Does the cold weather have you feeling down? Warm up on the beach or by the fire with these winter destinations. Explore all of the food, lodging, and outdoor recreation these places have to offer. Don’t let the weather stop you from going outside and playing this winter. 

Escape to Towns County in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of northeast Georgia. Although temperatures may be cooler in the winter, there is still plenty of adventure to find outside. Chattahoochee National Forest makes up two thirds of the county, providing plenty of space to explore.Only about 70 miles north of Atlanta, Ga., south of Asheville, N.C., and west of Greenville, S.C., Towns County is the perfect place to escape into the mountains for a few days without having to travel too far.

Discover Brasstown Bald Mountain, Georgia’s highest peak at 4,784 feet above sea level. The observation deck at the top gives you a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Hike up Bell Mountain in Hiawassee for what many consider to be an even better view of the area, especially of Lake Chatuge at sunset. A number of trails in the area lead to majestic waterfalls, ranging from short and easy hikes to longer and steeper climbs.

Grab your mountain bike and head to the Jackrabbit trails, just over the border in North Carolina. Go for a horseback ride any time of the year, meandering over mountains, through valleys, and across rivers. Rent a boat on Lake Chatuge for some bass fishing or visit one of the three alpaca farms in the county while the animals show off their full winter coats.

Cozy up at the end of a long day in one of Brasstown Valley Resort’s rooms or cottages with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy a glass of wine by the huge stone fireplace or dine in Brassies, a sports bar serving burgers, wraps, and more. Brasstown Valley offers an awesome buffet on Friday and Saturday evenings and brunch on Sunday. Stay at Brasstown Valley for access to their fantastic amenities, including horse stables, a golf course, and indoor pool. The peaceful ambiance and expert service at the spa will leave you feeling more relaxed than ever. Keep an eye on their schedule of weekly events around the resort and in town. Towns County offers a number of other bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, cabins, and hotels to fit your lodging needs.

Venture in to town for more fun and food. Young Harris College puts on great art shows, music productions, and plays throughout the school year. The Rollins Planetarium on campus hosts public shows on Friday evenings, including a narrated seasonal stargazing segment and exploration of the world beyond this planet. Take a class at the John C. Campbell Folk School on art, cooking, gardening, and more or attend one of their free folk music concerts. The Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds welcomes visitors for annual festivals, like the State Fiddler’s Convention, concerts, and year round camping.Located on opposite ends of the county, Crane Creek Vineyards and Hightower Creek Vineyards both boast award-winning wines, tasting rooms, and views of the Northeast Georgia Mountains. Enjoy restaurants serving everything from pizza and barbecue to lakeside seafood and homemade pastries.

There is no bad time to visit Towns County, Ga. The area is very active in the winter with music at restaurants, vineyards in full operation, resorts with intimate fireplaces, and hikes that go on for miles.