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Recreation Takes Many Forms in Fort Mill

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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Most small towns would be thrilled to have a half-dozen neighborhood parks, three golf courses and a fitness complex with a state-of-the-art aquatic center.

Fort Mill has all that and more. The showpiece in its recreational offerings is the Anne Springs Close Greenway, a 2,100-acre nature preserve where you can fish, hike, kayak and camp, go horseback riding, mountain biking and paddleboarding, and have a picnic in the beautiful setting of the Carolina Piedmont.

Named for Anne Springs Close, the matriarch of the Springs textile family and avid supporter of recreation and the environment, the greenway features a 40-mile network of trails through lush forests and scenic prairies with stunning views of the Piedmont’s rolling hills and countryside.

Visitors to the preserve should stop first at the new Greenway Gateway, where guest services staff will provide you with an orientation to the property and information on its amenities. The visitor’s center also features the Gateway Canteen, a cafe offering food and beverages.

Activities, like yoga at the Dairy Barn, farm-to-fork beer dinners, brunch and sunset concerts at the Gateway Canteen, guided trail rides and introductory van tours, are scheduled regularly, along with special annual events like the Fiddle ‘n Pig Shindig BBQ & Bluegrass Festival

Fort Mill also offers access to the Carolina Thread Trail, a regional network of greenways, trails and blueways connecting 15 counties in the Carolinas. Sections can be found in the Anne Springs Close Greenway, Baxter Village and along the Catawba River with a sidewalk connection to the Piedmont Medical Center Trail in Rock Hill’s Riverwalk community.

The town’s six parks offer more fun ways to get outdoors and play. Amenities include athletic fields, lighted basketball courts, playground equipment, picnic shelters, walking trails and a water spray attraction.

One of the most popular is the 12-acre Walter Elisha Park, featuring a half-mile walking trail winding under trees, a playground and large green space that serves as the home of the annual South Carolina Strawberry Festival

If you’re serious about toning up, head to the YMCA at the Complex, part of a joint venture created by the town, the Fort Mill School District and the YMCA. It features an aquatic center with a 50-meter competition pool, six lighted tennis courts, gym facilities, a lighted, multi-purpose athletic field and three lighted baseball/softball diamonds.

Fort Mill also lays claim to three golf courses. Fort Mill Golf Club, an 18-hole championship golf course, includes a front nine designed by the legendary Donald Ross and a back nine created by George Cobb.

Golfers also will enjoy teeing off at the par-72 Clyde Johnson-designed Springfield Golf Club and Tega Cay Golf Club, offering 27 holes of golf on 200 acres surrounding Lake Wylie.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.