Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina

Situated along I-20, between Atlanta and Charleston–just east of Augusta, Georgia, lies Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina, an undiscovered area of rolling countryside, parks, antique shops, Civil War sites, plantation homes of yesteryear and more, encompassing the counties of Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, and Barnwell. From North Augusta, travel through Thoroughbred Country’s charming small towns, including Williston, Blackville, Denmark and Bamberg, by US 78 on the way to Charleston, Beech Island, Barnwell and Allendale by US 278 on the way to Hilton Head. Venture off the beaten path and take US 301, 321 or 1 as alternate routes–driving through new opportunities for cultural explorations in the towns of Thoroughbred Country located along these pathways. Or follow I-95 on the other side of Bamberg County and take a fresh track to the final destination. Replenish with tempting treats and fresh-baked goods made by the Mennonite community in Barnwell County or stop at a roadside stand and sample fresh, locally-grown produce. Shop galleries, antique stores and boutiques. Visit a nuclear site that continues to shape our nation’s history. Travel natural pathways, visit healing springs and step back in time at historical sites dating to the Civil and Revolutionary Wars. Plan a visit during one of the year-round equestrian events or during annual festivals like Colonial Times or Model T’s to Olar. Rest overnight in a charming bed and breakfast or historic hotel. Make new discoveries in Thoroughbred Country. www.TBredCountry.org

Annual Events

  • Battle of Aiken (February)
  • Joye in Aiken (March)
  • Allendale Cooter Fest (May)
  • Savannah River Fishing Tournament (May)
  • Swallow-Tailed Kite Outing (July)
  • Schuetzenfest (August)
  • Model T’s to Olar (October)
  • Colonial Times A Day to Remember (October)
  • Fall Steeplechase (October)
  • Blessing of the Hounds (Thanksgiving Day)
  • Click here for a full listing of Thoroughbred Country’s annual events

Fast Facts and Trivia

  • Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina, is comprised of Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell and is minutes from Augusta, Georgia.
  • Situated along I-20, between Atlanta and Charleston – just east of Augusta, Georgia, Thoroughbred Country’s rolling countryside offers visitors parks, antique shops, Civil War sites, plantation homes of yesteryear and more.
  • From North Augusta, travel through Aiken to Charleston by US 78 or Hilton Head via US 278. Venture off the beaten path and take US 1, 301 or 321 as alternate routes – driving through new opportunities for cultural explorations in the towns of Thoroughbred Country located along these pathways. Or follow I-95 on the other side of Bamberg County and take a new route to the final destination.
  • Aiken, South Carolina, is known throughout the world as an equestrian training center, producing National Champions including Palace Malice, the 2013 Belmont Stakes winner, Pleasant Colony, the 1981 Kentucky Derby winner, and Sea Hero, the 1993 Kentucky Derby winner, among others.
  • Kayak or canoe the Edisto River, the longest free flowing blackwater river in North America, flowing over 200 miles through South Carolina. It is the longest and largest river system completely contained by the borders of South Carolina and its name comes from the Edisto subtribe of the Cusabo Indians.
  • Bethlehem Baptist Church, in Barnwell County, is one of the few pre-Civil War churches organized by and for African-Americans.
  • Formed in 1919, Allendale is the youngest county in South Carolina and has roots in agriculture, producing peanuts, corn, okra watermelon, cotton, peaches and other crops.
  • In Aiken, Hopelands Gardens is a 14-acre estate wrapped behind a serpentine brick wall and under a canopy of ancient oaks, deodar cedars, and magnolias, bequeathed to the City of Aiken by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, and opened in 1969 as a public garden.
  • Flowing through Thoroughbred Country, the Savannah River provides a natural setting for panfish, redbreast, bream, catfish, warmouth and yellow perch as well as largemouth bass, hybrid bass and crappie. Striped bass can be found in the spring.
  • The North Augusta Greeneway provides more than seven miles of paved walking and cycling pathway. The Lower Savannah River Alliance Greenway and Trail, a four-mile-long walking trail, ends at the 1938 Turnstile Metal Bridge spanning the Savannah River.
  • Step back in time and view artifacts at the USC Salkehatchie campus, including flake tools, choppers, and blades, collected from the Clovis Topper Site. The Topper site has shown that the earliest humans were in North America as much as 50,000 years ago, much earlier than previously thought, and well before the last ice age.
  • Bamberg County claims South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and artist Jim Harrison.
  • Stop by Miss Arnold’s School House in Allendale, an authentic one-room school house circa 1875, located on the grounds of the Salkehatchie Arts Retail Center.
  • Hitchcock Woods, one of the largest urban forests in the United States, is located in Aiken County.
  • In Barnwell and Aiken Counties, Mennonite settlers share their crafting and cooking skills with visitors.
  • The Salkehatchie Arts Center showcases exhibits from regional artisans, with pieces available for sale.
  • Encompassing areas of Aiken, Barnwell and Allendale counties, the Savannah River Site processes and stores nuclear materials in support of the national defense and U.S. nuclear non-proliferation efforts. The Site also develops and deploys technologies to improve the environment and treat nuclear and hazardous wastes left from the Cold War.
  • Bamberg County’s Mizpah Methodist Church was built in 1856 and was the only building left when Sherman completed his march through the area.
  • Williston, a community in Barnwell County, was once the Asparagus Capital of the world.
  • On his march to Columbia, Sherman’s Army was met at Bamberg County’s Rivers Bridge by a small band of Confederate Soldiers who tried to stall his progress. See the scars of this encounter at the Rivers Bridge State Historic Site.
  • Many natives to Barnwell County believe the waters of The Healing Springs are just that — empowered to heal.
  • Barnwell County’s unique sundial monument was a legendary gift from Joseph D. Allen, who, ironically since he loved monuments, was laid to rest with nothing marking his grave.


Video Gallery