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Filed under: Family Weekend Trips, Historic Places & Landmarks, Kid-Friendly Trips, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, State & National Parks

Georgia Gems: Downtown Augusta & Thurman Lake

April 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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While camping in Georgia last month, we spent a day discovering the downtown Augusta area.
Located in a small radius are many great stops. We started with a visit to the Augusta Canal and Discovery Center.
DSC_0515_188We also visited the Augusta Museum of History, which focuses on the area’s history, from first settlers to current trends. Because Augusta is home to one of golf’s major tournaments, The Masters, the museum features multiple golf pro statues and several rooms brimming with golfing exhibits. The museum has sections devoted to local transportation (and have a Peterson boat, a full size steam train, a trolley the kids can play in…), James Brown, the Civil War and a local hero.  The museum is also the location of the city’s Visitor’s Center (and a small gift shop), so it’s a great place to start your Augusta explorations.

On Saturdays, a tour trolley originates from the museum that gives you a fun tour of the area.  Across the street is the historic St. Paul’s church, which is one of the oldest buildings in Augusta.

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Right out the front door of the Augusta Museum of History (across the parking lot), is the scenic Riverwalk.  Extending along the river for a 3 block length, this paved path along the river berm, is a beautiful, relaxing area complete with historic plaques and sitting benches.
Just a block away is President Woodrow Wilson’s boyhood home, where the 28th president lived for years as a young man.  The home has been recently renovated (it was closed to tours while we were there), and is open to tours.

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Right next door is another historical home; the home of one of Pres. Wilson’s boyhood friend Joseph L Lamar, who would later become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Downtown Augusta has several monuments and points of interest, culminating with the Sacred Heart Cultural Center.  The building used to be a Catholic church, and now houses a small art gallery.
Admission is free, and if you enjoy architecture, you will find a self-guided tour of the center enjoyable; the stained glass in the sanctuary is stunning in the sunlight of a clear day.

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We enjoyed a FULL day’s worth of activities in downtown Augusta, and found it to be a fabulous place to do a variety of activities with minimal travel between destinations.
Our family camping trip was on a COE park on Lake Thurman.  While we did not have fhu, the sites do have water and electric, and there are bathhouses with showers.  The park was wooded, many sites on the water, and each site had a lovely raked patio with a picnic table and fire ring.  The park was peaceful and relaxing.

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We camped at the Petersburg campground, which is the closest to Augusta, but there are dozens of campgrounds that border the large recreation lake.  There are a few private campgrounds in/near Augusta; you can search for them at the Good Sam Family Campground Directory (they were full when we visited).
We loved our stay in and near Augusta, and hope to visit the area again soon!

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