South Carolina’s Old 96 District has everything you need for the perfect weekend getaway — from several charming small towns to picturesque state parks, luxurious lodging options, and so much more. Whether you’re looking to get your blood pumping on a scenic hike or immerse yourself in the area’s vibrant art scene, check out these eight reasons to add the Old 96 District to the top of your weekend escape list!
Small Idyllic Towns
South Carolina’s Old 96 District is made up of five quaint and beautiful counties that offer something for every type of traveler — from art lovers to history buffs. Old 96 District counties include Abbeville County, Edgefield County, Greenwood County, Laurens County, and McCormick County.
Known for its historic and colorful architecture and vintage shopping opportunities, Abbeville County offers a rich history that traces back to the 1700s. Whether you spend the day exploring the outdoors at Parsons Mountain or take a relaxing stroll through the scenic, historic downtown area, there’s plenty to do and see in this charming town.
If you want to immerse yourself in the local art scene, visit Edgefield County. Known for its unique stoneware pottery, Edgefield County is credited as the first area in the Southern U.S. to successfully produce the art form. In addition to local potters, you can also watch blacksmiths at work at the Edgefield Village Blacksmith, which is open Thursday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For the perfect blend of history and natural beauty, visit Greenwood County. Home to Lake Greenwood State Park, this is a popular destination for those who love camping, hiking, and boating. Meanwhile, history lovers will enjoy visiting the Ninety Six National Historic Site and the Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historic Preservation Site.
Home to the Battle of Musgrove Mill, Laurens County is another popular destination for history lovers. Not only does the war site frequently host live history reenactments, but it is also a state park with beautiful hiking trails.
Whether you’re a fan of hiking, biking, boating, or camping, the Old 96 District offers a handful of state parks that are sure to satisfy any traveler who loves to explore the great outdoors!
Located on Lake Thurmond near the town of McCormick, Baker Creek State Park offers a one-mile Wild Mint Nature Trail and a 10-mile hiking and biking trail. You can also stay overnight in an RV or a tent, thanks to the park’s 34 campsites.
Calhoun Falls State Park, Hamilton Branch State Park, and Lake Greenwood State Park are also popular camping destinations. These parks offer miles of hiking and biking trails, opportunities for shoreline fishing, and more family-friendly outdoor fun.
To learn more about Old 96 District’s role in the Revolutionary War, visit the Battle of Musgrove Mill Historic Site. As you stroll through the 2.5 miles of interpretive trails, pay attention to the historical markers that tell the story of the battle. You can also see unique displays and exhibits in the park’s visitor center.
Golf enthusiasts will enjoy a trip to Hickory Knob State Resort Park, home to an 18-hole, Tom Jackson-designed championship golf course. This is where you’ll also find skeet shooting and archery ranges, as well as a luxurious resort that offers 76 rooms for overnight guests.
Local Boutiques & Shops
With the holidays right around the corner, the Old 96 District is the perfect place to cross a few names off your shopping list — or just pick up a treat or two for yourself. The local shops offer everything from on-trend clothing and accessories to self-care essentials, home decor, antiques, and more.
The Old 96 District is also home to many delicious restaurants — from popular stops along the BBQ Trail to bakeries, international cuisine, and more. These three popular restaurants are a “must” for your Old 96 District itinerary …
Rootimentary is known for its delicious twist on classic Southern comfort food. Located in Laurens County, the popular dining destination offers something to satisfy all taste buds. In addition to its outstanding dinner menu, the restaurant also boasts extensive brunch, cocktail, wine, and craft beer menus.
Located at Greenwood’s Inn on the Square, Cambridge Chophouse is one of the newest restaurants added to Old 96 District’s dining scene. Restaurant hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., and menu highlights include shrimp tempura, crab cakes, filet mignon, salmon, and linguine with white wine sauce.
For a fine dining experience that only uses fresh and seasonal ingredients, make plans to visit Christine’s Farm to Fork in Edgefield. The restaurant partners with local farmers and vendors to offer dishes like chicken marsala, shrimp Christine, Korean barbeque beef, and more. (SB Tip: We recommend reserving a table in advance, as the restaurant is known to fill up fast!)
Breweries, Distilleries & Wineries
In addition to a remarkable food scene, Old 96 District is also known for its variety of breweries, distilleries, and wineries. Whether you’re craving moonshine or local craft beer, these are the spots not to miss …
Known for its moonshine, Carolina Moon Distillery in Edgefield is a microdistillery that does everything in-house — from distilling to bottling and packaging. Before indulging in one of their spirits, be sure to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility!
Craft beer enthusiasts will enjoy a trip to Greenwood’s Good Times Brewery at The Mill House. The local watering hole offers handcrafted beer alongside a delicious pizza menu. Standout beers include Blood Moon Ale, Back Pocket Pale Ale, The Wilds IPA, and Irish Whip Red Ale.
If you prefer wine over beer, South Bend Winery is Greenwood’s only winery, offering signature selections like Raspberry Mocha, Toasted Caramel, Lambrusco, and more. Three Star Vineyard in Edgefield is another popular winery that offers beautiful views alongside an extensive wine list.
Abbeville Opera House
Originally opened in 1905, the Abbeville Opera House is another must-visit destination in the Old 96 District. The historic theater is known to host live stage productions, concerts, and comedians throughout the year. Upcoming performances include A Christmas Story, as well as performances by musicians like Michael Sweet and Guy Penrod.
Bed & Breakfasts
Whether you’re looking for a home base perfect for a girlfriend getaway or a romantic escape, the Old 96 District offers eight unique bed and breakfast options. Many of these lodging options are located in historic Southern homes, complete with on-site restaurants and luxurious guest rooms. To see a detailed list of bed and breakfast options throughout the Old 96 District, check out this article!
While two of the Old 96 District’s premier annual festivals have already taken place this year, it’s never too early to start planning for next year! The BBQ & Blues Festival of Discovery typically takes place in the summer and celebrates Greenwood’s rich history, culture, and food. The 2024 festival is slated for July 11 through 13.
Another popular annual event is Greenwood’s Festival of Flowers. The celebration is known for its signature topiary displays, 5K walk/run, juried art show, and so much more. While the dates for next year’s event are yet to be announced, you can check out the event’s Facebook page for frequent updates and highlights from the 2023 event!
This article is sponsored by the Old 96 District Tourism Commission. All photography courtesy of Old 96 District Tourism.