Augusta, Georgia, may be most famous as the home of the Masters Tournament, but there’s so much more to love about this Southern gem than its rolling greens. Situated on the Savannah River, this is a city steeped in history. Augusta has a wide variety of museums dedicated to various periods, from the times of slavery to the Civil War, plus museums that will walk you through the city’s cultural, artistic, and musical traditions.
It’s worth an entire trip just to see the natural beauty of its swamps, forests, trails, gardens, and other outdoor attractions. And, of course, there are the Southern staples: amazing food and some of the warmest hospitality you’ll find anywhere.
With so many things to see and do, you might not know where to begin. So we’ve compiled our list of the absolute best things to do in Augusta for you. Stick to these fun and unique Augusta bucket list recommendations, and there’s no doubt you’ll have an amazing time exploring this charming Southern city!
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15 Fun and Unique Things to do in Augusta, GA
1. Ride a Boat Through the Augusta Canal
Built in 1845 and Georgia’s first-ever National Heritage Area, the 13-mile Augusta Canal was built to help transport people and goods through the non-navigable sections of the Savannah River.
Today, it’s the only remaining industrial power canal in the US that’s still in use. If you want to learn all about the fascinating history of this waterway, head straight to Enterprise Mill and spend time at the Augusta Canal Discovery Center.
At the center, you’ll be able to see artifacts and watch a film documenting the construction and history of the Augusta Canal. A boat tour is also included with the price of admission, so you can see the canal for yourself and learn even more about this local landmark.
There are also companies offering canal cruises aboard vintage riverboats. No matter how you choose to experience it, a trip down the Augusta Canal is one of the best things to do in Augusta, GA.
2. Hike the Trails of Phinizy Swamp Nature Park
You can’t leave Augusta without spending some time in nature, and there’s no better place to do it than at the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. This 1,100-acre wetlands area is home to an incredible variety of plant and animal species, including otters, alligators, red-shouldered hawks, and bobcats.
There are 14 miles of easy hiking and biking trails winding through the park, plus a series of boardwalks and observation points where you can take in the scenery and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife.
If you want to learn more about the park and its inhabitants, sign up for one of the free guided tours. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who will share all sorts of interesting facts and stories about the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Make sure to bring binoculars – you won’t want to miss a thing!
3. Stroll Along the Augusta Riverwalk
Spend a leisurely afternoon feeling the fresh, cool breeze from the gorgeous Savannah River when you drop by the Augusta Riverwalk.
We love how easily accessible it is since you can get there from a number of different downtown locations. The Riverwalk stretches between 6th and 10th streets and has two levels – the upper level is great for strolling, while the lower level is where you’ll find the charming Japanese Gardens.
Take the time to get acquainted with the popular venues in and around the Augusta Riverwalk so you can make the most of your visit there. For instance, the 8th Street Bulkhead is the perfect spot to enjoy the weekly Saturday Market at the River.
Meanwhile, follow the brick-paved streets of 10th Street Plaza to get to the Heroes Overlook, which offers stunning views of the river and the cityscape. The 9th Street Plaza leads you straight to the Jessye Norman Amphitheater, where you can enjoy live performances all year round or simply people-watch from the steps.
4. Get Your Art Fix at the Morris Museum of Art
While you’re at the Riverwalk, make time to visit the Morris Museum of Art, the first-ever museum devoted exclusively to the art and artists of the American South. It was founded by William Morris III and opened its doors to the public in 1992. Today, the Morris Museum of Art remains one of the coolest things to do in Augusta.
We recommend reserving a couple of hours for your visit because their permanent collection is massive. The Morris Museum’s permanent collection holds more than 5,000 original paintings, photographs, works on paper, and unique sculptures dating back to the late 18th century.
You can also enjoy up to 10 temporary special exhibits every year at the Morris Museum, plus a range of lectures and educational events. The museum also has its own Center for the Study of Southern Art, where you can access the research library, reference materials, and other resources related to Southern art and artists.
So if you’re looking for a cultural experience in Augusta, make sure to drop by the Morris Museum of Art. It promises to be an enlightening visit!
5. Drop by the Boyhood Home of President Woodrow Wilson
The Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home is much more than just a historic landmark – it’s a window into the past that gives visitors a glimpse of what life was like in the mid-19th century. The two-story home was built in 1859, and it was here that future President Woodrow Wilson spent his boyhood years.
The museum inside the home is arranged in tableaux style, which means that various settings from Wilson’s childhood have been recreated using period furniture and artifacts. Visitors will get a real sense of what life was like for young Woodrow as they explore different rooms, including the parlor, dining room, and Wilson’s bedroom.
In addition to the tableaux, there are also several guided tours available via Historic Augusta. These tours provide more information about Wilson’s life and how his time spent in Augusta shaped him into the man he would become.
6. Visit the Augusta Museum of History
The Augusta Museum of History is Augusta’s oldest historical museum. The museum is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the city and regional history.
Augusta’s Story is the museum’s flagship exhibition and chronicles the 12,000-year history of the region. Along the way, visitors will learn about the settlement of Augusta, the city’s role in both the Revolutionary War and Civil War, and its development as an industrial center in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Another notable exhibit is one on the history of healthcare in Augusta, as well as a permanent section that highlights the evolution of Augusta’s railroad and banking history.
Don’t miss the Transportation Corridor, a hands-on exhibit that allows visitors to explore various modes of transportation used throughout Augusta’s history. In addition to a 1914 locomotive and a 1920s trolley car, visitors can also explore a horse-drawn carriage and a Model T Ford. This museum definitely deserves a spot on your Augusta bucket list!
7. Eat Authentic Southern BBQ at Scoyners
One of the must-do things in Augusta is to eat authentic Southern BBQ, and no other place in the city can do it like Scoyners.
This family-owned restaurant has been serving delicious BBQ for generations, and they take pride in cooking all their meat over live mesquite coals and smoking it for at least 24 hours to develop the flavor.
You can choose from favorites like brisket, ribs, hash with rice, and other quintessential local flavors. Don’t forget to try their BBQ sauce and sides, too – they’re the perfect accompaniments to your meal.
The atmosphere at Scoyners is also one of a kind – the warm and inviting atmosphere makes it feel like you’re eating with family. So come on down to Scoyners and experience some of the best Southern BBQ in Augusta. You won’t be disappointed!
8. Catch a Show at the Historic Imperial Theatre
The Imperial Theatre is one of the top Augusta attractions for any visitor in the city. Built in the early 1800s, the theater has seen many performances over its long and storied history. It was once a popular venue for vaudeville and photoplay shows, but today it’s more likely you’ll find musical theater performances, such as Mary Poppins, or popular concerts by renowned artists.
On top of all the amazing performances, you can also take an in-depth tour of the theater, where you can see all the main features, such as the stage, lobby, and dressing rooms. It’s a fantastic way to relive the glory days of the theater and experience a piece of Augusta’s cultural history.
Even if you don’t take the tour, you can still admire the theater’s beautiful interior, which includes ornate sculptures, chandeliers, and even a grand staircase. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind Augusta attraction!
9. Explore the Augusta Downtown Historic District
Strolling along the streets of the Augusta Downtown Historic District is like taking a walk through time. This area was once home to an array of important buildings from as far back as 1801, and visitors can explore these important sites in greater detail with a visit to the district’s Visitor Center.
The historic Broad Street commercial area provides a great overview of how 19th and 20th-century businesses operated in the city, while Greene Street is a tree-lined street that contains a park-like center, which is the perfect place to relax and take in all the sights.
Make sure you visit some of the historic churches, government buildings, and large houses of Augusta’s wealthy early inhabitants – they’re a great way to get a glimpse into the city’s past. There are also several beautiful examples of architectural styles like Greek Revival, Romanesque Revival, Beaux Arts, and Queen Anne to admire.
Most of these are free and open to the public, so don’t miss this unique opportunity to explore Augusta’s most beautiful historic district.
10. Go Bird-watching at Pendleton King Park
Grab your binoculars and experience one of the best things to do in Augusta: birdwatching at Pendleton King Park! Located just outside the city center, this 64-acre bird sanctuary offers a diverse terrain of pine forests, sand ridges, and marshes. It’s the perfect place to spot some of Augusta’s wildlife.
Take a walk along one of several nature trails winding through the park, and you might catch glimpses of birds like the bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, and northern cardinal. Keep your eyes peeled for other animals like deer, rabbits, and squirrels too!
After you’ve exhausted yourself hunting for birds and animals, the park also offers several recreational activities like children’s adventure playgrounds, a golf course, a tennis court, a workout course, and wide-open spaces for picnics and games. It’s a great way to spend your day outdoors and one of the best family-friendly things to do in Augusta.
11. Visit the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History
Augusta’s Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History is an important cultural institution in the city. The museum celebrates the legacy, life, and achievements of Lucy Craft Laney, a prominent Black educator in Augusta.
The museum offers tours of her home, which has been preserved and reflects the history of African Americans in the region during the 19th and 20th centuries. Tours also explore Laney’s impact on education for Black children, as well as her influence on civil rights and social activism in Augusta.
Visitors can also explore permanent exhibits such as the Woman and Civil Rights exhibit, which focuses on the struggles and successes of African American women over the past century, and The Lucy Craft Laney Collection, which features artifacts that trace her life. Other exhibits explore a range of topics – from Black authors and activists to religion and health care in Augusta.
The museum also puts on several special events throughout the year, such as lectures by prominent civil rights leaders, art shows, and galas. Make sure to check their calendar for upcoming events if you’re in town!
12. Take a Stroll through Magnolia Cemetery
Visiting a cemetery may not be your first thought when it comes to Augusta attractions, but the Magnolia Cemetery is absolutely worth a visit. This sprawling 60-acre historic location is home to the graves of veterans from the Civil and Revolutionary wars, as well as several churches, a Greek cemetery, five Jewish cemeteries, and the oldest tree in the state: a crape myrtle.
Take a stroll through the cemetery and admire its serene beauty. It’s both a place of peaceful reflection and a reminder of Augusta’s rich history. Plus, it’s easily one of the best sights in Augusta.
13. Drop by the Augusta Market at the River
Checking out the Augusta Market at the River is another one of the most fun things to do in Augusta. Located along the Augusta Riverwalk, this Saturday morning market is a great place to find unique wares from local crafters, chefs, and tastemakers.
You’ll find the entrance on 8th Street, where vendors are selling handmade goods and ethnic food. Live music drifts through the air from a riverfront stage while runners finish their morning jog and yogis practice their sun salutations. Kids can cool off and play at the fountain, and since the market is pet-friendly, bring your pup along for the adventure!
Grab some locally roasted coffee, fresh pastries, and regional produce, then stroll through the market for unique jewelry and handcrafted items. From artisans to chefs, you’re sure to find something special at this lively community event.
14. Touch History at Meadow Garden
One of the most unique things to do in Augusta, Meadow Garden is a National Historic Landmark in Augusta and the final home of George Walton. He’s one of the most prominent figures in the city and was one of the three men who, on behalf of Georgia, signed the Declaration of Independence.
Built in 1791, the two-and-a-half-story Sands Hill Cottage has undergone significant reconstruction over the years – transforming into a three-bay extension with features for recreation tableaux and artifacts. You can explore its seven historic buildings, including Walton’s office, a kitchen house, slave cabins, and a smokehouse.
Take a step back in time as you tour the museum house, learning about the history of George Walton and his role in the formation of the US. From artifacts to tableaux, Meadow Garden is one of the top Augusta attractions that truly brings history alive.
15. Play Golf at the Forest Hills Golf Club
The Masters Tournament is held every April at the Augusta National Golf Club, but it can be hard to snag tickets to one of the world’s most exclusive golf tournaments. This is also a private club, which means it’s only open to members and their guests. If you’re in Augusta and hoping to tee off, you can still enjoy a round of golf at the Forest Hills Golf Club.
Established in 1926, this family-owned and operated course is open to the public and set among beautiful trees and rolling hills. In addition to an 18-hole championship golf course, it features a driving range and practice facility, banquet facilities, a bar and grill, and several special events throughout the year.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced golfer, Forest Hills Golf Club is one of the best places to go in Augusta for a day of golf. With its beautiful setting and plethora of activities, it’s sure to be a memorable experience for all skill levels.