Home of its own Triple Crown (March), the fall Steeplechase (October) and polo games at Whitney Field, Aiken refers to itself as "Thoroughbred Country." Trainers take advantage of the city's mild climate to prepare their horses for the spring racing season. Visitors can watch mares and fillies on the city's tracks or tour the Thoroughbred Hall of Fame for the history of the sport.
Located 55 mi/90 km southwest of Columbia, Aiken also offers non-equestrian activities and a well-preserved historic downtown. In Hopeland Gardens, take a self-guided tour of the 14-acre/6-hectare woodlands or attend one of the free concerts held there in the spring. Hitchcock Woods, a 2,000-acre/810-hectare preserve, offers hiking and riding trails, and Aiken State Park has docks along the Edisto River for boating, fishing and Jet-Skiing. History buffs should be sure to visit Redcliffe Plantation and Broxton Bridge Plantation. Golf lovers can play the Palmetto Club, the nation's fifth-oldest course, or stay in town if they happen to score tickets to the PGA Masters Tournament in nearby Augusta, Georgia (April).
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