Best Local Fall Festivals and Activities


Every autumn, North Georgia celebrates a bountiful harvest, cooler weather, and colorful leaves with festivals and fall-friendly activities and places. Mark your calendars so you don’t miss some of our favorites that are within easy driving distance of Big Canoe:

Gibbs Gardens, the lovely botanical garden that’s just 10 minutes outside the Big Canoe gates, has three Fall Festivals lined up. The French inspired Monet Waterlily Festival, September 24-25 and October 1-2, showcases hundreds of waterlilies in full bloom, French food and fine art, live music, and mimes.

Their next Fall Festival, October 8-9 and 15-16, features the Michael Allen Radio Show Band playing your favorites on both Saturdays with mouthwatering barbecue and gourmet desserts from Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q.

The Japanese Maples Colorfest wraps up their Fall Festival trio, on October 22-23, 29-30, November 5-6, 12-13, and 19-20. It’s here that you will see 100 varieties and over 2,000 fiery-red Japanese maples in the largest Japanese Gardens in America. The Michael Allen Radio Show Band and Williamson Bros. will be there on October 22.

The 35th Annual Marble Festival, is a two-day celebration of Pickens County’s historic marble industry that for decades has been mined and used to create historic architecture around the world, including the Lincoln Memorial, Supreme Court and Arlington National Cemetery. A quick 10 minute drive from Big Canoe to Marble Hill, this October 1-2 event is the only time each year that the Historic Tate Marble Quarry is open for tours. There will also be a road race, parade, expo, fine arts exhibit, arts & crafts booths, entertainment, children’s area, business expo and more.

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is located about 45 minutes from Big Canoe. This historic train ride is a pleasant way to take in North Georgia’s breathtaking fall foliage from the comfort of an antique rail car. Southern Living ranked it as one of the top five ways to experience autumn color, and we agree. The town of Blue Ridge also has great shopping, craft breweries, and delicious restaurants to enjoy.

Burt’s Pumpkin Farm, 15 minutes from Big Canoe’s North Gate, offers hay rides, pumpkin picking, and a country store for that special jar of local honey or homemade jam. Burt’s has free admission (hayrides are $5 per person) and provides hours of priceless family fun.