Welcome to the beautiful Southern Appalachians!
BotanoLogos is located in Rabun County on unceded Cherokee land in the Southern Appalachian mountains of northeast Georgia, one of the most botanically diverse regions in North America. More than 70% of the land in the county is part of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The area is famous for its many waterfalls, free-flowing rivers, three state parks, and miles of hiking and riding trails. Rabun County has long been a popular destination for camping, whitewater rafting, hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, and other outdoor activities. Here you’ll also find some of Georgia’s best restaurants, seasonal farm stands bursting with local produce, and several award-winning wineries.
About Rabun County
We’re located about 100 miles northeast of midtown Atlanta, and 90 miles southwest of Asheville, North Carolina. One of the best ways to get oriented to our area is through the Wander North Georgia website. Here you will find tips for things to do, places to stay, and more. Be sure to visit the Wander store on Main Street in downtown Clayton! For more ideas about events in the area, visit Explore Rabun, the official county tourism website.
Click here to read about Rabun County and its history.
Rabun County is a popular tourist destination and can be quite busy from Memorial Day until late October. During these months advanced bookings are highly recommended for lodging or camping, and at some of the better restaurants.
We’ve hosted students here for years and are always happy to help you find the right place to stay and let you know what’s going on in the county while you are here. Please contact us if you have questions or need help planning your visit.
The spectacular photos of Rabun County are courtesy of our friend and local photographer Peter McIntosh. Thanks, Peter!
Most of the listings included here are based on reviews from our students. Lodging options are available for a wide range of budgets in the area, from primitive camping to posh bed and breakfast inns. There are now a lot of Air BnB options popping up, so check there or see our recommendations below.
Bed and Breakfast
Parker Ranch Tourist Rooms, Clayton, Ga. This is the top choice for lodging for most of our students, and with good reason! Many of our classes and the Foundations of Herbalism Program meet at the Gatehouse near the Ranch house. Parker Ranch has been hosting guests in Rabun County for more than 100 years. They offer beautiful sleeping rooms with private baths and two small cabins with a full kitchen. This quiet location is just a mile from downtown Clayton. Sleeping room rates include a hearty Southern breakfast each morning with eggs, grits or potatoes, meat, homemade baked goods, fruit, yogurt, juice, and plenty of delicious coffee. Special diets are no problem if you notify them in advance. Note: there is a two-night minimum for all reservations at Parker Ranch. Call or text Becky at 404-373-0566 for room rates and to make your reservation.
Sylvan Falls Mill B & B, Rabun Gap, Ga. This historic working gristmill, now a cozy bed and breakfast inn, is tucked away in Wolffork Valley (about a 15-minute drive from Clayton). Guests enjoy a delicious breakfast featuring locally grown ingredients and baked goods made from organic grains ground in the mill with a view of the waterfall. Dogs are allowed in some rooms. Call Mike and Linda at 706-746-7138.
Quality Inn and Suites, Hwy. 441, Clayton, Ga. This no-frills hotel is clean and well maintained with friendly staff, near downtown Clayton.
America’s Best Value Inn, Hwy. 441, Clayton, Ga. Standard chain-style motel with friendly owners. Located on Hwy 441, just a few minutes walk from downtown Clayton. Even though it is located along Highway 441 the rooms are well-soundproofed and quiet.
Rabun County offers a multitude of camping options, from RV hook-ups and hot showers to secluded simple campsites with composting toilets. We don’t recommend camping in undesignated campsites in secluded areas of the National Forest. Below you will find recommended campsites. You can also check out HipCamp for more suggestions.
Keep in mind that, due to the elevation here, you may find frigid temperatures (even snow!) when other parts of the South are warm and balmy. Camping is best between May and October.
Hatch Camp and Art Farm, 1060 Joe Speed Road, Clayton, GA. This campground, about a 15-minute drive from our classroom, offers 6 exclusive campsites along Warwoman Creek with composting toilets, potable water, a fire pit, and lots of quiet. Hatch Camp was created to further the sport of fly fishing on a catch-and-release stream and other local waters. The Camp has a small stage where they host live music concerts featuring local musicians (like owner Scott Low) and folk art markets, bluegrass festivals, songwriting, and angling clinics. Contact Scott and Nicole at 706-782-3747 (landline).
State Parks in Rabun County: We have three state parks! Check their websites for details about camping, cabins, hiking, and other activities.
Places to Eat
Here are a few of our favorite restaurants. Check websites for hours as they may change depending on the season.
Rusty Bike Cafe is open from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Great breakfast spot! Open 7 days a week.
The Clayton Cafe, on Main Street in downtown Clayton, is a classic southern diner with a coffee shop/deli next door. Sit down for a hearty “meat and three” meal or get something to go from the deli that features a coffee bar, baked goods, and picnic items.
White Birch Provisions, a coffee shop, bakery, and market, with standard coffee drinks, some fun herbal drinks, wine (bottles only), and gourmet goodies (cheese, cured meats, prepared frozen soups, and entrees). Their in-house bakery stocks the counter with quiches, scones, brownies, and other dangerously good things every morning, and you’ll always find some gluten-free options.
Grapes and Beans Cafe serves salads, homemade soups, and sandwiches (lots of vegetarian options) featuring seasonal and local ingredients, and wine by the glass. Located on Savannah Street in downtown Clayton.
Manrique’s Mexican Restaurant is a family-run restaurant serving authentic Mexican dishes for lunch and dinner, all made with fresh ingredients. The average meal is about $10 and the quality is MUCH better than in any other local Mexican restaurant. If you are a soccer fan, grab a seat in front of the huge flat-screen TV. Beer and wine are available. Dine-in or takeout. Located at 613 Hwy 441 S, Clayton, 30525, 706-782-5815
The Hush is a new restaurant in downtown Clayton featuring delicious, authentic Cuban dishes. Open for lunch and dinner with a deck that features panoramic views.
Fortify features a farm-to-table menu that rivals any posh big-city restaurant. Full bar with interesting seasonal cocktails using house-made herbal liqueurs. Open for dinner only. Reservations are almost always needed, though you may be able to squeeze in at the bar.
Fortify Pi, located next door to Fortify, is a casual place, offering wood-fired pizza, pasta, salads, and sandwiches. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Large selection of local craft beer and regional wines. Serving lunch and dinner. Closed on Monday.
The Universal Joint is the place to be on a warm night. Formerly a gas station, the U Joint has lots of outdoor seating and serves salads, sandwiches, and appetizers (and a gluten-free menu) with a full bar. Live music on their outdoor stage on weekend nights during tourist season (June to October). Leashed dogs are welcome. Games for kids. A great place to relax and enjoy being in the mountains! On Main Street in downtown Clayton, just next to the post office. Open every day from 11:00 am until late.
Fromage is tucked away on a side street near downtown. Only open for lunch with a seasonal menu and, of course, an array of cheese for sale by the pound.