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Staycation: Enjoying the SC Upstate on a Budget

by Paula on May 21, 2013


Staycation 2013


Welcome to our Staycation 2013 post!  Living in the Upstate of South Carolina, we’re lucky to have multiple free and low-cost attractions and family-friendly activities in our area, many of them within a short 1-2 hour drive.

Listed here are a few of our favorite places and spaces in the South Carolina Upcountry.

The Upstate of South Carolina can be defined in multiple ways, but I’m including six counties, based on the path of I-85 as it traverses South Carolina on its way from Atlanta, Georgia, to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Those six counties, listed alphabetically, are:  Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, and Spartanburg.

This post focuses on Anderson County activities.  I’ll focus on a new county each day this week and will link them all together at the end of the week.  Stay tuned!!


Anderson County

Anderson County Museum


Anderson County Museum in Anderson, South Carolina

Discover Anderson County’s history with a trip through time at the Anderson County Museum.  Located in downtown Anderson, the museum hosts both permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as the historic Robert Anderson Memorial Fountain.


Anderson County Museum Store in Anderson, South Carolina

There’s also a South Carolina-themed gift shop for all your Palmetto product needs!

Details You’ll Need:  Admission is free.  The Anderson County Museum is located at 202 East Greenville Street, Anderson, South Carolina.  Phone:  864.260.4737.  Hours:  Tuesday 10 am – 7 pm; Wednesday-Saturday 10 am – 4 pm.


Anderson Arts Center


Anderson Arts Center in Anderson, South Carolina

Filled with rotating exhibits and activities that promote the creation and appreciation of the arts in Anderson County, the Anderson Arts Center also hosts a series of arts classes and a dynamic arts camp that involve locals of all ages.

Details You’ll Need:  Admission is free.  The Anderson Arts Center is located at 110 Federal Street, Anderson, South Carolina.  Phone:  864.222.2787.  Hours:  Tuesday – Friday 9:30 am – 5:30 pm.


Downtown Anderson


Downtown Anderson, South Carolina

What’s not to like about a quaint central shopping district replete with a variety of restaurants and family-friendly activities?  Locally owned coffee shops and charming bistros provide ample dining opportunities in downtown Anderson.


A Little Birdie Told Me Carolina wren scavenger hunt in downtown Anderson, South Carolina

Fun for young and old alike, A Little Birdie Told Me is a Carolina wren-inspired scavenger hunt.  We had a great time searching for 22 bronze sculptures–some were much easier to find than others!  Download a brochure for your hunt here.


Generator Park in Anderson, South Carolina

Be sure to take a slight detour off Main Street to visit Generator Park, where you can learn about Anderson’s nickname, “The Electric City,” and see a generator that once produced electricity for the Anderson area at the Portman Power Plant.

Details You’ll Need:  Admission is free.  Contact the City of Anderson for more details and more attractions.  Phone:  864.231.5933.  Downtown Anderson website here.


Town of Belton

South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame, Ruth Drake Museum, and Belton Center for the Arts in Belton, South Carolina

The charming Anderson County town of Belton is home to the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame, the Ruth Drake (local history) Museum, and the Belton Center for the Arts.

Details You’ll Need:  Admission is free for all three attractions.  The South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame and the Ruth Drake Museum are located in the historic Belton Depot building at 100 North Main Street, Belton, South Carolina.  Phone for South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame and Ruth Drake Museum:  864.338.7400.  Hours for South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame and Ruth Drake Museum:  Wednesday and Thursday, 9 am – 2 pm; Friday, 9 am – 4 pm; Saturday, 9 am – 1 pm.  The Belton Center for the Arts is located at 306 City Square.  Phone:  864.338.8556.  Hours:  Tuesday – Friday, 10 am – 5:30 pm; Saturday, 10 am – 2 pm.


Callaham Brothers Orchard in Belton, South Carolina

One of our favorite “refueling stations” in Belton is Callaham Orchards, where some sort of fruit or vegetable is almost always in season and ready to U-Pick.  And, ummm, the ice cream they serve there is really, really good too.  (yes, I know it isn’t free like most everything else listed here is, but supporting a local farmer is a good idea!)

Details You’ll Need:  Admission is free.  There are seasonal activities and product purchases that are available for a small fee.  Callaham Orchards is located at 559 Crawford Road, Belton, South Carolina.  Phone:  864.338.0810.  If you call ahead, there’s a message that will tell you special hours and product availability.  Hours: vary by season.  Call ahead for details and hours.


Town of Pendleton


Pendleton Square in downtown Pendleton, South Carolina

The entire town of Pendleton is on the National Register of Historic Places and features a charming village green as its centerpiece.  Antique shops, boutiques, several excellent restaurants, and two historic house museums offer a delightful variety of activities.


Woodburn and Ashtabula Historic House Museums in Pendleton, South Carolina

Pendleton Historic Foundation owns and operates two beautiful historic house museums, Woodburn and Ashtabula.  Both are available for touring during regular hours as well as rental for special events and private tours.  Admission is charged, but it is reasonably priced.

Details You’ll Need:  Admission per house is $6 for adults; $2 for children 5-10 years old; free for those under 5 years old.  Woodburn Historic House is located at 130 History Lane, Pendleton, South Carolina.  Phone:  864.646.7249.  Hours:  Thursday – Friday, 10 am – 1 pm; Sunday, 2 pm – 5 pm.  Ashtabula Historic House is located at 2725 Old Greenville Hwy (SC 88), Central, South Carolina.  Phone:  864.646.7249.  Hours:  Thursday – Sunday, 1-4 pm.


WOW!  That’s just a sampling of the wealth of family friendly activities in Anderson County, in the SC Upstate!  Join us tomorrow as we feature other great Staycation  ideas from around the country… and later on this week as we continue our tour through the South Carolina Upcountry!



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