Hiawassee, the county seat of Towns County, incorporated on May 17, 1956. Hiawassee, a Cherokee word meaning "meadow", is the only incorporated municipality in the county.
The city and its Hiawassee River have long been popular tourist areas. From the 1800s through the 1930s, wealthy families from the lowlands would "summer in the mountains" to escape the heat and the disease of more populated areas.
The Fred Hamilton Rhododendron Garden is a Hiawassee attraction that features 2,000 rhododendron and azalea plants and wildflowers.