Helen, Georgia. We chose Helen because of Unicoi State Park. Helen itself could easily be called Alpine Land. Most of the city is done in a Switzerland Mountain motif. Because I have two children, I couldn't really look at the souvenir shops but what I saw seemed the same stuff you could get anywhere. However, I noticed that couples enjoyed strolling about, so some did find the shops of Helen tremendously enchanting. I couldn't look that deeply. My children don't have that kind of patience. The candy shop in Helen was a wonder for my kids. And we all liked Betty's Country Store. Helen is a good base for an area rich with family activities. Hiking opportunities abound. Babyland General Hospital, the home of the Cabbage Patch Kids is nearby. Many of the delights in the area are the simple ones...finding just the right picnic spot by a bend in the stream where your children can wade in...eating outdoors...viewing the mountains. Besides the activities I wrote separately about, two of my favorites were: (1) Anna Ruby Falls: This is an easy hike to an impressive 100-foot waterfall. We went a little bit down the Smith Creek trail, too. We would have hiked it all the way back to Unicoi State Park once, but we want our children to actually like hiking, so we turned around and kept it a pleasant journey.
(2) Smithgall Woods: Duke's Creek Conservation Center. This place offers a trout stream, and you can schedule a time to do catch-and-release fishing, knowing that they limit the number they accept and that you will have plenty of room. We didn't do that. We chose a simple 5-mile round-trip hike to a mine. Most of the hike was along a road. Car traffic is limited. We found it to be pretty, a chance for the children to enjoy nature.