Augusta Essentials: 10 Can’t-Miss Experiences in Georgia’s Garden City

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As the second-oldest and third-largest city in Georgia, Augusta combines a slower pace of life with big city amenities along the sleepy Savannah River. Experience a kayak adventure on the river. Explore the Coffee Trail. Or, spend a night at the drive-in.

Whether you’re in town for the Masters Tournament in April or just visiting throughout the year, check out these activities only in Augusta.

Dance to Live Music on the River

Spend a breezy evening with some of Georgia’s best local artists at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater, named for the legendary opera singer and Augusta native. Each spring and summer, music festivals and concerts bring this 1,800-seat venue to life. 

Located on the shores of the Savannah River, you’ll sit on the stadium-style benches looking down at the covered stage with the water just beyond. Enjoy from your seat or get up and dance—this is a place to let loose and have a good time. 

Tour An Outdoor Art Exhibit

Stroll the Augusta Sculpture Trail, featuring 14 one-of-a-kind sculptures by nationally renowned artists. This easy walking trail in downtown Augusta is accessible to all and a fun way to enjoy fine art in the beautiful Georgia sunshine. 

Snap a pic with Ruthless, a shiny shark made from repurposed iron and steel. Or put on your most angelic face in front of Rise, a pair of ethereal copper wings. Before you hit the trail, download the Otocast app on your smartphone for a digital guide and background about each work of art.  

Paddle the Savannah River

See the Augusta skyline from the water with a downtown kayaking adventure on the Savannah River. You can rent a kayak from Two Dudes and a Boat Kayak Rentals right on the water—no need to schlep your own. 

Paddle through downtown Augusta, under the 5th Street Pedestrian Bridge, and along the Augusta RiverWalk. Watch for river otters, turtles, herons, and beavers as you make your way along the peaceful waterway. Plan your excursion for later in the day to see beautiful Augusta in the golden glow of sunset. 

Go Coffee Crazy

If sampling local coffee is on your itinerary, the Augusta Coffee Trail is a must! Simply sign up online (it’s free!) to get deals at all 11 participating coffee shops. Check out Trellis Coffee Bar, a colorful coffee shop inside a converted service station. Or head to The New Moon Café, a laid-back Augusta staple with house-roasted beans and a hot breakfast menu. Turn on your phone’s location services to check in at each shop and earn rewards like a specialty coffee mug or Augusta Coffee Trail sticker.

Explore Augusta in Days Past

Step into Augusta’s multifaceted heritage at the expansive Augusta Museum of History. In this sprawling museum, you’ll learn about the area’s first Native Americans, the colonial era, the Antebellum South, the Civil War, and much more. 

See a real 1914 steam locomotive and climb into a 1920s trolley car in the Transportation Corridor. Dive into the 90-year relationship between the city and the sport of golf. And visit the rotating Special Exhibits—past exhibits include a close look at war-torn Augusta in 1864 and changing children’s fashions over 100 years. 

Spend A Morning at the Market

A sunny Saturday morning calls for wandering the stalls of The Augusta Market at the River. Open from March through November, this local favorite gathers vendors and artisans on the banks of the Savannah River for a unique shopping experience. 

You’ll find hot coffee, local produce, and prepared foods like honey and freshly baked treats. Plus, look for handmade pottery, jewelry, art, and much more. Live music creates a festive atmosphere, and morning yoga can help you start your day feeling your best. Come hungry! Multicultural food trucks open up a world of delicious eats.

Get Down with James Brown

Before he became a funk icon, James Brown spent most of his youth in Augusta. On The James Brown Journey, a self-guided audio tour, you can visit the places that helped shape the future of this electrifying musical pioneer. 

Spot Brown’s childhood home, the school he attended until 7th grade, the Bell Auditorium, where he recorded most of his 1969 album Sex Machine, and many more sites. Along the way, you’ll hear true stories about this larger-than-life legend right from your phone. 

Catch a Flick Under the Stars

The drive-in movie lives on! At The Big Mo just outside the city, you can catch classic movies and new releases on three screens under the night sky. Settle into your front seats or get comfy in a truck bed for a throwback movie experience. 

Each screen offers a double feature, so you get a great value for your ticket price. Need a snack? Head to the building shaped like a giant peach to find a concession stand with popcorn, chili dogs, burgers, and pizza. 

Wine and Dine at Frog Hollow Tavern

When dining out, follow the lead of the locals. That means an evening at upscale-yet-friendly spot Frog Hollow Tavern

The dishes on their New American menu are familiar yet elevated, changing often to reflect the region’s best seasonal fare. Look for fresh produce from Titan Farms, artisan grains from Anson Mills, and premium cheeses from Split Creek Farms. And don’t skip the wine—their list offers over 100 options with a focus on sustainable and/or organic production.

Go Gator Spotting in Phinizy Swamp

Get close to nature at Phinizy Center & Nature Park. With 1,100 acres of wetlands and woodlands, there is so much to see! Spot lush green bald cypress trees growing right out of the water. Look for great egrets and herons wading on their long legs. You could even spot an alligator or two! 

The area may be damp, but you’ll stay pretty dry thanks to a network of boardwalks and bridges over the marshes (although waterproof shoes are never a bad idea). Fish in the Mayor’s Fishin’ Hole (fishing license required) and let kids go wild on the playground for a full day of outdoor fun.

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