LGBTQ+ Friendly Travel Guide to Blue Ridge, GA

Gay friendly Blue Ridge GA

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Blue Ridge, GA, welcomes gay travelers with a blend of outdoor experiences and a small-town atmosphere. It’s where the queer traveler can enjoy both relaxation and adventure, in a setting that respects and celebrates diversity. Check out our guide to find the most welcoming places and LGBTQ+ friendly experiences in Blue Ridge.

How to Get There: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

You know it’s “small town USA” when there are no major airports, train stations, or bus terminals in town. Regardless of how you choose to travel, time spent in a vehicle as either the driver or passenger is going to be part of the journey. Trust us, it’s well worth it.

Planes: You can fly into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. From there you can rent a car for the remaining two-hour drive to Blue Ridge. There’s also Chattanooga Airport (CHA) about 50 miles away, and Knoxville Airport (TYS) about 75 miles away. 

Trains: Amtrak provides rail service to Gainesville and Toccoa, GA each of which are about 70 miles from Blue Ridge.

Automobiles: With car travel having to be a part of your trip to Blue Ridge, you may just opt for a road trip regardless of your starting point. The roads leading to Blue Ridge offer amazing views, especially the approach through the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Buses: The closest bus stations to Blue Ridge are in Dalton, GA and Cleveland, TN each about a 50 mile drive away.

How LGBTQ+ Welcoming is Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge rolls out the rainbow carpet for LGBTQ+ visitors, blending Southern hospitality with a genuine respect for diversity. This mountain town in Georgia doesn’t just talk the talk, it walks the walk with open hearts and open doors. Hand-holding is met with smiles, and locals are just as likely to recommend their favorite hiking spot as they are the best place to catch a drag show. The community vibe here is more “come as you are,” making everyone, regardless of who they love, feel right at home. The queer traveler finds more than just a travel destination in Blue Ridge; they find a small town with a big heart, ready to celebrate every color of the rainbow.

Welcome to Blue Ridge GA

Pride Events in Blue Ridge

While the town of Blue Ridge itself doesn’t host a pride festival or parade, you can check out all of the pride events near and around Blue Ridge in our Complete Guide to Georgia Pride.

History Of Blue Ridge

Founded in the 1880s, Blue Ridge was established as a depot on the Marietta and North Georgia Railroad, facilitating the transportation of resources, particularly timber from the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. The town’s layout, with its grid of streets and historic downtown area, still reflects this early period of railroad-driven expansion. The opening of the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in the 1990s marked a shift in the town’s focus towards tourism. Over the years, Blue Ridge has continued to grow as a tourist destination, especially for the queer community.

History of Blue Ridge GA

LGBTQ+ Friendly Places to Stay in Blue Ridge

Whether you’re looking for a charming bed and breakfast, a rustic cabin in the mountains, or a well-equipped hotel, you can find that and more in Blue Ridge.

The Ridges Resort – The Ridges Resort, located on the shores of Lake Chatuge is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Guests can enjoy boating, fishing, and evening bonfires, making it an ideal spot for both relaxation and adventure. The resort’s accommodations and scenic views make it a relaxing lakeside getaway.

Blue Ridge Inn Bed & Breakfast – Comfort and historic elegance define the Blue Ridge Inn Bed & Breakfast. Each room is uniquely decorated for the perfect blend of antique charm and modern amenities. The inn’s location (a block from downtown) gives guests easy access to local attractions, making it a perfect spot for exploring the town’s shops, galleries, and restaurants.

Blue Ridge Treehouse Rentals – Blue Ridge Treehouse Rentals is a whimsical and adventurous experience, set high among the lush foliage of the Blue Ridge mountains. These treehouses combine rustic charm with modern amenities, providing a unique and cozy stay amidst nature. 

Blue Ridge Treehouse GA

Recommended Restaurants In Blue Ridge

When it comes to dining, your taste buds are in for quite a treat. Whether you’re up for classic Southern comfort food, a slice of gourmet pizza, or fresh, locally-sourced trout, whatever your pleasure, here are some of our favorite spots to find exactly what you’re in the mood for.

Roe – Blending fine dining with a laid-back, mountain-town vibe, Roe is where seafood from the raw bar meets the sizzle of an elegant steakhouse. At Roe, every meal is a journey through a menu that captures the essence of both land and sea.

Masseria Kitchen Bar – In downtown Blue Ridge, Masseria Kitchen & Bar is where Mediterranean dishes get a Southern Appalachian makeover, using local sustainable ingredients. It’s where foodies can enjoy creative dishes and feel good about the story behind their meal.

Black Sheep Restaurant – Housed in the historic Butt House from 1914, Black Sheep combines history with a modern dining approach, emphasizing fresh, seasonal ingredients from local farmers. If you ask them, they’ll tell you they want their restaurant to be “comfortably unfamiliar, distinctively unique, and most importantly have all things originally Black Sheep!” 

Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar & Grill – It’s not just about eating, it’s about experiencing. This place buzzes with a blend of modern American bites, a great vibe, and an expansive bar serving some of the best cocktails in Blue Ridge. You can catch the game, have drinks with friends, or spend an evening where great flavors and good times are always on the menu.

Das Kaffee Haus – Das Kaffee Haus serves up everything from rich espressos to frothy lattes and cool frappes. With treats inspired by Germany, Italy, France, and more, they’ve got everyone covered with options like soy, coconut, and almond milk, plus gluten-free choices. Have a four-legged companion? You can chill out on their pet-friendly deck.

Things To Do & See In Blue Ridge

There’s so much to see and do here, from exploring nature trails or mountain biking, to whitewater rafting and everything in between. If you’re looking for relaxation, you can unwind by the river, reel in a catch of the day, or take a scenic train ride. Here are our favorites.

Ocoee River Whitewater Rafting – Get ready for some thrilling splashes on the Ocoee River. This white-water rafting adventure is a rollercoaster on water, filled with whitewater rapids and natural scenery. There’s no better way to experience the great outdoors.

Haunted Blue Ridge Ghost Tours – Explore the spookier side of Blue Ridge with a ghost tour that’s as entertaining and fun as it is eerie. Stroll through historic streets and hear tales of the unknown, where every shadow and alley has a story. 

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway – Hop on board for a relaxing journey through the beautiful landscapes of North Georgia. This train ride takes you along the Toccoa River, giving a one-of-a-kind view of the mountains and countryside. 

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Apple Picking at Mercier Orchards – Spend a day at Mercier Orchards, where the simple joy of apple picking turns into a memorable experience. Wander through rows of apple trees, pick your favorites, and maybe even snack on a few.

Bear Claw Winery – This family-friendly vineyard welcomes everyone, including kids and four-legged friends. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine or do a wine tasting.  Stop in Friday through Sunday to add live music to your winery experience.

Bear Claw Winery Blue Ridge GA

Where To Shop & Stroll In Blue Ridge

Shopping in Blue Ridge is like taking a leisurely stroll through streets of unexpected surprises. As you wander from store to store, the blend of mountain air and the warmth of the community creates a vibe that invites you to experience the heart and soul of this town. 

Downtown Blue Ridge – Downton shopping is an adventure of discovery in Blue Ridge, with boutiques, jewelry stores, antique shops, and artsy nooks. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, shabby chic clothing, art, or one-of-a-kind crafted items, downtown Blue Ridge has it all, making it one of the Top Ten Towns in the country for Craft Lovers.​​ From June through November on Saturday, the downtown area transforms into a marketplace where you can find everything from artisan crafts to fresh local produce.

Riverwalk Shops – A short drive from Blue Ridge, the Riverwalk Shops in McCaysville, GA, is an eclectic mix of shopping and dining. Here you can enjoy the largest river deck in the area, soak in the Southern community vibe, and even stroll across a steel truss bridge that connects two states​​​​. It’s definitely worth the day trip.

LGBTQ+ Bars, Clubs and Nightlife In Blue Ridge

You won’t find any exclusive LGBTQ+ night spots in Blue Ridge, but what you do find are queer-friendly places to unwind, have a drink, and listen to live music. Check out a few of our favorite after hours spots.

Hook & Eye – A rooftop cocktail bar located in the Hampton Inn, Hook & Eye is the ideal spot to sip on a drink under the stars. Enjoy live music, panoramic views, bar bites, cold brews, and signature cocktails amid the beauty of downtown Blue Ridge.  

Misty Mountain Hops – Misty Mountain Hops is a cozy, music-centric spot where good tunes and great brews come together. You can unwind to the sound of live music while sipping on a selection of craft beers or a signature cocktail. 

Fightingtown Tavern – A rock-themed bar, the Fightingtown Tavern serves up fresh, regionally-sourced comfort food alongside 14 Southeastern beer taps and an impressive selection of small-batch whiskey, bourbon, and tequila. It’s loaded with entertainment, including dart boards, shuffleboard tables, a billiard room, and 8 giant screens to catch the big game.

Blue Ridge Wine Depot

Annual Events and Festivals in Blue Ridge

Throughout the year, the town has annual celebrations, where every month seems to have its own theme. From food festivals to music marathons, there’s always something happening somewhere in Blue Ridge. Here are some of the best.

Spring Arts in the Park – held over Memorial Day Weekend, the Spring Arts in the Park features more than 200 booths showcasing a mix of art, crafts, and food. The festival includes artist Recognized as one of the Top 20 Events by the Southeastern Tourism Society, it’s the perfect event for art lovers.

Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ – Get ready for a day filled with “the blues” and mouth-watering BBQ. Downtown Blue Ridge is the place for this festival that’s jam-packed with live performances and plenty of BBQ to sample. There’s also a fun-filled kids’ area, making it perfect for the whole family.

Fire & Ice Chili Cook-Off – It’s a chili extravaganza where cooks battle it out for top honors with their secret recipes. Folks get to taste, laugh, and vote for the chili champ while admiring a variety of ice sculptures. So, grab a spoon, and join the fun. 

Local Exotic Vegan Jerky

Blue Ridge: An LGBTQ+ Must-Visit in the Deep South 

With so much to see and do in a town where rainbow flags are as much a part of the town as American flags, Blue Ridge is a hidden treasure for LGBTQ+ travelers. With its open-minded community, it is a “one-off town” for the LGBTQ+ community in the deep south, making it a top pick for gay couples and queer visitors. When you’re looking for a getaway that’s both fun, adventurous, and inclusive, Blue Ridge is where you want to be and a must-visit spot. It’s a place that leaves you with stories to tell and a desire to return.

**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida and beyond, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.

Events are subject to change. Please check the events webpage for updates and schedules.

ChatGPT or another AI writing platform may have contributed to the writing of this article.

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june, 2024

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