Things 2 Do

9 things that cost $10 or less to do on a getaway to Dillard

DILLARD, Ga. — You see it at the gas pump, you see it at the grocery store, you see it everywhere--rising costs. Everything these days seems to be more expensive.

But here’s some good news, your next vacation doesn’t have to be.

Between spring breaks, long weekends and upcoming summer travel, rather than break the bank, break the norm and head two hours north to the north Georgia mountains for a getaway.

“What we have here is like a little slice of Heaven, mountains, rivers and lakes,” Pam Thompson, from the Dillard House Stables, told’s Nelson Hicks.

Oceanview rooms this time of year run $300 to $400 a night. And no doubt, the view is pretty, but a mountain view isn’t so bad itself.

From the Rabun Manor to cabins to inns to the Dillard House, resorts around the city of Dillard in north Georgia offer great views with great rates to match. Rooms at the Dillard House start at $99 per night.

Upcoming events: Easter Menu and Egg Hunt at the Dillard House

“There is something for everyone, for anyone’s budget,” Natalie Dillard from The Dillard House said. “We have anything from a standard room to suites. We have 25 houses, but the special thing is all of our rooms have a mountain view, rocking chairs, horses. With Rabun County being 70% national forest, it is the most pristine country. It just gives families a chance to relax, unwind, and really just disconnect from things.”

Once you check in, it’s time to check out all the activities.

Cheap Adventure 1: Hike Tallulah Gorge

Head to Tallulah Gorge. The state park showcases one of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern United States. The park’s suspension bridge sways 80 feet above the rocks and river below. From there, hike to other overlooks to take in the beauty of the gorge. Arrive early to score a free gorge floor hiking permit to make a day out of it.

“We do issue 100 gorge floor permits weather-permitting (each day), where people can actually go through a gate at that Hurricane Falls overlook and cross the river and then they’re actually going on a primitive trail downstream, really just following the curve of the Tallulah River, until they cross again at Bridal Veil Falls or Sliding Rock and then they have a difficult time up the Sliding Rock trail which gains 800 feet in a quarter-mile, so they’re using their hands as much as their feet,” Lieren Merz from Tallulah Gorge State Park said. “It’s a workout and a half but it is phenomenal.”

Your cost for the day is $5 for parking at the state park.

After getting some shuteye for the night, awaken yourself and your taste buds with a world famous Dillard House meal. It’s a meal packed with homemade Southern dishes that have been served at the Dillard House for more than 100 years.

“The meals here have been served farm-to-table since 1917. At one time, we had a large farm here. Carrie Dillard, who founded the Dillard House in 1917, prepared all the vegetables fresh. She grew cattle, she grew chickens, she grew hogs. She did everything from scratch. And we continue to try and carry on that tradition to the best of our ability.”

Cheap Adventure 2: Enjoy petting zoo at Dillard House Stables

After filling up, head to the Dillard House Stables. Spend some time with the animals at the petting farm, it’s free, before experiencing a horseback ride. Adult rides start at $55 with rides for kids starting at $20.

Cheap Adventure 3: Experience amazing views, great hikes at Black Rock Mountain State Park

Once your horseback riding adventure concludes, explore some of the amazing views and wonderful waterfalls Dillard has to offer. Black Rock Mountain State Park offers 80-mile vistas, hiking trails, picnic tables and plenty of wildflowers. Parking is $5.

Cheap Adventure 4: Watch the waterfalls around Dillard

Dillard is in Rabun County and the county is home to more than 30 waterfalls, the most of any county in the state. Some waterfalls are at the end of long hikes while others visitors can park and walk 10 yards to enjoy. Many are free to experience.

Cheap Adventure 5: Wine tastings and music at 12 Spies Vineyards

Before calling it a night, head to 12 Spies Vineyards. The North Georgia Mountains winery offers tastings, four for $10. There’s free live music, too.

Cheap Adventure 6: Distillery tour and whiskey tasting at RM Rose Company

Looking for something a little stronger? Take a tour and enjoy a tasting at the RM Rose Company. It’s the oldest registered distillery in Georgia. Sample some of the company’s award-winning whiskey and bourbon for free on a visit.

Cheap Adventure 7: Antique shopping in Dillard’s 40,000 square feet of shops

Another day, another chance for great adventure. Kick it off with some antique shopping. There’s a two block stretch in Dillard that features over 40,000 square feet of vintage goods, homemade crafts and antiques galore.

“You just never know what you might find,” Elizabeth Hopper from Yesterday’s Treasures said.

If antiquing is your thing, tell your family you’ll keep shopping while they head on to the next adventure. It’s free to look, obviously, but with all the one-of-a-kind offerings, it’s best to bring a few bucks for shopping.

Cheap Adventure 8: Fishing (or better yet, catching)

Next on our North Georgia Mountains adventure list--fishing. There are plenty of places to do it for free. If you want to do some catching, head to Andy’s Trout Farm. The stocked ponds are the perfect place for your child or grandchild to catch their first fish. The fish cost about $5 each. There’s no residual cost for the memory that will last a lifetime. Renting a fishing pole will cost $1.

The area does offer private fishing expeditions, fly fishing and more for those seeking a great adventure.

Cheap Adventure 9: Feeding goats at Goats on the Roof

On the way back home, stop by Goats on the Roof. It’s free to explore the property, but bring $2 to feed the goats, who unsurprisingly will come down from the roof when your child has food to feed them. Bring a few dollars more to enjoy an ice cream while you’re there.

That’s 3 days and nights of family fun, good food and great adventure all for about the price of a one night hotel stay in an oceanview room. And you won’t have to fight others for a small spot of sand. There’s plenty of room to roam on a crowd-free adventure in the north Georgia mountains. In a time where everything costs more than it did last year and even last month, that’s a deal.

This story is sponsored by the City of Dillard.

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