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Exit Here to Discover the Undiscovered

Contributing Writer Contributing Writer
Whether they’re checking out the newest restaurants or enjoying a stay at a bed-and-breakfast, contributing writers share their unique insight and stories from exploring the Palmetto State.
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You don’t have to venture far from the well-worn path to uncover hidden gems.

In South Carolina, you don’t have to venture far from the well-worn path to uncover hidden gems and surprising finds. See these major interstate routes with fresh eyes when you take some time to pull over for secret gardens, artisan galleries and foodie favorites all along the way.


133 miles
I-85: South to North

These twists and turns reveal the unexpected, from a collection of pristine dream cars to a living history farm.

The crown jewel of Fair Play’s Lake Hartwell State Park is, of course, the lake. Drop in a fishing line, picnic on the shoreline or follow the 1-mile Nature Trail for water views and birding.

Make a pit stop at Split Creek Farm in Anderson for award-winning goat milk fudge and to see friendly farm animals.

Wish you were making this road trip in a gleaming dream car? Keep fantasizing at the BMW Zentrum in Greer, with perfectly restored classics, rare models and cutting-edge technology exhibits. Or get behind the wheel on the open track at the BMW Performance Driving School.

Take a quick detour in Gaffney to drive the Auto Loop Road at Cowpens National Battlefield. The 3.8-mile route circles the 1781 battlefield and includes wayside exhibits.

Then, see where an important American victory took place during the Revolutionary War at Kings Mountain National Military Park in Blacksburg. Stop by the visitor center to watch the 26-minute action-packed film.

At nearby Kings Mountain State Park, explore the replica 19th-century living history farm and historic garden with heirloom species of crops.


243 miles
I-26: West to East

From historic relics to culinary surprises, there’s plenty of treasures to discover on this route.

Housed in a historical brick building in Landrum, The Hare & Hound makes a perfect lunch stop with upscale pub grub like pot pies, creative burgers and loaded sandwiches.

Sip and swirl your way through a tasting flight of award-winning wines at Old Rock Quarry Winery in Enoree and purchase a bottle to bring home.

Walk right where Patriots and Loyalists battled during the Revolutionary War when you follow the 1.5-mile Battlefield Trail at Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site in Clinton.

Explore historic downtown Newberry and take a guided tour (Mon.– Fri.) of the Newberry Opera House, an 1882 structure with its distinguished French Gothic clock tower.

In Little Mountain, browse the antiques and collectibles of more than 70 vendors and 150 booths at Little Mountain Unlimited.

Stop to smell the flowers—literally—in Orangeburg at Edisto Memorial Gardens, home to some 4,800 rose plants representing more than 120 varieties.

Scoot up to the old-fashioned soda fountain at Guerin’s Pharmacy, serving Summerville since 1871, and order a malt, milkshake or fountain soda.

Meander beneath the grand oak alley and through the original settlement area from 1670–1680 at Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site in Charleston.


112 miles
I-77: North to South

Outdoor adventure and fast-paced thrills await on this interstate journey.

On the South Carolina– North Carolina border, kick off your road trip at Carowinds, where you can shriek with delight with more than 60 rides, attractions, and live stage shows.

Stop for grilled pita sandwiches and juicy burgers—plus locally made snacks for the drive—at The Peach Stand in Fort Mill.

Stroll Rock Hill’s Riverwalk and the 3.35-mile paved Piedmont Medical Center Trail that meanders along the peaceful Catawba River.

Landsford Canal State Park is also located along the Catawba River and features the largest known stand of rocky shoals spider lilies (in bloom May and June), which you can see from the 1.5-mile Canal Trail.

Want to get off road? Rent an ATV or dirt bike at Carolina Adventure World in Winnsboro and blast your way through 100 miles of trails in varying skill levels.

Also in Winnsboro, peruse the railroad cabooses, diesel engines, exhibits and model trains at The South Carolina Railroad Museum, then hop aboard a vintage passenger car for a scenic ride.

If you’re visiting in early spring, indulge in the sweet pleasure of a sun-warmed strawberry picked fresh from the fields at the you-pick Cottle Strawberry Farm in Hopkins.


172 miles
I-20: West to East

On this trip, you’ll find yourself immersed in South Carolina’s scenic beauty, whether on a golf course or a historic battlefield.

In North Augusta, walk or bike the 7-plus-mile paved Greeneway Trail, a rail trail that passes through neighborhoods and riverfront areas. Then see if there’s a game at SRP Park to cheer on the Augusta Green Jackets Minor League Baseball team.

Delve into America’s history as a fledgling nation at the Revolutionary War Visitor Center at Camden and explore the nearby Camden Battlefield and Longleaf Pine Preserve.

Delight in the whimsy of artfully pruned trees and shrubs at the 3-acre Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden in Bishopville.

Continue to Lee State Park, also in Bishopville, where you can borrow a fishing rod as part of the Tackle Loaner Program and see what you can reel in from the Lynches River.

At The Traces Golf Club in Florence, play a round of golf on the 27-hole course or hit the driving range, and then grab a burger with crinkle-cut fries at Shanker’s Grill.


207 miles
I-95: North to South

No-frills barbecue joints, eclectic shopping and beautiful parks dot the map on this road trip.

Stop at Shuler’s Bar-B-Que in Latta to pile your plate with all-you-can-eat pulled pork, smoky ribs and country-style sides.

Stretch your legs and enjoy a moment of serenity amid native flowers at Marion’s Amazing Grace Park, dedicated to the memory of Reverend Senator Clementa Pinckney.

Go on a treasure hunt amid an ever-changing collection of antiques, vintage clothing, rare vinyl and collectibles at Palmetto Peddlers antiques mall in Florence.

Load up on fried chicken and tomato pie at the buffet-style Lone Star BBQ & Mercantile in Santee and pick up a knickknack in the gift shop.

Stroll along easy nature trails at Santee State Park in Santee and stay overnight in a rondette-style cabin on Lake Marion.

Peruse the works of 300- plus local artisans housed in a restored Victorian cottage at the South Carolina Artisans Center in Walterboro. You might even catch a craft demonstration or live performance.

Stop in Yemassee for travel information at the Frampton Plantation House, an 1868 farmhouse serving as the Lowcountry Visitor’s Center and Museum. 8 Explore the boardwalk, nature trails and disc golf course at Sergeant Jasper Park in Hardeeville.

Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer
More from "Contributing Writer"
Whether they’re checking out the newest restaurants or enjoying a stay at a bed-and-breakfast, contributing writers share their unique insight and stories from exploring the Palmetto State.