South’s Greatest ’23: Aiken, South Carolina: South Carolina’s “Thoroughbred Country”

From tailgating at the steeplechase to watching a polo game to enjoying equine competitions of all kinds, you too can experience the “horse life” of Aiken, SC. The historic equine district in Aiken is true to its roots where the horses rule the road and barns and stables dot the landscape. The charm of downtown Aiken is not be missed with its outdoor art and wide parkways. Add Aiken to your 2023 bucket-list trips.

20 miles North of Augusta, GA, lies a not-to-be missed destination full of history, outdoor fun with equestrian roots. Above: The Avenue of Oaks on South Boundary. Photography courtesy City of Aiken, SC

A railroad town back in 1835, Aiken, SC has the perfect mix of small town southern charm and sophistication. Thoroughbred racing, steeplechases and polo live through the town’s roots, and they are one of very few cities that have two polo seasons. Aiken also boasts one of the largest urban forests in the country, Hitchcock Woods, about three times the size of Central Park in New York, and beloved by visitors and locals alike. The downtown streets are lined with unique locally owned shops and eateries along with the Alley, the center of Aiken nightlife. Stop by the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame or the Train Museum. For more outdoor activities, take a stroll through Hopelands Garden and the Arboretum Trail or simply take in the beauty at The Avenue of Oaks on South Boundary.

The perfect Southern travel destination with something for everyone, and be sure to keep some time for Aiken art and culture scene.

Experience the “horse life”

Rye Patch

For more information, call 803.644.1907 or go to

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