Welcome to Visit Augusta GA blog

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.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

A few days ago, I met some friends for a leisurely paddle up the Savannah River.  Our route took us up river, then up Rae’s Creek to Aqueduct Park, back to the river, up around a few islands and back to a boat ramp in North Augusta where we began.  Starting just a few hundred yards up river from downtown Augusta, it looked like this:

The weather was beautiful and there’s nothing quite as nice as getting on the river on a warm summer evening.  We looked for fish, turtles, ducks and other wildlife while we paddled up Rae’s Creek towards Aqueduct Park and met a man Stand-Up Paddling.  It looks like something fun I’ll have to try!

 

Aqueduct Park is a great spot to cool off and a lot of folks were taking advantage of the cool water!

 

Coming back to the river, we paddled upstream passing small islands and beautiful Spanish-moss covered cypress trees. 

We struggled against the current a little ways up the shoals and were rewarded with a fun ride down some very small rapids.

  

If you’d like to kayak or canoe on the Savannah River, you can rent both from Broadway Bait & Tackle or rent canoes from the Riverwalk Marina.

 

Broadway Bait & Tackle

1730 Broad Street (at the canal)

Augusta, GA 30904

(706) 738-8848

http://www.broadwaytackle.com/servlet/the-697/CANOE-RENTAL-KAYAK-RENTAL/Detail

Riverwalk Marina

1 5th Street
Augusta, Georgia 30901
(706) 722-1388

Kayaking in Downtown Augusta


I know it might seem a little weird to kayak in downtown, but along the Augusta Canal it is possible. The journey for me began at the Augusta Canal Headgates where the Canal begins – this is the spot where it branches off from the Savannah River. The canal was originally built by hand in 1845 to harness the water power to operate textile mills. It continues to do that job today more than 100 years later.

For more than seven miles that the canal takes, it leisurely turns. It starts out very quiet and calm with plenty of wildlife and ends with beautiful 100 year-old factories still drawing in water and then right into downtown Augusta – just three blocks from Augusta’s main street.


The canal is all calm water and can be navigated by even the most novice of water travelers – as my friend and co-worker Katrina demonstrated in her canoe. Anna did her best to steer them straight. The entire trip took just under three hours, but that did include stops for snacks. There are many places to put in if you want a shorter trip, but there is also Lake Olmstead to visit if you want to take a longer trip. There is also a path along the canal for cyclists, walkers and fishermen. But today’s journey for me was in a kayak and I loved it!


Today we rented from AWOL. They will drop you off and with a cell phone call, pick you up once you’re done.

American Wilderness Outfitters Limited (AWOL)
2328 Washington Road
Augusta GA 30904
706-738-8500
www.getawol.com


Kayaking in Augusta

Several friends and I kayaked down a creek just a mile or two downstream of downtown Augusta on the Savannah River.  What a gorgeous time of year to be out enjoying nature.  The colors were vibrant and nature still full of life.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Around each twist and turn of the creek, we came across new discoveries. 

We hoped we didn’t disturb this fisherman where the creek met the Savannah River.

It was a good workout paddling back upstream to the boat house, but the good company and warm weather helped it fly by.

If you’d like to rent a canoe or kayak and go on your own adventures, you’ve got options!

American Wilderness Outdoors Limited (AWOL) and the 5th Street Marina both rent kayaks and canoes and will even provide drop off / pick up at locations of your choice.  Both businesses have knowledgeable staff who can recommend the best routes for your interests and skill level.  The Savannah River, Strom Thurmond Lake and Bettys Branch are all popular choices. AWOL will also provide guides for groups or you can join their Thursday Night Twilight Paddles in the warmer months. Be safe and have fun exploring Augusta by water!

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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