Gainesville, Georgia

Gainesville, GA Vacation Planner

Historic Gainesville, Lake Lanier Islands, and the many lovely towns of Hall County offer lake fun, motorsports, golf, relaxing mountain scenery, antiques and shopping, beautiful resorts, hotels, bed & breakfast inns, and a plethora of recreational opportunities.

Nestled in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains, bordered by the shores of Lake Lanier, home to finish lines of two motorsport and several water sport venues – the region offers some of the finest recreation in the South and exciting new attractions.

Gainesville Historic Square

A beautiful. historic downtown district with an art deco flair, from boutiques to cozy cafes to antiques & collectibles with local artisans and a wide variety of restaurants.

Gainesville Historic Square
Gainesville Historic Square; image via Lake Lanier Convention & Visitors Bureau

Gainesville, a Georgia Main Street city (, boasts a beautiful downtown district with an art deco flair. Little of the historic district was left in 1936 after a huge tornado demolished the downtown area. Thanks to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the downtown was rebuilt; a monument to the President is displayed in Roosevelt Square.

Gainesville has been the trading and business center for Northeast Georgia’s mountain region for more than 200 years. The resurgence of downtown began in 1995 with the entry into the Main Street Program; a balance of public and private cooperation and investments. It was recently designated as one of Georgia’s ten “Cities of Excellence.”

downtown gainesville ga
image via Lake Lanier Convention & Visitors Bureau

Surrounding the town square are boutiques, cozy cafes, antique and collectible shops featuring local artisans. Spend some time browsing the streets and discover the wide assortment of restaurants on the square, where visitors can find a variety of foods.

Come join other visitors in May and October when the weekly “Blue Sky Concerts” entertainment during the noon hour. Pick up lunch at one of the unique cafes and enjoy the music seated on one of the Victorian benches scattered around the square.

Join in one of Georgia’s best fall events in October, Mule Camp Market, named for Mule Camp Springs, the site of one of the mineral springs so prevalent in Gainesville’s history. Gainesville’s downtown is also home to the “First Night” celebration on New Year’s Eve each year. The event presents many entertainers in different venues. Whether your preference is jazz, Irish jigs, country and western, or bluegrass, there is entertainment to please everyone. At midnight the evening is ended with a bang as fireworks frame the downtown skyline. First Night provides a night of non-stop fun for the entire family.

From outdoor concerts to trick-or-treating to Santa on the Square, the Gainesville Main Street Program remains a driving force behind economic strength in the downtown district.

Lake Lanier Islands Resort

Looking for a perfect change of scenery? Lake Lanier Islands is your place. Surrounded by 38,000 acres of glistening water, this picturesque setting is only minutes from downtown Atlanta. Come relax, play or just soak up the scenery. Whichever you choose, you’ll have a truly memorable experience.

Boating, Swimming, Golf, Water Sports, Quality Resorts, Meeting Facilities, Tennis, Beach & Water Park and more.

Civil War Tour: Gainesville

Day in Gainesville

  • 8:30 am: Breakfast at one of the area restaurants
    Morning: Northeast Georgia History Center: History of Northeast Georgia Mountains culture, farming, industry, and medical innovations on display.
  • Noon-1:00 pm: Lunch. Boxed lunch on Historic Square: Rebuilt in 1936 after a tornado destroyed it.
  • 1:00-2:00 pm: Walk/Shop Historic Square of Gainesville: Browse vintage book stores, gift galleries, and several shops specializing in ladies’ clothing. Also, there is a restored train depot housing the Arts Agency.
  • Afternoon: Beulah Rucker Museum: Civil War Artifacts. Piedmont Hotel: Operated in 1872 for almost 20 years, by General Longstreet, considered General Robert E. Lee’s right-hand man. Alta Vista Cemetery: Burial place of 2 former GA Governors and General Longstreet.
  • 6:00 pm: Dinner

Heritage Tour: Gainesville

Half-Day in Gainesville: (Morning or afternoon)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Morning/Afternoon
  • Chief Whitepath’s Cabin: 1 hour: Restored log cabin of the Cherokee Chief Whitepath (leader at the time of the Trail of Tears), built in the 1780s and furnished with period furniture.
  • Bete Todd Wages: 1 hour: Vintage clothing and Antique Furniture Collection featured in a Victorian Cottage located near Brenau University. Some apparel from the estate of Princess Lucie Shirazi, sister-in-law to the famous Rita Hayworth.
    Free time to walk Historic Green Street: 20th century Victorian and Neoclassical homes and businesses.
  • Lunch/Dinner

Nature and Outdoor Tour: Gainesville & Hall County

  • 8:00 AM: Breakfast in Hall County
  • 9:15 am: Depart for Elachee Nature Science Center: 20 mins.
  • 10:00-11:30 am: Tour Elachee Nature Science Center: Nature History Museum on a 1,200-acre nature preserve. Features two discovery centers with live animals, native plant garden, hiking trails, picnic area, and nature shop. Noon-1:30pm: Lunch in Hall County
  • Free time to walk: Historic Green Street: 20th century Victorian and Neoclassical homes and businesses.
  • 1:30 pm: Depart for Kangaroo Conservation Center: 45 mins
  • 2:30-4:00 pm: Tour of Kangaroo Conservation Center: The largest kangaroo collection outside of Australia.
  • 4:00 pm: Depart for hotel
  • 6:00 pm: Dinner in Hall County

Gold Rush Tour: Dahlonega

Site of America’s first major gold rush in 1829 and site of the U.S. Mint.

  • 8:00 am: Breakfast in Hall County
  • 9:15 am: Depart for Dahlonega: 30 mins.
  • 10:00 am: Dahlonega Gold Museum: located in the Old Courthouse.
  • 11:00 am: Consolidated Gold Mine: 450 foot tunel system made by miners before the turn of the century.
  • Noon – 1:00 PM: Lunch on the square and shopping
  • 1:00 – 2:30 pm: Free time and shopping in Dahlonega
  • 2:30 pm: Depart for Crisson’s Gold Mine: See and hear a real stamp mill, used in processing gold ore.
  • 5:30 pm: Dinner at Smith House
  • 7:00 pm: Depart to Hotel

Holiday & Shopping Tour

November & December

  • Afternoon arrival at Lake Lanier Islands with a reception
  • 5:00 – 6:00 pm: Dinner at the Resort
  • Magical Nights of Lights and shopping: World’s largest animated light show, 6 miles long.
  • Retire to Rooms
  • 8:00 AM: Breakfast at Resort
  • 9:00 am: Depart for shopping, all within 45 min.
  • Options for shopping

Historic Downtown Gainesville Square

  • Colonial Lakeshore Mall: Local Mall in Gainesville with over 70 specialty stores.
  • Tanger Factory Outlets: In Commerce
  • Discovery Mills: In Buford, new in 2001 with over 1.2 million square feet in top retail and entertainment.
  • Mall of Georgia: In Buford, the largest mall in the Southeast.
  • North Georgia Premium Outlets: In Dawsonville, upscale outlets.

A Day on the Lake: At Lake Lanier Islands


  • Afternoon arrival at Lake Lanier Islands with a reception
  • Dinner at the Resort
  • Concert on the Lake (depending on availability and day of the week)
  • 8:00 AM: Breakfast at the resort
  • Golf at the resort
  • Boat Rentals
  • Waterpark
  • Lunch: Boxed on golf course or at each site
  • Continue morning activities
  • Just enjoy the lake
  • Bike riding
  • Horseback riding
  • Evening: Nightly entertainment
  • Houseboat party on the lake.

Alpine Helen Tour

  • 8:00 am: Breakfast in Hall County
  • 9:15 am: Depart for Alpine Helen, 45 min.
  • 10:00 am: Arrive in Sautee-Nacoochee, which is in the shadow of the great Mount Yonah.
  • 10:15 am: Tour the Sautee-Nacoochee Art Gallery: Native American and old mining history, arts & crafts from North Georgia artisans.
  • 11:30 – 12:30 pm: Lunch at the Nacoochee Grill
  • 12:30 – 2:00 pm: Free time for shopping Nora Mill and Habersham Winery
  • 2:00 pm: Charlemagne’s Kingdom: Miniature Germany with trains, seaports and towns.
  • 3:30 – 6:00 pm: Free time for shopping in Helen
  • 6:00 pm: Depart for hotel
  • 7:30 pm: Dinner in Hall County

North Georgia Tour

  • 8:00 am: Breakfast in Hall County
  • 9:15 am: Depart for North Georgia, 45 min.
  • 10:00 am: Jaemor Farms: Local farmers and craft market.
  • 10:45 am: Smithville Village: Antiques, Tea Room and General Store
  • 11:30 am: Appletree Farms: pottery, arts, crafts
  • 12:30 – 1:15 pm: Lunch at Glen Ella
  • 1:15 pm: Depart for Tallulah Gorge State Park
  • 2:00 – 4:30 pm: Tour Tallulah Gorge State Park: 2 mile long gorge up to 1,000 feet deep, and equipped with a waterfall. Tallulah signifies “The Terrible”.
  • 4:30 pm: Depart for hotel
  • 7:00 pm: Dinner in Hall County

North Georgia Tour: Cleveland  & Sautee

  • 8:00 am: Breakfast in Hall County
  • 9:15 am: Depart for Cleveland, 45 min.
  • 10:00 am: Babyland General Hospital: Birthplace of the original Cabbage Patch Kids
  • 10:45 am: Visit the historic Cleveland Square and White County Courthouse
  • 12:30 – 1:15 pm: Lunch at the Nacoochee Grill
  • 1:15 – 2:30 pm: Free time for shopping Nora Mill and Habersham Winery.
  • 3:00 pm: Tour of Smithgall Woods Conservation Area.
  • 4:30 – 5:00 pm: Depart for hotel
  • 7:00 pm: Dinner in Hall County

Fast Cars: Hall County & Dawsonville

  • 8:00 am: Breakfast in Hall County
  • 9:15 am: Depart for Road Atlanta, 30 min.
  • 10:00 am: Tour of the track
  • 11:00 am: Hot Lap around the track at over 100 mph in a Formula 1 car (Varies).
  • 12:30 – 1:15 pm: Boxed lunch at Road Atlanta
  • 1:15 – 2:30 pm: Depart for Thunder Road USA: Georgia’s Racing Hall of Fame
  • 2:30 pm: Tour of Thunder Road USA
  • 4:30 – 5:00 pm: Depart for hotel
  • 7:00 pm: Dinner in Hall County

Winery Tour: Northeast Georgia Area

  • 9:30 am: Chateau Élan Winery tour and shopping, 45 mins.
  • 10:30 am: Leave for Habersham Winery, 45 mins.
  • 11:15 – Noon: Wine tasting and tour.
  • 12:30 – 1:30 pm: Lunch at the Nacoochee Grill
  • 1:30 pm: Depart for Crane Creek Vineyards, 45 mins.
  • 2:30 – 3:15pm: Tour of Crane Creek and Wine Tasting.
  • 3:30 pm: Depart for Tiger Mountain Vineyards
  • 4:15 – 4:45 pm: Wine tasting and tour.
  • 4:45 pm: Depart for hotel
  • 7:00 pm: Dinner in Hall County Golden

Golden Winery Tour: Dahlonega

  • 9:30 am: Chateau Élan Winery tour and shopping, 45 mins.
  • 10:30 am: Depart for Dahlonega
  • 11:00 am – 1 pm: Frogtown Cellars tour and tasting, 30 min.
  • 12:30 – 1:15 pm: Lunch, wine tour and tasting at the Three Star Vineyards
  • 1:15 pm: Depart for Wolf Mountain Vineyards, 30 min.
  • 1:45 – 2:30 pm: Tour of Wolf Mountain Winery and tasting.
  • 2:30 pm: Depart for Habersham Vineyards and Winery, 45 min.
  • 3:15 – 4:00 pm: Tour of Habersham Winery and wine tasting.
  • 4:00 – 4:45 pm: Free time in Nora Mills.
  • 4:45 pm: Depart for hotel
  • 7:00 pm: Dinner in Hall County Golden

Made by Hand: Pottery Tour

  • 9:30 – 11:30 am: Hewell’s Pottery Tour: Since 1860, the Hewell Family has been making pottery. From glazed collector pieces to flower pots, this establishment has a large shopping area that is opened year round and features pottery, house ware accessories and gift items.
  • 11:30 am: Depart for Appletree Farms
  • Noon – 2:00 pm: Lunch and shopping at Appletree Farms: A quaint restaurant and shop that has an extensive collection of Northeast Georgia’s best potters and other items.
  • 2:15 – 4:00 pm: Crocker Pottery in Lula: Home of Michael Crocker, nationally acclaimed folk potter whose works are permanently displayed in the Smithsonian. He is known for face jugs and jugs encircled by replicas of North Georgia snakes.
  • 4:00 pm: Depart for hotel.

Climate: Average annual temperature: 60 degrees F. Average summer temperature: 75 degrees F. Average annual rainfall: 49 inches.

Airport Transportation: AAA Airport Express, Inc. provides transportation to and from Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport every two hours. Pickup and drop-off points located at Lake Lanier Islands and Best Western Lanier Centre in Gainesville. Call for reservations at 800-354-7874 or visit

Amtrak: Amtrak’s Crescent serves Gainesville daily with service to New York and New Orleans, with intermediate destinations and connections served. Call 800-USA-RAIL or visit

The Gainesville-Hall County Convention & Visitors Bureau is available to help you with everything from complimentary meeting planning to give you assistance on all Northeast Georgia has to offer. Free maps, brochures, and guides are available. Call 770-536-5209, or email us at

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce is also a great resource for those planning to relocate to Hall County. Chamber Newcomers Kits feature business and community information for a minimal charge. Call 770-532-6206 or visit

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