Rediscover the pleasures of the all-American road trip on South Carolina’s scenic byways. Our back-road routes will take you to picturesque small towns, fascinating historic sites and beautiful natural wonders.
Take an All-American Road Trip on South Carolina’s Scenic Byways
Upcounty Scenic Highways 112 Miles
From a country general store to an old-fashioned ice cream shop to pit-smoked barbecue, South Carolina’s foothills offer an enchanting slice of Americana.
Take a tour of Fort Hill, the historic home and surrounding acreage in Clemson that would become Clemson University. Stop by the South Carolina Botanical Garden and wander through the state’s diversity of habitats reproduced on the 295-acre property.
Enjoy one of the great pleasures of childhood with a visit to The Scoop Ice Cream Shop. This quaint shop dishes up a heaping helping of nostalgia with every scoop of its delicious ice cream.
Set off on a treasure hunt at Pickens Bargain Exchange Flea Market. You never know what you’ll find in Pickens at this oversized yard sale spread out over 60 acres with vendors selling everything from antiques to fresh produce.
Join the locals at Pumpkintown General Store for a hearty Southern breakfast or casual lunch and experience the old-time charm and warm hospitality of this Upcountry landmark. It’s famous for its hot dogs and cordial service.
Stroll along downtown Greenville’s lively Main Street and check out its fun array of locally owned shops. Among the favorites are M. Judson Booksellers and O.P. Taylor’s toy store, a shopping adventure at any age.
Step inside Spartanburg's Hub City Railroad Museum in the historic Union Depot for a trip back in time when railroads were the lifeblood of small Southern towns. Watch Norfolk Southern trains roll through town from the museum’s trackside observation deck.
Bring an appetite to Bluegrass BBQ in Cowpens, where the mouthwatering pork, chicken and ribs are slow-cooked on a refurbished 1921 boiler-turned-smoker using pecan wood. For the full Southern barbecue experience, order up a side of fried green tomatoes.
Learn about the one-hour battle that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War in the South at Kings Mountain National Military Park in Blacksburg. A 1.5-mile interpretive trail takes you to the ridge where frontiersmen attacked Loyalists on Oct. 7, 1780.
Out-of-the-Ordinary Discoveries 233 miles
Visit historic sites from the Colonial era, foodie hot spots and unspoiled natural areas on this road trip from the Midlands to the coast.
Get a glimpse of life in our country’s earliest days on the trails at Ninety Six National Historic Site. Walk the Ninety Six terrain traversed by traders, trappers and Cherokee Indians, and explore a Revolutionary War earthen fort built to protect Loyalists in South Carolina’s backcountry.
Spend time outdoors fishing, hiking or simply enjoying nature in the 348-acre Dreher Island State Park set on three islands in beautiful Lake Murray. Borrow a rod and reel through the Tackle Loaner Program and try your luck catching one of the lake’s famed stripers.
Embark on a foodie expedition along Devine Street in Columbia with its array of culinary offerings, from specialty coffee to Peruvian shrimp tacos. Must-stop spots include Cantina 76, The Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli, Blūm Coffee and Craft and Draft.
Hike through Congaree National Park’s champion trees, among them a 17-story loblolly pine. Nine trails and a boardwalk loop take you into the old-growth bottomland hardwood forest. If you’re visiting in the spring, be sure to stop by Cottle Strawberry Farm for some of the sweetest, juiciest berries you’ve ever tasted.
The brick walls and columns of the Colonial-era Old Sheldon Church are a haunting reminder of war’s toll on South Carolina. Set on fire by the British during the American Revolution, the church was rebuilt in the 1820s only to be burned down a second time by Sherman’s troops on his “March to the Sea.”
Located in Bluffton next to the last remaining hand-shucking oyster house in South Carolina, Bluffton Oyster Factory Park overlooks the May River and its pristine tidal marshes. Take a guided tour of the small restored cottage on the property that was once the home of freedman Cyrus Garvin.
Hilton Head Island
End your trip with a stop in beautiful Hilton Head. Walk along the sandy shoreline of Hilton Head Island Beach or on the wetland boardwalks of Sea Pines Forest Preserve. Then visit nearby Stoney Baynard Ruins, remnants of a 1790s tabby mansion and cotton plantation.
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Featuring a variety of great stories and exciting trip ideas, the 2021 South Carolina Vacation Guide makes planning your next getaway to the Palmetto State easy. Request your free copy or download the guide today.