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Day Trips from Columbia SC

Newburyport...
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Day Trips from Columbia SC

We are going to a wedding next week in Columbia. We've decided to take a week just for R&R and wonder what might be close enough for daytrips from Columbia.

Things we've read about as possibilities (?)

Aiken

Abbeyville

Camden

Greenville

Hilton Head (? too far for a day trip)

We love antiques (and other great shops), beautiful country, historic homes and architecture.

We love Charleston and Beaufort, but have been there already. Want to go a couple places we haven't been.

Beaufort, South...
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1. Re: Day Trips from Columbia SC

Hi macdebbie,

I would suggest Greenville, which is a similarly sized city as Columbia but much nicer (IMO). Greenville has a wonderful Main Street that is lined with neat stores and outstanding restaurants, many which have outdoor dining. The Falls Park on the Reedy is a beautiful public park clustered around a 50 foot waterfall that is best viewed from a sweeping pedestrian bridge. There are some unique museums in the city, and the BMW factory tour is only 15 minutes away (also highly recommended). If you are into hiking, there are some excellent trails in the state parks north of Greenville in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Greenville would be my first choice, but there are other places as well...

As for the other suggestions, I would think these are some other possible day trips:

AIKEN / EDGEFIELD

Aiken is a pleasant community with a clean downtown, while Edgefield has some beautiful historic homes.

CONGAREE NATIONAL PARK

This is one of the hidden gems of South Carolina, as it only recently became a national park.

CLEMSON / PENDLETON / SENECA

A little further away (possibly a side trip from Greenville), these two communities are different yet complimentary. Pendleton is the oldest community in the Upstate and has a nice town square. Clemson is a college town bordering the beautiful campus of Clemson University (a walk around campus is a must), and Seneca has an up-and-coming antiques scene along its Ram Cat Alley.

For anyone else, I'd recommend Beaufort, but alas... you've been there! =)

Edited: 03 June 2010, 14:21
Charleston, South...
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2. Re: Day Trips from Columbia SC

Agree with above, I would spend at least a few days of your trip in the Greeville area and do side trips from there. Also not nearly as hot and humid as Columbia.

Newburyport...
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3. Re: Day Trips from Columbia SC

We already have our hotel reservations which we can't change and want to be in Columbia at night anyway since we have family around all week and will be meeting up for dinner, cookouts, etc.

How far time-wise is Greenville from Columbia?

Is Camden worth a stop?

Newburyport...
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4. Re: Day Trips from Columbia SC

Returned too fast.

Is Hilton Head too far for a day trip? Is there even anything to see? My impression from what I have read is that it is a collection of different sub-divisions each with their own area of shops and restaurants.

We'd hate to drive all the way out there and not be able to "see" anything.

Is there a public beach for people not staying on the island?

Beaufort, South...
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5. Re: Day Trips from Columbia SC

Columbia to Greenville is approximately 2 hours one way. They are doing some massive construction on I-385 (which connects directly to Greenville from I-26), which factors into that time estimate. Normally it takes about 1 1/2 to 1 hour 45 minutes. Of all the destinations we've listed, Greenville is certainly most worth the drive. Congaree NP is only 30 minutes away, whereas Aiken / Edgefield is just over an hour away.

I would not recommend spending the 2 1/2 hours to drive from Columbia to Hilton Head. As you described, Hilton Head is more or less several large gated communities with clusters of shops in between. While you could go to Harbour Town and South Beach Marina, it will cost you $5 to get access into Sea Pines Plantation, and chances are that it will be quite full. While you do have some public beach access, parking can be a headache. Hilton Head is a great place... don't get me wrong. But, it's best enjoyed when that's your final destination, and it isn't as conducive to one-day visits.

If you do want to go to the beach, I would think heading to one of the Charleston beaches (Folly Beach, Sullivans Island, or Isle of Palms) would be more ideal.

Newburyport...
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6. Re: Day Trips from Columbia SC

I would imagine the Charleston beaches are quite far as well?

Beaufort, South...
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7. Re: Day Trips from Columbia SC

They are slightly closer than Hilton Head... perhaps two hours one way.

GOOGLE MAP ESTIMATES

Columbia to Hilton Head: 154 miles, 2.5 hours

Columbia to Folly Beach: 126 miles, 2 hours 4 minutes

Columbia to Isle of Palms: 126 miles, 2 hours 4 minutes

Charleston, South...
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8. Re: Day Trips from Columbia SC

Consider going to the Francis Beidler Forest off of I-26 between Columbia and Charleston. They have guided tours at specific times, a board walk thru the swamp, lots of wildlife viewing, birds, etc.

www.audobon.org/centers

Charleston, South...
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9. Re: Day Trips from Columbia SC

You may also be interested in Newberry, SC

www.cityofnewberry.com

click on "visit" and then on "attractions"

It is a quaint small town with some nice things to see. (opera house, orchid farm)

Columbia, SC
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10. Re: Day Trips from Columbia SC

I wouldn't worry about changing your hotel reservations to go to Greenville and stay. One day trip there is plenty - they have a very nice Main Street but there really isn't a whole lot else within your stated interests without having to drive another 30 minutes to the mountains, etc. Plus, Cola is just a lot more centrally located.

You could easily do a day trip to the Charleston beaches. My friends and I go to Isle of Palms several times during the summer for day trips. It takes an hour and 45 minutes or so. They have a really nice public park on IOP with showers and food vendors and changing stalls and bathrooms. Folly is another good beach which is a tad closer in case you are at all interested in hitting the beach while you're here.

Camden is a neat little town with a lot of old homes. Aiken has a nice little downtown area as well. There are more shops like you are interested in there like boutique/antique, etc. There is no easy way to get to Abbeville from anywhere pretty much and it is a very tiny town. It is very quaint, but very tiny so I'm not sure it would be worth the drive for you.

One sort of random, neat thing we like to do at least once a year is go to the drive in movie theater at Monetta (between Cola and Aiken - about a 45 min drive from Cola on I-20 west). It is called THe Big Mo - www.thebigmo.com. You drive up, pay like $6 and get a double feature with brand new movie releases. It is people watching at its finest and it is neat to sit back and enjoy movies the way your parents and grandparents used to. IT is in the middle of nowhere, but a good time.

Finally, there is plenty in Columbia that fits the bill. I would try shopping, dining and drinking in The Vista (our equivalent of "main street" with restaurants/bars/shopping since our regular main street is about 90% business/corporate), Devine Street (boutiques and higher end shops), Five Points (more of a funky, college town area with bars, restaurants, and eclectic shops), etc. We also have a zoo that is considered among the best in the country and certainly the best in the Southeast, four or five different independent theater companies downtown, USC sports, Edventure (a great children's museum that adults love as well), the state museum, the art museum, etc.

Have a great trip!