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Southern Curious

Hi everyone! My name is Laura and I'm 24 years old. I'm considering visiting Aiken, South Carolina by myself but I have a few questions before I go ahead and book the trip. I've only traveled once by myself and it was to Virginia. I would be getting there by Greyhound bus.

  • I don't drive, so would SC be an ideal place for someone who likes to get to places on foot? Are there any public transportation systems such as buses in the area?

  • Would joining meetup.com be a good option to meet locals?

Any other tips for a solo female traveler going to the South would be most welcome. Thank you all!

Posted by
5630 posts

I am from Georgia and have lived about half my life there, including nearby Augusta, Ga. I don't see how you can tour Aiken or the area without renting a car. Greyhound bus travel is not recommended. You won't find the greatest companions on the bus.

Public Transport is not so great unless you are in a city like Atlanta. Charleston, SC is a beautiful city as well as Savannah, Georgia that can be toured on foot.

Aiken is an attractive small city, but not sure why you would want to go there?

Posted by
3656 posts

Echoing MrsEB, Savannah and or Charleston sound like much better bets for you. When we go there we park the car on arrival and rarely ever use it again until departure. The two cities are close enough they can be done together if time permits. I would be a bit leery of the bus as it will consume a great deal of your time. Flying would be much better if you can afford it. Not sure what the prices are, but there are times when flying is almost as cheap as the bus. Amtrak is another possibility I think. Pretty sure they go through Savannah but I could be wrong.

Posted by
313 posts

Curious as to why you want to visit Aiken? We've been there during Masters week visiting friends who live there. It's a cute small town with lots of horse enthusiasts. Unfortunately, you would need to a car to get around the area. It you do want to visit the South, I would agree with other posters that Charleston or Savannah would be better options for someone who doesn't drive.

Posted by
2 posts

The precise reason that it's a quiet town is what draws me there. I'm more of an introvert type of person who enjoys reading and writing and loves animals particularly horses, and wanted to travel to the South for some me time. I've heard charming stories about Aiken. The fact that it's not accessible by public transportation does worry me.

Posted by
3713 posts

In case you haven't already, I recommend you thoroughly explore this Aiken website and contact the Tourism Division listed at the bottom of the page. They can probably answer all your questions and then some.

When I was 19, I made a cross-country trip on a Greyhound bus from San Antonio to Hampton, NH. I had to take the bus back home, too. I don't recommend it!

If you absolutely don't want to fly, you might consider Amtrak. There are a couple of routes that might get you close enough that a bus to Aiken wouldn't be so challenging. The town seems to be closer to Augusta, GA than anywhere else. But you would have to use Google maps in combination with the Amtrak (or flight) schedules and the Tourism Division to see what would be your best options.

I know many residents of NYC do not drive. Unfortunately, driving is a skill that is almost mandatory if you want to visit anywhere except a big city with lots of public transportation. That goes for any country.

I live in an area where there are lots of horses and I see people riding them frequently. If those folks want to transport them, driving a truck and pulling a horse trailer is required. I also have a friend in WA state who owns horses and regularly takes them places to camp and ride. In fact, she chose her CA college(s) because of the horse programs nearby.

Good luck with your trip. Where there's a will, there's always a way. It just may not be an easy way.

Posted by
13700 posts

Charleston would definitely be a better choice. The historic center is compact enough to get around much of it on foot (a fun one to walk) plus it has public transport. The historic district is pretty and there's a lot to see.

Like TC, we either parked the car and didn't touch it again, when staying a few days during a larger trip, or just flew in and didn't rent one at all during our stay.

http://www.charlestoncvb.com/plan-your-trip/transportation~211/

I sure wouldn't take a bus from NY, though: fly!
It will be very hot and humid in the summer but then, much of the South wouldn't be much different.

http://www.charlestoncvb.com