Southern Charm, Cosmopolitan
Flair: Aiken Has It All
Often described as a city with Southern charm and a cosmopolitan flair, Aiken is a laid-back, charming Things to See and Do
Hopelands Gardens is a major local attraction. The 14-acre
community located near the mid-point of South Carolina’s public estate features a network of garden paths winding
long border with Georgia. Founded as a winter retreat for underneath a canopy of ancient live oaks dripping with Spanish
wealthy Northerners, today Aiken offers great golfing, moss. Visit nearby Hitchcock Woods, the largest urban forest in
hunting and fishing, and has received national acclaim in the United States with roughly 2, 100 acres of natural forest, to
several prestigious magazines.
appreciate the beauty of preserved land on over 65 miles of trails.
People who come to Aiken hoping to golf won’t be disap-
pointed. The mild winters make golf a year-round activity, and
Residents enjoy warm weather and a wonderful quality of the city offers a wide variety of courses from which to choose.
life. Historic downtown Aiken is filled with remarkable shops The city boasts America’s fifth-oldest course and is also home
and restaurants, and the business district is alive and flourishing. to the first course to offer women’s tees. For those who prefer
Galleries, antique stores and specialty boutiques await the golf to be a spectator sport, nearby Augusta is home to the
serious shopper. Beautifully-preserved grand homes line the Masters Golf Tournament.
avenues and shaded streets.
A wide variety of events take place all year long in Aiken
Aiken is one of the nation’s greatest training grounds for and its surrounding areas. Christmas lights fill beautiful Hope-
thoroughbreds. It is home to the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of lands Gardens in December, and the downtown area hosts the
Fame, established in 1977 as a tribute to the flat racing, steeple- unique sport of Lobster Racing each May.
chase and honors horses that have trained in Aiken and gone
Just a short drive away, residents and visitors can scour Civil
on to become national champions. The Aiken Steeplechase War battle sites, view plantation homes that still retain all the
Association, founded in 1930, hosts the Imperial Cup each grace and charm of yesteryear and even visit the South’s first
RECREATION & TOURISM; AIKEN COUNTY PARKS RECREATION & TOURISM; © ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/PHILLIP HOLLAND
CLOCKWISE FROM OPPOSITE TOP: © ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/S. GREG PANOSIAN; SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF PARK,
March and the Holiday Cup in October.