It's common knowledge that South Carolina has much to offer in the way of quaint southern towns, beautiful vistas and exciting attractions for visitors to "get away" to. But what many don't know is that the state is also full of quirky little wonders that are worth pulling over for as you're driving through. Take a peek here into 10 of our most popular roadside attractions, and make your next pit stop an experience your family will never forget!
Campbell's Covered Bridge, Landrum
Stretch your legs a bit and explore the beauty and charm of the only remaining covered bridge in South Carolina. Built in 1909, the 38-foot long bridge spans Beaverdam Creek and is surrounded by a 17-acre park. Enjoy a picnic lunch by the creek bed while you dip your toes in the trickling water, then go investigate the old grist mill and home site.
Nostalgic Station, Laurens
Are you living in the wrong decade? Miss those groovy tunes flowing from the old jukebox? Then take a step back in time with a trip to Nostalgic Station. This restored 1930s-era gas station now hosts monthly classic car cruise-ins, provides vintage photo shoots, and sells collectibles and memorabilia such as old soda bottles, vintage post cards, Betty Boop items, die cast classic cars, and much more.
World's Smallest Police Station, Ridgeway
In the charming historic town of Ridgeway you will find the "World's Smallest Police Station," a cute little fixture of town architecture where once stood the town well. From 1940-1990, the building, which resembles a garden shed from the outside, served as Ridgeway's official police station, accommodating several officers with an old wooden desk, a wood-burning stove, a small filing cabinet and a black rotary phone. The current police station is located right next door. Having been the one-truck fire station, it is twice the size of their old quarters!
Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden, Bishopville
See the garden that is famous the world over! From more than 300 different plants, most of which were rescued from the compost, Pearl Fryar has created incredible living sculptures of abstract design. Also scattered throughout the garden to complement the topiaries are Fryar's "junk art" sculptures. The effect is a fantastic visitors' experience that is part beautiful, whimsical, inspiring and even educational.
Stumphouse Tunnel, Walhalla
Part of a railroad line intended to connect Charleston and the Midwest, this Upstate tunnel was never completed due to the outbreak of the Civil War and a lack of funding. When several efforts to restart construction failed, the 1,600-foot tunnel was abandoned. Today, visitors are welcome to walk a portion of the tunnel, which measures 17 feet wide by 25 feet high. A 60-foot airshaft to the surface creates a cool breeze that consistently flows out of the tunnel. Inside, the temperature is a refreshing 50 degrees year-round.
South of the Border, Hamer
As you're crossing into South Carolina on Interstate 95, consider a stop at the border. South of the Border, endearingly known as the "Gateway to the Southeast," is a unique all-in-one attraction featuring facilities for fun, food and sleep. Check out the amusement park Pedroland, complete with rides, mini-golf and an arcade, or tour Reptile Lagoon, the largest indoor reptile exhibit in the country. You also can catch a 360 degree view of the Carolina countryside from the top of Sombrero Tower. There are also multiple restaurants and shops, and even a motel and a campground. As you're heading out, don't forget to wave bye to 97-foot-tall Pedro.
Alligator Adventure, North Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach is a hotspot for excitement, especially with the Alligator Adventure nearby. As one of the largest exotic reptile parks in the world, you can come face-to-face with these fierce beasts as well as several other animals including kangaroos, wolves and marmosets. Don't leave without meeting Uton, King of the Crocs-he's the largest crocodile in the US, weighing in at 2,000 pounds.
J's Tea-RIFIC Teapot Museum, Elloree
The old time charm of Elloree is readily apparent with a visit to J's Tea-RIFIC Teapot Museum. Step through a 20-foot blue teapot and enter a world of refined eccentricity, with more than 2,000 teapots from around the world on exhibit. Arranged by theme, the teapots have their own unique displays designed by collectors Dr. Julian Boland and his wife. There's a hen house for the chicken teapots, an ark showcasing the other animals, and even a garden plot for the flower "pots" The museum no longer keeps regular hours, so be sure to call ahead.
The Peachoid, Gaffney
You can't drive down Interstate 85 toward Atlanta without stopping at the Peachoid in Gaffney. For years the, um, butt of jokes from passersby and pretty much everyone else, it's been made famous lately from its appearance in the Netflix series "House of Cards." Stop and take a selfie, hashtag #discoversc. You'll be glad you did.
Edisto Island Serpentarium, Edisto Beach
It's certainly no surprise to find the natural paradise Edisto Island playing host to such a facility as the serpentarium. Featuring a large, indoor solarium with hand-painted scenes for snakes from around the world and an outdoor space full of natural, low-walled habitats for alligators, turtles and more, visitors will feel as though they've stepped outside of civilization and entered the wild. The serpentarium is the culmination of locals Ted and Heyward Clamp's 50 years of snake-hunting adventures, and they've designed each of the attractions to resemble their real encounters.