12 unique things to do in Augusta

by Paul Joseph  |  Published April 16, 2020

Most famous, perhaps, for hosting the annual Masters Tournament, one of the four major golf championships, Augusta has plenty more for visitors to discover than luscious greens and daunting bunkers. Perched near the South Carolina border, the city is distinctive for its wide avenues and scenic waterways, with both the Savannah River and the Augusta Canal providing open space for kayaking and boating. There are an impressive number of cultural venues here too, testament to Augusta’s rich history of artistic output.

Augusta as seen across the Savannah River, on the Fifth Street Bridge (Photo: c_live_lee via Flickr / CC0 1.0)

Augusta is certainly somewhere to visit for at least a few days, with more than enough to fill an itinerary for that length of time. And if you have a week or more to spare, then you should be able to duck off the beaten track and explore the city’s lesser known landmarks and attractions during your stay. If this sounds appealing, here’s a list of 12 unique things to see and do here.

Pay tribute to the Godfather of Soul

One of Augusta’s most famous former residents is the late, legendary funk and soul musician James Brown and across the city there are several monuments standing in his honour. But without doubt the most famous is the memorial statue located on Broad Street looking out over Augusta Common, which continues to be a popular pilgrimage spot for fans who flock here to pay their respects, take photos and lay flowers in memory of a true music icon.

LOCATION 830 Broad Street

Fans of James Brown take snaps at the soul legend’s memorial (Photo: Sir Mildred Pierce via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Traverse the waters of an industrial canal

Dating all the way back to 1845, the Augusta Canal is part of a National Heritage Area and is replete with trails, fishing, kayaking & boat tour opportunities for exploring this former industrial waterway. For those who like the idea of traversing the mellow canal currents by kayak, Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental are a local company that offers first time paddlers as well as seasoned veterans the chance to enjoy a peaceful, easy float along the 5-mile route. The trip takes around 2 hours for most, with no rocks or rapids to negotiate along the way, meaning that families are encouraged to bring their little ones along for the adventure – and even their dogs too!

 Savannah River Rapids

Kayakers navigate the historic Augusta Canal (Photo: Savannah Rapid Kayak Rental)

Take a look around a museum dedicated to two comedy legends

Exploring the lives and careers of the iconic comedy duo who reigned supreme during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema, the Laurel & Hardy Museum can be found some 15 miles west of Augusta and is awash with curiosities relating to the mirth-making masters. Free to enter, all of the artefacts and memorabilia here have been donated by fans from across the globe, and there’s even a dedicated theatre room where visitors can catch a movie featuring the legendary pair.

LOCATION 135 North Louisville Street, Harlem HOURS Mon-Sat 10am-4pm Closed Sun

Admire eye-catching artworks with a Southern theme

Located on the Riverwalk in downtown Augusta, the Morris Museum of Art is the nation’s oldest museum dedicated to the art and artists of the American South. Its collection includes more than 5,000 works—paintings, works on paper, photographs, and sculptures—dating from the late-18th century to the present. In addition to the permanent collection galleries, the museum hosts more than a dozen temporary special exhibitions annually, as well as a rich variety of public programs such as special film screenings, symposiums, lectures, book signings, exhibition openings, tours, and special programs for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.

LOCATION 1 10th Street 2nd Floor HOURS Tues-Sat 10am-5pm Sun 12pm-5pm Closed Mon

Visitors admire an art piece at Morris Museum of Art (Photo: Morris Museum of Art)

Get your chocolate fix

Since opening its doors in 2005, La Bonbonnière has been satisfying the sweet toothed demands of Augusta locals and visitors with its mouth-watering selection of chocolates, all of which are lovingly handcrafted on-site. If you ask nicely, the owner may even give you a behind-the-scenes look at the chocolate-making production process that takes place at the back of the store.

LOCATION 229 Furys Ferry Road HOURS Tues-Fri 11am-6pm Sat 12pm-5pm Closed Sun-Mon

Visit the boyhood home of a former President

Located within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District is a residential home with an illustrious past. Now a museum and a National Historic Landmark, the property in question was between 1858 and 1870 home to a young boy who would later become the leader of the free world – a boy by the name of Woodrow Wilson. Today visitors can come and explore its confines, which are scattered with original furniture pieces and memorabilia dedicated to the life of the 28th President of the United States.

LOCATION 419 7th Street HOURS Thurs-Sat 10pm-4pm Closed Sun-Tues

Delve deep into Augusta’s history

For visitors to Augusta keen to learn about the city’s rich heritage, The Augusta Museum of History will leave you feeling as weighed down with fascinating facts as an encyclopaedia. Inside you’ll find a huge assortment of exhibited collections designed to educate people on the city’s evolution from its foundations to the present. Among the highlights is a quirky exhibition dedicated to history of golf in the area.

LOCATION 560 Reynolds Street HOURS Thurs-Sat 10am-5pm Sun 1pm-5pm Closed Mon-Weds

Augusta Museum of History

An overhead shot of Augusta Museum of History (Photo: Augusta Museum of History)

Explore a vibrant cultural centre

A must-see for anyone who appreciates beautiful architecture, the Sacred Heart Cultural Center is a former historic Roman Catholic church that’s been transformed into a cultural venue. One of the most recognisable landmarks anywhere in Augusta, the centre attracts huge numbers of visitors every year to a whole host of activities and events, including choral concerts, art exhibitions and a popular Garden Festival.

LOCATION 1301 Greene Street HOURS Mon-Fri 9am-5pm Closed Sat-Sun

Tuck into some authentic Southern grub

Georgia is renowned for its most-watering southern cuisine and Augusta is home to a large number of restaurants serving up classic regional favourites. For some of the city’s very best barbecue food, Scoyners is an acclaimed family-run eatery that has been around for generations and is guaranteed to satisfy your smoky tastes. Using time-honoured family recipes, all the meat here is cooked over live mesquite coals and smoked for at least 24 hours to develop the flavour, with the likes of ribs, brisket, and hash with rice among the most popular dishes.

LOCATION 2250 Sconyers Way HOURS Thurs-Sat 10pm-9pm Closed Sun-Weds

Watch a minor-league baseball game

There are few more quintessentially American pursuits than catching a baseball game, and in Augusta you can do just that by attending a minor-league fixture at the RP Park stadium, home to the Augusta GreenJackets since 2019. There are plenty of food and refreshments stalls to keep you well satiated and, unlike at most European sporting events, spectators can even enjoy the action with a beer in their hand.

LOCATION 187 Railroad Avenue, North Augusta

Immerse yourself in Augusta’s natural beauty

Spanning some 1,100 acres, Phinizy Swamp Nature Park is an outdoor lover’s paradise, offering a captivating vantage point from which to take in the majesty of Augusta’s surrounding natural landscapes. As well as its visual appeal, the site has a huge amount of action-packed things to do, including bike riding, hiking and bird watching. For those with an interest in ecology, there’s also a dedicated water research campus and an environmental education center that’s open to visitors.

LOCATION 1858 Lock and Dam Road HOURS Mon-Sun 6.30am-8pm

Phinizy Swamp Nature Park

A Great Blue Heron hovers above one of Phinizy Swamp Nature Park’s wetland ponds (Photo: Savannah River Site via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Attend an outdoor music concert

Situated in the Evans Town Center Park, Lady Antebellum Pavilion has grown to become one of the city’s most popular concert venues since its creation back in 2011. The 7,000 capacity amphitheatre, which was named after the acclaimed band whose members grew up in Augusta, hosts a diverse programme of outdoor musical events throughout the year, featuring both emerging and established performers.

LOCATION 7016 Evans Town Center Park