Home of the Masters Golf Tournament, Augusta, Georgia comes to life during the spring when the golf champions of the world take to the greens of Augusta National Golf Course. Dating back to the 1930s, this legendary golf club was founded by Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones and has hosted many of the world’s best golfers, including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods.
Throughout the rest of the year, Augusta serves as a relaxing retreat into the southern lifestyle. Take to the fairways at the public Forest Hills Golf Club, or see the town aboard the Historic Trolley Tour of Augusta, which runs every Saturday afternoon.
As the state’s second oldest city, Augusta has much to offer historians and sightseers. One of the best Augusta tourist spots, the Cotton Exchange on 8th Street dates back to the late 19th century and once controlled the price of cotton on the New York Stock Exchange. On the east side of town stands the city’s oldest manor, Meadow Garden, home to George Walton, the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence and two-time Georgia governor.
Another historic tour in Augusta is the Magnolia Cemetery tour, called Walk with the Spirits. The tour provides information about the many souls buried on the grounds, including those of seven Confederate generals, as well as veterans from the Revolutionary War through the present day.
Artists and art lovers should journey to the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, where a stately-looking Federalist building houses works by local and regional masters. Among the top Augusta tourist spots is the Morris Museum of Art, home to exhibits like Impressionism in the South and the fascinating Self-taught Artists.
From the the Morris Museum, stroll south along the beautiful Augusta Riverwalk, where visitors get glorious views of the Savannah River. Events are plentiful on the riverbanks and include a St. Patrick’s Day parade and Fourth of July fireworks, as well as summer concerts and movies.
Near the center section of the Riverwalk, tourists can curb their appetites at the Cotton Patch. The lunchtime menu offers delicious options like the shrimp salad and hearty chili, while Charleston chicken kicks off dinner. Be sure to save room for the Cotton Patch’s homemade peanut butter pie.
Just outside downtown, visitors can explore the 1,100-acre Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Hike the mile-long River Scar Trail to experience a cypress-tupelo swamp or relax on the Beaver Pond Boardwalk and watch turtles and birds play in the serene water.
For an elegant dinner, there is no better place in Augusta than La Maison on Telfair. Housed in a Southern Revival home, the restaurant delivers the finest French fare from chef Heinz J. Sowinski, including signature dishes like rack of lamb in an apricot teriyaki glaze.
Nightlife in Augusta is best experienced downtown at Soul Bar, where stiff drinks meet all types of music. The bar hosts jazz, 80s and Latin nights weekly, as well as a disco night twice a month.