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Places Welcoming You

gs logo River Bottom Farms Family Campground
Swansea, South Carolina
gs logo Spartanburg/Cunningham RV Park
Spartanburg, South Carolina
gs logo Lake Aire RV Park & Campground
Hollywood, South Carolina
gs logo Broad River Campground & RV Park
Winnsboro, South Carolina
gs logo Jolly Acres RV Park & Storage
St George, South Carolina

South of the Border

Get a taste of Mexico in the Palmetto State

Halfway between the bustling cities of the East Coast and the sunny landscape of central Florida sits an eye-catching icon on Interstate 95 that literally stands head and shoulders above competing roadside rest stops. South of the Border, South Carolina, has been welcoming weary travelers to take a break since 1949. Established as a combination beer depot and drive-in, this attraction grew to add an RV park, a motel and, most notably, a 94-foot-tall statue of its mascot, Pedro.

The attraction’s location directly south of the North Carolina border led founder Alan Schafer to give it the quirky name. Schafer also recruited two associates from Mexico to work in the motel’s office. Their given names are a mystery; motel guests lovingly referred to them as Pedro and Pancho. Pedro’s nickname was later memorialized by three of the rest stop’s attractions.

Pedro Welcomes Everyone

Below the towering Pedro sign, Fort Pedro is a kitschy gift shop with a variety of toys, souvenirs and snacks — as well as the nation’s largest supply of class C fireworks.

More than just a place to put up your feet, South of the Border welcomes guests to explore the Reptile Lagoon, Pedroland Park and, of course, Sombrero Tower, which rises 200 feet and is topped by, you guessed it, a giant sombrero. The recently opened Reptile Lagoon is said to be the largest indoor reptile exhibit in the U.S. Observe snakes, crocodiles, alligators and turtles in air-conditioned comfort.

Little ones will love the rides and attractions at Pedroland Park, where a carousel, Ferris wheel, antique cars and more await riders. The park also features two 18-hole miniature golf courses and a video arcade at the base of Sombrero Tower. The tower boasts a glass elevator that takes guests to the top. Here, from atop the Sombrero perch, visitors get a 360-degree view of the Carolina countryside.

Dine and Recline Surrounded by Kitschy Nostalgia

Camp Pedro welcomes RVs with 100 full hookup sites and 47 pull-thrus, as well as storage, laundry facilities, a pool and a playground.

The centerpiece of South of the Border is the Sombrero Restaurant. The full-service eatery boasts a menu of Mexican-American and American favorites and is outfitted in 1960s-era décor and colors. The restaurant matches diners’ contributions to Shriners Children’s Hospital.

The Peddler Steak House on the property is the source of hearty homestyle dinners, and dessert is scooped to order at Pedro’s Ice Cream Fiesta. Quick bites are available, too, at Pedro’s Hot Tamale or the hot dog stand and pizza/sub shop.

Large groups that want to congregate are welcome to use the site’s banquet facilities, the Top Hat Club and Convention Center. If you forgot your most essential sundries, visit El Drugstore or Pedro’s Pantries.

Quench your thirst and get a kick in the taste buds at the same time with a sip of Blenheim Ginger Ale. A small independent soda bottling company calls South of the Border its home, packaging old-fashioned ginger ale the same way it did in 1909. Of course, for the less adventurous, Blenheim brews a milder version and a sugar-free concoction.

Sullynyflhi

Out and About in Dillon County

If you’re keen on exploring more of the area, the Dillon County Museum in the nearby town of Latta is one of the local historical society’s several points of interest. The museum is housed in a restored dentist’s office in a building constructed in 1915. Photos, documents and memorabilia share the story of 20th-century life in the South Carolina community. The site houses an antique railroad caboose.

Weddings are big business in the area. With some 7,000 nuptials performed each year, Dillon has become the “Wedding Capital of the East.” To accommodate this growing industry, the Dillon Marriage Chapel helps couples coordinate the big event, arranging photography and more.

For some local fishing fun, grab your pole and head to Little Pee Dee State Park for a breezy morning on the banks of the Little Pee Dee River. An easy hiking trail guides guests to Beaver Pond and a designated wildlife viewing area. Visitors to the pond may get to see beavers at work. Also in view are a variety of native birds.

For a quintessential South Carolina golf experience, book a tee time at Twin Lakes Country Club in the nearby community of Hamer. This semi-private club offers 18 holes with a slope rating of 113.

For More Information

South of the Border

800-845-6011

www.thesouthoftheborder.com

South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism

803-734-0124

www.discoversouthcarolina.com