Get Out - 10 Ways to Embrace the Outdoors in Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina
Thoroughbred Country offers a unique vibe for visitors and locals alike, with a limitless list of things to do and the great outdoors as a cornerstone to hang your hat on
THOROUGHBRED COUNTRY, SOUTH CAROLINA – APRIL 2019 — Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina, is comprised of Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell counties situated along I-20, between Atlanta and Charleston–just east of Augusta, Georgia. A beautiful, yet largely unknown area, Thoroughbred Country offers folks a quiet look into yesteryear when times were a little slower-paced, plantation homes were the homestead mainstays and families entertained themselves with pleasures of outdoor pastimes. Today, these characteristics still ring true. . .and there’s no better place to embrace the outdoors than in Thoroughbred Country.
You can’t visit this South Carolina stretch of real estate without caressing a love for horses. During spring and fall, there are fantastic opportunities to see them in action at Aiken Training Track, an exciting training facility. While there are not facilities to tour, there are plenty of times to see the horses in training.
Polo has two seasons–spring (April to early June) and fall (September to early November), so you’re sure to find a game on historic Whitney Field where polo has been a staple since 1882. Find schedules at Aiken Polo Club events and enjoy a fun-filled, first-hand look at polo.
Outside of racing events, catch equine showcases open to the public year-round at other facilities throughout the area, including Aiken Horse Park, which serves the community by providing an exceptional venue for Aiken’s civic, educational and charitable endeavors. Catch shows at Highfields Event Center and Stable View, which also offers wedding, corporate and family reunion gathering space.
Hiking, biking and meandering
Hitting the trails is always good for the soul and a quick way to commune with nature as well as get some exercise. A good starting point is Hitchcock Woods in Aiken. Among the largest urban forests in the nation, there is about 2,100 acres of forestland resources. Today, equestrians, hikers, dog walkers and joggers enjoy the 70 miles of sandy trails.
Rent an electric Pedego bikes in Aiken and see the county from the lovely natural side. Electric bikes are fun and trendy, but keep in mind that riders must be at least 16 years old to participate.
Hopelands Gardens is a 14-acre park filled with lavishly preserved gardens and three reflecting pools. Meander the many paths shaded by 100-year-old live oaks or bring a picnic lunch–there’s no better place to share a sandwich. Hopelands Gardens is ideal for families, so don’t leave the kiddos behind, and if it’s April through June, be sure and check out the venue’s free concert series.
Hit the downtown areas! Duck in and out of quaint boutiques housing everything from the newest fashions to the best in antiques. Gaze at the Spanish Moss as you wander along and let the history, food and adventures take you back in time to Thoroughbred Country of another generation–one of more simple ways, but ambitious just the same.
Take to the water
Bamberg County is home to Edisto River Adventures where folks can find relaxation floating down the South Fork of the Edisto River or get a little more adventurous with a kayaking excursion, standup paddleboards and more! If camping is your cup of tea, then this is your ticket to Thoroughbred Country’s best in outdoor vacationing.
Be sure and satisfy the history buff in your travel party with an impressive visit to Battle of Rivers Bridge State Historic Site. This 390-acre site includes the battlefield, an interpretive trail, memorial grounds, a community building and picnic shelter. Significant in that this site marks one of the last stands against General William T. Sherman during his Southern sweep, the Battle of Rivers Bridge is the only site in the State Parks system with a preserved battlefield.
Spend some time walking the ¾-mile guided trail with interpretive panels scattered along the way or inquire about a ranger-guided tour (in advance) of the well-preserved South Carolina Civil War site.
Birds and baseball
If birding is your hobby, then you are in luck! Audubon's Silver Bluff Sanctuary is a gorgeous 3,400-acre wooded area that overlooks the Savannah River. Diversified, yet authentically Southern, this sanctuary is home to pine thickets and bottomland hardwood forests alongside 22 miles of horse and walking trails, 50 acres of lakes and ponds, 100 grassland acres and numerous birds and other wildlife. Note that trails are only open to horses during organized rides. Bring your binoculars and comfy walking shoes for a wonderful vacation memory that will last a lifetime.
While polo is definitely a game fit for cheering fans, so is baseball! Hit up SRP Park and crack open some Cracker Jacks while relishing in a good old-fashioned minor league baseball game. The Augusta GreenJackets make their home at SRP Park where you’ll also find other events and concerts planned throughout the year.
You can’t be this close to Augusta and not mention the abundance of golf courses in the area. From challenging courses at local clubs to classic, traditional Southern Country Clubs that cater to golfers with well-manicured greens, ample bunkers and age-old pines, every golfer will find a new course to fall in love with in this area. For more information on ways to experience Thoroughbred Country’s great outdoors, visit www.TBredCountry.org.