14 Reasons You Should Drive To, Not Through, Augusta, Georgia

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The Partridge Inn in Augusta, GA
Photo: Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

Augusta, Georgia, is on the way to cool places, but instead of driving through this town, you should stop here sometime. It's the second oldest and the third largest city in Georgia (behind Savannah and Atlanta, respectively), according to georgiaencyclopedia.org. And while its GPS coordinates align with major routes to Atlanta and Charleston, you'll find plenty of fun things to do in Augusta, Georgia—even beyond its storied golf course.

This lively city of around 200,000, just across the Savannah River from South Carolina, offers excellent food and drink and plenty of attractions indoors and out. Augusta has exciting ways to get around, too: Petersburg boat tours through the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area; and the Historic Trolley Tour of Augusta. Here are plenty of reasons to visit Augusta, GA, including it being the town where the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, grew up.

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Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art

Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art in Augusta, GA
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

The only independent nonprofit visual arts school in the area, the Institute is housed in historic Ware's Folly and the Walker-Mackenzie Studio. Besides offering classes and workshops, the facility exhibits an impressive collection of contemporary art.

02 of 14

Abel Brown Southern Kitchen/Oyster Bar

Abel Brown Southern Kitchen/Oyster Bar in Augusta, GA
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

Chef-owner Todd Schafer changes his menu daily, working with local producers to get the freshest ingredients. Try the Anson Mills Johnny Cake, topped with Andouille, pimiento cheese, and chives.

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The Boll Weevil Café & Sweetery

The Boll Weevil Café & Sweetery in Augusta, GA
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

Strawberry, red velvet, chocolate, and banana chocolate chip are some of the cake flavors on Boll Weevil's dessert menu. Then there's the cheesecake menu that features a range of flavors, from cinnamon to turtle crunch.

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Bodega Ultima

Bodega Ultima in Augusta, GA
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

Bodega Ultima is a good spot for a light breakfast or a casual lunch and dinner infused with Mediterranean and Indian flavors. The father and son restaurateurs, inspired by corner stores in New York City, infuse Mediterranean and Spanish flavors into this neighborhood cafe.

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Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History

Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

Honoring one of Georgia's most celebrated educators, this museum houses four permanent exhibits and additional rotating ones featuring the contributions of African American Augustans. It offers an array of educational and outreach programs.

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Craft & Vine

Craft & Vine in Augusta, GA
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

This intimate spot downtown is known for craft cocktails and claims "the best wine selection on Broad Street." Choose from hand-crafted cocktails, draught beer, and an elegant selection of 32 bottles of wine by the glass. Step inside the art deco and metal-modern-inspired bar to taste the unique menu of small plates.

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Betty's Branch

Betty’s Branch in Augusta, GA
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

Paddlers love this branch of the Savannah River. You can arrange rentals or tours with Cole Watkins Tours, owned and operated by an Augusta native.

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Augusta Museum of History

Augusta Museum of History
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

Celebrating the Central Savannah River Region, the museum includes an exhibit spotlighting soul music legend James Brown, who grew up here. The museum collects, preserves, and interprets the past of Augusta for people's education and enjoyment.

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Finch & 5th

Finch & 5th in Augusta, GA
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

Come early in the evening for a charcuterie plate with a craft cocktail and chill before enjoying a casual dinner. This restaurant takes a creative twist on Southern classics.

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Forks Area Trail System

Forks Area Trail System in Augusta, GA
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

Perfect for mountain bikers (or hikers), "FATS" offers six densely forested loops and 34 miles of trails just across the South Carolina border. Note: Visit the USDA Forest Service website for recommended safety precautions and restrictions since FATS passes through lands open to hunting in season.

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Phinizy Center for Water Science

Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, GA
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

From the Mayor's Fishin' Hole to the Floodplain Boardwalk and Observation deck, this educational facility is a great place to connect with nature. The Phinizy Center for Water Science promotes healthy environments and clean water.

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River Watch Brewery

River Watch Brewery in Augusta, GA
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

The mother-daughter brew team at River Watch has three main brews but also experiments with new flavors and offers unique beers in limited release.

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Buona Caffe

Buona Caffe in Augusta, GA
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

Come by for breakfast or lunch and a full menu of specialty coffees and espressos. They offer organic, loose-leaf tea and French and Italian sodas crafted with Buona's house-made syrups. P.S. They roast their own beans—Buy them by the bag.

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The Partridge Inn

The Partridge Inn in Augusta, GA
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau

Now part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, the Partridge Inn is a historic property that underwent a major restoration. Discover Six South Bar and its rooftop views. Perched on top of a hill in a peaceful neighborhood, this hotel has scenic views from the quarter mile of verandas and balconies connecting the rooms to the 8595 Restaurant and Bar.

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