenderloin, filet mignon, trout, and crab cakes. The best part about Fortify Kitchen and Bar is that much of the food is locally sourced and Chef honors the farms and farmers with a weekly “Meet our Farmers” Dinner.

3. Celebrate with a Farm to Table Dining Experience at Beechwood Inn. Named “One of the Top 10 Farm to Table Restaurants in Georgia.” To further enhance our diner’s farm to table experience Beechwood Inn operates Grow, Cook, Eat, Culinary Garden, an organic vegetable, herb and edible flower farm in Rabun County. Our Chefs may have sown the seed for your dinner back in March, observed the sprouts coming out of the ground, tended them, admired them as they pulled them from the soil, and finally they put the finishing touches on the whole project by preparing it for your plate. Two Best Ches America Chef David Darugh and Chef Gayle Darugh

4. Shop at Wander North Georgia: This creative shop is owned and operated by some seriously creative people. They give 1% of their monthly earnings each a month to a local charity. It is part gear and outdoors with a total emphasis on playfulness and fun. Lots of kids things and family oriented gadgets. Gayle and I love the shop and the owners. Also, in the basement is Admiral Axe offering the opportunity to throw axes and entertain your inner child. 

5. Sip Some Rye Whiskey at Moonrise Distillery: Owner Doug Nassaur is one of the most knowledgeable distillers I have ever met. A tour of the distillery with Doug will make you wonder why you would ever buy cheap whiskey or bourbon again. He is making a panoply of distilled spirits and some mixed fruit beverages like cognac as well.  Moonrise now offers a stage with live entertainment and parties. Put this tour high on your list! Oh, did I fail to mention their Bourbon laced Pecan Ice Cream.

6. Have a Picnic at Blackrock Mountain State Park:  From Beechwood Inn it is just a short drive to Blackrock Mountain State Park, the highest state park in Georgia. The visitors Center has been newly remodeled and offers rest rooms, sales items and trail maps.  It is a perfect place to bring a picnic as the top of the mountain it is always several degrees cooler than down below. There are miles of trails, a beautiful lake and even some waterfalls to visit.

7. Hike Tallulah Gorge: One of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern U.S., Tallulah Gorge is two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. Visitors can hike rim trails to several overlooks, or they can obtain a permit to hike to the gorge floor (100 per day, not available during water releases). A suspension bridge sways 80 feet above the rocky bottom, providing spectacular views of the river and waterfalls. Tightrope walkers have twice crossed the gorge, and visitors can still see towers used by Karl Wallenda. A paved path follows an on old railroad bed, perfect for strollers and bicycles, while mountain bikers can test their skills on a challenging 10-mile trail. Exhibits in the park’s Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center highlight the rich history of this Victorian resort town, as well as the rugged terrain and fragile ecosystem of the area.

8. Visit Foxfire Museum: Take a walk through the past at the Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center, a look at a unique time and place in America’s past that is very nearly gone. Catch a glimpse of a rich past captured by local high school students who truly valued their heritage. Here you will find homes, tools, trades, crafts, and a look at the lifestyle of the all-but-vanished pioneer culture of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

9.  Visit a Nearby Winery: The North Georgia Mountains are now dotted with family owned vineyards and wineries making wonderful quality table wines. While you will find the occasional sweet wine, many of the wines now made in North Georgia compete favorably with wines from California and France. In our immediate area you can find:

10. Participate in a Farm and Food Tour: The Bennett Shuttle Service offers pretty interesting entertainment as they visit local farms, restaurants, wineries, distilleries and gardens througout our corner of Northeast Georgia. You will participate in picking local farm produce then going to a local restaurant to prepare your lunch with the harvest, then relax at a nearby winery with a tasting. These are exciting trips that introduce you to aspects of food and wine not scene by the casual tourist.

11.  Visit Historic Downtown Clayton: Clayton, Georgia has it all – surrounded by the lush Smoky Mountains, an old-time Main Street lined with specialty shopping, delicious dining venues, romantic vineyards, and many rustic lodging options. Local shops feature the best in art, antiques, books, flowers, furniture, gifts and wine. Fine restaurants will please even the most discriminating palate. You’ll even find an old fashioned drug store soda fountain.

12. Float a Lake on a Pontoon Boat:  There is not much more relaxing than floating on one of our mountain lakes and ogling our wonderful lake houses from the perspective they are meant to be seen from.  The mountains are beautiful and the lakes are pure, clean and maintained at high water levels by Georgia Power Company. You will not see acres of red mud or half submerged old tires on any of the lakes in Rabun County.

13. Visit the Historic Shops in Lakemont. It is a New Artisan Community built on Old Foundations housed in renovated and restored buildings from the early 1900’s. It is a cluster of art galleries, studios, a nursery and fine shops. Don’t miss Annie’s at Allies Groceries offering deli-sandwiches, fine wine and essential provisions for the Lake Rabun folk. Located on Old 441 south.

14. Go Horseback riding in our Cove Forests: Yes, let the horse do the work as you enjoy the beauty and solitude of our wondrous mountain eco-system. You can ford streams and without getting your feet wet, you can climb a mountain without getting yourself out of breath and yet feel at one with the wilderness and not captive in a car.

15. Have Lunch at Chattooga Belle Farm:  Long Creek, SC: Okay, this one’s not in Georgia, but it is just barely over the state-line to the East. Having lunch is an experience you will never forget (open for dinner on occasion). The “Farm” offers fresh cuisine from their expansive orchards and culinary gardens, but the view is what will create a memory – forever. Gayle claims the view will heal your soul at the molecular level. Sitting on a knoll with a long range view of the Southern Appalachian front range; add some clouds and you will stay for a three hour lunch.  Also enjoy their farm store and their on-site distillery using many of their local fruits.

16. Go to Black Bear Creek Antiques. This place is eye candy for guys, and for gals that like guy things. It is filled with old advertising, antique outboard motors, old fishing gear, a 1966 Italian Harley, old Coke machines. Probably my personal favorite is the machine room as it is chocked full of all things mechanical. Victrolas, vintage oscillating fans, antique radios, “people weigher” scale, working traffic light, arcade games. You won’t find any antimacassars. Located five miles west of Clayton, on Highway 76.

17. Enjoy lunch at Fromage. This is one of our favorite quirky cafes nearby.  Fromage is the passion of “Best Chefs America” Chef Jenny Wilson, who loves coming up with new and inventive menus. Tell them Beechwood Inn sent you!

18. Golf in the North Georgia Mountains. We have some spectacular mountain golf courses – some where the ball will drop nearly 1,000 feet to the green. All our courses are beautiful, well maintained and offer some breath-taking views of lakes, mountains, ponds and streams. So grab your 3 iron and join us for a round of mountain golf.

  • Kingwood Resort: Registered Beechwood Inn guests can play golf at nearby Kingwood Resort (3 miles) at a special guest rate. This is a substantial saving. Let us call and set up your Tee-Time in order to get this rate. Kingwood Resort also has a wonderful restaurant open for dining after your day of golf. Championship eighteen holes, open to the public. Located on East 76 just outside of Clayton. (706)212-4100 or (866) KINGWOOD
  • Rabun County Country Club: A 9-hole golf course, located on south on Main Street/Old 441. Clayton, GA. (706)782-5500.
  • Sky Valley Resort: Championship eighteen holes. Sky Valley, GA. (706)746-5303.

19. Attend an Event at the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia in Clayton: Our local Food Bank offers recurring Wine Dinners, Chef Throwdown Competitions and other exciting food and wine activities. These are live events are not to be missed and your donation and attendance helps the fight against poverty and food insecurity in our corner of North Georgia. Check out their upcoming events: 

20. Grapes & Beans: Cute cozy Bistro just off Main Street in Clayton. Local seasonal and sustainable cuisine. Serves lunch and dinner (freestyle small bites), eat-in or carry-out, and uses local and organic ingredients whenever possible. Nice gathering place for locals with a friendly casual atmosphere. Outdoor seasonal dining under the Kudzu Veranda. Lunch Thur-Sun. Dinner seating Friday and Saturday.

21. Participate in a Seasonal Festival. It does not matter whether you like to stroll displays of art, listen to great bluegrass music or smell wood-smoke as local meats are being barbecued; there is just about always something to celebrate in our corner of northeast Georgia. We do have the best artists, and the best barbecue in Georgia, and many of the best musicians too. We also have great wineries that celebrate new vintages and the awakening of the vines each spring. Our Farms offer corn mazes and farm days. Foxfire celebrates our Mountain Heritage and our white liquor legacy (that’s moonshine to you flatlanders). Our area also hosts adventure activities such as bicycle races, old automobile rallies, and warrior events. Come be entertained in our North Georgia Mountains. See what’s happening:

22. Drop in at Timpson Creek Gallery. Owned by Duane and Cecile Thompson, this gallery/shop offers some of the best in local and regional art. Duane specializes in twig furniture and décor and his work is exquisite. Duane also collects old advertising which has an honor corner in the main gallery. I still want that old bar sign. Cecile collects the best of regional art and jewelry. Out back is another gallery the Root Cellar, where they offer regional artists the opportunity to show their art and crafts. Watch for classes and special displays on their website. They are located 6 miles west of Clayton on highway 76.

23. Relax on Beechwood Inn’s Front Porch and View the Sunset on Black Rock Mountain: Yes, it isn’t much easier to enjoy Rabun County than to sit on Beechwood inn’s gorgeous front porch with a glass of wine. The sunset and sunrise views can be captivating. Even mid-day views witha storm coming in and clouds gathering can be beautiful. The view is ever changing through the seasons.

24. Hike the Shortline Trail at Tallulah Gorge State Park: Gayle and I often hike this trail. The best time is early in the morning to catch a glimpse of wild life. But anytime is fine to enjoy the sound of the river cascading down its channel. It is a relaxing walk following the old railroad trail as it would through our mountains.

25. Raft the Chattooga River. Yes, this first ever Wild and Scenic River is still one of the biggest attractions in our area. On Section III you can find solitude and beauty between the shoals and rapids.  On Section IV you will discover paddling muscles you have not used recently. It is a spectacular resource that needs our protection.

Get A Good Night’s Rest at Beechwood Inn!

Now that you know that North Georgia is best explored on a weekday, it’s time to start planning your trip! At Beechwood Inn, our beautiful rooms suites and cabins provide some of the best lodging in the area. They’re the perfect place to rest and recharge after a day full of exploring! And our restaurant has been names one of the 10 Best in North Georgia. Check out our upcoming menus.