The seat of Edgefield County in South Carolina, Edgefield has deep historical roots. From its original Cherokee inhabitants, to colonial settlers arriving in the 1750s, to secessionists pushing for a Civil War, this small town has a big story to tell. Your pups might not care about the details, but they’ll be glad to em-bark on some walking tours of this beautiful and interesting community.
Just 30 minutes from Aiken, 40 minutes each from Augusta and Greenwood, and an hour from state capital Columbia, Edgefield is a peaceful hideaway in the middle of everything. You'll find groomers, shopping, and veterinary services in any of those larger towns, but you won’t need to drive far at all to sniff out a good walk. The Lick Fork Lake Recreation Area in the Sumter National Forest is only 8 miles away. Take a two-mile loop around the lake on the Lick Fork Lake Hiking Trail, or venture into the woods on the more rugged Horn Creek Trail.
The mile-long walking track at Edgefield County’s Bettis Academy Park will let your pack earn their treats even closer to home in Trenton. The closest hotspot for off-leash playtime is in North Augusta, about 23 miles from Edgefield. The North Augusta Bark Park is new and lovingly maintained with a beautiful setting in Waterworks Park next to the Butterfly Garden.
Downtown Edgefield is best explored by foot (and paw, of course). Edgefield’s grassy Courthouse Square sits between the historic courthouse and classic brick storefronts. A gathering place for over 225 years, it’s a furrific spot to stretch your legs and meet your neighbors. Stroll up Main Street’s sidewalks to enjoy the well-kept 19th and early 20th century homes. Then, catch the Ten Governors Rail Trail for a mile-long paved and pretty journey past 10 historical markers featuring biographies of the 10 SC governors hailing from Edgefield. Trailhead parking is on Main Street at Mims, and the trail is smooth — accessible for wheelchairs, strollers, and limited-mobility pups alike.
Aiken, SC, is the nearest retail hub to Edgefield, just 22 miles away and a convenient spot for puppy pampering. You have several options for stocking up on all your BFF’s favorite things, including the locally-owned Downtown Dog on Laurens Avenue, known for friendly service and tasty treats. Grab some treats of your own at one of Aiken’s 29 dog-friendly restaurants, including the large and laid-back patio at Mellow Mushroom on Bee Lane. Pups get a friendly welcome at the Apizza di Napoli’s outdoor tables, too, for a more authentic Italian menu. You can shake off the food-coma on the walking track at Perry Memorial Park, just a few blocks away.
On the north end of Aiken, the shopping areas give way to beautiful parks. Virginia Acres Park’s scenic nature trails wind through 46 acres on Whiskey Road. You can also challenge your pups to a little competition on the disc golf course. If your pack likes it wild, though, head to the nearby Clark Street entrance of the Hitchcock Woods. Managed by a private foundation, this 1,200-acre wildlife preserve has 70 miles of trails to explore with your on-leash buddies. That includes the pawpular Cathedral Aisle Trail, a converted railway that is closed to bikers but open to joggers, equestrians, and responsible dog walkers (so watch where you step, and be sure to clean up any new messes your pups create).
Though 27 miles from Edgefield, Pendleton King Park is a reason to run your errands in bustling downtown Augusta. The park itself is 64 lovely acres with both nature trails and cross-country trails your buddies can sniff out on-leash. The Woodlands Trail loops around Lake Elizabeth, while the Camilla Trail cuts across the park’s north edge. The Pendleton King Bark Park is the main canine attraction, though. Often considered metro-Augusta’s best place for off-leash play, this clean and comfy spot has water and fenced areas for both big and little pooches. The park is home to some pawesome annual events, too, so be sure to see what's happening during your visit. From PKP, it's easy to venture north to explore some of Augusta's historic downtown neighborhoods: good sidewalks start as soon as you cross Wrightsboro Rd.
With the Savannah River and massive 71,000-acre Lake Thurmond only 30 miles west of Edgefield, your pups have their pick of a number of lakeside state parks and recreation areas. You can reach Calhoun Falls State Park or the golf-themed Hickory Knob State Resort Park in under an hour. Closest of all, though is Baker Creek State Park. Barkers will love Baker Creek, a 1,300-acre waterfront preserve. The mild one-mile nature trail will delight your short-legged friends, while the rugged 10-mile hiking/biking trail will challenge even your most athletic furbabies. Water dogs will enjoy ample lakeside splashing, and you can take them out for a paddle via the public boat launches. Do note that the park closes seasonally from October to February.