19 Amazing Day Trips from Greenville, South Carolina, in 2024

Are you considering visiting Greenville but want to explore nearby towns? Do you need help figuring out where to start planning? Great news- you came to the right place! I have much experience navigating Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina, so I’m excited to share my expertise on the best day trips from Greenville, South Carolina. 

Greenville is a delightful community nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The town grants visitors fantastic dining options, a quaint downtown, local breweries, and many adventures for nature lovers. It is an excellent place for a long weekend.

While in Greenville, you are in the prime location to explore more of South Carolina and Western North Carolina. You are only slightly over 2 hours from Atlanta and less than 2 hours from Charlotte.

downtown Greenville

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Greenville, South Carolina

While staying in Greenville, there are several noteworthy places to enjoy. Although Greenville is a terrific base to explore, don’t miss out on all downtown Greenville has to offer. Spend a few days experiencing Greenville before you explore. 

For instance, walk the streets of charming downtown, grab a delicious meal, and head to Falls Park at the Reedy, an impressive waterfall in the heart of town. Walk over the Liberty Bridge to soak in views of the Reedy River. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy walking or biking the Swamp Rabbit Trail through town or exploring Paris Mountain State Park.

If visiting in the summer, catch a baseball game at Fluor Field or have your kids enjoy the splash pad at Unity Park.

Falls Park on the Reedy

Check out my guide on the most family-friendly hotels in Greenville to use as your base to explore the Upstate.

The Best Road Trips from Greenville

Upstate South Carolina

One summer, we rented a house in the mountains with my husband’s college friends. We were in a quiet area south of the NC/SC state line. We enjoyed our time exploring the Upstate region. It is the perfect destination for outdoor adventures.

1. Travelers Rest

Also, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, guests discover the neat community of Traveler’s Rest. Visitors can play golf, explore more of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, shop downtown, or drive out to Campbell’s Covered Bridge, a charming wooden bridge. 

Traveler’s Rest is a great way to kick off your day by exploring the surrounding area of state parks.

2. Table Rock State Park

Nature enthusiasts will want to carve out time for Table Rock State Park, a large complex north of Greenville. The Park was built by the CCC, a New Deal program to put young men to work during the Depression. They helped develop this large park in Pickens County that many still enjoy.

Hiking to the top of Table Rock is a popular activity but incredibly strenuous. The hike is 3.6 miles each way! Stop by the visitor center if you have any questions. 

Table Rock State Park

You can canoe, swim, fish, or walk along the Lakeside Trail if you want something less strenuous. Once a month, the park hosts an event featuring local bluegrass musicians. 

FYI- 

  • Pets are allowed
  • There’s a small entrance fee for all guests.

3. Jones Gap State Park

A little north of Greenville sits a beautiful state park. At Jones Gap, visitors can hike, bird watch, swim in the Middle Saluda River, or view South Carolina’s tallest waterfall.

4. Caesar’s Head State Park

Also, visitors will discover Caesar’s Head State Park north of town. Known for their Hawk Watch in the fall months, guests can view birds migrating to South America for the winter months.

The park also offers numerous hikes with stunning waterfalls and swimming holes to enjoy in the summertime.

hiking in Upstate SC is one of the great day trips from Greenville, South Carolina

5. Bald Rock Heritage Preserve

If you are hiking Table Rock or Caesar’s Head, consider checking out Bald Rock Heritage Preserve. Located off 276, this is a neat stop off the side of the road. You will pull off 276 to park. 

After a long hike, this would be a relaxing spot for a picnic with scenic views. The Preserve is also a great place to watch a sunset. We visited one night before the sunset, and the kids had a blast exploring. 

FYI- the area has significant graffiti, but it was a neat touch.

Bald Rock Preserve is a great excursion from Greenville

6. Wildcat Wayside Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area

During our summer trip to Upstate SC, my husband’s friend suggested we check out this local wilderness area. Our group consisted of 8 adults and 9 kids, but the youngest were three. So we needed an outdoor activity that was toddler friendly.

The Wilderness area covers over 10,00 acres including parts of several state parks like Jones Gap. Our group enjoyed a short hike to a pretty waterfall. On another afternoon, the dads took all the kids to play in the swimming hole next to the falls. The kids had a blast!

Wildcat Wayside Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area

7. Croft State Park

Croft State Park is in nearby Spartanburg, a town adjacent to Greenville. Guests love Croft State for its abundant mountain biking trails and fishing at Lake Tom Craig.

8. Fountain Inn, SC

Fountain is one of the small towns with easy access to Greenville. The Fountain Inn Museum offers the best way for guests to learn the history of the Upstate region. For instance, the museum teaches guests about the Indigenous people who called South Carolina home and the rich textile mill history and railroad development. This is an excellent stop for those who love to study local history.

9. Clemson

Our kids love sports, but especially college sports. When we travel, we love to show them college towns and campuses. Clemson is an iconic college town known for their football program. Look at their athletic calendar while you are in town and try to catch a baseball or basketball game!

Pro-tip: Avoid Clemson on football weekends unless you have a ticket to the big game!

Clemson is a short drive from Greenville

10. Lake Keowee

Lake Keowee is a popular destination for those who love watersports. It is ideal for fishing, boating, skiing and swimming. Explore the quaint town of Seneca while you are there!

Pro tip: Lakes in the South can be packed on the weekends in the summer! Aim for midweek or arrive early on the weekends.

Western North Carolina

Western NC is just a short scenic drive north of Greenville and offers many exciting opportunities. It is the perfect place for an excursion. Check out the best day trips to Western North Carolina. I have spent years exploring this region and I’m so excited to share my favorite spots.

11. Asheville

Asheville is a short drive north on I-26 out of Greenville. Asheville is a medium-sized city in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Known for its art scene, history, and local breweries, you will be glad you spent time in this beautiful city. 

For my history buffs, you must stop by the Biltmore Estate, a mansion built in the Gilded Era by the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt. The home is stunning, but the gardens and surrounding property are just as beautiful.

Spending time on the estate is one of my favorite activities in Asheville. I find the property to be serene and relaxing. Biltmore is also kid-friendly, and our kids love visiting the estate.

Visit the Biltmore while in South Carolina

Asheville is bustling with breweries like Sierra Nevada, a minor league baseball team, delicious food, and a fun pinball museum. You won’t regret making a day trip to Asheville. I’ve spent a lot of time exploring Asheville and it is one of my favorite areas in the South- I know you will love it too!

12. Hendersonville

Hendersonville is a smaller community just south of Asheville on I-26. It is a quick and easy getaway for the day. My in-laws live here, so we’ve explored and love this community!

Main Street is the heart of town with great restaurants, locally owned shops, and delicious restaurants. Our favorite stops are always McFarland’s Bakery and Willow Hill Soap Company. In the summertime, my kids enjoy the scavenger hunt to find all the painted and decorated bears that dot town as fundraisers for local charities.

Hendersonville has an impressive collection of local wineries, and if you visit in the fall, definitely check out the apple farms.

13. Flat Rock

Flat Rock is a precious community next to Hendersonville known for its famous Flat Rock Playhouse. Check out their schedule to see if there are shows while you are in town.

For literary enthusiasts, you can visit the historic home of Carl Sandburg, part of the National Park Service. I suggest combining a day trip to Flat Rock and Hendersonville together.

14. Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock is an iconic state park that grants visitors stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It is one of the best outdoor activities for guests who enjoy hiking, spectacular waterfalls, and scenic views.

Tip: To reach the rock, many guests take the stair route. Be aware- that there are 500+ stairs, so if you have mobility issues or travel with little kids, make sure the elevator works before you purchase tickets.

Chimney Rock is one of the best day trips from Greenville, South Carolina

15. Lake Lure

Lake Lure is adjacent to Chimney Rock and is an excellent combination for nature lovers. You could spend the morning at the state park before moving over to a fun day on the water. You can rent a boat for the day or enjoy their small water park on the lake.

Lake Lure is a charming little community hidden in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We spent a weekend here recently, and I loved the feel of the community. Some excellent restaurants overlook the lake if you aren’t interested in water sports.

16. Blue Ridge Parkway

You can’t miss spending a little time exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway. The scenic path winds through the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. As you near Asheville, there are several entry points. I suggest mapping out your route beforehand and packing a picnic lunch!

Views from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Views from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Other Exciting South Carolina Destinations

17. Columbia

Just South of Greenville on I-26, guests can explore the state’s capital. Columbia offers an amazing zoo, the Columbia Museum of Art, and the South Carolina State Museum. Walk the beautiful campus of the University of South Carolina or catch a sporting event!

18. Congaree National Park

Named after the Congaree people, Congaree National Park is a hidden treasure nestled in the Southeast. Renowned for its extensive array of hardwoods, it offers a plethora of activities, making it an ideal destination for a day trip from Greenville (less than 2 hours). 

Opt for hiking, biking, canoeing, or kayaking to fill your adventurous day. In the wetlands, be prepared to encounter a couple of alligators.

Pro tip from a lifelong Southerner- If you’re still deciding on the optimal time to visit, contemplate spring or fall. Late summer can be exceptionally hot in the deep South.

Congaree National Park is one of the great day trips from Greenville, South Carolina.

19. The Beach

Although it would be a much longer day, you could drive to the beach. Hilton Head & Myrtle Beach are some of the most popular areas. Or you could visit Charleston for a day.

My advice- these are fantastic places to visit, and you will want more than one day here! I’ve visited all three and trust me you’ll want at least 2-4 days- one is just not enough.

FAQ: Visiting Greenville

What’s the cutest small town close to Greenville?

Travelers Rest

What’s the best way to reach Greenville?

The Greenville-Spartanburg Airport (GSP) is the closest and most convenient. Asheville’s airport is about an hour away but relatively small. Look into Charlotte’s airport if you need a larger airport.

Where should I stay in Greenville?

I’ve had multiple stays downtown and can vouch for several accommodations. If you want, check out my extensive guide on the best places for families.

For budget-friendly options, the Hyatt Place stands out, while the Courtyard is perfect for its downtown proximity. Alternatively, The Hampton Inn & Suites offers a riverside location.

For newer options, consider the AC Marriott, which is surrounded by excellent dining choices, or the centrally located Westin. If you prefer luxury, explore the new Grand Bohemian Lodge right by the falls.

For larger groups, look for rentals within walking distance or a short drive away. Recently, we stayed in a charming home just 15 minutes from downtown, ideal for our group of 6.

In Conclusion: Amazing Day Trips from Greenville, South Carolina

I hope my guide to the most amazing day trips from Greenville, South Carolina, helps you plan your next great adventure!

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