Welcome to the beautiful Southern Appalachians!
BotanoLogos is located in Rabun County, in the Southern Appalachian mountains of northeast Georgia, one of the most botanically diverse regions in North America surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest. We’re famous for our 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 lots of tips for things to do, places to stay, and more. Be sure to visit the Wander store on Main Street in downtown Clayton! Click here to read about Rabun County and its history.
Rabun County is a sleepy place in winter and early spring (November to May) and many businesses that cater to visitors may be open for fewer hours or closed completely. However, from Memorial Day until late October, this is a popular destination and we host lots of visitors. 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.
All pictures of Rabun County on this page are used 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. You can always look at a site like Trip Advisor, and there are now a lot of Air BnB options popping up, so check with them too.
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! Parker Ranch has been hosting guests to Rabun County since 1907 with beautiful guest rooms, all opening onto a classic Southern porch, at a quiet location just a mile from downtown Clayton, and right next to our classroom. If you are coming for a weekend program, Parker Ranch offers special rates for BotanoLogos students, rooms include a hearty Southern breakfast each morning with eggs, grits or potatoes, meat, homemade baked goods, fruit, yogurt, juice, and some really delicious coffee. Special diets are no problem if you notify them in advance. Note: there is a two-night minimum for weekend reservations at Parker Ranch. Call or text Becky at 404-373-0566 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 allowed in some rooms. Call Mike and Linda at 706-746-7138.
QualityInn 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 secluded areas of the National Forest that are undesignated campsites. Below you will find some recommended sites. You can also check out HipCamp for more suggestions.
Keep in mind that, due to the elevation here, you may find extremely cold 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, as well as provide a venue for musicians and artists. The Camp has a small stage where they host a few concerts a month and other events such as folk art and music 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 out their websites for details about camping, cabins, hiking, and other activities.
Places to Eat
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, and bakery offers lots of gourmet goodies (cheese, cured meats, prepared frozen soups, and entrees), quiche, 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 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 on Hwy 441 at 613 Hwy 441 S, Clayton, 30525, 706-782-5815
Fortify features a farm-to-table menu that rivals anything you’d find in a posh urban restaurant. Full bar with interesting seasonal cocktails using house-made herbal liqueurs. Schedule changes seasonally so check the website (where you can also make dinner reservations). Reservations are almost always needed for dinner, though you may be able to squeeze in at the bar.
Fortify Pi 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.
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.