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Dawsonville was founded in 1857 as the seat of the newly formed Dawson County. It was incorporated as a town in 1859 and as a city in 1952. The community and the county are named for state senator William Dawson.

The Dawsonville community is known in racing circles for its long tradition of involvement with fast cars and moonshine; many racing drivers originally developed as a consequence of moonshine activity in the area. Dawsonville celebrates this every October with the yearly “Mountain Moonshine Festival”. It is also the home of retired Nascar driver, Bill Elliott who won the Winston Cup championship in 1988 and was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015, and his son, Chase Elliott who won the 2020 NASCAR Cup Championship and who currently races in the NASCAR Cup Series. The city hall is even in the same building as the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. Following a race win by Bill or Chase Elliott, the siren on the Dawsonville Pool Room near the city square goes off to let the whole town know.

Dawsonville is only 20 minutes from Lake Lanier and the growth in the area has been booming since 2019. Convenience to Hwy. 400 and access to the Northern parts of Atlanta have made Dawsonville a wonderful community for those that want access into Atlanta, yet live in a smaller community with a booming housing market and access to the North Georgia mountains.

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