- Special Places
- Daytrips & Getaways
- Seasonal Festivals & Events
- Local Food
Closer to Charlotte: Start in Cheraw, the Prettiest Town in Dixie, to see the fabulous park in memory of native son and Jazz legend, Dizzy Gillespie, and visit the Southern African American Heritage Museum. Head south and drive through the West Broad Historic District in Darlington to see Lawrence Reese’s architecture.
Near Florence: Tour the hewn-timber cabins and other Mars Bluff African American Sites in Florence before you head south toward Lake City. There you can visit the Ronald E. McNair Life History Center and take a photo with this famous astronaut’s statue. Have a buffet lunch at the former Scranton Colored School, now Schoolhouse Barbecue restaurant in Scranton.
Near the beach: Visit the Gullah O’oman Museum in Georgetown and learn to make a sweetgrass basket nearby at Kaminski House Museum. Visit a family farm turned vineyard near Hemingway at Williams Family Farm. Try the pulled pork at nationally acclaimed Scott’s BBQ. Right in the heart of Myrtle Beach, you can see the collection of Jonathan Green’s paintings at the Burroughs & Chapin Museum and visit the Myrtle Beach Colored School Museum.
Closer to Charlotte: Bring your cooler for this trip! You can buy local goodies in Bennettsville’s charming downtown at Breeden Quality Meats and grocery. Continue on to McArthur Farm for baked goods and local produce. Near McBee, at McLeod Farm you’ll find their famous peaches and the antique farm equipment museum; and in Hartsville Coker Pedigreed Seed Museum has a great collection of photos of farming and of their famous plant breeding program.
From Florence: Drive through the Pee Dee State Farmer’s Market for local muscadine wine and juice, then head to Bishopville to see theSC Cotton Museum. Check the BBQ Trail map for your favorite lunch spot then as you return to Florence, arrange a visit to Ovis Hill in Timmonsville to shop for locally grown meat, produce, and woolen products. In late fall you can even get Satsuma oranges from one of South Carolina’s only commercial citrus producers at McKenzie Farms & Nursery in Scranton.
Near the beach: First spend a night at the venerable Hopsewee Plantation on the banks of the Santee River. Then head up the Coastal Road, Hwy 17, to tour the Rice Museum and the County Museum in downtown Georgetown. Give farming a try at LW Paul Living History Farm near Conway. Finish the afternoon at La Belle Amie—a local vineyard in Little River famous for their music festivals and relaxed gatherings around the bonfire.
From any location, make the trip to Bishopville to visit Pearl Fryar’s 3-acre, hand-sculpted topiary garden; and don’t miss the epic Lake City Artfields art competition in April every year.
Historic downtown districts and county museums are always full of interesting architecture and stories of grandeur, faded or renewed. Visit Bennettsville, Darlington, Hartsville, Marion & Mullins, Dillon, Lake City, Latta, Kingstree, Conway, and Florence.
Closer to Charlotte: Tour the Chesterfield Historic District, then head to Hartsville to visit the Hartsville Museum in the old post office and the Black Creek Arts Gallery. Enjoy a delicious lunch at Midnight Rooster, Bizzels, or another downtown favorite. Do drive through the town of Cheraw to enjoy their downtown architecture on the way back. Or, head to Bennettsville for a night in the Breeden Inn’s charming accommodations.
Near Florence : Downtown Florence’s arts corridor is one of the fastest growing in the state. You can find the nationally significantWilliam H. Johnson collection at the Florence County Museum. You can also catch a performance at the FMU Performing Arts Center or the Florence Little Theatre. Or if you’d rather go shopping, look for antique furniture in an antique house at Hamilton House.
The town of Florence is a hub for the Eastern SC Heritage Region. From here, it is roughly more than 45 minutes to any part of the region. Around here there are quite a few courthouses designed by Robert Mills, the renowned architect of the Washington Monument and the U.S. Treasury building. Between Florence and the beach, see the Marion County Courthouse and visit the County Museum, both in downtown Marion, for a glimpse back in time. You might enjoy lunch at Magnolia’s, a former bank on Main Street.
If you’re heading from Florence toward Columbia, Pearl Fryar’s Topiary Garden in Bishopville is practically on the way. While you’re there stop in at the Iron Gallery on Main Street and tour the Button Museum on the outskirts of town.
Pull off as you travel north on I-95, and go to Dillon to visit the Dillon House, an early 20th-century periodhistoric house museum.
Near the beach: Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet has earned national acclaim for its extensive sculpture collection, lovely grounds, and rich South Carolina history. In the historic river town of Conway, the historic downtown includes City Hall, which was designed in 1825 by Robert Mills. Stop in and see the husband-wife team blowing glass at Conway Glass and stroll along the Riverwalk before heading over to the Horry County Museum.
Area bed and breakfasts are great ways to eat well and see beautifully restored historic buildings. For example, visitHopsewee Plantation on the banks of the Santee River in Georgetown County. Find time to spend a night in Dillon’s Columns Bed & Breakfast, Latta’s Abingdon Manor, Marion’s The Grove, or one of the three historic houses that comprise Breeden Inn in Bennettsville.
Although peaches, pecans, and barbecue are our specialties, lots more is grown in this agricultural corner of South Carolina. Look for theFresh on the Menu Restaurants that have pledged to use local products and for the many seasonal Roadside Markets and U-Pick Farms.
Near the beach: Choose from among the mouthwatering menus in Little River at The Parson’s Table or Brentwood Inn. Both restaurants are noted for the use of fresh local ingredients and for the architecture of their establishments. For barbecue cooked the old-fashioned, and some say the very best way, go to Scott’s near Hemingway. And visit Williams Family Farm and Vineyard while you’re there. Along the coast, you can get your fill of local oysters, shrimp, and flounder from the Front Street Restaurant Row in Georgetown and the Restaurant Row in Murrells Inlet, too.
From Charlotte: Flying or driving, you can go to the only fly-in barbecue restaurant in the Carolinas—Stanton’s near Bennettsville. For fine dining with an emphasis on local, you won’t want to miss Abingdon Manor’s dinners in Latta.
In Florence: At I-95 and Hwy 52, stop at the Pee Dee Farmers’ Market for McLeod Farms’ outpost where they sell peaches, other seasonal produce. Nearby, the Young Plantations Pecan Outlet, part of the Pecan Trail, has an extensive tasting bar of pecan treats and other delicacies produced in-house. Don’t miss dessert at Rebel Pie; their fabulously crispy Pecan Danish Pizza is outstanding.
Most famous of all are the American Revolution’s hero General Francis Marion and the Marsh Tacky horses that carried his men to safety in the swamps time and time again. Take a driving tour of Francis Marion’s stomping grounds on the Francis Marion Trail or a paddling tour on the SC Revolutionary Rivers Trails, a national recreation trail.
Near the beach: Visit the MBAFB Museum to see memorabilia from WWII through Operation Desert Storm. Myrtle Beach also hosts the SC Hall of Fame with such honorees as General William C. Westmoreland.
From Charlotte: Visit the towns of Chesterfield and Cheraw, which are well known for their military history. You might also like to see the Dillon County Museum in the charming town of Latta.
From Florence: Visit Heritage Stables and nuzzle a few Marsh Tacky horses before you take a guided tour of one of our Revolutionary Rivers where General Francis Marion helped win the war. Finish the evening in Florence, studying up on the region in the South Carolina room at any of the Florence County libraries and visiting both the War Between the States Museum. Don’t miss delicious South Carolina fare at downtown restaurants and a night in the boutique Hotel Florence.
Nature is the context of so much history in this area, and places like Hobcaw Barony and the Revolutionary Rivers paddling trails are nationally significant examples of that combination of nature and history.
Eastern SC has 5 state parks, 1 state natural area, 1 state forest, 2 national wildlife refuges, 4 state-designated Scenic rivers, and more than a few beautiful county and town parks. Nature is our thing!
Closer to Charlotte: Horseback riding enthusiasts will find many a park that welcomes their equine friends: Lee State Park near Bishopville and Cheraw State Park both have overnight accommodations for campers traveling with horses. Others will especially like bird watching on black water creeks at Kalmia Gardens in Hartsville and at Darlington’s Williamson Park.
Climb Sugar Loaf Mountain at Sand Hills State Forest; it’s an unusual tower of sand looming a hundred feet above the surrounding terrain. You will have a one-of-a-kind backdrop for your camping trip here!
Near Florence: Head to Coward to traverse the Canopy Walk at Lynches River County Park, and visit a Carolina Bay at Woods Bay State Natural Area near Olanta. Paddlers will love Scranton’s River Rats Canoe Rentals and campsite as well as their paddling tours of the Revolutionary Rivers Trails on the Lynches and Pee Dee Rivers.
The Scenic Black River is another favorite, easily accessed at Kingstree’s Gilland Park; andLittle Pee Dee State Park near Dillon provides access to a regional favorite, the Scenic Little Pee Dee River.
Near the beach: Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet is very popular with birders. And Hobcaw Barony in Georgetown boasts 17,000 acres on Winyah Bay. Fishing enthusiasts love the Myrtle Beach State Park and Cherry Grove Pier in Cherry Grove. For a vivid reminder of one of the region’s most memorable natural events, the North Myrtle Beach Area Historical Museum in N. Myrtle Beach has a collection of pictures of Hurricane Hugo’s impact in 1989.
Forests and ocean critters aren’t for you? You might prefer the more urban feel of the Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk, part of the East Coast Greenway–a 2,000+ mile walking trail along the East Coast.
Darlington, Dillon, and Myrtle Beach boast the most notable tracks in eastern South Carolina.
Closer to Charlotte visit the Dillon Motor Speedway. Originally built in 1966, this track has seen lots of action. Owned by former NASCAR driver Ron Barfield, the Speedway was paved and re-opened in 2007. It's been packed on Saturday nights ever since.
Near Florence: It’s a short trek to Darlington, where you can visit The “Lady in Black,” as this widow-maker of a track is nicknamed. The Darlington Raceway was the first paved track in the NASCAR circuit. Its asymmetrical shape, designed to avoid destruction of a neighbor’s minnow pond back in the 1950s, gives it a dangerous curve, causing it to also be called the track “Too Tough to Tame.” The track’s event calendar is online and the stock car museum on the premises is open year-round.
Near the Beach: Myrtle Beach has had a race track of its own since 1958.The Myrtle Beach Speedway has seen some of the biggest stars in the early days of their careers—including four generations of Pettys and three generations of Earnhardts.