At simply 306 miles lengthy and 17 years outdated, Interstate 26 is without doubt one of the shortest and youngest interstate highways in the USA. However touring on the freeway from the mountains to the ocean, connecting the favored locations of Asheville and Charleston, means it’s additionally one of the crucial thrilling routes within the nation. I’ve been driving the freeway for ten years now and determined it was time to jot down an interstate exit information.
One of many first instances I ever drove Interstate 26, I took a mistaken flip and ended up within the mistaken state. I had been driving for a number of hours alongside Interstate 40 throughout North Carolina on my approach to see the grandmother in Johnson Metropolis, Tennessee. I obtained off the interstate in Asheville for gasoline and snacks, however after I obtained again on the highway, I used the mistaken exit onto Interstate 26.
It wasn’t till an hour later, after descending down an extended mountain at nighttime, that I noticed an indication welcoming me to South Carolina. That’s after I knew I had carried out one thing mistaken. I rapidly exited, rotated, and sped again up the mountain once more.
I pulled as much as the grandmother’s home three hours later than anticipated. As all the time, she was standing on the entrance door eagerly awaiting my arrival. “What took you so lengthy?” she requested. I laughed. It was going to be an extended story.
Though highway tripping on interstate highways breaks my #1 Rule of Street Journeys, I’ve to confess Interstate 26 is a superb path to drive. Right here is all the things you’ll discover alongside the freeway from Kingsport, Tennessee to Charleston, South Carolina.
Temporary Historical past of Interstate 26
Planning for an interstate freeway connecting Columbia, the state capital of South Carolina, with Charleston started with the Federal Help Freeway Act of 1956. From 1957-1960, the primary part of the interstate freeway was constructed into Charleston.
From 1960-1969, Interstate 26 was prolonged a few instances. First, it was prolonged from Columbia to Spartanburg, after which to the North Carolina/South Carolina state line close to Landrum.
In 1976, Interstate 26 was once more prolonged from the state line to Asheville, North Carolina, connecting with Interstate 40. Within the Eighties, discussions had been initiated by trucker’s unions who wished an interstate freeway connecting Interstate 40 in Asheville with Interstate 81 in Kingsport, Tennessee. On the time, the one route for truckers took a number of hours to Knoxville.
In 2003, a closing extension of Interstate 26 opened between Mars Hill, North Carolina and the Virginia/Tennessee state line close to Kingsport. Initially, the planners didn’t need to lengthen Interstate 26 past Interstate 81 as a result of it could create a “stub” and reasonably unceremonious finish to the freeway. Nonetheless, native leaders managed to persuade the planning board to proceed the interstate freeway designation to the state line, the place U.S. Freeway 23 continues as a four-lane divided freeway.
Interstate 26 in Tennessee
Via most of Tennessee, Interstate 26 changed the route of U.S. Freeway 23. Starting on the Virginia/Tennessee border, the interstate travels 57 miles by two cities and previous Cherokee Nationwide Forest.
On the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Holston River, Kingsport developed within the 1800s as a frontier city supporting westward enlargement. After the Civil Warfare, town reinvented itself as a hub for business, resulting in Eastman Chemical Firm constructing their empire on Holston Island within the river.
Broad Avenue is the primary avenue by downtown. From Church Circle, one of many earliest roundabouts within the nation, the road crosses 4 metropolis blocks and ends at Residents Financial institution contained in the outdated prepare depot. Park wherever alongside the road and revel in looking for antiques, arts and crafts, and native items.
Macado’s is a neighborhood chain of eating places, principally positioned in faculty cities throughout the Southeast, that characteristic American meals like wings and burgers. The Mustard Seed Café affords savory soups and sandwiches and Primary Avenue Pizza Firm affords, properly, fairly good pizzas. Mannequin Metropolis Faucet Home, named after the actual fact Kingsport was as soon as thought-about a “trendy mannequin metropolis” for America, is a superb place for sandwiches and meals whereas having fun with a drink or two.
The place to Keep in Kingsport
The Consolation Suites are a extra budget-friendly possibility, however nonetheless affords comfy rooms. Select from a single king mattress or two queen beds on this modest resort – nevertheless it additionally incorporates a swimming pool.
I’m all the time a fan of Vacation Inn Categorical and the situation in Kingsport isn’t any exception. Rooms with a single king mattress, two double beds, and a King Suite with king mattress and sleeper couch give loads of choices throughout highway journey adventures.
The MeadowView Marriott Convention Resort and Conference Heart is the perfect resort in Kingsport – and it’s not a finances breaker by any means. The luxurious rooms would make for a cushty break on any highway journey. Choices embrace one queen mattress or a room with one king mattress and a sleeper couch.
Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium
The 44-acre lake atop Bays Mountain serves water to the close by metropolis of Kingsport, Tennessee. Bays Mountain Park options dozens of climbing trails across the lake, mountain biking trails, and an eco-tour on the lake.
Step contained in the Nature Heart to study concerning the native wildlife and historical past of the mountain. Exterior, wander by the Habitat the place you’ll discover deer, bobcats, and wolves. There’s additionally loads of wildlife within the wild with blue herons and turtles on the lake.
853 Bays Mountain Park Street, Kingsport, TN | 423-229-9447 | www.baysmountain.com
Tennessee Welcome Heart
The Tennessee Welcome Heart is the most recent on Interstate 26 – constructed after the native communities pleaded for a customer data middle to advertise tourism within the Tri-Cities Area. The welcome middle might be entry whereas touring eastbound or westbound and is a reasonably good facility to go to.
Warriors Path State Park
Warriors Path State Park is positioned simply exterior Kingsport alongside the South Fork of the Holston River, a close-by dam turns the river right into a small and winding lake with loads of alternatives for boating and kayaking. Start an journey on the state park with a drive out to Duck Island and revel in a leisure stroll 20-minute stroll across the island.
The Disc Golf Course is reasonably troublesome with a couple of hills and bushes to beat. It’s one of many extra nice disc golf programs in Tennessee. The golf course is open to most people and affords a difficult course with golf cart leases, a clubhouse, and equipment store. A small pier affords an opportunity to spend a day fishing and some playgrounds give youngsters one thing thrilling to do.
Spend the night time on the campground with 134 campsites surrounded by the river. 94 of the campsites have water and electrical hookups, and all of the websites embrace a grill and picnic desk. The big swimming pool is a well-liked place to hang around in the summertime months and a greater place to swim than the river.
490 Hemlock Street, Kingsport, TN | 423-239-8531 | tnstateparks.com/parks/warriors-path
Johnson Metropolis, TN
Johnson Metropolis is a university city, thought you nearly wouldn’t realize it wandering the streets downtown. Native arts and crafts retailer line East Primary Avenue, together with Freiberg’s German Restaurant with genuine meals from the Motherland. Yee-Haw Brewing Firm opened in Johnson Metropolis a couple of years in the past and affords an upbeat venue in an outdated railroad depot to hang around for some time; seize one thing to eat subsequent door at White Duck Tacos.
The place to Keep in Johnson Metropolis
The Sleep Inn is a extra budget-friendly possibility that’s nonetheless comfy and secure for a couple of nights. Select from rooms with a single king mattress or two double beds. The resort is positioned close to the interstate and loads of nice eating places.
The Hampton Inn is a superb resort for spending a couple of nights, nevertheless it’s positioned beside the hospital in a considerably busy part of city. It’s not a nasty location, however troublesome for unfamiliar guests. Select from rooms with a single king mattress, two double beds, or a set with a king mattress and sleeper couch.
The Carnegie Lodge is the premiere in a single day lodging in Johnson Metropolis. With an on-site restaurant and full day spa you would nearly spend a complete day simply lounging across the resort.
Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park
Instances on the frontier had been tough, particularly when early settlers to the area violated the King’s orders and had been primarily on their very own. Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park incorporates a full-sized recreation of Fort Watauga, a fortification constructed to guard native settlers from Native American raiding events.
The annual Siege of Fort Watauga is a reenactment depicting a crucial combat between settlers, British regulars, and Native People that happened on the positioning. Contained in the customer middle, an impressive museum expands on the historical past of the Transylvania Buy, the most important personal land transaction in North American historical past, and the Overmountain Males who crossed the river right here in the course of the Revolutionary Warfare.
1651 W. Elk. Avenue, Elizabethton, TN | 423-543-5808 | tnstateparks.com/parks/sycamore-shoals
Rock Creek Recreation Space
Cherokee Nationwide Forest covers an enormous area alongside the Tennessee/North Carolina border. Close to Erwin, Tennessee, the Rock Creek Recreation Space is without doubt one of the greatest campgrounds on this nationwide forest and affords an exquisite likelihood to discover the area.
Go for a hike on the 4.9-mile Rock Creek Path to get pleasure from a peaceable tour into the forest with a reasonably strenuous ascent of 1,154’ to a waterfall. A brief drive from the campground is the graveled Unaka Mountain Street resulting in The Magnificence Spot on the Appalachian Path. It affords one of the crucial gorgeous vistas on your entire path.
The charming city of Erwin is simply minutes from the interstate, nevertheless it’s usually neglected in favor of constant journey down the highway. The city’s 4 blocks gained’t maintain you busy for greater than two hours, nevertheless it’s well worth the time to cease.
Begin with a recent native espresso at Metal Rails Espresso Home on the fringe of downtown. From there, go for a brief stroll alongside Primary Avenue to seek out vintage shops and native reward retailers. Step contained in the Choo Choo Café, named due to the city’s reference to the native railroad business, for a small menu of sandwiches, soups, and desserts. Finish the stroll with a drink or two at Union Avenue Taproom the place you’ll discover a number of craft beers from throughout the nation – together with certainly one of my favorites 1911 Onerous Cider from Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard in New York.
Chestoa Recreation Space
On the far finish of Erwin, the Appalachian Path enters city close to the Nolichucky River. The Chestoa Recreation Space is a part of Cherokee Nationwide Forest, a big space surrounding Erwin and Unaka Mountain in Tennessee.
The shallow water of the river passes a rocky seaside close to the car parking zone on the recreation space, providing an important alternative to take a break from driving and benefit from the peacefulness. You gained’t be alone; a frequent exercise is to drift down the river previous the recreation space. However in the event you’re up for extra journey, USA Raft Journey Resort affords whitewater rafting excursions on the Nolichucky.
Tennessee Welcome Heart
Eastbound and westbound site visitors can use this interstate exit to succeed in the Tennessee Welcome Heart. Surrounded by the bushes of Cherokee Nationwide Forest and designed to appear to be a country cabin, the welcome middle is virtually a vacation spot.
Step inside to seek out clear restrooms, tourism brochures sorted by area, and a workers that can assist you determine the place to go subsequent an on journey by the mountains.
Do you know?
All interstate highways are outlined as working east-west or north-south. However do you know the east-west routes have even numbers and the north-south routes odd numbers? Interstate 26 would seem like a north-south route; nonetheless, it was designated east-west.
Eastbound vacationers will probably be heading south from Kingsport to Charleston, whereas westbound vacationers will probably be heading north from Charleston to Kingsport.
Flint Mountain Scenic Overlook (Westbound Solely)
Westbound vacationers on Interstate 26 can get pleasure from this scenic overlook. A brief, paved path climbs a small hill to an overlook with a commanding view of the mountain vary to the east. An extended, and far steeper, climb results in an higher overlook with a view of the mountains to the west.
The decrease overlook is accessible with a mild slope to the spherical paved space. The parking space has loads of room for private automobiles and RVs.
Sams Hole Scenic Overlook (Eastbound Solely)
Eastbound vacationers on Interstate 26 can get pleasure from a scenic overlook just under Sams Hole, a minimize within the mountain made for the freeway. Sams Hole marks the Tennessee/North Carolina border. A brief bridge crosses Flag Pond Street, the unique route of U.S. Freeway 23, and the passage of the Appalachian Path.
The scenic overlook has loads of parking for private automobiles and RVs. A paved path climbs a mild hill to the overlook with a view of Interstate 26 to the north.
Did You Know?
Sam’s Hole is the best level on Interstate 26 at 3,670′.
Interstate 26 in North Carolina
Interstate 26 travels simply 71 miles throughout Western North Carolina, nevertheless it’s one of the crucial scenic and thrilling routes within the state. The journey by the mountains consists of superior locations, attention-grabbing points of interest, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
North Carolina Welcome Heart (Eastbound Solely)
Easbound vacationers have one other scenic overlook to get pleasure from. From a coated shelter beside the parking space, guests can see the Black Mountains and Mount Mitchell, the best level on the east coast, to the southeast.
The customer middle – probably the greatest within the state – has a complete room stuffed with brochures exploring all of North Carolina. Restrooms, a strolling path, coated picnic tables, and loads of parking make it an important place to stretch your legs.
Blue Ridge Mountains Scenic Overlook (Northbound Solely)
A small, coated shelter awaits guests who pull off at this small scenic overlook. Stand on the deck and look to the south to see a piece of the Blue Ridge Mountains. To the far left, Mount Mitchell, the best peak east of the Mississippi River, simply above the horizon. Close to the center of the ridge, Craggy Gardens’ three peaks are barely distinguishable.
Mars Hill, NC
A gasoline station and resort is all you possibly can see of Mars Hill from the interstate, however take a 5 minute drive from the interstate exit and also you’ll discover a quaint downtown on the fringe of Mars Hill College.
Cease on the Madison County Customer Heart to choose up data on points of interest within the area. Seize a scrumptious burger at Stackhouse or go for a made-to-order pizza at The Unique Papa Nicks. End off the meal with a tasting at Hickory Nut Brewing, or get a pick-me-up at The Library Espresso Home.
When you get handed the industrial shops and quick meals chains on the interstate, you’ll discover Weaverville is a captivating small city. The city is positioned on the base of the Black Mountains and about an hour from Mount Mitchell, in the event you don’t thoughts a curvy two-lane highway to get there.
Take a stroll downtown for meals at Blue Mountain Pizza, drinks at Eluvium Brewing Firm, or do some looking for gear and provides at Curtis Wright Outfitters. Go for a brief drive to the Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace the place you possibly can discover an 1800s frontier plantation and study the controversial historical past of a North Carolina governor and senator.
Situated in the course of the Western North Carolina mountains, Asheville has all the time been a tourism vacation spot with the Blue Ridge Parkway working across the metropolis, Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park simply an hour away, and numerous scenic driving routes. However previously decade, Asheville has additionally boomed as a craft brewery city, meals vacation spot, and cultural middle.
Asheville is simply too huge to discover in a single day or perhaps a weekend. For brief visits, I like to recommend specializing in neighborhoods throughout the metropolis for a full expertise. The River Arts District is understood for craft breweries and wineries, native arts and crafts, and a smattering of nice locations to eat. Biltmore Forest, positioned on the entrance to George Vanderbilt’s “nation dwelling,” options a couple of nice inns to spend the night time, native eating places, and some retail retailers. The South Asheville neighborhood is extra unfold out, requiring a car to go to these points of interest together with the North Carolina Arboretum, Biltmore Property, and Western North Carolina Farmers Market.
Downtown Asheville is an enormous place to discover by itself. Start on the Grove Arcade – a Nineteen Twenties workplace constructing that was enclosed and transformed into retail retailers on the primary flooring. Stroll for a couple of blocks – or discover a completely different place to park – and meander alongside Broadway Avenue, the primary avenue by Asheville. Mast Common Retailer, Double D’s Espresso, the Asheville Artwork Museum, and the French Board Chocolate Lounge are a couple of nice locations to go to downtown.
Discover Asheville 36 Montford Avenue, Asheville, NC | 828-258-6101 | www.exploreasheville.com
The place to Keep in Asheville
GLō Greatest Western is an attention-grabbing and charming new sort of resort. With free on-site parking, an indoor swimming pool, and a scrumptious complimentary breakfast, this may be an important in a single day keep. The resort options King Rooms and Queen Rooms with two queen beds.
Fairfield Inn & Suites is one other fantastic place to remain on Tunnel Street. The resort has a small indoor swimming pool, free on-site parking, and free breakfast within the morning. The resort options King Rooms, Queen Rooms with two queen beds, and a King Suite with a sleeper couch for touring households.
Hampton Inn within the Biltmore Village space is one other glorious place to remain near the Blue Ridge Parkway. This resort consists of free on-site parking, an indoor swimming pool, free breakfast, and an on-site bar. The resort options King Rooms, Queen Rooms with two queen beds, and a King Room with a sleeper couch.
The Grand Bohemian Lodge is the peak of luxurious throughout your Blue Ridge Parkway highway journey. The resort options King Rooms and Queen Rooms with two queen beds. You’ll additionally discover free on-site parking, an on-site bar, and a spa.
My high advice for lodging in Asheville throughout this highway journey is the Village Lodge at Biltmore Property. With free on-site parking, an out of doors swimming pool, an on-site bar serving native wines and spirits, and a spa, this may be the proper place to take a time without work from driving to get pleasure from some pampering.
A extra secluded various can be The Inn at Biltmore Property. The resort has an out of doors swimming pool and free on-site parking, however the greatest draw is the Eating Room with regional delicacies for visitors solely and the Library Lounge with informal advantageous eating. The resort options King Rooms with a mountain view and Double Rooms with two double beds.
When George Vanderbilt visited Asheville and noticed the majestic Mount Pisgah within the distance, he determined that was the proper place to construct his “nation dwelling.” The Biltmore is the most important home in America sitting on almost 8,000 acres of land simply south of Asheville. The peaceable setting, steeped in historical past, and on-site points of interest have made it one of many most-visited locations within the state.
Contemplating the value of admission to the property – it may possibly value upwards of $60/particular person on a median day – I like to recommend investing a complete day to get probably the most worth to your cash. Start with a tour of the grand home; guests should choose an obtainable tour time so you should definitely purchase your tickets prematurely if doable. In case you don’t have the time or want to tour inside the home, there’s loads to see exterior with gorgeous structure, formal gardens, and breathtaking views behind the home.
E-book the guided tour of the home an hour earlier than sundown for a very spectacular view.
Antler Hill Village is a one-stop vacation spot on the huge Biltmore Property for meals and leisure. Get one thing to eat at Cedric’s Tavern, stroll subsequent door the The Creamery for an exquisite dessert, and do some looking for Biltmore presents. At Antler Hill Farm, guests can see typical cattle that had been part of adolescence on the property.
In a single day guests to the Biltmore have the distinct pleasure of twilight and daybreak strolls throughout the property earlier than the gates open to most people. The Residences at Biltmore provide prime quality resort rooms for solo vacationers and households alike. The Inn on Biltmore Property is peak in a single day lodging with luxurious furnishings and advantageous facilities.
One Lodge Avenue, Asheville, NC | 800-411-3812 | www.biltmore.com
Western North Carolina Farmer’s Market
One of many best stops alongside Interstate 26 in Asheville with the best reward. Two indoor market areas home dozens of native farmers – together with a couple of artisans – providing an opportunity to take one thing fantastic on the highway with you. Recent fruit and veggies, meats and cheeses, and baked items can be found principally all year long.
The North Carolina Arboretum
Technically admission is free at The North Carolina Arboretum, however you’ll need to pay to park your automobile. The price is well worth the alternative to stroll the gardens and trails at this attraction positioned simply off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville.
Start the journey on the Schooling Heart, the place you’ll discover restrooms, a small reward store, and a rotating exhibit area. Head exterior to the Bonzai Exhibition Backyard, then begin the lengthy stroll on the Grand Backyard Promenade previous a number of formal gardens to the Baker Exhibit Heart. Eleven climbing trails wind throughout the 65-acre property, with about half of them open to foot site visitors and mountain biking.
100 Frederick Legislation Olmsted Means, Asheville, NC | 828-665-2492 | www.ncarboretum.org
Blue Ridge Parkway
The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway connects Shenandoah Nationwide Park in Virginia with Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park in North Carolina. Alongside the best way, the Parkway passes the best level on the East Coast, tons of of scenic overlooks, and miles of climbing trails.
Take Exit 37 and switch away from the flashy procuring middle. Observe Lengthy Shoals Street to a site visitors gentle after which flip proper onto Brevard Street. Simply after passing below a bridge, you’ll come to a flip to the left the place you possibly can entry the Blue Ridge Parkway and The North Carolina Arboretum.
This interchange on the Parkway is positioned at Milepost 393.6. The Blue Ridge Parkway Customer Heart is 10 miles to the north. Craggy Gardens, one of the crucial scenic locations to go to on the Parkway, is about thirty miles north and takes 45 minutes to get there.
To the south, Mount Pisgah is positioned at Milepost 407.9. It takes about twenty minutes to get there by a sequence of tunnels. Guests can take the three.2-mile Mount Pisgah Path to succeed in the summit of the mountain and benefit from the views from the wood statement deck. The Pisgah Inn is without doubt one of the solely lodges on the Parkway and affords rooms with a shocking view from the mountain ridge.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Firm
The brown indicators on the interstate are usually reserved for outside points of interest like state and nationwide parks. That’s why I used to be shocked the primary time I noticed a brown signal for the Sierra Nevada Brewing Firm close to the airport in Asheville. It’s a couple of turns from Exit 40 – you should definitely have a useful GPS gadget able to go – however quickly sufficient you’ll take a winding highway by an alley of bushes to the Sierra Nevada Taproom & Restaurant.
The gargantuan brewing facility is generally hidden from view however belief me it’s there. Their whole east coast division is run from this website simply twenty minutes south of Asheville. Guided excursions are provided of the brewery – every lasting about half an hour – the place guests can study concerning the historical past
100 Sierra Nevada Means, Mills River, NC | 828-708-6176 | https://sierranevada.com/go to/north-carolina
The thriving downtown of Hendersonville ought to by no means be neglected for Asheville when visiting North Carolina. Dwelling of the annual North Carolina Apple Pageant, Hendersonville’s downtown is a one-stop vacation spot for procuring, eating, and points of interest.
Mast Common Retailer is certainly one of simply over a dozen places throughout the nation of the favored outside retailer that started in North Carolina a really very long time in the past. From there, take a stroll down the huge sidewalks of Primary Avenue and get a brick oven pizza at Mezzaluna or go for steak and scallops at Postero. End your meal with a scoop, or two, of ice cream at Kilwins or seize a espresso to go at Black Bear Espresso Firm.
Go to Hendersonville 201 South Primary Avenue, Hendersonville, NC | 828-693-9708 | www.visithendersonvillenc.org
The place to Keep in Hendersonville
Crimson Roof Inn is probably the most budget-friendly possibility in Hendersonville – and shouldn’t be discounted for that cause. Rooms are accessed from contained in the foyer of the resort and embrace new renovations and furnishings. Select from rooms with a single king mattress or two double beds.
The Greatest Western gained’t win any awards for a fantastic constructing – it’s a colonial brick design – however it’s a comfy place to spend the night time. Select from rooms with a single king mattress or two double beds. The resort is positioned close to the interstate and surrounded by all of the eating places you would want.
The Charleston Inn is a captivating mattress and breakfast positioned close to downtown. All rooms embrace a single mattress solely, so this may not be the place to remain in the event you journey with household. Free on-site parking and a incredible breakfast make this an inviting place to remain.
Carl Sandburg Dwelling Nationwide Historic Website
Within the early 1900s, Carl Sandburg was extensively thought-about one of the crucial influential authors in America. Collections of his poetry gained him two Pulitzer Prizes, and he gained a 3rd together with his biography of Abraham Lincoln.
In 1945, Sandburg moved to the Connemara property in Flat Rock, North Carolina, the place he would spend the remainder of his life writing nearly one-third of his whole works. Right now, Carl Sandburg Dwelling Nationwide Historic Website is open to the general public for guided excursions the place guests can study Sandburg’s historical past, learn his poetry, and recognize the peacefulness of his retirement property.
81 Carl Sandburg Lane, Flat Rock, NC | 828-693-4178 | www.nps.gov/carl/index.htm
It’s straightforward to overlook the small city of Saluda and that may be a real disgrace. Essentially the most scenic route to go to the city for eastbound vacationers on Interstate 26 is to take Exit 54 onto U.S. Freeway 25 after which flip onto U.S. Freeway 176. The winding highway descends the mountains into the piedmont area, however not earlier than passing by the city.
Start on the Saluda Historic Depot the place you possibly can study concerning the notorious Saluda Grade, the steepest commonplace gauge railroad within the nation. Take an off-the-cuff stroll down the road, it could solely take ten minutes to stroll by your entire city, and get one thing to eat at Thompson’s Retailer. On the finish of the two-block downtown, get a candy deal with at Someplace In Time and name it an excellent day in Saluda.
North Carolina Welcome Heart (Westbound Solely)
Simply after crossing the state line heading north – westbound on the interstate – you’ll come to the North Carolina Welcome Heart. It’s one of many higher welcome facilities I’ve come throughout on varied highway journeys and a spot I all the time cease.
Truck and RV parking is under the customer middle with a staircase climbing the bottom. Private automobiles loop across the constructing with loads of parking and some bigger areas for vehicles with small trailers.
The restrooms are in a separate constructing from the customer middle and all the time stored open to the general public. The customer middle has a great deal of brochures protecting your entire state and often one or two individuals on the desk to reply questions.
Interstate 26 in South Carolina
From Charleston to the North Carolina border close to Landrum, Interstate 26 travels 220 miles throughout South Carolina. It’s a nice drive throughout the Piedmont, however by the point you attain the border you possibly can see the mountains forward.
South Carolina Welcome Heart (Eastbound Solely)
Simply after descending the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, guests will come to the South Carolina Welcome Heart. It’s an important place to get details about the state, use the restrooms, and stretch your legs.
Strawberry Hill U.S.A.
James Cooley was the third technology of his household to farm the land within the upstate of South Carolina alongside Freeway 11. It had began as a cotton farm together with his grandfather, transitioned to peaches together with his father, and in 1978 James took over the farm.
In 1995 James plowed over 6 acres of peach bushes in favor of strawberry vegetation. Inside only a few years his farm earned the nickname “Strawberry Hill USA” from his loyal clients. Right now the farm has almost 1,000 acres of peach bushes and over 100 acres of strawberry vegetation.
Cease at Strawberry Hill USA Café for a scrumptious made-to-order breakfast. There’s loads of seating so that you gained’t have to attend lengthy. Seize an ice cream on the best way out. Stroll throughout the highway to flick thru the recent produce from the farm on the roadside market. You’re nearly sure to take one thing dwelling with you.
3097 SC Hwy 11, Chesnee, SC |864-461-5353 | www.strawberryhillusa.com
Spartanburg is a busy metropolis within the South Carolina Upcountry on the intersection of Interstates 26 and 85. You’ll know you’re there once you move Westgate Mall – an extended staple of town positioned on Primary Avenue main into downtown.
Downtown is a walkable outside area centered round Morgan Sq. with extra native eating places than you’ll have the ability to pattern in per week. The Kennedy is a farm-to-table restaurant with a revolving menu that by no means disappoints. Pokenori and The Lemongrass Kitchen are two examples of the ethnic meals in Spartanburg – a rarity in smaller cities. My favourite downtown restaurant is RJ Rockers Brewing Firm the place you may get a craft beer to go together with scrumptious burgers, tacos, and wings.
Go to Spartanburg 105 North Pine Avenue, Spartanburg, SC | 864-594-5000 | www.visitspartanburg.com
The place to Keep in Spartanburg
Crimson Roof Inn is a superb budget-friendly possibility for highway tripping by Spartanburg. With inside entry rooms, current renovations together with fake hardwood flooring, and new furnishings, the resort will probably be a cushty place to spend an evening.
On the opposite facet of downtown – and nonetheless strolling distance to retailers and eating places – the AC Lodge is one other good spot to spend a couple of nights. Select from rooms with a single king mattress or get a set with a single king mattress and sleeper couch. The outside swimming pool is a superb amenity – when you have the time to get pleasure from it!
Hampton Inn & Suites is all the time an important place to spend the night time with probably the greatest free breakfasts of any resort chain. Situated beside the interstate, it will likely be simpler to succeed in in the event you’re simply highway tripping by the realm. Select from rooms with one or two beds or go together with a set with king mattress and sleeper couch.
Situated within the historic district, the Spartanburg Marriott is the premiere in a single day lodging within the metropolis. Select from rooms with a single king mattress or a set with a king mattress and sleeper couch. A terrace with a downtown view, comfy lounge, and outside swimming pool are added perks for this glorious resort.
Exit 44 or 52
Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Website
On August 18, 1780, a small group of Patriots below the command of Colonel Isaac Shelby and Colonel Elijah Clarke had been shifting by the South Carolina countryside on their approach to assault a close-by British fort. Nonetheless, they solely made it so far as Horseshoe Falls close to the Enoree River earlier than they had been found by redcoat sentries.
Outnumbered and outgunned, Shelby and Clarke rapidly improvised a plan to lure the British into battle on their phrases. Captain Shadrack Inman led 25 males throughout the Enoree River to feign an assault, after which strategically retreat with the complete British pressure carefully behind. The ensuing battle left almost half the British troopers lifeless, wounded, or captured. Compared, solely 4 Patriots had been killed in motion and 7 wounded.
The Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Website preserves the historic battleground alongside the Enoree River. Start on the customer middle the place you’ll study the main points of the battle and choose up a park map. Go for a hike alongside the British Path that winds by the realm the place the British camped earlier than the battle. Drive throughout the river to a small parking space and go for a hike to Horseshoe Falls, a small waterfall above the Enoree River. The Battlefield Path loops by a big area the place a portion of the battle happened.
398 State Park Street, Clinton, SC | 864-938-0100 | southcarolinaparks.com/musgrove-mill
Newberry is a captivating city you’ll by no means know existed in the event you didn’t get off the interstate freeway to research – that’s precisely how I discovered it. Downtown stretches a complete three blocks alongside Primary Avenue lined with retail retailers, eating places, and the Newberry Opera Home – an historic venue with a strong schedule of occasions.
Figaro Market is a small store chocked stuffed with native produce and baked items – a wonderful place to go to throughout a highway journey by the realm. Across the nook, Figaro the Eating Room is the poshest restaurant on the town with a menu of duck breast, ribeye, and lobster tails. The Grille on Primary is a little more inexpensive however nonetheless with an important menu that features Southern Fried Catfish – certainly one of my favourite meals.
Newberry Chamber of Commerce 1209 Caldwell St, Newberry, SC | 803-276-4274 | www.newberrycountychamber.com
The place to Keep in Newberry
Days Inn is probably the most budget-friendly possibility in Newberry and nonetheless a really comfy motel. There isn’t a possibility for a set at this location, however you possibly can select from rooms with one or two beds or get adjoining rooms.
Hampton Inn is the one resort positioned downtown inside straightforward strolling distance of the historic Newberry Opera Home and plenty of eating places. It’s a stunning resort with choices for one or two beds in rooms and a set with a king mattress and sleeper couch.
Vacation Inn Categorical is positioned beside the interstate with quick access in the event you’re simply passing by. Select from rooms with a single king or queen mattress or get a set with a king mattress and sleeper couch for touring households.
Dreher Island State Park
Dreher Island State Park will not be precisely a hop-off, hop-on vacation spot whereas touring alongside Interstate 26, however it’s value a day journey go to to this considerably distant state park. After exiting the interstate, it’s a couple of 20-minute drive alongside two-lane nation roads to the state park’s entrance.
The park is positioned alongside Lake Murray – a 50,000-acre reservoir with a whopping 650 miles of shoreline. The park is certainly positioned on an island – the truth is, it’s a sequence of three islands linked by bridge and straightforward to traverse.
The park incorporates a fantastic campground hidden beneath the shade of lengthy leaf pines with almost half the campsites waterfront. Mountaineering trails wind by the park and alongside the shore of the lake. A full-service marina affords boat leases, gas, and provides for day journeys on the lake for recreation or fishing.
3677 State Park Rd, Prosperity, SC | 803-364-4152 | www.southcarolinaparks.com/dreherisland
The state capital of South Carolina is a incredible place to spend a weekend – certainly one of my favourite getaways within the state. On the coronary heart of the downtown space, the South Carolina State Home is a beautiful place to take a guided tour or stroll the climbing trails across the constructing.
You’ll discover loads of nice eating places alongside Gervais and Primary Streets. Motor Provide Firm incorporates a incredible brunch menu together with a dinner menu that modifications relying on the native market. Grill Marks cooks up probably the greatest burgers within the metropolis – however it’s a must to strive certainly one of their signature Freakshakes for dessert. Subsequent door, Twisted Spur Brewing Firm affords an important menu of craft beer to go together with some meals.
On Primary Avenue, Bourbon is a restaurant in an outdated constructing crammed with strong wooden panels and comfy cubicles – however you’ll need to combat a crowd to get a seat at this fashionable restaurant. Cantina 76 affords extra seating simply down the road in the event you get pleasure from scrumptious tacos. On Saturday mornings, Primary Avenue is closed to automobiles are distributors arrange tables and tents for the Soda Metropolis Market – an important place to seek out native arts and crafts, clothes, and baked items.
Whereas in Columbia, you should definitely go to the South Carolina State Museum. Three flooring of reveals element the historical past of the state from the Charles City colony by trendy instances – together with a recreation of the Greatest Buddy of Charleston locomotive and an enormous shark. EdVenture Kids’s Museum subsequent door is a superb hands-on museum for youngsters that may make for an entertaining afternoon cease. Alongside the banks of the Saluda River, Riverbanks Zoo & Backyard is a incredible escape into the wild with a zoo, aquarium, and botanical backyard in a cushty setting.
Expertise Columbia 1010 Lincoln Avenue, Columbia, SC | 803-545-0000 | www.experiencecolumbiasc.com
The place to Keep in Columbia
Hyatt Place That is the place I stayed throughout my week of discovering Christmas in Columbia. It was an excellent comfy and handy location for exploring downtown, The Vista, and 5 Factors throughout all of the Christmas occasions. A full-service bar and restaurant within the foyer provided an opportunity to get a meal with out having to decorate up and exit.
Vacation Inn & Suites The Vacation Inn chain has all the time been high notch and that is no completely different. All of the rooms have been renovated with trendy furnishings and décor to supply a cushty go to to town. Connecting rooms permit households slightly extra privateness (and separation from those who snore).
Hampton Inn This resort is in an important location beside the interstate to rapidly entry all of the Christmas occasions within the metropolis. They characteristic a number of rooms with a sleeper couch so you possibly can carry your entire household. The breakfast unfold within the morning is fairly spectacular and can get your day began off proper.
Congaree Nationwide Park
Congaree Nationwide Park is the solely nationwide park in South Carolina. The park preserves the outdated development forest alongside the Congaree River about thirty minutes south of Columbia.
The nationwide park is infamously identified for the Mosquito Meter – a gauge of what number of buzzing bugs guests will discover throughout a go to to the swampy park. Summer season months are often the worst, with the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn the perfect for a hike or canoe journey.
There are ten climbing trails within the park starting from lower than a mile to nearly ten miles in size, however they’re all straightforward to hike. The preferred path within the park is the Boardwalk Loop Path. The two.4-mile path begins on the customer middle on an elevated boardwalk that ultimately descends to a stage boardwalk with the ground of the forest.
100 Nationwide Park Rd, Hopkins, SC | 803-776-4396 | www.nps.gov/cong/index.htm
I’ll admit Orangeburg is usually a spot I get off the interstate for dinner at a quick meals joint close to the freeway, however the small nation city does have a couple of issues worthy of a detour. Exit 145 on Interstate 26 is a superb place to seek out meals and gas with an abundance of each inside 5 minutes of the exit.
Proceed about quarter-hour alongside Magnolia Avenue to find downtown – passing South Carolina State College alongside the best way. Russell Avenue is the primary avenue by downtown with about two blocks of native companies starting at Memorial Plaza.
Edisto Memorial Gardens is an effective place to stretch your legs on stunning days. The small botanical backyard has a strolling path alongside the North Fork of the Edisto River and a small rose backyard that blooms annually.
Audubon’s Francis Beidler Forest
Audubon’s Francis Beidler Forest is without doubt one of the greatest stored secrets and techniques in South Carolina and rivals Congaree Nationwide Park. Operated by Audubon South Carolina, the 18,000-acre wildlife sanctuary affords a shocking panorama for climbing and viewing wildlife.
The 1.75-mile Beidler Forest Boardwalk begins on the customer middle and winds by an outdated development forest within the swamp. The boardwalk is straightforward and comfy to stroll and takes about an hour. Alongside the best way you’re sure to listen to wildlife within the large cypress and tupelo bushes – and in the event you’re fortunate, you’ll spot a number of the critters from the boardwalk.
It takes about fifteen minutes from the interstate exit to succeed in the customer middle. Admission is free.
336 Sanctuary Rd #3324, Harleyville, SC | 843-462-2150 | https://sc.audubon.org/go to/beidler
The booming city of Summerville is usually neglected by vacationers keen to succeed in Charleston – however it is best to make some extent to go to the charming downtown for procuring and dinner. When you get previous the company facade on the interstate exit, you’ll cross the railroad tracks and official enter downtown Summerville.
In 2016, Summerville achieved the notoriety of “Largest Candy Tea” on the planet by Guiness World Data. A 15’ tall reproduction of a Mason jar was in-built downtown, crammed with 2,524 gallons of candy tea, and the remainder is historical past. Guests can nonetheless pay homage to the ginormous “Mason” wedged between city corridor and a parking storage.
Town claims the doubtful title of “Birthplace of Candy Tea.” I’m not fully persuade that is true, nonetheless the Candy Tea Path continues to be an entertaining approach to discover the city. Whereas strolling by city you should definitely hop inside one of many many native retail retailers. Antiques & Artisans in City was my favourite retailer on the town to go to. The big consignment store was crammed with antiques, arts and crafts, and new merchandise scattered all through a stunning outdated constructing. Primary Avenue Reads is the one regionally owned bookstore in Summerville and price a go to to browse their number of books on native historical past, tradition, and tourism in addition to nationally printed fiction and non-fiction books.
Want some espresso to maintain you going? Cuppa Manna is a pleasant native espresso store that serves breakfast and lunch sandwiches together with recent floor espresso for each cup. Simply exterior of downtown, Coastal Espresso Roasters is one other good spot for meals and occasional with a bit extra room in a bigger setting.
Montreux Bar and Grill is my favourite place to eat in Summerville for all kinds of causes. The restaurant is positioned inside an outdated constructing with creaky hardwood flooring, comfy seating, and massive image home windows on the entrance the place I often sit. My first go to to the restaurant was for brunch, the place I discovered The Hangover to be the proper meal even and not using a hangover. Throughout my subsequent go to, I found their crab muffins, which severely raised the bar for any restaurant I go to sooner or later.
Summerville Customer Heart 402 North Primary Avenue, Summerville, SC | 843-875-8535 | www.visitsummerville.com
The place to Keep in Summerville
My high advice in Summerville is the Hampton Inn. The resort options rooms with a single king mattress or a set with a king mattress and a sleeper couch. I’ve all the time discovered the free sizzling breakfast at Hampton Inn inns to be among the many greatest wherever.
The Vacation inn Categorical is without doubt one of the latest inns on the town and kinda wedged onto a property beside the native grocery retailer. It’s not a nasty location close to the interstate and options an out of doors swimming pool with slightly little bit of peace and quiet.
The Flowertown Mattress & Breakfast is a superb possibility that apparently has among the many greatest charges on the town. Select a room with a queen mattress and personal bathtub, or get a room with two queen beds.
Caroline’s Mattress and Breakfast is positioned inside a stunning dwelling on Magnolia Avenue within the coronary heart of all of the historic properties in Summerville. All of the rooms provide the identical king mattress and facilities, and I recommend you need to begin the day on the swinging bench on the coated entrance porch.
North Charleston, SC
North Charleston is ceaselessly merged into the Larger Charleston Space – together with Mount Nice, Sullivan’s Island, and Folly Seaside. A lot of North Charleston is industrial procuring facilities like Tanger Retailers close to the airport, however that’s not the perfect place to discover.
Park Circle is an outdated neighborhood of North Charleston that has turn into the de facto “downtown.” Two blocks alongside Montague Avenue are lined with native retail retailers and eating places with straightforward parking and comfy strolling.
Southern Roots Smokehouse is a superb place for Southern BBQ, EVO Pizzeria affords scrumptious brick oven pizzas, and Stems & Skins affords Mediterranean delicacies in probably the most upscale setting you’ll discover on the town.
You’ll discover a couple of locations to buy in Park Circle, however my favourite is the Itinerant Literate Bookshop. The homeowners began with nothing greater than a transformed faculty bus as a bookmobile earlier than lastly settling down with a brick-and-mortar location. Browse native historical past books, a number of favourite authors, youngsters’s books, and discover a couple of reward concepts.
Just some minutes from Park Circle is the brand new location for Firefly Distillery – a neighborhood distillery that made a reputation for itself with candy tea flavored vodka. The brand new digs provide outside seating with leisure and meals vehicles on weekend nights, guided excursions of the manufacturing facility, and a stunning tasting room to present all the things a strive. Throughout the highway, Holy Metropolis Brewing affords a incredible menu of cheese fries and burgers to go together with their ever-changing checklist of craft beers on faucet.
Charleston is probably the most historic metropolis in South Carolina — and nearly unimaginable to totally discover in a single journey. However with a few nights and the need energy to do fairly a little bit of strolling, it’s fully doable to get an excellent really feel for town in forty-eight hours.
Get began with a stroll by the Charleston Metropolis Market — two outside buildings are chocked stuffed with regionally made arts and crafts, whereas the indoor climate-controlled constructing has extra retailers and two to-go eateries. A kind of eateries, Callie’s Sizzling Little Biscuit, serves one of the crucial superb breakfast sandwiches within the state.
The Charleston Customer Heart is only a few blocks away on the opposite facet of Marion Sq.. Park on the highest stage of the parking storage subsequent door to admire the view of close by Citadel Baptist Church — the tallest church steeple in Charleston — and the outdated prepare depots throughout the road. Throughout Assembly Avenue from the customer middle is The Charleston Museum, the oldest museum within the nation, crammed with reveals and artifacts from all through Charleston’s historical past.
Liberty Sq. on the waterfront is dwelling to the Fort Sumter Monument Museum, a free museum to study the historical past of Fort Sumter and the Civil Warfare, and the South Carolina Aquarium. From the concrete pier on the water you’ll catch a view of the USS Yorktown, a World Warfare II-era plane service throughout Charleston Harbor at Patriots Level.
Charleston has turn into a foodie vacation spot that has reached past she crab soup and native seafood. In case you’re nonetheless eager on the seafood, although, strive Fleet Touchdown Restaurant with recent catch on a regular basis. Poogan’s Porch has turn into one of the crucial fashionable eating places downtown, serving southern meals with a twist. Benny Ravello’s is the one place within the metropolis the place you may get a slice of pizza so long as your arm and The Griffon is understood for his or her fish and chips.
The place to Keep in Charleston
Slightly additional up the peninsula alongside higher King Avenue is the Hyatt Place that could be a actually good spot to remain for the cash. I additionally suggest the Hampton Inn and Vacation Inn close by.
Simply fifteen minutes from downtown, Mt. Nice inns are inside straightforward placing distance and can save appreciable cash. I like to recommend the Greatest Western, Lodge Indigo, and Vacation Inn Categorical. Every of those is positioned alongside Freeway 17 close to the top of the Ravenel Bridge.
Motels in downtown Charleston are expensive. Generally it’s well worth the expenditure due to the situation and facilities. I’ve all the time beneficial Belmond Charleston Place, HarbourView Inn, and Embassy Suites as a result of it’s a pink fort (severely). The Lodge Bennett is the newest addition to the Charleston skyline overlooking Marion Sq..