Aiken, South Carolina has some nice things (like horses), but if you are coming here for a small town vibe with a Charleston or Savannah feel- Honey, no. It’s not that town. It's still a GOOD town though! If you love horses, there are so many opportunities to engage with horses here. The training tracks and fields are beautiful as well as the horses. If you want to watch young thoroughbreds in training at the Aiken training track, you should get up early since it’s from 7:30-8:30am. They will even give you coffee. Click here for the schedule. What an amazing opportunity!
You can also see what equestrian events are going on at Bruce’s Field here. I decided to check out the Aiken Equine Rescue group, and it is really incredible what they are doing with the horses. The grounds and horses were really stunning. Lots of beauties for adoption. You can find them at Aiken Equine Rescue. They will let you just drop by and volunteer or just visit any day they are open. I also met a cat that literally trotted up to me the moment I got out of my car. I guess he is in the right place. Check this place out ferrr sure! It made my trip 100% worth it.
There also many places to see natural beauty here. There are a few neighborhoods with beautiful historic homes and also many trails and parks. Click here for some beautiful places to walk.
If you are looking for good coffee, you might have to try a few spots before finding a good one. The best I found was at the
Willcox (a historic hotel there). They serve Buona coffee, and damn, it was good! I told them to lock it and load it one more time
as I needed seconds. You can order Buona online too from the seller in Augusta, GA. The Willcox doesn’t have a coffee cafe at the hotel, but they have a very popular restaurant that serves all three meals. I just walked right in and ordered coffee from the hostess. I did not mind one bit that they gave me a funny look about ordering just a coffee for takeout. I’ll do what it takes to find the best coffee. Their breakfast menu looked good. If you need breakfast, just go on in there and get yourself some food with that coffee. I have not stayed at the Willcox, so I can’t fully review it quite yet. You can learn more about it on their ultra-cool website I will say the exterior is gorgeous. Second best coffee was at the La Parisienne Cafe It was medium roast and had nice flavor.
There is a nice downtown area that has several shops and restaurants. That area was well taken care of and looked very charming. There are art galleries, gift shops, and restaurants there. Looked like a great place to spend an hour or two. An honorable mention is a gift store called 3 Monkeys, but here is a link describing all the stores here.
In conclusion, if you love horses, cute downtown areas for shopping, and beautiful trails/nature, it's worth a visit!