1. Visit Caesars Head State Park
8155 Geer Highway, , 29635
The premier place to hike in the Upstate is beautiful Caesars's Head State Park, a massive 13,000 acre park which connects to nearby Jones Gap State Park as part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness area. Leaf peepers are drawn to park in early fall for the lovely foliage, while bird watchers arrive in droves to watch the annual hawk migration.
Taking in the dramatic mountain views via the Blue Ridge escarpment is the top thing to do here. You will also want to embark on the 4 mile hike to Raven Cliff Falls, a 420 foot waterfall which dazzles as the second tallest in the state.
2. Relax at Falls Park
601 S. Main Street, , 29601
The oasis of downtown Greenville is a beautiful shady park which is home to Reedy River Falls. This powerful waterfall is the shining centerpiece of a gorgeous landscaped park.
A pedestrian bridge overlooking the falls, lovely gardens, and public art sculptures create a beautiful tranquil environment for the nature lover. Take a nature walk, bring a picnic, enjoy a coffee by the waterfall, attend an annual event...there's so much to do. Falls Park is the highlight of a visit to Greenville and will continue to draw repeat tourists for its' immense beauty.
3. See the last remaining covered bridge in the state
171 Campbell Covered Bridge Rd., , 29356
Campbell's Covered Bridge is the last standing covered bridge in the state of South Carolina. With only a limited number of bridges remaining in the country, this alone makes Campbell's worthy of a visit. As more and more bridges disappear, the ones that do exist continue to grow in popularity. Today, these bridges feel like a nostalgic reminder of our past. Visiting a quaint covered bridge feels like taking a trip back in time to the simpler days, almost as if you are stepping into a beautiful painting.
Campbell's is a popular spot for wedding, family, and event photography. Fall is a really gorgeous time to plan your visit as the colorful backdrop makes the entire scene feel so much more idyllic. Built in 1909, Campbells is now considered a National Historic landmark.
4. Hike to Yellow Branch Falls
2911-3023 Highlands Hwy, , 29691
Yellow Branch Falls, a mesmerizing 50 foot waterfall is easily one of the most picturesque of the Upstate waterfalls. The hike is moderate at just 1.5 miles out-and-back and enjoyably quiet as it sees little tourist traffic.
Although this one is much more powerful following a major storm, it's a sight to see anytime of the year. The way the water cascades down in multiple levels from the rocks truly creates quite a photo worthy scene. Definitely put this one high on your Upstate waterfall bucket list.
5. Visit downtown Greenville
Main Street, , 29601
Greenville's charming Main Street has been voted one of the best in the US. The tree-lined downtown is lined with over a hundred independent restaurants, local coffee shops, and galleries. An acclaimed performing arts center, a premier art museum, and a minor league baseball field are amongst the highlights.
The oasis of the city, Falls Park, a gorgeous place for a stroll, features a picturesque waterfall. A heavily used 14 mile long paved bike path known as the Swamp Rabbit trail will connect you to various points of interest. Hop on your bike or take a long walk and explore other city parks and historical sites.
An interesting lineup of local events including food festivals, art fairs, themed 5k races, a popular Saturday farmer's market, and a winter ice rink add to the excitement throughout the year.
6. Take a ride along the Swamp Rabbit Trail
Main Street, , 29601
This super popular 22 mile long multi-use paved path is shared by enthusiastic joggers, walkers, bikers, skaters, and dog walkers alike. Most of the trail is tree-lined, so there is plenty of shade, enabling you to tolerate the Southern heat, even in the dead of summer.
With multiple access points throughout the city, there is never an excuse not to get in a great workout. One of the best portions of the trail runs from the Swamp Rabbit Cafe (treat yourself to a delicious homemade pastry and coffee) to downtown Greenville. This exciting portion of the trail will enable you to get in a great ride, stop at various parks along the route, and treat yourself to a fantastic lunch on Main Street before completing your routine journey.
7. Hike to King's Creek Falls
Burrells Ford Campground, , 29664
King's Creek is a spectacular 70 foot waterfall accessed via a moderate trek of just under a mile each way. The gorgeous walk through the woods makes the hike feel much easier. More likely than not, you will not see a single hiker as this trail is quite rustic and secluded. The waterfall cascades down a rock wall into a pool, creating a picturesque setting like none other.
Note that the trailhead is a bit hard to find. Burrell's Ford Campground is where you will start your hike.
8. Marvel at Wildcat Falls
5500 Geer Highway, , 29635
Wildcat Falls is a popular roadside waterfall located on the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway. As no hiking is required to view this beauty, it's a pretty popular destination year-round. While the falls stand a mere 20-30 feet, it's quite a spectacular sight to see due to the intensity of the flow.
If you are up for a bit of a hiking adventure, consider hiking the 1 mile trail to the Upper Falls. Nothing too difficult, plus the trail is lush and shady and never overly crowded. This is a beautiful place to get lost in nature for a bit.
9. View the oldest standing bridge in the state
580 Callahan Mountain Rd., , 29356
Poinsett Bridge is a unique historical site to check out, considering that it is reported to be the oldest standing bridge in South Carolina. The bridge was constructed in 1820 as part of a State Road that connected Charleston and Columbia with the Western North Carolina region. Historians believe that it may have been designed by Robert Mills, the architect of the Washington Monument.
The 14 foot bridge's Gothic look gives it a spooky otherworldly appearance. Many locals have reported supernatural occurrences in the area. As the bridge appears to be a scene straight out of a horror movie, this really is not surprising. If you love seeking out the oddball, strange, and usual, definitely plan for a quick stop at Poinsett. Fortunately, the bridge is located within close proximity to many wonderful parks in the Upstate.
10. Get back to nature at Jones Gap State Park
303 Jones Gap Rd., , 29661
One of the best places to soak in some nature in a tranquil setting is Jones Gap State Park. Although the park joins together with Caesars Head in the 13,000 acre Mountain Bridge Wilderness area, Jones sees little traffic in comparison. This means it is a wonderful place for any hiker or nature lover seeking a bit of solitude.
The most popular hike here is the Rainbow Falls trail, a difficult 2 mile trek to a picturesque 100 foot tall free falling waterfall. A more relaxed option for the casual hiker is the 1.5 mile out-and-back trek to Jones Gap waterfall. This 50 foot waterfall is just as beautiful and even less crowded. Hiking through the forest during the fall season is even more of a treat as lovely foliage surrounds you in every direction.