I spent a full month exploring all of the best things to do in Augusta, Georgia, and didn’t golf once.
I mean, Brian golfed. He golfed a few times, actually, but that wasn’t why we were here.
We arrived in Augusta as part of our nomad journey strategically. We were eyeing Savannah initially, but finding a place to stay there for the month was well outside of our monthly budget and, consequently, out of the question.
That’s when we did a little more digging on Georgia towns on a southern road trip that would offer a slower change of pace after a frenetic month in New Orleans. We wanted more bang for one’s buck.
“Augusta has golf,” Brian said.
It also has quite a bit more. Explore all the top things to do in Augusta, Georgia, with this guide to a golf mecca that is worth your while whether you’re hitting the links or not.
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What is Augusta, GA, known for?
Augusta, GA, is known for hosting the Masters golf tournament every year at Augusta National Golf Club.
That’s a little unfortunate because most people who visit won’t be able to attend the Masters even when it’s in town. It’s simply cost-prohibitive for most normal folks seeking affordable vacations around the United States.
Now that I’ve been for an extended period, I’d say it should be known for its friendly population, delightful food scene, and some scenery along the Savannah River.
Is Augusta, Georgia, worth visiting?
Augusta, Georgia, is worth visiting. It may not have the big tourist places for non-golfers as Savannah or Atlanta, but that’s part of the charm. Life is decidedly slower here, and that’s just fine with me.
The weather in Augusta, GA, is nice and mild, too. We were there in the winter and only needed sweaters and light jackets most days.
What is there to do in Augusta, Georgia?
There is so much to do in Augusta, Georgia. The Savannah River, city green spaces like Pendleton King Park, and The Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson are just some of the things to see in Augusta, GA.
Fun Things to Do in Augusta, Georgia
Let’s explore all of the Augusta, GA, things to do, and the best Augusta, GA, attractions on your next visit. These are all in no particular order, but if you want a map, check out the Google link below.
1. Take a stroll in Pendleton King Park.
Our pad for the month was across the street from this park so we visited frequently if only to make use of the Bark Park. Kimmy learned all kinds of new skills in their puppy obstacle course and met all kinds of friends during our stay.
If you’re traveling without the pup, explore the trails throughout the park, play disc golf, or just enjoy the water features. There’s a pond and a small waterfall that became a gathering spot for all kinds of waterfowl.
How lovely is that?
2. Walk the Augusta Riverwalk.
Stroll along the Savannah River and the Augusta Downtown Historic District along the Augusta Riverwalk, one of the most popular activities in Augusta, GA.
Interpretive signs at the top give you a little more information about what you’ll see along the way. You’ll need to make up your own stories about who lives in the fancy homes on the other side of the river in North Augusta.
Fun fact: If you time your visit right, pop by the Augusta Market. The Saturday market doesn’t run in the winter months, so we missed out during our visit.
You can spend a full day at the river if you’d like. The Morris Museum of Art and Augusta Museum of History — I’ll get into that one in a minute — are both located along the river. If you have even more time, rent a kayak to see the river from another perspective down below.
3. Book The James Brown Family Historical Tour.
What is there to do in Augusta, GA, for music fans? I’m not some super fan of James Brown, if only because of his problematic history, but you just can’t leave Augusta without paying some level of homage to the soul legend.
The best way to do that is to book your spot on The James Brown Family Historical Tour.
We were the only two on the bus during our tour, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way. Our tour was run by Kiki, who goes to church with members of the Brown family. It doesn’t get more legit than that.
Stops included the funeral home where he was embalmed, his dad’s house, and the house on the hill he bought and paid for in cash because banks wouldn’t give him a loan back in the 1970s.
Fun fact: The above-mentioned funeral home used to be a club Brown owned back in the day.
Photo stops include the Spirit of Funk (that’s the new downtown mural), and the James Brown statue. Kiki took SO many photos of us at that statue. Things were getting a little uncomfortable until I saw the results.
You’ll listen to songs along the way, so have your favorite James Brown songs ready to request. This tour has to top the most fun things to do in Augusta, GA.
4. Visit the Augusta Museum of History.
The Augusta Museum of History offers a history of Augusta and the surrounding area. It has also a decent James Brown exhibit that you’ll be prompted to check out if you book the tour I described above.
Admission is included in that tour, so you’d be a fool to skip out on the museum after your education on the Godfather of Soul.
There are several golf exhibits on the second level that I wasn’t all that into, but if you’re at all into golf (ahem, Brian) I’m sure it’s worth a few moments.
Ask about special events happening at the museum when you arrive. We listened to a civil rights performance piece while we were there which was the highlight of our visit.
It’s a great stop when Augusta, GA, weather takes a turn, too.
5. Stroll historic Summerville.
Gawk at what old money will get you here in Summerville, the ultra-rich neighborhood in Augusta. We walked Kimmy along Milledge Road to the Augusta Country Club just to show her what hard work (or inheritances) can do for a person.
This area is known as “The Hill,” and at one time wasn’t even part of Augusta proper. Today, you may find that some of the mansions here look vacant on your visit. That’s because some folks only live here seasonally.
6. Look for gators at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park.
We saw SEVEN GATORS at the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park…big ones, small ones, sleepy ones, swimming ones. We took the Beaver Dam Trail to the Equalization Pond and nearby floodplain.
I’d highly recommend getting off the boardwalks to do the same, despite the gator activity.
We were visiting during the winter, so the gators weren’t very active. We also had our dog with us, which alarmed another couple in the park.
We’re not going swimming here, people. Don’t do anything weird and you’ll be fine.
This one is free to visit and park at, so it’s one of the best free things to do in Augusta, Georgia. Pop by the visitor center for more information and maps if you need them, although there aren’t too many ways to get lost once you’re there.
7. Tour The Boyhood Home of Woodrow Wilson.
Grab a tour of the boyhood home of President Woodrow Wilson to see one of Wilson’s first signatures etched into a window on the top level of the house. You’ll also see some childhood drawings, his old baseball team lineups, and the Lamar House.
The Joseph Rucker Lamar Boyhood Home next door is the boyhood home of, you guessed it, Joseph Rucker Lamar. During his stay here, he was just a pal of Wilson. He’d grow up to become a Supreme Court justice.
Make a reservation by calling (706) 722-9828. We saw a few walk-ins get hooked up with a tour during our visit, but it seemed like a slow afternoon.
8. Float down the Augusta Canal.
The best way to see the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area is on a boat tour. Book one at least a few days out, especially if you have a time in mind and you’re traveling during the spring or fall.
We saw a river otter, turtles, and a variety of wading birds on our history and nature tour. Expect a gator or two in the warmer months. They also run Civil War-themed tours (meh) and music tours (ooh!) in the spring and fall.
Your tour will start at the Augusta Canal Discovery Center at Enterprise Mill. Leave some time to check out the museum inside and watch the overview film to get beyond a basic understanding of the history of the canal.
If you have more time, there are quite a few trails in the area that will give you a different perspective along both sides of the canal.
The city has been adding public art on either side to make the trails more intriguing to guests, but spotting river otters seems exciting enough to me.
9. Hit the links at the Forest Hills Golf Club.
Forest Hills Golf Club is known as the best public golf course in Augusta. Brian went on our very first full day in town and then had several repeat visits throughout our stay.
You don’t need to bribe old white men who belong to Augusta National to play at great courses in the area.
10. Explore Meadow Garden.
Meadow Garden is the historic former home of George Walton, one of the three signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence from Georgia. Our tour was excellent. We got to see the original home, the addition, and the cellar in just about an hour.
The only negative was the guilt I felt about interrupting our guide’s lunch when we arrived. Call ahead if you don’t want to be similarly awkward.
11. Check out the Sacred Heart Cultural Center.
This former Catholic church is now an event space open to self-guided tours. The exterior alone is impressive and worth a visit. Don’t miss out on the stained glass windows, a call back to the building’s roots as a church.
12. See one of the oldest Black churches at Springfield Baptist Church.
Springfield Baptist Church is just half a mile from Sacred Heart, but it’s often overlooked. That doesn’t make it any less important as a historical site in Augusta.
The church was built by freed slaves in 1801 and today is one of the oldest Black congregations in the country. That makes it one of the most important stops for what to see in Augusta, GA.
The church has served as an important meetinghouse over the years. It was here that a group of students created Morehouse College back in 1879. It was known as the Augusta Institute back then.
If it’s a nice day, visit Springfield Village Park across the street. The public park features a large statement sculpture and benches for the perfect picnic or a rest.
13. Climb to the hilltop Ezekiel Harris House.
We missed out on this one. Visits at that time were by appointment only, and it never seemed like the right time…and then we ran out of time.
Its hilltop placement makes it a worthwhile visit just for the exterior, but if you visit on a longer stay, the history is an interesting one.
The house is one of the oldest in Augusta. (Meadow Garden takes the top spot, as you may have already guessed.)
Ezekiel Harris was a Revolutionary War soldier who made some money selling tobacco in town. I imagine tours go into his controversial past, too. He was tried and acquitted over the murder of a neighbor. The two were business rivals, so I’m not sure what to make of that bit.
14. Hike in Brick Pond Park.
Make the effort to drive over the bridge into North Augusta for Brick Pond Park, home to gators large and small. We even saw a fairly large specimen swimming in the pond on an unseasonably warm February day.
Short trails take you around multiple ponds. Park at the municipal building for free on weekends. It wasn’t busy at all on the Saturday we visited.
Best Restaurants in Augusta, Georgia
We were pleasantly surprised by the restaurants Augusta, Georgia, had to offer. There are all kinds of options for southern food, of course, but the city is more diverse than that, too. Here are a few of my favorites.
15. Start with sweets at The Boll Weevil Café and Sweetery.
We only had their layer cakes during our visit, but as these slices are the size of your head, it felt like a meal. The Boll Weevil is known as a popular downtown Augusta bakery, but they also have a full food menu full of southern delights.
Head over for lunch, dinner, or just for sweets as we did. This place is casual, so you won’t need reservations.
16. Sip on pints at Riverwatch Brewery.
You won’t have anything to eat here other than the savory pretzels they sell that I’d highly recommend, but the lineup of beers at Riverwatch Brewery is quite indulgent all on its own.
This was the first brewery in Augusta after Prohibition, which gives this place legitimacy that most beer spots can’t boast. We sipped on a variety of tasters on their outside patio. I was a fan of their seasonal sour, a Berliner Weisse.
17. Go casual at Beamie’s at the River.
Beamie’s at the River is a casual seafood spot that’s a popular lunch option for those visiting the Augusta Museum of History and sites along the Savannah River.
Brian had a fried fish basket but had some FOMO over the gumbo that was coming around. I had a fresh shrimp salad wrap as I’d been doing too much of the fried thing.
No reservations are needed here!
18. Taste the pizza at Craft & Vine.
The highlight at Craft & Vine is the wood-fired pizza, but if you’re visiting during Mardi Gras time, you may be able to try one of the most delicious treats I’ve ever had in their banana truffles.
YUM, you guys.
We also snacked on their popcorn cauliflower, pretzel bites, and two pizza selections. It was all great. While they don’t take reservations, you can join a waitlist online ahead of your visit.
19. Grab lunch at Bodega Ultima.
Yummy sandwiches on a pleasant patio await at Bodega Ultima, an excellent lunch option outside of downtown Augusta. Our picks were the turkey Reuben for me, the Nashville hot chicken sandwich for Brian, and a side of smoky Brussels sprouts for the both of us.
The house pup here was another highlight. Her name was Ash and she was a very good girl.
The only bummer was all of the single-use plastic and paper plates. We visited on the tail-end of the pandemic, so I’m not sure if that’s what was happening here, but it felt pretty wasteful.
Check online for any special events. They had a wine-tasting evening there during our stay that seemed like a lot of fun. No reservations are needed if you’re just coming for lunch or dinner.
20. Eat seven layers of mac ‘n cheese at Frog Hollow Tavern.
We had a delicious visit at the Frog Hollow Tavern on Broad Street, Augusta’s main street for dining.
Their pickled shrimp and housemade andouille sausage were both highlights on the appetizers, but this place is known for another special treat: their seven-layer mac ‘n cheese.
This side is essentially a slice of lasagna that tastes like mac ‘n cheese that also tastes like lasagna. Don’t miss out on this smoked gouda indulgence.
Reservations are recommended. Book online at least a few days out.
21. Dine on barbecue fit for presidents.
Sconyers Bar-B-Que is known for its old-fashioned pit barbecue in rustic vibes, but it also carries some historical heft. President Jimmy Carter has had this place cater on the South Lawn at the White House.
The story goes that he was more excited to see them than they were to see him, but do with that what you will.
You don’t need to travel to Washington, D.C. Get the goods right here in Augusta and fill your belly with pork plates, chopped brisket, and sweet tea.
22. Get a little fancy at Abel Brown.
We saved Abel Brown for our last dinner out in Augusta and it did not disappoint. If you’re seeking something a little fancier or fun things to do in Augusta, GA, for adults, here you go.
Start with oysters if you don’t compare them to boogers like I do, and follow that up with chicken wings and the Johnnycake.
If there are four of you dining here, it’s probably more appropriate for that Johnnycake. That doesn’t mean we didn’t polish off every last piece of the dense cornmeal cakes and ball of pimento cheese. We sure did!
The shrimp and grits are a fancy version of the Southern classic, and I wouldn’t toss them out of bed, either. Make a reservation at this one. You can book a table online a few days out.
23. Try a few more Augusta eateries.
Are you not entertained? Here are a few more options that were on our list:
- French Market Grille: This is a classic among Augusta eateries. Choose from a variety of Creole fare with French flair. Their Crepes Louisiana dish looks divine.
- Southbound Smokehouse: Choose between the Almost Famous Wings or the Famous Wings at this casual spot. The “almost” version is served with Alabama white sauce.
- Whiskey Bar (Kitchen): I’ll describe this one as Asian-influenced pub food. It looked like something a little different in Augusta, and that’s a welcome thing.
More Unique Things to Do in Augusta, Georgia
We were in Augusta for a whole month and still missed out on some stuff to do in Augusta, some through no fault of our own. Here’s what I would do on a repeat visit:
- Visit the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, which was closed during our stay, to learn more about the Augusta educator who opened the first school for Black children in the 1880s.
- See a show at the Augusta Symphony.
- Check out artists of the American South at the Morris Museum of Art.
- Explore more of the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area and see the waterfall at Rea’s Creek Aqueduct.
- Have some fun on an Augusta scavenger hunt, one of the best kid activities in Augusta.
Day Trips from Augusta, Georgia
If you’ve exhausted your time in the city and are seeking things to do near Augusta, GA, you’ll be well-situated for all kinds of fun day trips with little effort on your part. Let’s take a look at a few easy drives and things to do around Augusta, GA, on a longer visit.
Note: RIP Georgia Guidestones. You used to be part of this roundup, and then you were bombed and blown up! They were known as “America’s Stonehenge.” That was always generous, but it was a quirky roadside attraction in Elberton.
29. The Laurel & Hardy Museum
Drive 30 minutes out to Harlem, Georgia, to check out the birthplace of Oliver Hardy, the heartier half of the comedy duo. The museum is small but free. Check out Laurel & Hardy memorabilia and a theater playing classic clips and a biopic on a loop.
The museum also includes a few exhibits centered on Harlem history. This bit was less interesting, but again, it’s all free.
Note: Looking for things to do in Augusta, GA, this weekend? Featured Friends Forever is an option for an extended stay. The sanctuary is a haven for companion birds who would otherwise have nowhere else to go.
30. Lake Oconee
Lake Oconee is a little slice of heaven that makes for an excellent day trip from Augusta on a warm, sunny day. Interested in a visit? It’ll take you just under an hour and a half to make it happen. Target Greensboro or Eatonton as the Georgia towns with the best lake access.
I go into it all with my detailed Lake Oconee post. I have tips there for you on where to stay, too, if you fall in love with the place.
We were seeing all these peeps flying out to Greece and we got all jealous so we booked a trip to Athens ourselves…Athens, Georgia, that is.
The college town was a lot of fun and quite charming. I enjoyed it enough to write up a detailed Athens, Georgia, guide.
I include one of the most delicious brunch spots we’ve visited during our Georgia travels and where to spy those bulldogs. Get there in just under two hours from Augusta.
Augusta, GA, What to Do: FAQs
How far is Augusta, Georgia, from Atlanta, Georgia?
Augusta, Georgia, is about 145 miles from Atlanta, Georgia. The drive should take you about two hours and 15 minutes.
What food is Augusta, GA, known for?
Augusta, GA, is known for its Southern cuisine. That means fried chicken, grits, and cobblers. The city embraces classic Southern flavors and hospitality, and you’ll find a variety of restaurants offering delicious comfort food as you explore Augusta things to do.
Does Augusta have a downtown?
Augusta has a downtown district that features the city’s best architecture, cultural attractions, and scenery along the Savannah River. It’s a focal point for attractions in Augusta, GA.
How far is Augusta, GA, to Atlanta, GA?
Augusta, GA, is about two hours and 15 minutes to Atlanta, GA. The distance from Atlanta to Augusta is about 145 miles.
How far is Savannah, GA, to Augusta, GA?
It’s about 122 miles from Savannah, GA, to Augusta, GA. The drive from Augusta, GA, to Savannah, GA, should take you about two hours and 30 minutes.
While Augusta to Savannah is a popular weekend away, it’s a bit far for a day trip. You want to give Savannah at least a full day of your time. Long weekends are even better.
Can you visit Augusta National?
You cannot visit Augusta National Golf Club if you are not a member or a guest of a member. The general public can enjoy the tournament by getting tickets to the Masters.
Is Augusta worth visiting without a golf-themed trip? It absolutely is. There is so much more to the city’s identity.
Hotels in Augusta, Georgia
We stayed in a short-term rental while in Augusta, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have options on your visit to the city.
- Baymont by Wyndham Grovetown Augusta: You’ll need to drive to Augusta attractions from this one, but the price may be worth it. Guests love the friendly staff.
- Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Augusta: Enjoy spacious rooms and easy access to the interstate if you’re road-tripping through Georgia.
- Olde Town Inn: This highly-rated option operates out of a historic building. It tops my list for shorter trips thanks to the underground bar it features.
- Just because you can’t play at Augusta National doesn’t mean you can’t stay next door. This two-bedroom option is a fun way to embrace proximity to that luxe golf life.
- Need some extra space? This option has three full bedrooms. The price is already reasonable, but split it up and you’ll have plenty to take with you on the town.
- This pet-friendly two-bedroom condo has two full bathrooms and on-site laundry if you want to stick around for a while.
Is Augusta, GA, worth visiting?
Augusta, GA, is worth visiting for its surprising food scene, scenic attractions, and a more affordable trip to Georgia.
While it’s known for one of golf’s most prestigious events, it has so much more charm beyond golf, including that signature southern hospitality.
Ready for What to Do in Augusta, GA?
Your Flight: Directions to Augusta, Georgia, typically start in Atlanta. You’ll likely fly through Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. You’ll get better deals on airfare over Augusta Regional Airport.
How far is Augusta from Atlanta? It’s about 145 miles from Augusta to Atlanta. The drive from Atlanta to Augusta will take you about two hours and 15 minutes.
How far is Augusta from Savannah? Augusta is about two hours and 30 minutes from Savannah. Savannah to Augusta is another option if you find flights there or want to start there on a longer vacation.
I use a variety of tools to find cheap airfare, but if you’re looking to book during a particular period of time, you should use Skyscanner. It’s a great tool for when you’re more flexible, too, as it allows you to compare travel based on length of travel, departure date, etc.
To get to Augusta and the best Augusta, Georgia, attractions, you’ll need a car. There is a local bus service, but locals quickly taught us that the public transportation network is unreliable and inefficient.
For adventurous folks who travel on the reg, I also subscribe to Going, formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights. You’ll get cheap flight deals from your home base straight to your inbox.
Your Accommodations: Scroll up for specific picks across booking sites for Augusta. I typically recommend sites like Booking.com and Hotels.com for your accommodation needs. Vrbo has become my preferred Airbnb alternative.
Seeking even more wallet-friendly accommodations? Try Hostelworld. Their picks are heavily vetted and reviewed to offer you a safe experience on a budget.
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Traveling elsewhere in the South? Check out these guides:
- A Fun Guide to New Orleans for Couples
- Take a Drive on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
- A Guide to Baton Rouge, LA Things to Do
- Take a Drive to These Blue Ridge Parkway Spots
- Plan a Weekend in Asheville, NC
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