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The Midlands and Upstate Travel Guide

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  • Photo: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Plan Your Midlands and Upstate Vacation

Lying between the coastal Lowcountry and the mountains, South Carolina's varied Midlands region holds swamps and rivers, fertile farmland—perfect for horse-raising—and hardwood and pine forests. Lakes have wonderful fishing, and the many state parks are popular for hiking, swimming, and camping. Small towns with bed-and-breakfasts in former mansions are common, and the many public and private

gardens provide bursts of color throughout the year.

At the center of the region is the state capital, Columbia, an engaging contemporary city enveloping cherished historic elements. Just outside town, Congaree Swamp National Park has the largest intact tract of old-growth floodplain forest in North America. Aiken, the center of South Carolina's Thoroughbred country, is where the champions Sea Hero and Pleasant Colony were trained. Towns such as Abbeville and Camden preserve and interpret the past, with old house museums, history re-creations, and museum exhibits.

The Upstate of South Carolina is a land of waterfalls and wide vistas, cool pine forests, and fast rapids. Camping, hiking, white-water rafting, and kayaking are less than an hour from downtown Greenville and a paddle's throw from the small hamlets that are scattered about. Greenville itself, artsy and refined, is a modern Southern city with a thriving downtown full of trendy restaurants, boutiques, and galleries.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Small-town charm Small towns—most of them with shady town squares, small shops, and a café—dot this region. Abbeville and Aiken are a couple of the nicest.
  2. Rafting the Chattooga The fact that the movie Deliverance was filmed here doesn't scare away rafting enthusiasts from some of the best white water in the country.
  3. Antiquing in Camden Camden's Art and Antique District, which comprises most of the downtown area, is a trove of well-priced furniture, ironwork, and high-quality paintings.
  4. Congaree Swamp National Park Wander through 20 miles of trails or follow the 2½-mile boardwalk that meanders over lazy creeks and under massive hardwoods.
  5. Waterfalls There are more than 25 waterfalls in the Upstate; some, like 75-foot Twin Falls, are an easy walk from the road. Others, such as Raven Cliff Falls, are a 2-mile hike away.

When To Go

When to Go

Central South Carolina comes alive in spring, beginning in early March, when the azaleas, dogwoods, wisteria, and jasmine turn normal landscapes...

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Check historic weather for your trip dates:

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