Why Aiken is the “Coolest” Place to Vacation this Summer

July is hot, hot, hot, but a trip to Aiken offers plenty of opportunities to cool off. If you can’t make it to Aiken anytime soon, be sure you add it to your bucket list!

Downtown Summer Nights

When the sun goes down and the breeze flows, there's no better place to be than in downtown Aiken enjoying nightlife.

Bed and Breakfast Stays and Brunch!

Experience Southern hospitality at its finest in the quaint community of Aiken at one of these Hotels or Bed and Breakfast Inns. There’s no better place than to wake up feeling cool and refreshed. While the Hotels and Bed and Breakfast Inns offer over-the-top breakfasts and brunches, there are also great cafés with breakfast/brunch options.

The Shops

Explore the unique locally owned shops and boutiques in downtown Aiken. You will find shops such as equine-inspired boutiques with collections for the horse-lover, locally owned pet stores that you can bring your furry friend to, stylish and one-of-kind clothes for kids, women and men, and an Aiken-themed shop for souvenirs. Warning! It’s addictive for the indulgent window shopper!

The Tours

Stop by the Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum to learn about self-guided tours, many with an easy walk; and also trolley tours. Based on the trolley tours popularity, make sure you make reservations in advance!

Arts and Culture

Aiken is lined with distinctive galleries and antique shops. There are also unique art studios available for those who wish explore their artistic ability; painting classes of all kinds, oil, acrylic, watercolor – decoupage and floral arranging are offered. The possibilities are endless!

The food

Whether it’s a tapas-style meal, French cuisine, blue pate specials, international foods, street food… Aiken is the place to be for good eats! And, it’s not just about the cuisine, it’s the atmosphere as well.


It is no secret that charming Aiken is the best travel location for families with furry ones. Don’t take it from me, but even Travelocity named Aiken the pet-friendliest city in the Southeast. So, don’t leave Fido behind!

Outdoor Escapades

Aiken has many things to do for the outdoor enthusiast. Explore the trails in the largest urban forests in the nation, with about 2,100 acres of forest habitat at Hitchcock Woods. Stroll some of the most whimsical paths and gardens at Hopelands Gardens and Rose Hill Estate, or touch base with nature and soak up the lovely views of Carolina Bay.

Pools, Swimming holes, Spas

The Southern summertime heat is sizzling and these pools and swimming holes are a sure way to help cool you down on a hot day. The Willcox, voted one of the best hotels in the world, awaits you with a Pool and Spa Day. The Aiken State Park is a popular destination with underground springs that fill the area’s with fishing and swimming lakes, while the river’s South Fork offers calm water for canoeing and kayaking. Enjoy the white sandy beaches, water-slides, beach volleyball and concessions at Richardson's Lake, splash in area pools, or cool off in the Sprayground at Citizens Park.

Aiken is horse riding paradise

Experience the heart of the horse district through the dirt roads, surrounded by beautiful polo fields and private equestrian facilities. Horse riding enthusiasts can experience the heart of polo country by exploring the trails at the Aiken State Park, tranquil forests, the historic scenic downtown, and horse back riding tours. Or, just spend the day taking photos and enjoy the stunning views of the horses with trainers at the track.

Watering Holes

Last but not least, Aiken is popular with places to quench your thirst. Check out the The Alley Taproom, Whiskey Alley, Tailgate Tavern, Aiken Brewing Company, Wingplace or any of these local establishments.