Dahlonega : Georgia


What It Is Like to Retire in Dahlonega

Dahlonega is a small but growing town of about 4,000 in northern Georgia. it is northeast of Atlanta and near Gainesville and Lake Lanier.  The town was the site of the first major gold rush in the U.S.; the 1st picture above is of the Dahlonega Gold Museum and the former County Courthouse. Dahlonega is popular as a tourist town and for residents who want to be near Lake Lanier. There is a  town square filled with shops and galleries and a few really nice festivals each year.Topretirements visited during Gold Rush Days and the crowds were amazing - some years over 200,000 visitors swarm the town. One visitor to Topretirements called it the "nicest town in Georgia". There is good hiking (the Appalachian Trail is nearby and a big attraction for many who retire here), lots of small towns to explore, wineries and vineyards, and shopping at the outlets in the Dawsonville area. The University of North Georgia University is one of six senior military colleges in the U.S.; there are two other colleges as well. The population grew 74% from 2000. Photo of waterfall courtesy of Jeff.

Where to Retire in Dahlonega and Home Prices

Residential Dahlonega ranges from nice country/rural areas to vacation rental areas, although there are some less desirable areas that one commenter compared to Deliverance.  There are some large active communities in the area.
According to Zillow, the median home value was $230,221 in mid-2021. It has a small town feel and the housing stock has some amazingly beautiful restored homes (see picture #2 above).


What Is Special about Dahlonega

Interesting history as the original U.S. gold rush area. The Dahlonega Mint produced gold coins until the Civil War - today those coins are highly sought after by numismatists. One of its best features is the central square - shops all around and the Court House and Gold Museum in the center of the square. Nice tourist area with interesting downtown and festivals. Recent honors include being named to Preserve America program, National Main Street program, and Tree City USA. Proximity to giant Lake Lanier is a plus.

What Is Not Special about Dahlonega

It is rural and far from any major city. Outside of town it is not unusual to see young men in camp driving big pickup trucks, which could be unsettling to folks from outside the region.

Who Will Like Retirement in Dahlonega

The likely retiree for the Dahlonega area would enjoy the outdoors, want to live in a bustling small town, and want to be near a large lake. We were told at the Visitors Center that people retire here from all over. But many of the retirees are former military who became familiar with the area after going to the nearby (US Army) Ranger School or the University of North Georgia, which has a huge campus right in town. Politically speaking, the area is very conservative; 75% voted Republican in 2016.

Local Economy Is Driven by

Tourism is the major driver of the Dahlonega economy.

Climate and Physical Environment

Dahlonega is 60 or so miles from Atlanta in north central Georgia. Gainesville and Lake Lanier are immediately to the south. Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, Chattanooga are all within a few hours. The average July high temperature is 86 and the average January low is 26. January is the wettest month (7").

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

In addition to the Gold Museum other cultural events include the "Bear on the Square", an annual three-day festival with an art show. There is a regular series of festivals, some of them featuring bluegrass music. The Lumpkin County Library is open every day but Sunday and offers classes, interlibrary loan,  and public computers.


Crime in Dahlonega is slightly lower than the national average.

Medical Facilities

Chastatee Regional Hospital serves the region.


Lumpkin County-Wimpys Airport; Amtrak is 20 miles away in Gainesville; Dahlonega is a very walkable community


Valuable Links

Wikipedia information about Dahlonega
City of Dahlonega
Georgia retirement guide

What people are saying about Dahlonega

Skeeters in Dahlonega
This comment in from a Member: I just returned from Dahlonega, Georgia (I left on Monday, Aug. 5th). It is the only place I have ever been that is swarming with mosquitoes in the early afternoon. I\'m itching just thinking about it!
Posted by admin on August 08, 2013

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