Explore the Palmetto State on One Tank

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July 8, 2009

One of the original American Colonies, South Carolina has an abundance of historical sites that bring our nation’s past to life. The outdoors enthusiast can enjoy a variety of activities such as kayaking, hiking, saltwater fishing, and even scuba diving in the company of alligators. The Palmetto State’s culture has been shaped by its European, African and Caribbean settlers, as evidenced by the delicious food. This One Tank RV Trip from Woodall’s showcases the range of South Carolina’s natural and cultural treasures, starting at the Atlantic coast and ending among the inland mountains.

sc-route-mapHilton Head Island
Hilton Head Island is an idyllic location to enjoy a quick weekend getaway. It’s 70-square mile area gives it the distinction of being the second-largest barrier island on the East Coast. This incredible resort community features a multitude of activities to keep you well-entertained, such as kayaking, dolphin-watching cruises and fishing charters. On land you can rent a bicycle and pedal along the beachfront trails or investigate any of the island’s 24 golf courses. Or you can sit on the shore sipping sweet tea while you watch the azure tide. The relaxed, carefree atmosphere will take you away from the stresses of city life the moment you arrive.

Point the RV on US-278 northwest to SC-170, which brings you into the town of Beaufort. Known as the “Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands,” the town’s historic homes and peaceful way of life make your visit to Beaufort seem like a step back in time to the quieter, simpler days of the historic Old South. This isn’t meant to imply that Beaufort is stuck in the past – far from it. The town is host to many contemporary art galleries and golf courses, and the adjacent Parris Island Marine Training Camp is one of the most sophisticated military training centers in the U.S.

Next stop is the city of Aiken. This route takes you down US-21/US-17 to Point South, where you take SC-68 to get to US-278, then US-78, which brings you straight into Aiken. Stretch out the legs a bit and explore the Thoroughbred Hall of Fame & Racing Museum; the facility presents more than 100 years of thoroughbred racing history. Admission is free.

hiltonheadislanddocksYou can also visit DuPont Planetarium, located on the grounds of the University of South Carolina’s Aiken campus. The 30-ft. dome has fully-automated, state-of-the-art projection systems. The observatory features a variety of powerful telescopes for stargazing.

Continuing on your trip, take Highway 19 toward Greenwood. On the way you’ll pass by the Ninety-Six National Historic Site, where two battles of the Revolutionary War were fought and where settlers braved harsh winters and Indians to stake their claim. Visitors can step back in time in the original Star Fort, built in 1781. Explore the Stockade Fort and siege trenches, and take a stroll through the original town sites of Cambridge and Ninety-Six for the complete colonial experience. This historic site is a fascinating look at the way things were when our nation was in its infancy, and is well worth the time to explore!

Returning to Highway 19, continue on to US-25 which leads to Greenwood. Fresh air and sunny skies make this town a great place to pull over and enjoy some of the many outdoor activities to be found here. The Heritage Trail is a 2-mile paved path, perfect for walking, jogging, or biking. Lake Greenwood may lure the anglers among you with its good fishing. You’ll have quite an appetite by evening, so try one of the numerous fine restaurants for cuisine running the gastronomical gamut from European and Caribbean to good old American steak and potatoes.

Clemson and Greenville
Back on US-25, you’ll merge with the US-178 to Clemson and continue 30 miles on US-123 until you hit Greenville. Both cities offer more opportunities for fishing, golfing and fine dining. In Clemson, you should take a day to enjoy the natural wonders of Paris Mountain, with its 1200-acre grounds, majestic, monument-like peak, and the rigorous Sulphur Springs hiking trail. Greenville offers great outdoor recreation opportunities like bird watching or kayaking, as well as more urbane pursuits like cruising art galleries and shopping.

If you’re not ready for this trip to end, the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway is an excellent choice for further exploration of the area. This historic route takes you along the Blue Ridge foothills past blossoming peach orchards and fall foliage (depending on the season of course), starting in Gaffney (east of Greenville on US-29) and looping back around toward Clemson.

Truly, South Carolina offers visitors a chance to enjoy the modern age with a glimpse into our nation’s past; it’s the perfect place to enjoy the best of all possible worlds.

Where to Stay: The Myrtle Beach Campground Association has several RV campgrounds along the coast that are conveniently located to the starting point of this RV trip route. You can also check the Woodall’s Campground Directory website for RV Campgrounds in South Carolina that are along the way on this great RV trip route. There are plenty of RV parks to stop in for the night (or two) so you can explore these destinations at your convenience.

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  3. Ken

    Thanks for the favoriable bio on South Carolina. One correction however. Paris Mountain State Park is located in Greenville, not Clemson. As a life-long resident of the upstate of SC I extend an invitation to RV’ers to consider a visit to our state to enjoy our shores, midlands and mountains. Ken