The city of Dillon was chartered in 1888, carved from Marion County, and both the city and county are named for James W. Dillon, an early Irish settler and a key figure in bringing a railroad through the area. The swamps and rivers kept this section of the Pee Dee region isolated for many years, but the construction of a freight line impelled economic development for the town as the locally sourced products of cotton and tobacco were now able to be sold and transported to a broader market. Today, Amtrak’s Palmetto line still stops in town twice a day—northbound shortly after noon and southbound around 4:30 p.m.
Located along Interstate 95 near the South Carolina and North Carolina border, Dillon is a popular place for travelers and tourists to stop, especially at South of the Border, a unique Mexican-motif mini-resort marked by its sombrero-shaped water tower.
Dillon hosts two historic districts—a residential and a commercial district—both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other notable sites include the Dillon Marriage Chapel, where some 7,000 couples are wed annually; Dillon County Museum, featuring historical artifacts; the James W. Dillon House Museum; and Dillon County Theatre for special events.
Among the most popular restaurants in town are Hodges Bar-B-Q Grill and Papa Tom’s Drive-In. Shopping options run the gamut from Feed & Farm Store Inc., a gardening center, to Hibbett Sports, the go-to shop for all your athletic needs.
Lodging in Dillon is just as varied. You can stay at the elegant The Columns Bed & Breakfast Inn or kick back at Bass Lake RV Campground. Little Pee Dee State Park and the Little Pee Dee River offer an array of recreational activities including fishing, camping and picnicking.