Outdoor Recreation For The Not So Outdoorsy Person
Whether it’s a New Year's resolution or a desire for more vitamin D, most of us have had a goal to get outside more at some point in time. For those of us whose “winter hibernation” is most of the year, getting out can be hard. It can be especially so when the “easy” trails meet your quota of activity for the month. Most of the following activities are available year-round and all of them are for the outdoor aspirant.
During this time of the year, the flowers begin to bloom, we get ready for festivals and the sun shines a bit brighter for a little longer. There are so many opportunities to take advantage of the pleasant temperature that defines spring.
Draped in an air of mystery, the formation of Carolina bays has long been a subject of discussion. Cathedral Bay Heritage Preserve is an excellent example of the Carolina bay phenomenon as it is home to many pond cypress which is generally the only tree species to grow in these bays. Put on some rain boots, grab a camera and some binoculars and discover one of South Carolina’s picture perfect Carolina bays.
Explore Historic Aiken with a Pedego electronic bike tour. Having the option to pedal or not makes this a great activity to get into the swing of things for your outdoor adventure.
School’s out, peaches are in and there are perfect nights for gazing at the stars; summer is full of excitement and opportunities. The desire to stay cool makes staying inside tempting. However, with events every week and activities aplenty it’s a wonder why you would.
Summer is associated with various aquatic activities. One not so common is to cool off with a drink from God’s Acre Healing Springs. These legendary springs have been in use since before the 1700s. Native Americans believed in the healing properties of the springs and brought Revolutionary soldiers here to drink. After being deeded to God, the springs became available for public use. Bring a bottle, take a sip and see if you believe the legend.
Barnwell State Park or Aiken State Park are both great spots to start fishing. Built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, these parks are home to multiple lakes surrounded by natural beauty. Rent a boat or fish from the pier and if you don’t have gear, there is a Tackle Loaner Program sponsored by SCDNR. Just make sure to get a fishing license before you go.
The summer heat can deter some from wanting to get out and go hiking. However, there are shaded trails that can be as quick or as long as you like. Bike or walk the North Augusta Greeneway and take advantage of all the beautiful sites along the way. Visit the butterfly garden or slow down to take in the cool breeze as you walk alongside the Savannah River. There are multiple entry points on this 9.2-mile trail, allowing for a jaunt or a full trail experience.
Nestled in the heart of Aiken, lies the Citywide Arboretum Trail. Learn about the trees and other plants bordering the walkways downtown. The trail covers a 4-mile radius and leads through Hopelands Gardens and other nature attractions. As an added bonus, depending on when you go you might catch a musical or performing arts show while in the gardens.
July in Allendale is a sight to see with dozens of Swallow-tailed Kites performing aerial displays. Photographers, birders and non-birders all gather and witness this natural show unfold.
Enjoy beautiful scenery as you explore the Silver Bluff Audubon Center & Sanctuary with one of their walking trails. This wildlife sanctuary plays host to many of the Augusta-Aiken Audubon Society’s field trips where they discover birds, butterflies and all aspects of local flora and fauna. While there, you may discover why as many as 250 Wood Storks have called this sanctuary home.
This is the season of bounty, fairs and of course, delicious food. However, fall is also a beautiful time to go on an adventure, with the leaves changing and cool weather, exploration is a must. Take your time, though, you never know what you might find.
Take part in a treasure hunt through Thoroughbred Country South Carolina. With more than 3 million geocaches worldwide, geocaching is a fun way to explore the outdoors. Geocaching adds an extra sense of adventure to a hike, a city shopping trip or a stroll through the park. There are more than a few hidden throughout this region. How many can you find?
Spanning across 2,100 acres for forestland with 70 miles of various trails, Hitchcock Woods is one of the largest urban forests in the nation. Several entrances to the woods extend throughout Aiken making it easy to access wherever your trip may take you. Pack a picnic and spend the day exploring the lush woods or start you day with a morning walk. Whether it’s for an hour, an afternoon or a day every moment is worthwhile in these beautiful woods.
History buffs take note: Battle of Rivers Bridge State Historic Site guides you through the only preserved battlefield in the State Park system. Follow interpretive panels or ask for a ranger-guided tour to learn about one of the Confederacy’s last stands against General William T. Sherman. Another trail guides you along a forested path to the Rivers Bridge Civil War Memorial Grounds.
A brisk breeze and the smell of burning firewood bring the comforting promise of holidays and new beginnings. This region is ideal for those who want a refreshing break from snowy weather as many did in the 1800s. Enjoy your holiday the Winter Colony way with a relaxing trip to Thoroughbred Country.
Don’t you love that feeling when you find interesting things hidden in plain sight? The feeling compels you to share it. Throughout the region are hidden gems that are worth snapping a photo. Challenge your friends, family and followers to rediscover all the treasures you found along with something new. To get you started the Olar Town Park has an eye catching feature that represents the town’s history.
Start the year off with a First Day Hike at one of the four state parks in the region. Hiking in the ‘winter’ may sound bizarre, but our weather allows us to stay outdoors mostly all year-round. Looking to challenge family or friends? Play a round of miniature golf or test your skill in the batting cages at South on Whiskey.
Check out our calendar for events throughout the year.
For more ideas visit our Things To Do page.
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