Things to Do Free of Charge
Aiken is home to one of the most diverse collections of trees found in any municipal landscape. Learn more about the trees and other plants covering a 4-mile radius of downtown using a mobile phone.
The 58-acre Cathedral Bay is an excellent example of the Carolina Bay phenomenon found throughout the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Carolina Bays are wetlands that vary in size, ranging from less than an acre to several hundred acres and often support abundant wildlife. Access to Cathedral Bay is by wading or canoes. No motor boats allowed.
Float down the South Fork of the Edisto River from any of the three launches found in Bamberg County. Choose from Claude's Landing, Bobcat Landing or Brabham's Landing. Shuttles are offered during organized trips held throughout the year. Paddlers are can bring their own boat and equipment or rent from local dealers such as Cope Kayak Company. Call for dates.
The legend of God’s Acre Healing Springs came from when Indigenous Americans brought wounded Revolutionary War soldiers here to drink. They believed in the springs’ natural healing powers as do many visitors still believe today. In 1944, LP “Lute” Boylston legally deeded the land to God to ensure the springs would always be available for public use.
Spanning 2,100 acres, Hitchcock Woods is one of the largest urban forests in the nation. Equestrians, hikers and nature enthusiasts alike visit the Woods to enjoy 70-miles of various trails. The Woods prohibits the use of motorized vehicles and bicycles. Open year-round from dawn to dusk.
This 14-acre park was the former estate of Mr. and Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin. Mrs. Iselin wished her gardens to be preserved for the enjoyment of others so she left her estate to the city. Later, the city removed the house and transformed the landscape with three reflecting pools. The gardens host various events including a display of Christmas lights and a summer concert series. Other interests on the property include the Doll House, former playhouse of Mrs. Iselin's children, and the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame.
North Augusta Greeneway Trail
This redeveloped railroad right-of-way became a walking and bicycling destination. The trail is currently 12-miles and runs along the Savannah River. The trail is a designated National Recreation Trail and part of the Transcontinental Bluebird Trail. Open dawn to dusk.
This 3,250-acre wildlife sanctuary, owned by the National Audubon Society, is a favorite destination for birding, photography or simply a quiet walk along one of the trails. The educational center, designed for the public and school groups use, focuses on forest and land management. Please call ahead for current hours.
Aiken County Historical Museum
Housed in a 1931 Winter Colony mansion, one of only two open to the public, along with three floors of exhibits, the museum holds the history of Aiken County inside and out. A one-room school from the 1890's and an 1808 log cabin are also on the museum grounds. Open Tue-Sat 10 am - 5 pm and Sun 2 - 5 pm. Closed Mondays and national holidays.
Housed in a historic home, the museum welcomes exploration of Barnwell’s heritage through permanent and rotating exhibits, guided tours and special programs. Call the museum for further information.
The museum holds a collection of artifacts depicting life from the towns founding in 1837 and the early days of Blackville. Exhibits include artifacts such as completely restored Model T and Model A Ford cars, Indigenous American artifacts and fossils. Open by appointment only.
Living History Park
North Augusta's Living History Park brings American Colonial life to present day with a blacksmith forge, smoke house, meeting house, backwoods cabin, educational cabin, stage and tavern. Located at the entrance to the park is the Sensory Garden, one of few handicapped accessible sensory gardens for the sight impaired. The park plays host to several special events throughout the year including Colonial Times, which exhibits examples of everyday life in the 18th century.
After several decades, the Savannah River Site remains one of the most influential entities in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). Exhibits at the museum help preserve the history and explain the importance of SRS during the Cold War. Other exhibits explore life in the 1950s-60s including a U-2A Spy Plane and replica Fallout Shelter. Open Wed-Sat 10 am – 4 pm.
The exhibit “Searching for our Beginnings” is located in the University of South Carolina Salkehatchie Library building in Allendale. This exhibit is the first permanent collection of Clovis and pre-Clovis artifacts from the Topper site. Recognized worldwide, the Topper Site research presented evidence of people living in the Americas long before previous research suggested. Contact the campus Welcome Center for current hours and information, 803.812.7475.
The unique vertical sundial, located in front of the county courthouse, is thought to be the only freestanding vertical sundial in the United States. Joseph D. Allen, former state Senator from Barnwell, donated the sundial to the town in 1858. Although erected before North America implemented standard time in 1883, the sundial keeps time within two minutes.
Virginia Durant Young is a recognized leader of the woman suffrage movement in South Carolina. Her home served as her newspaper office, the Fairfax Enterprise and Dr. Young’s medical practice. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this house is now home to the Fairfax Library.
This museum immerses visitors in the history of Williston with exhibits like the Country Store set up with an old cash register, a bill filing cabinet from Cone’s drug store and farm implements. The exhibit even has an asparagus display, as Williston was once the “Asparagus Capital of the World.” Other exhibits include clothing from the early 1900s, dental and medical equipment used in the early 1950s and machines formally used by the Bank of Williston. Open by appointment.
Arts & Culture
The Center features regular gallery exhibits by local, state, regional and national artists. A variety of artists display works for sale year-round in the Gallery Store. The Center also hosts programs and events throughout the year, offers art education classes for all ages in a variety of mediums. Open Mon-Sat 10 am - 5 pm.
Located inside the North Augusta Municipal Building, the Center strives to promote the arts and history of the region. Visitors of all ages can enjoy two art galleries and the hands-on-exhibits through a self-guided or guided tour. The Arts and Heritage Center’s gift shop offers unique creations from regional artists tax-free. Open Mon-Fri 10 am – 4 pm and the first Sunday of each month 1 pm – 3 pm.
Located at the intersection of US 78 & US 321, two of South Carolina’s many scenic drives, Denmark offers visitors unique shopping experiences. Denmark is home to a classic five and dime store, an antique store in a building with a history of its own, an art gallery and a hardware store that sells anything from lumber to fine china. All the stores are within walking distance, which provides a great opportunity to park your car and explore.
Spectate an equestrian event, attend a concert or take part in holiday celebrations; various events in our region are free to attend.