Toccoa means "beautiful" in the language of the Cherokee, and this lovely town in the North Georgia hills certainly deserves its name. The Stephens County seat, Toccoa has plenty to do while keeping its friendly small-town spirit. Grab a leash and take Spot out for a stroll on the downtown sidewalks; don't forget to give your neighbors a "hey, ya'll" while Spot gives them a sniff.
The Toccoa pawpulation is a mix of North Georgia families, retirees enjoying Lake Hartwell, and college students from Toccoa Falls College, just enough variety to keep things interesting. The nearest mid-sized cities are each 40 miles away — Gainesville, GA, and Anderson, SC — so shopping and dining are within reach, but your peace and quiet are safe. Depending on the city’s infamous traffic, downtown Atlanta is about a 90-minute drive, reasonable for an occasional day enjoying the skyline from Piedmont Park or hanging out on a dog-friendly patio at one of hundreds of restaurants and breweries.
Surrounded on three sides by the Chattahoochee National Forest, Toccoa has vast natural beauty and a number of challenging trails nearby. Small city parks offer a quick weekday workout, too. Emory Johnson Park on Whitman Street features ballfields and war memorials, and just a few blocks away is a short walking trail at the Stephens County Recreation Department. You can even loop your way into a sweat on the paths around the lovely Stephens County Courthouse. Paul Anderson Memorial Park has some paved walking paths and shady lawns on the north edge of downtown, but the nature trails at Henderson Falls Park give the most scenic opportunity for a lengthy in-town walk.
As fans of the book or HBO miniseries Band of Brothers already know, Camp Toccoa at Currahee Mountain just outside of town was an important training site in the buildup to the D-Day invasion. Take your pup along for a walk through time as you visit the location of these crucial events. The three-mile up, three-mile back journey up Currahee Mountain was a standard training exercise for the parachute infantrymen who trained there, also depicted in Saving Private Ryan and Dirty Dozen. That trek is now the Col. Robert F. Sink Trail. The trail marker was contributed by Tom Hanks, but don't expect any celebrity sightings: this remote location off a dirt road is best reached with good directions (available on the Toccoa city website). Nearby is the Camp Toccoa Military Monument on the site of the old camp.