If you’re looking for something to do this December, or January try out some these events going on around the state. It’s not all what’s going to be happening so check out local papers or town websites. Every town will have a parade. Every town will have something. Some are free. Some not.
This site lists Holiday Light Displays
I’ve created a resource you can bookmark to help with traveling around the state. It’s on the resource page. Here are all the websites I’ve found over the years that have helped me the most. I shied away from those that emphasize restaurants and shopping areas. Check it out. If you know of a website that isn’t here, please let me know so I can add to it.
Looking for something to do in December? Here are some the events to help ring in the holidays. It’s by no means all. Every town has a parade and other activities. Some are free, some are not. Some have a set price, others ask for donations. Events take place all over the state. There’s ice skating, holiday lights, parades, walks & runs, tree lighting and much, much, more. Check local papers for more.
Columbia and the Midlands (including Aiken, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lexington, Newberry, and York counties)
Columbia’s The Comet Soda City Connector route started in late August. For now and until January February it will be free! According to the newscast, the free price may be extended if there’s enough interest. Otherwise it’ll be $1.50 (with no transfers). There are two routes. One goes from the The Vista to Five Points, and the other goes from the Vista to Taylor Street (Benedict College/Allen University area) It runs Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm. It begins/ends at the SC Museum, I think at the back near Washington Street. Both routes stop at Lincoln Street, on Main Street, the State House. Then one goes on to Taylor and Harden and the other to Five Points. Points of interest along the way are: Edventure children’s museum, Vista restaurants and shops, memorial park, Columbia museum of art, Maxcy Gregg park, Main street district, USC, Five points restaurant and parks, colleges.
The Greenbook of South Carolina: A Travel Guide to African American Cultural Sites is a new website I heard about recently on the news. Finally, a comprehensive webpage devoted to African-American cultural sites in South Carolina. I’d found a handful of brochures dedicated to tourist places especially for the Pee Dee area, but nothing like this.
With more than three hundred areas in its database, one can search for places to visit in various ways – map, category, or a specific location. Going on a road trip? You can customize an itinerary for yourself. Or travel along the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor.
Brainerd Institute in Chester
Categories to search under are: Cultural Attractions, Historic Cemeteries, Historic Churches, Historic Districts, Historic Markers, and Historic School. One can also search by Tags. Maybe a little fine tuning is needed, or maybe I’m just picky in my searches. I found what I wanted in the end, Rosenwald schools, and they have a good list of then.
If you wonder about the name of the website, The Greenbook, it comes from the travel guide used by African Americans to find places where they’d be safe to sleep overnight and eat while traveling especially in places where there were curfews for African Americans. Victor Green, a postman from New York first published the guide in 1936. It was printed up until the mid sixties. Google it, because it’s very interesting.
Mary McLeod Bethune Park in Lee County
I celebrated the park service’s 100th birthday at Congaree National Park with a long hike and birthday cake. The events held that day was an excuse to head on over to hike and take more photos. The treat was just icing on the cake.
There was a ranger led hike in the morning. I missed that, but by utilizing the trail map and tour map of the boardwalk, I went alone. I did the Weston Lake Loop. It’s not that long, about 4.4 miles. It goes along a creek and also the boardwalk. The overlook was closed, so I missed out on the lake. Had I made a detour I may have still seen it, but I plowed on. The first time I visited Weston Lake I saw a gar fish. Those are like dinosaurs. I’d hoped to get a picture. Maybe next time. Congaree National Park is celebrating its 40th birthday in October. Another nice excuse to go. I have to decide what trail I’ll do next.
If by any chance you are in Columbia, SC on Wednesday, 11 May 2016 and are interested, come by Sandhills Library for my Day Trips in South Carolina workshop. It’ll be held from seven to eight pm. I’ll have photographs from my trips, but the main goal is to help people find places to visit. I’ll offer resources and where to go and get more resources. I hope others will share their favorite places too.
100 years ago, in 1916, August 25, 1916 to be precise, then President Woodrow Wilson established the National Park Service. And for that I say: Thank you.
I truly enjoy the parks, monuments, landmarks, historic sites, national rivers, historic trails, heritage corridors, and yes, even the battlefields. I’ve been an admirer since the first time I set foot on one of national entities shepherded by the national park system. I don’t remember how old I was and I’ve mixed up national and state marks in my mind, but the first one I truly can say I remember is Sandy Hook National Recreation Area, which wasn’t far from Fort Monmouth, NJ. We visited it several times. My dad rescued a Horse Shoe Crab there once.
At the time President Woodrow signed the Organic Act, as it was called, there were already 35 parks and monuments in existence. What the Organic act was to guarantee the parks would be protected and preserved. I wonder what he would say if he knew those 35 parks have grown to 400 plus? And include forests and coastlines? And that our parks would be tourist destinations for peoples all over the world?
According to the National Park Service, NPS, 1 million people visited the parks in 1920. In recent years around 292 million people visited. The last park I visited was Ninety-Six NHS. On vacations I always make it the parks a focal point of the trip. It’s a fun way to learn. When I went to Arkansas, my last vacation, I visited five National Park sites.
In South Carolina we have:
Charles Pinckney NHS – Mt. Pleasant
Congaree NP – Hopkins
Cowpens NB – Chesnee
Fort Sumter NM – Charleston
Gullah-Geechee National Heritage Corridor – SC/GA/FL/NC
Kings Mountain NMP – Blacksburg
Ninety Six NHS – Ninety Six
Overmountain Victory – National Historic Trail – SC/TN/NC/VA
South Carolina National Heritage Corridor – Edgefield
As you can see, there’s one in easy reach from any part of the state. Visit the website of the closest one near you to find out what Centennial doings may be taking place.
National Park Service: Celebration
Plus: With the Every Kid in a Park campaign, every fourth grader can get a pass for their family to visit our national parks for free!
Every Kid In A Park
With the 1000 year flooding we’ve had in South Carolina last month, please check the websites to see if a particular park is closed or sustained damage. Trails might be closed or certain roads. Websites for many SC links are on the resources page. If you wish to visit a place I’ve mentioned, there’s a link to the site on that post.
It has been a horrendous time and some places have been hit hard. Several dams near me had breached and roads had been washed out. I have not yet been to the park nearest me, Sesquicentennial, so I don’t know what the damage is there or Congaree Park. I’d meant to post the Riverfront Park, but it may be months before that is accessible again since the canal collapsed in several places.
Come Out and Play: South Carolina State Parks
This is your introduction to the state parks. Whether you’re familiar with the parks or a complete stranger to one, this is a great place to learn new or more about where you want to visit.
I like: The park finder with map right on top right. What’s cool is that the pictures correspond with the highlighted park, so if you don’t know where to go, maybe a picture can help decide. If you still can’t decide there are trip planning tools and info on park deals. I also like they have a place on the site for kids to get involved.
The home page is inviting and has everything you need to take you where you want to go.
Once you find your park, it’s easy to find the directions, park maps, area information, things to do, and more.
You can search for a park by activity (click on the Things to Do tab or Camping and Lodging if you want a park where you can camp.