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Day Trips

Explore the Carolinas and Beyond

Yes, you can have it all. Upstate South Carolina offers access to all the cultural and urban sophistication of the “Charlanta” region, plus access to the great outdoors, from the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains to the white sand beaches and boardwalks of the Carolina Coast.

Day tripping is ball, whether you want to take in a Carolina Panthers game or visit the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium. Pop up to Asheville and visit the Sierra Nevada Brewery or take a tour of the historic Biltmore House and Gardens. Hike the Appalachian trail or just take in a picnic with panoramic mountain view. And, it’s so easy to pack up the car and head down to the beach for a weekend of rest and relaxation and fresh caught local seafood. There’s something for everyone close by. Explore just a few day trip ideas below.

Waterfall, South Carolina
  • City Escapes
  • Outdoor Adventure
  • Family Fun
  • Food and Drink

The Heart of the Charlanta Corridor

Upstate South Carolina’s convenient location makes it easy to take a quick trip to a variety of cities—big and small—throughout the Carolinas and beyond. Here are just a few metros within close reach:

  • Atlanta: Experience “Hotlanta” in just about a two-hour drive from Anderson. There, you’ll find world-class restaurants, festive nightlife, professional sports teams and an abundance of attractions. Visit the Center for Civil and Human Rights or the Georgia Aquarium, taste the iconic flavor of Coke at the World of Coca-Cola, or go behind the scenes at the CNN Studio Tour.
  • Charlotte: Visit the Queen City in less than an hour’s drive from Gaffney. Go on an arts and culture tour, attend a Carolina Panthers or Charlotte Hornets game, or see a concert at the Spectrum Center arena, or a smaller venue like The Evening Muse.
  • Columbia: Take a trip to America’s first city for a day filled with history and culture. Tour the South Carolina State Museum for deep dive on colonial and pioneer history, or visit the city’s impressive gardens, art installations, and world-class restaurants. 
  • Asheville: Live out your arts and craft beer dreams in this charming city in the folds of the Appalachian Mountains, located just about an hour north of Upstate SC. You’ll find galleries and museums galore, plus great food and some of the best craft beer in the country.
  • Charleston: Located about 3.5 hours from the Upstate, a trip to Charleston is one that deserves a full weekend away. From historic downtowns and horse-drawn carriages to modern cuisine, world-class galleries and sparkling beaches, this southern city has all the makings of a great getaway.

From Beaches to Blue Ridge Mountains

Upstate South Carolina’s outdoors scene is chock-full of activities.  With so much to do, where do you start? Don’t get overwhelmed! We’ve put together a few ideas for you.

  • South Carolina’s State Park: Take a trip to Congaree National Park, the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States. Canoeing, hiking, fishing and camping are just some of your many options at the state park located less than two hours from Greenville.
  • The Thermal Belt: Experience the unusually temperate climate and lush forests of the “Thermal Belt” at Lake Lure – about an hour north of the Upstate – complete with swimming, hiking trails, rock climbing cliffs, and world-class fishing. For a multi-day adventure, extend your trip to include a history and culture-filled visit to Asheville, Dillsboro and Cherokee.
  • Nature’s Waterslide: Take a trip to Pisgah National Forest, just over an hour from Traveler’s Rest, for a turn on Sliding Rock, A.K.A. “Nature’s Waterslide,” a 60-foot sloping waterfall leading to a pool that’s seven feet deep. A great activity for adults and children alike, the waterfall has a lifeguard on duty and two observation platforms.
  • A Thrill-Seekers’ Guide: For heart-racing fun, visit the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte – just an hour and 15 minutes from Spartanburg – for whitewater rafting in Class II, III and IV rapids. Ziplining, mountain biking, and climbing are also available at its 1,100-acre outdoor playground. Looking for something a little closer? Just about 30 minutes from Traveler’s Rest is Saluda, NC, home to The Gorge, America’s fastest and steepest zipline canopy tour, and Green River Adventures, featuring whitewater rafting and waterfall rappelling.
  • Slopes and Snow: For skiing or snow tubing, check out one of several world-class mountains and ski resorts located within a couple of hours of the Upstate. These include Moonshine Mountain, Sapphire Valley, Cataloochee and Appalachian Ski Mountain.
  • Beaches and Boardwalks: Take a long weekend and head to Myrtle Beach for a classic boardwalk scene or Hilton Head for family-friendly fun in the sun complete with 12 miles of beaches, 24 golf courses, 350 tennis courts, and more than 250 restaurants. Discover even more coastal vacation ideas in South Carolina here.

Fun for the Whole Family

Upstate South Carolina is an exceptionally family-friendly place to live, and our day trip options are no exception. While there’s plenty to do with kids of all ages in the Upstate, sometimes what you need is a quick getaway. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Amusement Park Bonanza: Visit Carowinds, Charlotte’s most famous amusement park, which features rollercoasters, a waterpark and a 34,000-square-foot wave pool, or Great Wolf Lodge Resort in Concord for indoor waterslides and more. The famous Dollywood is just under three hours from the Upstate. Water and amusement parks within the Upstate include Discovery Island Waterpark and Shipwreck Cove.
  • Take the Scenic Route: Take a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the 469-mile gateway to America’s cultural heritage and the second most-visited attraction in the National Park Service. Another option closer to home is the Oscar Wigington Scenic Byway, a winding, two-lane road that takes you past a dozen must-see attractions and spectacular views in South Carolina.
  • Game Day: For sports-related fun, head to Charlotte to visit the Charlotte Motor Speedway and NASCAR Hall of Fame. To catch a game, stay in town to see the Charlotte Knights, Carolina Panthers or Charlotte Hornets, or head to Atlanta the see the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons or Atlanta Hawks.
  • Educational Fun: Head to Charlotte for a visit interactive science museum Discovery Place, complete with an IMAX theater, and ImaginOn, home to the top-ranked children’s library in the U.S., or visit the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.

Explore even more family fun ideas below:

Follow the Flavor

Beyond its own thriving food scene, Upstate South Carolina offers easy access to mouthwatering destinations for food adventures. Here are some ideas to inspire your food-fueled plans:

  • Asheville Bites and Brews: Explore Asheville’s food scene, known as “Foodtopia” or sample sours and IPAs in the city known as Beer City USA.
  • A Foodie Tour of Athens: And we don’t mean Greece. Athens, Georgia is a college town steeped in history with a thriving music and restaurant scene. Get fancy at the National, have a hearty brunch at Mama’s Boy or experience old fashioned barbeque at Pulaski Heights BBQ.
  • Mountainview Morsels: For unparalleled views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and tasty bites, visit the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Enjoy an upscale lunch on the Sunset Terrace or enjoy the same views from the more casual Great Hall Bar. After dining, pop across the street to Grovewood Village to visit the antique car museum.
  • NC Beer Adventure: Experience the best breweries in North Carolina with a three-day tour of breweries and craft beer spots in Asheville, Charlotte and the Triangle.
  • Wine Tasting: Begin your exploration of the Yadkin Valley wine trail with a trip to Raffaldini Vineyards – about 2.5 hours from Greenville – that promises to transport you to the Italian countryside. Visit the winery at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville to sample red, white and rosé at America’s largest home, built by George Vanderbilt.

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