I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t know much about Augusta before visiting this charming Georgia town. While I knew that Augusta hosts the Masters Tournament every year, I knew relatively little else about this city. So when an impromptu road trip with my significant other took us to Augusta, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was, however, excited to explore this beautiful city, as Augusta is a quintessential Southern town that boasts gorgeous antebellum mansions and wide, tree-lined streets.
Since our road trip detour to Augusta was unscheduled, we drove into the city without a place to stay that night. Fortunately, all we had to do was pull up HotelTonight’s app, and within minutes we had booked a great hotel room in downtown Augusta. So as soon as we checked into our hotel room and dropped off our bags, we set out to explore this charming Southern town.
Located downtown, Augusta’s historic district is like a time capsule, preserving the city’s rich history. We walked past architectural beauties from the early 1800s, and we marveled at the eclectic array of architectural styles, from Greek Revival and Romanesque Revival to Beaux Arts and Queen Anne. As we gave ourselves our own tour of the neighborhood, I wondered what interesting stories these grand homes and churches could tell if they could only speak.
While the Riverwalk is certainly one of Augusta’s most popular attractions for visitors, it’s also one of the locals’ most beloved areas of the city. Located in downtown Augusta, the Riverwalk winds along the Savannah River from 6th Street to 10th Street. On a balmy summer day, nothing is as refreshing as feeling the breeze coming off the Savannah River as you stroll along the boardwalk. We passed both locals and tourists on our Riverwalk stroll, and we also passed a number of beautiful gardens, the Jessye Norman Amphitheater and the Morris Museum of Art. There are also several restaurants along the Riverwalk, so we stopped at a cool jazz café for lunch and for some great live music. By the time we finished eating, we had fallen in love with the laidback vibes and Southern charm of Augusta.
As a lover of American history, I knew there was one place in Augusta we simply had to visit before leaving – Meadow Garden. This carefully restored home was built in 1791, making it one of the very oldest buildings in Augusta. Meadow Garden is a famous establishment in Augusta because it was once home to George Walton, one of the youngest signers of the Declaration of Independence. We took a tour of this historic house, which is furnished with pieces true to the period and is still well maintained to this day. I was practically giddy after the tour wrapped, as I felt as if I had just been transported back in time to the Revolutionary period. I’d highly recommend visiting Meadow Garden for any history buffs visiting or even passing through Augusta.
For dinner, we headed back downtown, where there are plenty of great restaurant options to choose from. The South may be laidback, but they are very serious about one thing: good food. Based on some recommendations from locals, we chose a restaurant known for its hearty Southern comfort food, and I can easily say it was a meal I will never forget. Southerners do really know how to whip up rich, mouthwatering foods, and I was glad I got to taste some real, authentic Southern cooking before leaving Georgia.
When I woke up the next morning, the first thing I wanted to do was lace on my running shoes and hit the pavement. After all, I had indulged in some pretty rich, heavy food the night before, and I wanted to get in some good exercise before resuming our road trip. I made my way to the Augusta Canal Trail, which is apparently a favorite spot for locals to walk, run and bike. There are several well-maintained trails along the beautiful Augusta Canals, and I quickly realized why this is a favorite outdoor area for locals.
I’ve spent significant time in Georgia over the years, but my Georgia trips have largely been confined to Atlanta and Savannah, so I was thrilled to see another side of Georgia. I loved Augusta’s laidback, small town atmosphere, as well as its delicious Southern cuisine, plentiful outdoor activities, and rich history. Even though we only spent a day in Augusta, we were able to get a great feel for the town. For those that want to get a taste of a quintessential Southern town, Augusta is the perfect destination. I was grateful that we were able to book a last-minute hotel in Augusta through HotelTonight, which made our impromptu mini-vacation a breeze. If we’re ever road tripping through the South again, we may just have to pull off and spend another night in Augusta to soak up the Southern charm once again.