Exploring rural Georgia: Dawsonville

Updated: May 18

By Loren Lindler


Photo credit: Destination Dawsonville

Mountains, moonshine, and motorsports - what more could you need for a weekend of fun? Encompassing all three of these things, and so much more, Dawsonville, Georgia, has you covered for the perfect rural Georgia experience.


Once home to the Cherokee and Lower Creek Indian tribes, Dawson County is now a place to experience rich history, the Georgia mountains, and a 729-foot waterfall, which happens to be the third-highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River.


Amicalola Falls State Park lies within the Chattahoochee National Forest and is every nature lover's dream. Amicalola, a Cherokee Indian word, means "tumbling waters," which certainly seems appropriate.


A visit to Amicalola Falls is sure to bring fun for the whole family - a stay at the lodge, hiking, zip-lining, archery, camping, and a million-dollar view.


Not only does Dawsonville boast a roaring waterfall, but the north Georgia mountains were once roaring with moonshine during the prohibition era, hence the start of NASCAR. Now coined as the "Moonshine Capital of the World," Dawsonville is home to the Dawsonville Distillery, featuring traditional recipes that have been passed down for over 150 years.


After you have visited the Dawsonville Distillery, a stop at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame is a must. Georgia and Dawson County are certainly no strangers to the NASCAR and racing world. As the "Birthplace of Stock Car Racing," Dawsonville's Official Racing Museum showcases vintage race cars, a garden of bricks, a winner's circle, the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Room, the Elliott Family Legacy Room, Georgia racing heritage exhibits, and more. William "Bill" Elliott, a Dawsonville native, won the 1988 Winston Cup Series Champion and many other races. Additionally, his son, William "Chase," claimed the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Champion. Together, along with the late George Elliott, they are influential individuals of the racing world and the "first family of Georgia racing."

Photo by Ted Van Pelt

If you plan your trip to Dawsonville in the fall, you're sure to see the leaves changing to beautiful shades of red, orange, and gold. Plus, pumpkins of all shapes and sizes can be found at Burt's Farm and Bradley's Pumpkin Patch - the perfect places to snap a picture for Instagram.


Whether you're taking a day trip to this fun little town, or spending a full week soaking it all in, Dawsonville may just be the perfect place for you to explore and experience rural Georgia. Check out Dawsonville's website to plan your next vacation!