15 Reasons You Should Drive To, Not Through, This Georgia City
We're Stopping in Augusta
It’s the second oldest and the second 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, GA—even beyond its storied golf course. This lively city of around 200,000, just across the Savannah River from South Carolina, offers great food and drink, along with plenty of attractions, indoors and out. Augusta has interesting ways to get around, too: Petersburg boat tours through the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area; the Historic Trolley Tour of Augusta; and the Black History Trolley Tour. What to do in Augusta, GA? Here are plenty of reasons to visit the town where the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, grew up.
Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art
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.
Abel Brown Southern Kitchen/Oyster Bar
Chef-owner Todd Schafer, who apprenticed at The Cloister, changes his menu daily, working with local producers to get the freshest ingredients. His Anson Mills Johnny Cake is topped with Andouille, pimiento cheese, and chives.
The Boll Weevil Café & Sweetery
Strawberry, Red Velvet, Perfect Chocolate, and Banana Chocolate Chip are among the cake flavors on the Boll Weevil’s dessert menu. Then there’s Cappuccino Tiaramisu, Turtle Crunch Cheesecake, Death by Chocolate Cheesecake . . .
One of the newer eateries in town, Bodega Ultima is a good spot for a light breakfast or a casual lunch and dinner infused with Mediterranean and Indian flavors.
Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History
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.
Craft & Vine
This intimate spot downtown is known for craft cocktails, and it claims “the best wine selection on Broad Street.”
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.
Augusta Museum of History
Celebrating the Central Savannah River Region, the museum includes an exhibit spotlighting soul music legend James Brown, who grew up here.
Sustainably sourced, with an emphasis on local, organic ingredients, this eatery is known for craft cocktails and tapas dishes.
Finch & 5th
Come early in the evening for a charcuterie plate with a craft cocktail and chill before enjoying a casual dinner.
Forks Area Trail System
Perfect for mountain bikers (or hikers), “FATS” offers six densely forested loops and 34 miles of trail, just across the South Carolina border. Note: Visit the USDA Forest Service website for recommended safety precautions and restrictions since FATS passes through lands that are open to hunting in season.
Phinizy Swamp Nature Park
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.
River Watch Brewery
The mother-daughter brew team at River Watch has four main brews but also experiments with new flavors and offers special beers in limited release.
Come by for breakfast or lunch and a full menu of specialty coffees and espressos, as well as organic, loose-leaf tea and French and Italian sodas crafted with Buona’s house-made syrups. P.S. They roast their own beans, so you can buy it by the bag.
The Partridge Inn
Now part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, the Partridge is a historic property that underwent a major restoration. Enjoy the P.I. Bar & Grill and its adjoining veranda.