Located 2.5 hours east of Atlanta, Augusta, Georgia, is a true gem hidden in the American South. The best things to do in Augusta, GA, offer something for every type of traveler, from history buffs to outdoor adventurers.
This gorgeous city of Augusta will take you back in time to the 18th century as well as showcase Georgia’s beautiful nature intertwined with outdoor adventure. Among the top attractions in Augusta are famous museums, gorgeous nature parks, and recreational sites. There’s no want that Augusta doesn’t fulfill for travelers.
Curious to see all that this historic city boasts? Plan the perfect trip with this complete guide to the best places to visit in Augusta, GA.
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Phinizy Swamp Nature Park
Want to introduce yourself to the distinctive nature of the American South? Save time in your Augusta itinerary to check out the impressive Phinizy Swamp Nature Park.
Open all year round, Phinizy Swamp Nature Park is one of the top Augusta attractions for nature lovers. Set on 1,100 acres, the park boasts gorgeous boardwalks, diverse wildlife, picnic areas, and even a children’s playground.
If you want an easy trail to explore—or have children with you—the Beaver Dam Trail is a wonderful choice. Remember to keep your eyes on the lookout for red-shouldered hawks, gorgeous egrets, and blue herons. (Oh, and you can’t forget the beavers!)
Another great feature of the nature park is the rustic Floodplain Boardwalk and Observation Deck. This beautiful wooden boardwalk is a great place to explore on foot or on your bicycle. It offers magnificent views of Butler’s Creek and a closer look at the river otters and muskrats.
Augusta Canal National Heritage Area
Ready to shake up things and visit a recreational attraction with historical charm? Look no further than the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area. This industrial canal dating back to 1845 during the Industrial Revolution, is a one-stop recreational area, featuring walking trails, bike paths, and boat tours. It’s one of the most scenic and historic sites in the South.
The most famous trail at the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area is the Towpath Trail. Once used as a path for animals to pull boats back upstream, the trail is now filled with avid hikers and cyclists.
Want to take in some more historic charm? Take the Mill Village Trail. The path passes through an 18th-century trading post that was later made into a 19th-century textile mill village.
For further insight into the industrial revolution visit the Discovery Center at Enterprise Mill. It’s the perfect place to sit and enjoy education and adventure with the kids.
If you’re searching for the most unique experience the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area has to offer, rent a kayak and paddle down the Augusta Canal. Don’t forget to pause and take in the historical scenery.
James Brown Statue
Music lovers visiting Augusta, GA, should keep an eye out for the James Brown Statue. Located on Broad Street in Augusta’s city center, the life-size bronze statue forever honors the soul singer, whose hits include “Please, Please, Please” and “Papa’s Got A New Bag,” in his beloved hometown.
While roaming the shops and restaurants of Broad Street, be sure to stop by and snap a selfie with the James Brown Statue, one of the most famous things to see in Augusta, GA.
Sacred Heart Cultural Center
Occupying a former Catholic Church dating back to 1897, the Sacred Heart Cultural Center celebrates Augusta’s diverse cultural heritage. The church building itself is marvelous, boasting 94 stained glass windows and 15 different styles of brickwork.
If you have a chance, don’t miss out on experiencing a musical performance, art exhibition, or the Annual Garden Festival, among other events, in this space. The historical architecture mixed with fun events makes the Sacred Heart Cultural Center one of Augusta’s must-visit attractions.
Augusta Museum of History
History museums can sound like a bore, but that couldn’t be further from the truth when talking about the Augusta Museum of History. Featuring both limited-time and permanent exhibitions, this popular history museum is one of the top points of interest in Augusta, GA.
The most famous, award-winning exhibition at the Augusta Museum of History is “Augusta’s Story.” The exhibition features a chronological timeline of how the area changed and developed through the years.
Another exciting exhibition, especially for the kids, is the “Transportation Corridor.” Here you can find many different vehicles such as a trolley, fire engine, a Ford Model T, and even a 1914 Steam Locomotive.
If you’re a golf lover, don’t miss out on dropping by the “Sport of Golf” exhibition. Since Augusta holds the most prestigious golf tournament in the world, the exhibition features a trip around the globe, exploring the history of the sport, ending at the local home of the Masters, Augusta National Golf Club.
Planning a day filled with sunshine and the outdoors? Or want to enjoy a fun baseball game with the kids or score a few goals with your friends? Head on over to the Riverview Park in North Augusta.
Riverview Park offers the chance to partake in several sports, including baseball, soccer, and tennis. If you’re worried about the kids, you can relax: There are playgrounds and lots of green space to roam or just chill out under the sun.
One of the favorite activities at Riverview Park is playing disc golf. Whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned pro, trying out this fun activity will surely make for a unique experience on your Augusta trip.
You may think of beautiful gardens when you first hear the word “magnolia.” Instead, Magnolia Cemetery is a collection of a Greek cemetery and five Jewish cemeteries. The cemetery takes up more than 60 acres east of downtown Augusta and is surrounded by churches and a masonic lodge.
With its long history, Magnolia Cemetery is one of the city’s most surprising places to visit. At the historic cemetery, you’ll spot several graves of soldiers who fought in the American Revolution and Civil War, some marked by unique, eye-catching tombstones.
French Market Grille
Stomach growling after a long day of exploring or just need a little break? Head over to the Surrey Center to taste some mouth-watering cajun and creole cooking at the French Market Grille.
The French Market Grille has been known for over 30 years as one of the best restaurants in Augusta, GA, to indulge in delicious Southern food.
The comforting, cozy, and casual ambiance and amazing hospitality will surely make this a meal you will never forget. We’ve all heard Louisiana does Cajun cuisine best, but even Louisianans would have to admit that French Market Grille is doing something special!
Try famous Cajun and Creole favorites like Crawfish Pie or Po’Boy Sandwiches. Trust us: You will savor every single bite.
The restaurant is great for family dinners, Sunday lunch, or even birthdays and anniversaries.
Pendleton King Park
Can’t get enough of the gorgeous nature-meets-recreation areas in Augusta? Don’t miss out on Pendleton King Park. Although the park is known for being a 64-acre bird sanctuary, it’s so much more.
Pendelton King Park is home to many species of birds along with topographic diversity. The park houses pine forests, marshes, and sand ridges.
One of the best things about Pendleton King Park is the variety of experiences it offers. After exploring the hiking trails or biking trails, the kids can relax in the playground. If you have a dog, check out the off-leash dog park.
Other activities you can enjoy include an 18-hole disc golf course, the historic Buggs Family Cemetery, as well as open spaces for picnics and play.
Forks Area Trail System
Need a break from the city’s hustle and bustle? Come along to the Forks Area Trail System. This 32-mile-long network of trails is perfect for newbies and advanced bikers alike. If you prefer, you can also walk the network of trails.
Also known as FATS, the Forks Area Trail System has quickly become one of the most popular biking destinations in the Southeast. FATS offers six separate trail loops, each with its own defining characteristic.
The Forks Area Trail System was specifically made for mountain bikers. The loops, bumps, and dips were made to allow a smooth, non-stop joyride.
If you plan on dropping by during a weekend, be prepared for a full parking lot and many adventure-seeking cyclists getting their dose of adrenaline.
Springfield Baptist Church
At first glance, the Springfield Baptist Church may look like any other ordinary church. However, the history of the church’s establishment is what draws people to this top Augusta point of interest.
Built in 1801 and purchased by Springfield in 1844, the church is the oldest of its kind in Augusta. On top of this, the Springfield Baptist Church is the oldest African-American church in the United States. Morehouse College, a historic African-American liberal arts college in Georgia, was also established here in 1867 before moving its main campus to Atlanta.
Since Springfield Baptist Church is still fully operational, try to stop by for a church service to be amazed by the strength this fascinating church still holds.
Need a dash of culture? Grab tickets to a performance at the Imperial Theatre. Nestled between two large office buildings on Broad Street, the theatre hosts on average 850 people per show.
The 1917-built Imperial Theatre hosts concerts, ballets, and musicals alike, making it a historic gem entering into its second century of entertainment. Famous personalities—including Charlie Chaplin and the hometown hero, James Brown—have graced the stage of the Imperial Theatre.
If you’re short on time but still want to experience the magic of this original Vaudeville theater, hop on a guided tour. The tour also features the theatre’s spectacular 1925 Wurlitzer organ.
If you want to feel like a local, visit the beautiful Augusta Riverwalk. This brick-lined trail along the Savannah River is one of the most popular attractions in Augusta for residents and tourists alike.
Also referred to as the “front porch of the city,” the Riverwalk spans between 6th Street and 10th Street, overlooking South Carolina on the opposite bank of the Savannah River.
Visiting the Augusta Riverwalk on a Sunday between May and August? You’re in for a treat! During this time, one of the most popular evening events in Augusta, the Candlelight Jazz Series, is held on 8th Street Bulkhead. However, if you’re visiting the Riverwalk at other times, you can check out the lovely Sunday market on the Savannah River.
Other popular attractions along the Augusta Riverwalk include the Jessye Norman Amphitheater and the Fort Augusta Monument.
Augusta Downtown Historic District
Don’t miss the chance to be transported into the 19th century by visiting the Augusta Downtown Historic District. Augusta’s downtown area is full of wonderfully preserved churches, government buildings, and large homes of the upper class from 1801 to 1967.
While exploring the Augusta Downtown Historic District, keep an eye out for distinct changes in architectural styles, ranging from Greek Revival and Federal to Romanesque Revival and Queen Anne.
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And don’t just appreciate the historic buildings from the outside: The Augusta Downtown Historic District has several buildings open to the public, including the Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson.
Ezekiel Harris House
Beautiful historic architecture isn’t limited to the Augusta Downtown Historic District. Take a time machine to the 1700s by visiting Ezekiel Harris House. Restored in 1964, this historic house is a spectacular example of Georgian architecture. It’s such an important piece of Augusta’s history that the home is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
While exploring Ezekiel Harris House, be sure to admire the original engravings carved on the mantles and door frames.
Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History
One of the most essential sites to visit in Augusta is the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History. The museum is named after Lucy Craft Laney, a prominent educator who opened doors to the first school for African American children in the area in 1883.
The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History features African American residents of Augusta who contributed to the city in all aspects, including politics, arts, sports, and business.
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While here, don’t forget to visit Bohler House, the home of one of the most prominent African American families in Augusta. Other sites include the Tabernacle Baptist Church, one of the most important community resources that helped progress civil rights in the area.
Want a day to relax and sip on some quality brews? Visit the Riverwatch Brewery, the first brewery to open in the Augusta area since Prohibition.
Riverwatch Brewery offers a variety of brews, including seasonal specialties; there’ll always be something new to love on every visit. The crafter brewer also brews city favorites like the Cautionary Tale Double IPA and seasonal brews like the famous Oktoberfest Lager.
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Don’t worry if you have pets or kids in tow: The brewery is both kid- and pet-friendly. Want to make the experience even more memorable? Pack a picnic basket to enjoy the outdoors during your tastings.
Morris Museum of Art
If you’re an art lover, one of the best things to do in Augusta, GA, is to explore the Morris Museum of Art. As the only art museum in the Central Savannah River Area, it’s among the most important institutions of its kind in Georgia.
Visit the Morris Museum of Art to browse almost 5,000 works of art, spanning from the late 18th century to the modern day. Mediums showcased in the permanent collection include paintings, watercolors, drawings, photographs, and prints. The art galleries focus on Southern art, ranging between antebellum portraits and Civil War paintings to landscape photography and contemporary works. The museum also hosts several temporary exhibitions every year.
The Morris Museum of Art is open from 10 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Saturday and from 12 pm to 5 pm on Sundays. Admission is just $5 for adults and $3 for concessions, including seniors, students, and military.