Upstate South Carolina and the neighboring states of Georgia and North Carolina have a lot of exciting destinations to visit. If you live in the greater Spartanburg area, there’s a nearby destination worth visiting!
Spartanburg, SC is convenient for many great day trips and short road trips that offer fun for everyone in the family. You can head to Lake Jocassee for some water fun or into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains for hiking, camping, or to tour the largest privately owned US home.
Spend a day or some weekend trips exploring all the best places around Spartanburg. You will find there’s a perfect destination for you below!
- 1. BMW Zentrum – The BMW Museum (25-min. drive)
- 2. Table Rock State Park (1 hour & 15 min. drive)
- 3. Lake Keowee (1 hour & 20 min. drive)
- 4. Congaree National Park (2-hour drive)
- 5. Travelers Rest (1 hour drive)
- 7. Flat Rock, NC (50 min. drive)
- 10. Biltmore House, Asheville (1 hour & 25 min. drive)
- 13. Tupelo Honey Cafe, Downtown Asheville (1 hour & 25 min. drive)
- 14. Chimney Rock State Park (1 hour drive)
- Other Places Worth Considering for a Day Trip
1. BMW Zentrum – The BMW Museum
When you don’t want to stray too far for the day, head to the BMW Zentrum!
The BMW Zentrum Museum is the only BMW Museum in North America and is a 25-minute drive from downtown Spartanburg.
Get ready for an interactive experience where you can book a plant tour to watch these luxury cars being made. While there, visit the Zentrum Museum for their sensory experience of the BMW brand’s past, present, and future.
The museum takes you through racing models, the famous “Bubblecar”, and state-of-the-art models. It’s one of the most popular spots to visit in Spartanburg and is listed in our 28 Best Things to Do in Spartanburg.
Admission is free, but you must be twelve and older to tour. The BMW Zentrum is open Monday-Friday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
Distance: BMW Zentrum is 16.1 miles from downtown Spartanburg, SC, which is a 25-minute drive.
Address: 1400 SC-101, Greer, SC 29651.
2. Table Rock State Park (1 hour & 15 min. drive)
Table Rock State Park provides breathtaking views and lots of outdoor activities for the whole family. It’s one of the best day trips from anywhere in my book. Table Rock State Park is a 1.5-hour from downtown Spartanburg, SC. A visit is well worth the scenic drive along the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway.
There are so many things to do that one day won’t likely be enough! You’ll find activities such as:
- bird watching
- cabin rentals
Pro Tip: Going on an adventurous hike is no easy feat. But you’ll get the most fun out of it with proper footwear.
- This is the brand of hiking boots I’ve enjoyed. You can find them on Amazon.
- I also like to use hiking poles like these from Amazon. They make a difference on rocky terrains when you’re trying to keep your balance (especially on steep descents).
Distance: Table Rock State Park is 58 miles from downtown Spartanburg, SC, which is a 1 hour and 15-minute drive.
Location: 158 E Ellison Ln, Pickens, SC 29671
You can spend the day at Table Rock State Park or camp overnight to enjoy the many activities they offer.
While camping isn’t a day trip, staying overnight in your tent or in a cabin gives you more time to explore the park. You will find two separate campsites totaling 94 spaces, all with water and electrical hookups. Each camp has a picnic table, restrooms, and hot showers. Some sites will accommodate RVs.
You must call 866-345-PARK to make a camping reservation or reserve your spot online. They also rent fourteen cabins and day-use spaces.
Cabins for Rent:
- fully furnished
- have air conditioning and heat
- bed linens
- all the necessary appliances to cook a full meal
Picnic Areas: The day-use spaces are picnic pavilions for family celebrations and birthdays.
- Fish on Lake Pinnacle, a thirty-six-acre water body, or on Lake Oolenoy, sixty-seven acres, for bass, bream, and catfish. They only allow paddle-powered boats or electric trolling motors on Lake Oolenoy, while Lake Pinnacle is rental boats only.
- Kayak, canoe, or pedal boat on Lake Pinnacle on their daily rentals.
- You can swim daily in the lakes from 7 am to 6 pm.
- Birdwatchers can spot diverse varieties near the park’s visitor center.
- There is plenty of geocaching in the park.
Table Rock State Park is an access point for the Pinnacle and Table Rock Mountains. An extensive trail system offers hikes to multiple waterfalls, mountain peaks, and natural wonders that leave you in awe.
4 Trails to Hike at Table Rock State Park (listed by length of trail):
- Lake Side Trail (1.9-mile loop)
- Carrick Creek (2-mile loop)
- Table Rock NRT (3.6 miles one way).
- Pinnacle Mountain (4.2 miles one way)
Make sure you register at the Trailhead Kiosk or the Nature Center before embarking on a hike.
3. Lake Keowee
Lake lovers will have a fantastic time at Keowee Toxaway State Park, which offers stunning views of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Take a great day trip to Lake Keowee, only an hour and a twenty minutes from Spartanburg.
About Lake Keowee:
- offers camping, hiking, and swimming
- 1,000-acre lake
- on the shores of Lake Keowee, the elevation is 800 feet above sea level
- if you hike to the tallest peak, you’ll reach 1,175 feet above sea level.
If you bring your boat, the Fall Creek boat landing is a 5-mile drive from the state park. Nature enthusiasts will delight in the outdoor adventures offered at Lake Keowee!
And if you need a kayak, here are three great picks from Amazon.
- Top inflatable kayak for 1-person: Intex Excursion Pro Kayak Series
- Top inflatable 2-person kayak: Intex Explorer K2 Kayak
- Best Budget & Sit-on-Top Kayak: Pelican Sentinel Sit-on-Top Kayak
Distance: Keowee Toxaway State Park is 71 miles from downtown Spartanburg, which is a 1 hour and 20-minute drive.
Location: Keowee Toxaway State Park, 108 Residence Dr, Sunset, SC 29685
4. Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park is a top destination worth visiting in the Palmetto state! This is perhaps my favorite park in Georgia or South Carolina.
The old-growth cedar forest is breathtaking and worth spending an entire day exploring. The incredible natural biodiversity exists due to the Wateree and Congaree Rivers flowing into the floodplain.
- A raised boardwalk for easy accessibility and walks
- 10 Different Hiking Trails (trail guide here)
- Congaree River Blue Trail – 50-mile paddle trail
- Canoe and Kayak adventures
- Fishing in designated areas
- Field trips can be scheduled by contacting the park office (more info here)
With over twenty-five miles of hiking trails and two and one-half miles of boardwalks that take you over marshy areas, this national park offers tent camping only.
You will marvel at the massive native trees in the park, the largest, contiguous old-growth forest in the Southeast. The Congaree Biosphere Region is fed by multiple watersheds that sustain and promote diverse growth within the forest.
Hours: Congaree National Park is open seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.
Distance: Congaree National Park is 114 miles from downtown Spartanburg, which is a 2-hour drive.
Location: Congaree National Park, 100 National Park Rd, Hopkins, SC 29061
And if you want to stay the weekend, there are some nearby rental homes you can find on VRBO.
5. Travelers Rest
For over three hundred years, Travelers Rest has been a stopping point for those venturing into the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Over the years, the town has grown to hold its own with antique shops, charming restaurants, quaint gift shops, and outdoor adventures.
Distance: Travelers Rest is 32 miles from downtown Spartanburg, SC, which is a 1-hour drive.
6. Travelers Rest Farmers Market
Every Saturday morning from May to September, the Travelers Rest Farmers Market offers a lot to shoppers and visitors looking for a relaxed weekend. You’ll find:
- the freshest vegetables and produce
- live music
- local honey
- kids’ activities.
- locally raised and processed meat
- just-picked herbs
- artisan breads, jams, jellies, and everything in between!
Every Thursday night from 5-8 pm in October, you can revel in the Fall Bluegrass and Harvest Market.
Location: 235 Trailblazer Dr, Travelers Rest, SC 29690
7. Flat Rock, NC
Take a scenic drive into the Blue Ridge Mountains, where you will find the Village of Flat Rock, NC. This great town is just over the South Carolina border.
Flat Rock is a quaint North Carolina town that has a historic bed and breakfast, lodging, and restaurants, along with some sites you won’t want to miss!
Distance: Flat Rock, NC is 47 miles from downtown Spartanburg, SC, which is a 51-minute drive.
8. Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
Flat Rock is where Carl Sandburg, the poet of the people, grew up. He wrote much of his poetry, children’s stories, and journalism pieces at this historic home.
Within the two hundred seventy acres of the homestead lie multiple walking trails where you can see his home and other parts of the property.
Location: 1800 Little River Rd, Flat Rock, NC 28731
9. Flat Rock Play House
Make plans to attend a play at the Flat Rock Play House, designated in 1961 as the official North Carolina State Theater.
Over a nine-month period, they put on musicals, comedies, dramas, and children’s theater. They also partner with local schools and colleges for acting classes and theater workshops to aid the local performing arts.
10. Biltmore House, Asheville
One of the most popular destinations in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina is the Biltmore House in Asheville. No day trip is complete without a visit to the Biltmore Estate and Winery.
The Vandderbilt family’s estate has several scenic drives from the main entrance to the house itself. Included with your ticket, you can:
- visit Antler Hill Village and Winery
- dine at restaurants
- visit the ice cream parlor
- enjoy a petting zoo.
Touring the entire estate in one day can be diffcult. When I visited, I stayed at The Residences at Biltmore, which is 0.5 miles from Biltmore Village. Or you can stay on the estate itself at the Inn.
Distance: The Biltmore House is 70 miles from downtown Spartanburg, SC, which is a 1 hour and 25-minute drive.
Location: 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803
11. Biltmore Gardens
Within the estate are the Gardens and Grounds, where you will find an Italian pond and lush roses. The Gardens Gift Shop has souvenirs with garden themes you can take home to remember their dazzling display.
The estate and gardens are a model of forest conservation and sustainability.
12. The Biltmore Winery
Also on the 8,000-acre estate is the Biltmore Winery, home to award-winning rose, white, and red wines. You can schedule a wine tour and tasting once you reach the winery.
Don’t forget to join the George Vanderbilt Wine Club to experience their distinct hand-crafted wines.
13. Tupelo Honey Cafe, Downtown Asheville
Before you leave the historic town of Asheville, NC, continue your road trip to downtown Asheville and eat at Tupelo Honey Scratch Made Cafe. They take southern food up a notch with their fried chicken, creamy grits, seasonal vegetables, and entrees.
Voted as one of the “Top 100 Spots for Mother’s Day” and “Best Brunch,” Tupelo Honey Cafe is a diner’s delight!
Location: 12 College St, Asheville, NC 28801
14. Chimney Rock State Park
Another one-hour drive from Spartanburg is Chimney Rock State Park. Here, you can interact with nature, climb to the top of the rock, and enjoy all sorts of wildlife sightings. Tour the Animal Discovery Den with your kids and take panoramic photos to share your experience.
Chimney Rock State Park has an elevator that takes you to the top for those who have difficulty climbing or walking. It will deliver you to the Sky Lounge, where you can shop and marvel at the views of the majestic mountains.
Once you finish exploring this state park, you can eat at one of the many restaurants in the village, where there are also plenty of stores for browsing and buying souvenirs.
Drive Time: Chimney Rock is 48 miles from downtown Spartanburg, SC, which is a 1-hour drive.
Address: 431 Main St, Chimney Rock, NC 28720
15. Lake Lure, NC
Lake Lure is only fifteen minutes from Chimney Rock State Park. In summer, you can go swimming at Lake Lure Beach after hiking to the top of Chimney Rock, or you can plan a day trip to play in the water all day!
Lake Lure has boat tours of the lake, rental boats, paddle boats, and paddle boards. The beach has water park activities for the little kids and slides that spill the older ones into the lake. You can fish on the lake and enjoy the unique area encompassed by the mountains.
If you want to book an outing on the lake, check out Lake Lure Adventure. They offfer:
- Boat rentals
- Kneeboarding & Wakeboarding
- Kayaks & Paddleboards
- And guided fishing trips
Whether you want to go hiking or spend some time browsing cute, small-town shops, when you are ready for a short adventure, these road trips highlight the area’s incredible natural beauty of Spartanburg and the surrounding communities.
Distance: Lake Lure is 41 miles from downtown Spartanburg, SC, which is a 1-hour and 5-minute drive.
Location: Lake Lure, NC
Other Places Worth Considering for a Day Trip
- Hagood Mill Historic Site: Website
- Discovery Island Waterpark: Buy tickets here
- Greenville County Museum of Art
- Croft State Park
- Bob Campbell Geology Museum – In the college town of Clemson
- The biggest city in Georgia – Atlanta. Check out the Atlanta Botanical Garden or the Georgia Aquarium
- Coastal area and beaches like St. Simons or Folly Beach