It may not have a famed Revolutionary War battlefield like the national military park next door, but Kings Mountain State Park has its own historic attraction - a replica of a 19th-century Piedmont farmstead.
The Living History Farm offers visitors a glimpse of the life of yeoman farmers in the South Carolina Upstate during the post-Revolutionary War era. Independent and self-reliant, they grew their own food, raised cotton to make clothing and planted herbs used for medicine.
Exhibits in the outdoor attraction include a two-story farmhouse, barn, cotton gin, blacksmith/carpenter shop, corncrib, smokehouse, sorghum mill and cooker, along with a garden featuring heirloom species, herbs, fruit trees and a small grape vineyard.
Interpretive signs describe the activities that took place in each of the buildings and offer insight into the arduous lives of families who lived in the small farms that once dotted the Carolina frontier.
Several times a year, volunteer re-enactors bring the farm to life with demonstrations of historic cooking, woodworking, blacksmithing, weaving and other daily tasks.
Equally popular are the miles of wooded hiking and horseback riding trails that traverse the park's 6,885 acres of rolling hills. The footpaths range from an easy 1.2-mile nature trail to a 16-mile loop that winds through the hardwood forests of both Kings Mountain State Park and neighboring Kings Mountain National Military Park.
Another favorite trek is the Ridgeline Trail that connects three parks and two states. The 1.8-mile hike winds through the state park, military park and Crowder's Mountain State Park in North Carolina.
For equestrians, there's a 20-mile loop trail that runs through both the state and national parks, taking riders through scenic terrain in the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Equestrian camping also is available in the park.
Two fresh water impoundments - the 65-acre Lake York and the 13-acre Lake Crawford provide fishing opportunities for bass, bream, crappie and catfish. Rental jon boats are available to use in the larger lake.
The park also offers seasonal canoe and pedal boat rentals at Lake Crawford. Visitors bringing their own kayaks and canoes can launch at either lake for a fee of $5. Be prepared to carry your boat from the parking area to the shore.
One of 16 South Carolina state parks built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, Kings Mountain still features several historic structures, including the bathhouse and rockwork at the dam.
In addition to the equestrian campground, the park offers RV, tent-only and primitive group camp sites. For more information on Kings Mountain State Park, click here.