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Small Town or Bust: Why People Enjoy Living in Dahlonega


For a town that seemingly only consists of tourist traps and a Walmart, many young people turn to Dahlonega for their college experience.

The University of North Georgia Dahlonega campus is home to over 7,000 students, while Dahlonega itself is home to around 8,000 residents. Therefore, the population almost doubles when the fall semester starts at UNG.

Figure 1: Walmart and gold mine sign. Photo by Ashley Brehm

Lauren Payne, a sophomore math education major, likes the small-town aspect of Dahlonega because,

“You can just have chill time and not be near all the noise and people that come with being in a bigger city.”

Figure 2: The Dahlonega Walmart. Photo by Ashley Brehm

Unlike college towns like Athens, there is no nightlife in Dahlonega. Most of the shops and restaurants close around 7 p.m, which is a negative for Payne. She says that she has to drive out of town or go to McDonald’s, the only 24-hour restaurant in Dahlonega if she wants to eat or go out late. She sacrifices her late-night meals for the comfort of living far enough away from home that she has an excuse not to visit all the time.

To find something to do, some students drive to either Dawsonville or make the long trek to Atlanta.

Olive Younts, a junior history and gender studies major, said, “As I’ve grown to make friends closer to bigger cities, I noticed that being out of the way makes it difficult to see them without compromising my work and school schedules.”

Younts also thinks that Dahlonega was a better place to start her life than a big city.

Christian Weinman, a junior political science major, said one of the only things that drew him to this campus were his friends and the idea of living on a college campus itself. He said the town feels very “unique and small” like something out of a Hallmark movie. However, he doesn’t like the feeling of everyone knowing his business because there is such a small population here.

Whether it be the five fast-food restaurants, one grocery store or small-town charm of the square, something keeps drawing people to the UNG Dahlonega campus.

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About the Contributor
Ashley Brehm
Ashley Brehm, Staff Editor
Hey y'all, I'm Ashley! My major is Communications with a focus in journalism. I really enjoy writing for Vanguard because I like to feel like I'm a part of the community and writing about issues pertaining to students is super interesting. My home campus is in Dahlonega, but I also take classes in Gainesville.
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Small Town or Bust: Why People Enjoy Living in Dahlonega