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More than Golf!

When I was a little kid I hated being cooped inside the house. I always wanted to be outside playing, and the same applies today. Luckily I live in Augusta, Ga. where outdoor recreation is just around the river bend…literally!

In the south, we are fortunate enough to have warmer temperatures during most of the year, which means we get to spend a lot of time outside! Here are some of the outdoor recreational opportunities Augusta offers. Be prepared to be surprised, and many places are free!



The Augusta Canal and Towpath

Built in 1845 to harness the water of the Savannah River and produce hydroelectricity to power mills, the Augusta Canal is still in use today. Its smooth waters make it an excellent place for a canoe or kayak adventure. Don’t have a kayak or canoe? There are retailers close by! And its 8.5 miles long towpath is ideal for walking or riding bikes. Pets are welcome.

J. Strom Thurmond LakeIt’s the largest man-made lake east of the Mississippi River. There are several parks and swimming beaches, hiking trails and camping areas. You can also rent boats and jet skis for the day. It is also home to the International Disc Golf Hall of Fame.

Lake Olmstead/Julian Smith ParkIt’s a lake front park which makes it perfect for boating, fishing and picnics. The Augusta GreenJackets, Augusta’s minor league baseball team play at Lake Olmstead Stadium during the season (April through September). Try your hand at one of several disc golf courses. One is located in the park. Disc golf is similar to ball golf, but you use discs/Frisbees and try to throw them into a basket to make par. Pretty simple concept. Fun and free if you own discs!

Phinizy Swamp Nature ParkLocated on 1100 acres and just minutes from downtown Augusta, Phinizy Swamp Nature Park offers visitors the chance to see blue heron, red-shouldered hawk, otter, alligator and the elusive bobcat in their natural settings. Participate in guided tours or venture out on your own. This park is also free.

Savannah River and Augusta Riverwalk

Personal  watercraft vehicles are available to rent. Also a great place for canoeing, kayaking and fishing. The Augusta Riverwalk runs parallel to the Savannah River. Its two-tiered paved trail runs for three blocks downtown. It features a children’s playground, picnic tables and various gardens.

Savannah River Bluffs

The Savannah River Bluffs Heritage Preserve is an 84-acre tract of land mere minutes from downtown with a nice hiking trail that leads to beautiful views of the shoals of the Savannah river.  The hiking trail follows an old logging road, then crosses a power line easement and finally meanders through the woods following a stream to the river.  While you’re at the river, look for rock formations that might be remnants of fishing weirs built by native Americans who inhabited the area long ago.

It’s a great place to go that’s very close to town, yet largely undiscovered.  In all the times I’ve visited, I’ve never come across another hiker exploring this great preserve.  Check out the video to see more about the area.

Savannah River Bluffs Video

If you go, remember it’s all downhill to the river from the parking lot…and uphill back!  Wear comfortable shoes, bring water, and remember to carry out all your trash to preserve the natural beauty of the area.  Here’s a map to the parking area.

Exploring the Augusta Canal Trail

The Augusta Canal is one of the most interesting historic landmarks in Augusta. It was created in 1845 to use water power from the Savannah River to power textile mills.  It is the only canal in North America still in use for its original purpose, and there are still buildings in Augusta that use hydropower from the canal.  The tow paths that run parallel to the canal used to be for mules and horses that would pull boats up or down the canal.  Now those paths are used for recreation.  You can hike, jog, or bike the canal trail and experience part of the historic beauty that is still a part of Augusta today.

The trail runs about 7 miles long altogether and has several different points of entry if you would like to take a shorter ride or walk beside the canal.  If you decide to take the trail all the way up to the headgates you will see the Savannah River and other scenic spots! You can even paddle the canal yourself if you have your own canoe or kayak, or you can rent one from American Wilderness Outfitters Limited (AWOL). To learn more about the canal and its history check out the Augusta Canal’s website. If you would like more information on the trails and how to enjoy the canal on your bike or in your own boat, click here.

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			<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/people/augustacvb/\">Visit Augusta GA</a> posted a photo:</p>	<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/augustacvb/5860441211/\" title=\".Top 10 in 10\"><img src=\"http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2716/5860441211_092498044d_m.jpg\" width=\"155\" height=\"240\" alt=\".Top 10 in 10\" /></a></p><p>.Our very own Katrina Hollmann was recognized as one of the top 10 young professionals to watch over the next 10 years.</p>			<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/people/augustacvb/\">Visit Augusta GA</a> posted a photo:</p>	<p><a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/photos/augustacvb/5860991940/\" title=\".Top 10 in 10\"><img src=\"http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3213/5860991940_7539c15700_m.jpg\" width=\"240\" height=\"155\" alt=\".Top 10 in 10\" /></a></p><p>.We're so proud of Katrina! And we're glad to have her on our team!</p> More Photo »
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