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Aiken County: 101

Aiken County: 101

Aiken County is located in the state of South Carolina, adjacent to the Savannah River and the neighboring state of Georgia. Aiken County does not have the lengthy history that some surrounding SC counties have. The neighboring county of Lexington was chartered in 1785, almost 100 years before Aiken was chartered in 1871. When chartered in 1871, the acres within the borders of the Aiken were pulled from portions of several other counties, including Barnwell, Edgefield, Orangeburg and the aforementioned Lexington. As a result, Aiken is the fourth largest county in South Carolina by land area. Notably, Aiken County is named for the first president of South Carolina Railroad and Canal Company, William Aiken.

Aiken, New Ellenton, and North Augusta are the three cities in Aiken County. Seven towns reside within the borders of Aiken County: Burnettown, Salley, Monetta (partly in Saluda County), Jackson, Perry, Wagener and Windsor. Finally, the following areas are census-designated places located in Aiken County: Belvedere, Clearwater, Gloverville, Graniteville, Langley, and Warrenville.

Aiken County is one of three prominent counties known as the Central Savannah River Area. Locals typically use the abbreviated term CSRA. The other “big three” in the CSRA are Richmond and Columbia, both located in Georgia. However, this number is misleading. The official boundaries of the CSRA include eight counties in South Carolina and an additional 13 counties in Georgia.

Aiken County residents can get to either the beach or the mountains within two hours. Aiken is also only a short driving distance to Augusta, GA, and Columbia, SC. It is common for Aiken County residents to commute to one of these larger cities (or surrounding areas) for an employer. It is approximately 20 miles from Augusta to Aiken, SC, and typically 30 – 40 minutes to drive between the two areas, depending on starting location and and route. The distance between Aiken, SC, and Columbia, SC, is approximately 60 miles and approximately one hour drive time. Aiken County residents can also get to the largest city in Georgia, Atlanta, in approximately 2.5 hours.

Aiken County is associated with lower taxes and home prices than in the surrounding counties of Richmond, Columbia and Lexington. If you are considering purchasing a home in Aiken County, you can expect an average home value of $188K and a median home price of $162, according to the Board of Realtors in 2017.

Aiken County school district emcompasses 45 schools. Eight schools serve grades 9 – 12: Aiken High, South Aiken High, Silver Bluff High, North Augusta High, Midland Valley High, Ridge Spring-Monetta High, and Wagener-Salley High. In addition to these high schools, there are 11 middle schools, 21 elementary schools, 2 charter schools and several specialty environments. Aiken is also home to Aiken Technical College and the University of South Carolina Aiken, for locals interested in pursuing higher education.

Aiken County offers multiple options for outdoor leisure and recreation, including Hitchcock Woods and the North Augusta Greeneway. Residents of Aiken County enjoy close proximity to the internationally renowned Masters Golf Tournament (hosted yearly at Augusta National Golf Course) – though tickets are extremely difficult to get and a bustling downtown filled with local businesses and restaurants. The city of Aiken is also known for its equine culture. Horses even get the right of way on downtown streets!
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