Dining in Dahlonega. Image credit Jen Wolf via Shutterstock.

8 of the Most Welcoming Towns in Georgia

Georgia is known for many things, including their peaches and southern hospitality. There is no shortage of friendly towns in Georgia; it is one of the country's most inviting and welcoming states. 

Over 1.3 million international visitors make their way to Georgia each year. Each town has something to offer through personal encounters and experiences. It is easy to strike up spontaneous conversations and make new friends. Whether you are searching for Georgia's exciting nightlife, relaxing bed and breakfasts, historic sites, or a peaceful walk around the park, these towns will go above and beyond to make you feel welcome.

St. Marys

Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church is one of the oldest religious structures located within the St. Marys Historic District in St. Marys, Georgia
Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church is one of the oldest religious structures located within the St. Marys Historic District in St. Marys, GA, via William Silver / Shutterstock.com

St. Marys is a captivating coastal community with a population of about 18,980. The town is full of laid-back vibes and southern charm. It is an excellent town for a relaxing weekend retreat or outdoor adventures.

Some of St. Marys' popular attractions include the St. Marys Submarine Museum, St. Marys Waterfront Park, and the Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum. The Community Market is an open market downtown with handmade crafts, art, jewelry, and produce. Not only is it an ideal location to shop, but it is a great place to meet people.

There are various events and festivals that take place in the area throughout the year. If you are interested in sticking around St. Marys for a day or more, several incredible bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, and vacation rentals are available. Crooked River State Park is a beautiful park where you can enjoy the Intercoastal Waterway and maritime forest. The campsites here are surrounded by Spanish moss-draped oak and palmetto trees.


Building in Canton, Georgia
Building in Canton, Georgia, via Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock.com

Canton, Georgia, is a friendly and diverse town in Cherokee County. The people here are nice and helpful. Boiling Park and Etowah River Park are beautiful recreation sites. Boiling Park has a hiking trail, sports fields and courts, a walking track, exercise stations, a playground, and picnic areas. Along the west side of the park, the Etowah River flows. The Etowah River is one of several beautiful rivers in Georgia. The river is 163 miles long and runs through three state wildlife management areas.

Brown Park is a one-acre park with a playground and picnic tables, making it an ideal place to take the kids. The Free Little Library is an addition you don't see at many parks. Canton's First Fridays occur from May to October on the first Friday of the month. The event is free to everyone and is an excellent place to enjoy live music and food and meet people.


Aerial view of the Dahlonega Gold Museum in Dahlonega, Georgia.
Aerial view of the Dahlonega Gold Museum in Dahlonega, Georgia. Editorial credit: Kyle J Little / Shutterstock.com

You'll find the welcoming Georgia town of Dahlonega in the Blue Ridge Mountains, only an hour from Atlanta. The tight-knit community of Dahlonega has a small population of 7,461. This welcoming town was voted "Best Small Town 2023" by Southern Living.

There is so much to see and experience in Dahlonega. The Dahlonega Gold Museum and Consolidated Gold Mine display the town's mining history. The Gold Museum commemorates the beginning of the country's gold rush, which occurred twenty years before the California gold rush. The town has beautiful art galleries and historic tours and attractions. The year-round events and festivals are typically popular venues worth checking into.

Nature lovers and enthusiasts can visit Cane Creek Falls, Chattahoochee National Forest, and Yahoola Creek Park to relax or enjoy abundant outdoor recreation. The mountain vistas, waterfalls, and streams are beautiful and seem to add to the welcoming charm of the locals. Yahoola Creek Park is an ideal location to spend the afternoon with children. The park has sports fields, courts, two pavilions, picnic areas, restrooms, and a golf course. The picnic tables and areas are situated along the Yahoola Creek, making it a relaxing space to enjoy lunch or a snack.


Historic district in Senoia, Georgia, showcasing traditional architecture and charming streets.
Historic district in Senoia, Georgia, showcasing traditional architecture and charming streets. Editorial credit: 4kclips / Shutterstock.com

Senoia is only 35 minutes south of Atlanta in Coweta County. This small, welcoming town is a part of the Atlanta metropolitan area and has a population of 5,663. Senoia is a charming small town in Georgia with a family-friendly environment that is very community-centered.

The Woodbury Shop and Museum is a popular and famous location in the area, especially for any Walking Dead fans. Senoia has been a setting for various scenes in The Walking Dead and hosted other major films, including Driving Miss Daisy and Fried Green Tomatoes

If you are not big on film production and television shows, Senoia has much more to offer. Marimack Lake and Lake McIntosh Park are spectacular areas where you can enjoy the area's surrounding nature. Marimack Lake is a beautiful location with walking trails and year-round fishing opportunities. The Senoia Branch Library is a lovely place to spend an afternoon. Outside the beautiful library, you can find a stocked pond surrounded by trees. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of some of the local wildlife.


Toccoa Georgia main street buildings and business.
Toccoa Georgia main street buildings and business.

Toccoa is a small, welcoming town in Northeast Georgia near the border of South Carolina. The town is mostly quiet and laid back, with amiable people. The population of this area is 9,146, with a median age of 42.

The Currahee Military Museum, Stephens Co. Historical Society Office, and the Stephens Co. History Museum are excellent places to explore the town's local history; you can find all of them located in the Train Depot in historic downtown Toccoa. The Traveler's Rest Historical Site and Tugaloo Bend Heritage Park are also incredible sites full of history. Tugaloo Bend is a historic site comprising 87 acres, which was once the site of Estatoe, a Cherokee village. 

The Toccoa Symphony performs annual concerts throughout the year, and the Historic Ritz Theater hosts a wide array of programs, musicals, and special events. The Ida Cox Music series blows in with the summer breeze, with different genres of music presented every Saturday from June through August.


Decatur Sqaure in Georgia
Decatur Square in Georgia

The small, cool, and eclectic town of Decatur, Georgia, has a population of 24,338. It is easy to strike up a conversation and meet people in this area. The neighborhood has a mix of different types of people with a wide range of age groups, racial backgrounds, and economic levels. North Decatur is an ideal town in Georgia for seniors.

Decatur has a large LGBTQ community. The annual Decatur Pride is a festival that adds to the welcoming vibes of the city. The Atlanta Pride Festival takes place every October and is only about 20 minutes from Decatur.

Decatur Square is the focal point in the village, with a gazebo and free concerts every summer. There are also various family-friendly art, live music, festivals, and events throughout the year. This community is very pedestrian-friendly, and walking is an incredible way to see all the sites.


Aerial view of Ellijay, Georgia.
Aerial view of Ellijay, Georgia.

The welcoming town of Ellijay has a small population of less than 2,000. Ellijay is one of those towns off the beaten path in Georgia. This beautiful town is known for its orchards; every October, the Georgia Apple Festival takes place. The Panorama Orchards and Farm Market was established in the early 1920s as an apple orchard and has since become a thriving orchard with various varieties of apples, peaches, and fall vegetables.

Ellijay is a town for avid outdoor enthusiasts. This town is a mountain biker's paradise. Mulberry Gap Adventure Basecamp is in the heart of the "Mountain Bike Capital of Georgia." You will find this spectacular area within the Cohutta Wilderness of the expansive Chattahoochee National Forest.

Hop off the mountain bike and enjoy the various events that take place all year, like car shows, carnivals, live performances, and antique sales. Spend some time exploring the Tabor House Museum and the shops around the square or swimming in Carter's Lake, one of the deepest lakes in Georgia and the eastern United States.


A beautiful lake in Perry, Georgia.
A beautiful lake in Perry, Georgia.

Perry is a gorgeous Georgia town worth visiting. The population of Perry is 23,538, and the town offers so much to experience and see. Perry is a quiet and welcoming town in central Georgia. The area is full of immersive experiences and things to do, with events like The Comedy Cookout, open mic music and poetry, and tons of outdoor recreation.

The Go Fish Education Center features live exhibits where visitors can view aquatic wildlife, including alligators. There is a stocked pond for fishing, and the facility also has interactive fishing and boating simulators. Flat Creek Public Fishing Area is an excellent place to go fishing in the great outdoors. This area features a 106-acre lake stocked with various fish, including Bluegill, Catfish, Sunfish, and Large Mouth bass.

The Perry Area Historical Museum displays numerous exhibits, including everything from political to medical exhibits. You can also view old yearbooks, coins, diaries, and family bibles.

Rozar Park offers disc golf, sports fields and courts, playgrounds, and a picnic pavilion. After a long day out, head to one of the many restaurants where you can get everything from traditional Southern food to international cuisine. After dinner, you can enjoy a show at the Perry Players, a local community theater offering high-quality entertainment.

Georgia is a beautiful state, whether you are in a big city or a small town. The people are often amicable and welcoming to those who come for a visit or are in search of their new forever home. Small towns have a much more significant impact on a state than most people think; they are often made up of tight-knit communities where everyone knows everybody, and it can be easy to make friends.

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