Augusta is known worldwide for golf. This city is located in Georgia’s heartland and is often referred to as the “Garden City” of the South. Augusta was established in the year 1736 and got its name from Princess August of Saxegotha. Thanks to the city’s strategic location inland, Augusta was spared most of the destruction during the end of the Civil War. For this reason, most of its historical buildings and landmarks still stand tall. Augusta is the second oldest and the second largest city in Georgia.
Augusta is full of atmosphere, charm, and history. Even if you do not have time to travel far, there are so many tourist sights around the city that are just a short drive away. The area around Augusta is spectacular and well worth exploring. I’ve been visiting Augusta several times over the last years and discovered much of its attractions and landmarks. Here are, in my experience, the best day trips from from Augusta to kickstart your wanderlust.
1. Augusta Museum of History
This museum was founded in the year 1937 to collect, preserve, and interpret the history of Augusta and the surrounding region. The museum preserves this history for the purpose of enrichment of the future generations.
Some of the invaluable material on display at the museum includes images, artifacts, and dioramas that showcase the broad spectrum of both local and regional history. These items tell of the 12,000-year journey through Augusta’s diverse past.
The museum also serves as a research and resource center for historians. It is the only museum in Central Savannah River Area that is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
2. Savannah Rapids Park
The Savannah Rapids Park covers an area of 33 acres and is home to the Historic Augusta Canal Headgates and the Savannah Rapids Pavilion. This park overlooks the picturesque Reed Creek Falls whose waters flow into the canal.
Within the park, there is a 7.5-mile trail that goes all the way to Augusta.
If you’re looking for a historic escape filled with museums, educational sites, and attractions, then the Savannah Rapids Visitor Center is just the spot for you. There is a gift shop here where you can buy some souvenirs to take back home.
Also read: 25 Best Things to Do in Augusta
3. Magnolia Cemetery
This historic cemetery is located in Augusta, Georgia. The Magnolia Cemetery was founded in 1818 and covers an area of 60 acres. Initially, it was referred to as Augusta City Cemetery. At the cemetery, there are several church sections. It is also home to the 7 Confederate generals, 5 Jewish cemeteries, a Greek cemetery and the oldest tree in Georgia.
The land on which Magnolia stands was originally part of a plantation owned by the Academy of Richmond County. The first official burial that happened there took place in August 1818. In 1817, the City Council of Augusta bought the first two blocks for $800.
Make a trip to this unique burial place which one of the most interesting in the South. Take a stroll as you enjoy the view of some unusual yet beautiful tombstones. The graves in Magnolia Cemetery tell a story.
4. Tallulah Falls
Tallulah Falls is found in the Tallulah Gorge that was formed by the Tallulah River after it cut through the rock formation that makes up the Tallulah Dome. The gorge is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia. Tallulah Falls is also the name of the town near the river. The town started out in the 1880s thanks to the multitudes of visitors who used to frequent the area.
The falls drop a total of 490 ft in one mile. There are 6 separate cascading falls that make up the Tallulah Falls.
If you go further up, you will find the Tallulah Falls Lake, a dam that was built in 1913 by the Georgia Power Company.
Tourists come from all over to see the gorgeous waterfalls and the awesome gorge.
5. Haunted Pillar
The Haunted Pillar is located on Broad Street, a Historic District in Augusta. The pillar is a landmark which stands near the remains of a former farmer’s market that operated between 1830 and 1878. The market was destroyed by a tornado on the 8th of February, 1878.
In 1930, a press agency was paid approximately $35,000 to start an advertising campaign that would help stimulate the town’s economy. With the aim of attracting tourists, they published a ghost story about “The Haunted Pillar”
Some locals tell a tale about a preacher who laid a curse on the pillar after he was denied the right to preach there in 1829.
The cursed pillar was destroyed by a car collision on the 17th December 2016.
6. Phinizy Swamp Nature Park
This nature park a wonderful place to get away if you would like to clear your mind as you see a variety of wildlife. The Phinizy Swamp Nature Park is located minutes away from downtown Augusta.
Within the 1,100-acre park there lies a campus for water research and environmental education as well as wetlands and woodlands. There is also a visitor park within the park where you get the chance to see birds such as the red-shouldered hawk, blackbellied whistling duck, sora, bald eagle, and the great blue heron.
Other wildlife that you should expect to see here includes snakes, frogs and toads, and alligators.
7. Meadow Garden
The Meadow Garden is a national historic landmark. The garden is one of Georgia’s oldest dwellings, where George Walton used to live.
This historic house was established as a museum in 1901 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1981.
Make a trip to this beautiful and inviting oasis to see the porcelains, English furnishings, paintings, and other household equipment from the 18th and the 19th centuries.
8. Lake Olmstead Stadium
This stadium was built in 1995 and has a seating capacity of 4,822 people. The Lake Olmstead Stadium also serves as an outdoor-arena venue for events. There are more than 2,500 general admission seats, about 1,000 box seats, and 830 reserved seats.
Lake Olmstead Stadium was primarily built as a baseball stadium; it has been home to the GreenJackets since 1995. Today the stadium is a versatile entertainment center for Augusta.
There is a pavilion, the Budweiser Party Pavilion, built in 2006 that can host from 20 to as many as 500 people.
9. Sacred Heart Cultural Center
This cultural center is also referred to as Sacred Heart Catholic Church. This treasure is one of the most recognized landmarks in the city.
The Sacred Heart Cultural Center was built in 1897 and features towering twin spires, 15 distinctive styles of brickwork, 94 stained glass windows, graceful arches, intricately carved Italian marble altars, and a barrelvaulted ceiling.
The first service was held here in December 1900.
10. Cumberland Island National Seashore
Cumberland Island is a beautiful island that is located to the south of Georgia’s coast. It is the largest and southernmost island in Georgia. The national seashore preserves and interprets nature as well as other historic sites and structures. The underdeveloped seashore features beaches, freshwater lakes, dunes, salt marshes, mud flats, tidal creeks, and maritime forests.
The island has a length of 17.5 miles and covers an area of 36,415 acres.
What makes this day trip from Augusta even more special is that only a limited number of people are allowed access to the place, so it is never overcrowded.
Visit this island to see some wild horses roam around freely. You will also notice some turtles, wild turkeys, armadillos, and a wide variety of shorebirds.
11. Rock City
The city is a true marvel of nature so you should prepare to be amazed. Rock City is located on top of Lookout Mountain, 1700 feet above sea level. The city features gardens with more than 400 species of native plants, massive ancient rock formations, and the breathtaking panoramic views. It is claimed that from Lover’s Leap, you are able to see seven states.
You can come here every season and you will never run out of things to see. With every step, there is a new discovery. This makes Rock City the perfect repeat destination for your day trips from Augusta, all year round.
Some highlights at Rock City include the famous Swing-A-Long Bridge and the Fairyland Caverns.
Also, do not forget to bring your camera. You will capture some fantastic shots.
12. World Of Coca-Cola
Make a trip to the World of Coca-Cola to discover the secret formula for happiness within. This destination has so much for you to see including the gallery that is dedicated to Coke and pop culture, and a multi-sensory 4-D theater.
The 20-acre World of Coca¬-Cola complex has over 62,000 sq ft of guest areas. The museum features over 1,200 artifacts that have not been displayed for the public before. The complex was opened to the public on 24th May 2007.
If you would like to take your taste buds on a trip too, try out the different beverages. You can even create your own blend if you want.
13. Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
This historic trail preserves the memory of the 16,000 Cherokee Indians who had to walk all the way from North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia to Oklahoma (then called Indian Territory). This happened after the Indians were forced out of their homes in 1838.
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the survival of the Cherokee on their gruesome journey. Hundreds of people died during the trip and thousands more died from the consequences of the relocation after they reached Oklahoma.
14. Chattahoochee Beach and Waterpark
The Chattahoochee Beach and Waterpark is located at Lake Lanier Islands Resort. This beach has more than a dozen attractions. If you would like to relax, you can do it on the white sandy beaches that overlook the picturesque Lake Lanier.
Bring your family on this day trip from Augusta for a more profound tour experience in this beautiful fun-drenched park.
15. Stone Mountain Park
This is the most-visited attraction in Georgia and I highly recommend a visit. Every year, more than 4 million tourists visit the 3,200acre Stone Mountain Park. What makes this site unique is that it has tons of attractions, including two championship golf courses. The entertainment, fun, and adventure that await you at this natural park are indescribable.
Make sure to bring your entire family; there are dozens of interactive children’s attractions. Stone Mountain Park literally has everything for everyone. Enjoy the scenic mountains from this park that is home to over 15 miles of nature trails. A 1.3mile trail goes all the way to the top of the mountain.