Discover Aiken's Southern Charm in this breathtaking fall air! While life in general may not look quite the same, we welcome you to the beautiful haven that Aiken is to many. In order to extend our Southern hospitality, we continue put safety measures in place. And, yes, you’ll need masks when visiting, but Aiken makes social distancing easy and safe. From the beautiful gardens to golf courses to scenes of equestrian life to amazing food and the arts and culture life to unique outdoor excursions, Aiken is the place for a memorable and safe getaway. Whether you’re visiting Aiken for the first time or making a return trip, this social distancing itinerary will help you during your stay.
Voted as one of the best hotels in the world, The Willcox offers southern hospitality at its finest with services that include a salon and spa, an on-site restaurant and bar, poolside dining and a pool for swimming, a market and grocery, and room service. Nestled in the heart of downtown Aiken, it is a walking distance to downtown dining, downtown shops and Hitchcock Woods. For more secluded atmosphere, stay at one of the nearby cottages. The Willcox offers vacation rental options. One of the rentals, The Chef’s Cottage, has all of the conveniences of staying at The Willcox alongside the privacy of being in your own home. For listing of other places to stay, click here.
Set along the South Edisto River, the Aiken State Park offers canoeing, kayaking and fishing with peaceful picnicking areas, a campground and hiking trails. The 1,000-acre site is uniquely diverse, combining a blackwater river and swamp, bottomland forest and dry sandhill pine forest. It is a breathtaking river for social distancing.
Start your one mile long journey on charming Colleton Avenue for exploration and contemplation. The trail will lead you on a scenic path with tree species of oak, pine, cedar, holly, dogwood, crepe myrtle and pecan as well as champion native varieties. If you still want more, another mile long trail with over 70 trees continues at Hopelands and Rye Patch. Each of the 100+ trees are labeled and have an inspiring story to tell. Simply dial the phone number listed on the tree to hear the tree’s rich history, origin and interesting facts.
How can social distancing get any better than a drive-in safari? Eudora Farms is a drive-thru safari where guests can ride in the comfort and safety of their own cars. Experience close encounters observing and feeding animals from around the world with herds of zebra and antelope, caravans of camels and the majestic endangered reticulated giraffe. Guests can also feed the birds at the Parakeet Adventure with over 220 parakeets. Don't miss the safari fall festival! Admission includes pumpkin patch, rosaires racing pigs, hay maze, petting zoom, wagon rides, corn pit for kids, camerl rides and pony rides.
Located in the heart of Aiken, Hitchcock Woods is one of the largest urban forests in the nation. With 2,100 acres of forestland and 70 miles of sandy trails, the woods are a haven for hikers, equestrians and dog walkers.
If you’re looking to escape to a serene retreat, Hopelands Gardens is the place to visit. That’s why we are excited to be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Hopelands Gardens. Free yourself outside and stroll some of the most whimsical paths and gardens. Radiating throughout the gardens is a network of paths shaded under 100 year old live oaks. The lazy curves of the paths and garden borders lead visitors throughout a wonderful variety of experiences at Hopelands Gardens. Be sure to visit the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame & Museum located in the gardens.
The landscape for restaurants may have changed a bit, but there are ample ways to enjoy Aiken’s finest dining. Curbside pickup is a popular dining trend in Aiken. Mouth-watering menu options for every palate includes fresh seafood, steak and lobster, tapas-style meals, French dishes, Puerto Rican cuisine, Indian cuisine and other international foods. Restaurant choices are endless with options to dine outside in beautiful downtown Aiken, dine by the poolside at the lovely Willcox Restaurant, or enjoy a meal on a patio overlooking the Aiken Golf Club. Or, order curbside and eat on one of the cozy yellow picnic tables in the parkways or have a picnic at Hopelands for a change of scenery. Downtown restaurants have even turned their dining into grocery pickup. How cool is that?
Head over to the Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum for a 2- hour Historic Trolley Tour or rent Pedego Electric Bikes for an outdoor tour adventure on beautiful trails. Take a self guided scenic drive under the Avenue of Oaks on South Boundary for photo ops and explore the Aiken's City Wide Arboretum Trail nearby to escape and rejuvenate among some of the most beautiful, botanically-diverse plants in Aiken. Drive out to the Audubon Silver Bluff Center to the Wildlife Sanctuary and see the storks up close! Habitat and wildlife diversity make Silver Bluff a favorite destination for those interested in observing wildlife (over 200 species of birds on the checklist) on six miles of trails. Join a Ghost Tour led by Kent Cubbage. Tours leave promptly at 6:30 p.m. in front of St. Thaddeus Church cemetery in Downtown Aiken (at the south end of Pendleton St). Cost is $10 per person and can be paid on the night of the tour. Bring a flashlight! Reserve your tour here.
Get outside and shop at the Farmers Market for great finds and fresh produce. Shop local downtown Aiken for customized goodies and fashion favorites your heart could desire! Shoppers will enjoy one-of-a-kind products (and service!) at local Art Galleries, Aiken-Themed Shops, Antique Malls, Clothing Boutiques, Equine-Inspired Shops, Pet Stores and more!
Local shops have pitched in with stylish masks so there’s no shortage in finding that on your trip. It is becoming a trendy fashion statement so support local businesses and find your style!