Each April, thousands of golf enthusiasts make way to Augusta, Georgia for the Masters Tournament. This lovely city offers plenty to do between spectating stints, from paddling the Augusta Canal to enjoying Southern food truck fare at the Augusta Market on Saturday mornings. If you’re feeling inspired by the golf pros, you can even play 18 holes on a course. As you reserve tickets to the Masters Tournament and book Augusta vacation rentals, start planning your itinerary with these fun attractions and activities.
1. Paddle the Augusta Canal
Enjoy Augusta’s spectacular spring weather with a kid-friendly boat trip down the city’s famed Augusta Canal. Rent kayaks or paddle boards from Savannah Rapids Kayak Rental northwest of downtown and enjoy a leisurely paddle down this historic waterway, which was built in the 1800s to support local industrial companies. The company offers a shuttle service from the lovely Lake Olmstead Park, so you don’t have to worry about transporting boats. If you’d prefer an afternoon of complete relaxation, book a boat tour of the canal with Petersburg Boat Tours; the company offers themed routes based on history, wildlife, and the Civil War.
2. Play Golf at Forest Hills
Embrace your love of golf by playing 18 holes at the gorgeous Forest Hills Golf Club, which is frequently recognized as the best public golf course in Augusta. Located just west of town, this sprawling course features gently rolling greens and large, tree-lined fairways. Go in the morning to enjoy the cool temperatures and the light mist that swirls across the beautifully manicured course. During the Masters Tournament, Forest Hills offers special golf and dining packages, as well as twilight specials; book your tee times well in advance to secure a spot.
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3. Browse the Augusta Market
Spend a Saturday morning at the Augusta Market, a friendly farmers market that pops up every Saturday morning by the Savannah River; if you’re staying in one of the vacation rentals downtown, you’re just a short walk away. Grab a cup of coffee and bring the whole family to shop for souvenirs from local artisans, listen to live music, and enjoy freshly made food. The market has a fun festival atmosphere, and there’s plenty of space for little ones to play along the beautiful Augusta Riverwalk. While you’re there, wander through the Japanese Pocket Garden for a moment of zen.
4. Visit the Augusta Museum of History
Dive into Augusta’s fascinating heritage at the Augusta Museum of History. Start in the Augusta’s Story exhibit, where you can check out prehistoric artifacts, examine pottery made by slaves, and explore an enormous Petersburg boat. Kids love the Transportation Corridor, which features a 1914 steam locomotive, a Model T, a historic trolley car, and many more. Don’t miss the tributes to the city’s many famous residents, including James Brown, Aquilla James Dyess, and Hulk Hogan. Don’t worry about driving; the museum is located downtown, an easy walk from the Riverwalk.
5. Go Bird-Watching
Escape the Masters Tournament crowds with a bird-watching visit to the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. Pack your binoculars and plenty of water and head into the swamps on park’s well-maintained boardwalk system. Keep an eye out for the 239 different species that make their home in the park, including the ruby-crowned kinglet and the mourning dove. As you stroll through the moss-covered trees, look out into the waterways to spot the alligators and otters. If you’re visiting with little ones, stop into the visitors center to find out about kids’ hikes, story hours, and hands-on activities.
6. Take a Ghost Tour
Peek into Augusta’s supernatural side aboard the SouthStar Ghost Trolley, an evening event run by SouthStar Trolley Tours. Hop on the trolley and sit back as the guide regales you with stories of hauntings, grave-robbing, and the Cursed Pillar of Georgia. At different points, look out for the city’s famous ghosts in Magnolia Cemetery or the Partridge Inn. Ghost tours are fun rather than super-scary, but they’re probably best suited to teenagers. If you have small children, check out the company’s daytime downtown or Summerville tours; for groups, the History and Brews is the perfect combination of education and beer.
7. Sacred Heart Cultural Center
Whether you’re into architecture or the performing arts, the Sacred Heart Cultural Center is a must-see attraction. This stunning building, which was once a Catholic church, features 94 different stained glass windows, 15 brickwork styles, and a dramatically arched interior that’s sure to leave you in awe. Enjoy a stroll through the center as a break from the heat. Alternatively, visit after a day of golf spectating to see one of the facility’s regular art exhibitions or concerts. If you’re lucky, you can catch a formal Festival Tea in the gardens.
8. Hit the Trails
Get a thrill with an afternoon of mountain biking on the Forks Area Trail System, which is about 20 minutes from downtown by car. Tucked away in the Sumter National Forest, these fantastic trails feature tight turns and an excellent flow, so you can work on your best tricks. For a burst of adrenaline, try the intense Tower Trail; if you’re looking for lots of downhill riding, the popular Brown Wave is a must. Although the trails aren’t extremely steep, they do have some challenging sections, so it’s a good idea to wear a helmet and pads.
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