With spring break around the corner, Kidding Around Greenville gives you a list of fun day trips not too far from home. To make room for some unpredictable weather, we have separated the list of spring day trips into two main categories: indoor and outdoor. To help in your trip planning, we have also listed a summary of driving times in the end. Before going, just be mindful of operation hours. Lastly, don’t forget to take photos and tag us on social media! For more Day Trip ideas see our Day Trips Near Greenville page.
Sunny Spring Day Hooray: Day Trips for the Spring
What better way to spend a sunny day but a day outdoors. Pack a picnic basket and head to nearby state parks and nature centers.
Picnic with A View
The Upstate is known for its waterfalls so why not show the kids the sites?
Cedar Falls Park
Near Fountain Inn, there’s the distant relative of the Reedy Falls called Cedar Falls Park. If you’re lucky you might be able to spot a couple of snapping turtles basking on the flat rocks.
Dupont State Forest
Cedar Falls not tall enough? Drive to DuPont State Forest to see the aptly named High Falls or any of the other several waterfalls in the forest. Trails are easy but usually crowded.
Paris Mountain State Park
Not big on waterfalls and just want some nice views and nature? There’s always Paris Mountain, a local favorite that is great for hiking, kayaking and just sitting and lazing about by the lake.
Campbell’s Covered Bridge
As you probably already know, there are numerous waterfalls and places to picnic around Greenville. One of our favorite spots is Campbell’s Covered Bridge. Not only is it picture perfect, but kids love to hop around the rocks and play in the stream.
Need more ideas? Check out this link for more picnic ideas.
Petroglyphs, Living History and Farm Life
Why not throw in some hands-on-learning while taking in the outdoors?
Carl Sandburg Home
We highly recommend Flat Rock where you can visit the historic home of President Lincoln’s biographer Carl Sandburg, and the younger kids can visit the Sandburg’s goat farm. If you are looking to hike, the property has a number easy of trails. See our itinerary for your day at Flat Rock.
We can’t say enough about Hagood Mill Historic Site and Folk Life Center, our top pick for learning about pioneer ways and farm life. This place is learning at its best, last we were there, we chanced upon a live demo on spinning wool into yarn. Also on view within the property are rock art carvings believed to be pre-historic at the Hagood Creek Petrogylph Site.
Kids can learn about the Revolutionary War at the Musgrove Mill State Historic Site. And of course, while you’re there, take a break and enjoy the rest of your afternoon at Horseshoe Falls (we told you Greenville has a lot of waterfalls!).
Oconaluftee Visitor Center
How about some close encounters with elks? Wake up early and visit the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to see these amazing graceful creatures. Or you might be lucky, like our writer Maria who saw 14 of them when her family visited Oconaluftee Visitor Center!
Zoo and Nature Centers
Spring is our favorite time to visit zoos around Greenville.
We will always have a soft spot for Greenville Zoo (which now has a baby giraffe!), but if you want to explore other neighboring zoos there is Columbia’s Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens which not only has elephants, tigers, lions to captivate your little one’s attention, but also special exhibits like the Kangaroo Walkabout and Sea Lion’s Landing.
WNC Nature Center
Nature centers are also great for educational and hands-on animal encounters. The Western North Carolina Nature Center is such a place, read Bethany’s article as she writes about the farm play area and otter exhibit.
(Note: If you’re a member of Greenville Zoo, don’t forget to ask about the reciprocity membership benefits which give you discounted or free admission to the zoos and nature centers mentioned above. Be sure to double-check since some places have revoked reciprocal relationships due to COVID-19).
Historic Homes and Gardens
Welcome spring with the beauty of nature.
SC Botanical Garden
Admire the first blooms of spring with a visit to the South Carolina Botanical Garden in Clemson. Kids will surely enjoy ambling thru the many creatively themed gardens including the Caboose garden which features an actual train caboose donated by an alumnus. The Peter Rabbit Garden has a playhouse and place for playing tea time.
Another place to welcome spring is the North Carolina Arboretum. Check out the featured exhibition at the Baker Exhibition Center, borrow a Discovery Day Pack to guide you around the trails, try out geocaching (bring your own or borrow equipment from the center) and have your picnic.
Howard Family Farms
Go pick some gorgeous tulips at Howard Family Farms in Union, NC, a little over two hours from Greenville.
State Botanical Garden of GA
Last but not least, meander thru the many hidden gems at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. You can walk around on your own or join a guided tour and admire their many beautiful flower gardens.
A short drive from downtown Athens, you can also enjoy the grounds of the UGA Campus and eat at a local favorite restaurant, Teddy’s Pizza, which has ample outdoor seating with a giant sandbox to keep the kiddies busy.
See our complete list of gardens near Greenville, SC.
Fun Indoor Play
While the goal of this post is to ultimately send everyone outdoors, mother nature can change our plans in a snap. Here’s a quick list from our travel team of special indoor fun that makes braving the rain quite worthwhile.
Quite close to Greenville, is Spartanburg’s Hub City Railroad Museum. A gem of a museum, the building is housed in an old train station with an active track. Kids got a kick out of viewing the exhibits and actually see a real train go by.
Want to know more about trains for your little engineer? Here’s where you can see and explore trains in Greenville, SC.
Another great rainy day activity is a drive to Columbia, SC. Tour the South Carolina State House for a bit of history, then head over to Edventure Children’s Museum or the South Carolina State Museum for family fun. Wear sneakers, you’ll need it to keep up with your kids who will be so captivated with their engaging exhibits. In addition to its historical displays, the State Museum has a digital dome planetarium and a 4-D theater.
Want to learn about nuclear fission in a fun and interactive way? Impress your children with the wonders of science; visit the World of Energy in Seneca, home to the Duke Energy Power Plant. You can view the actual nuclear plant just by gazing outside the museum’s window.
Atlanta has a bunch of indoor venues that will keep everyone amused. Have you been to the Georgia Aquarium? Most impressive are the graceful beluga whales and massive whaleshark that swim in their giant tanks. You are guaranteed to not run out things to do in this place.
Another indoor Atlanta favorite, is the World of Coca-Cola, an exciting multi-media experience.
A chance to drive around beautiful Asheville, a focus on STEM and hands-on learning, visit the Asheville Museum of Science. Or have a day of exploring and learning about all kinds of science, astronomy, and marine biology at the Catawba Science Center.
Take the kids to the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC for a day of indoor fun at the water park. The lodge now sells day passes – you can get a $50 all day pass or a $40 half day pass.
Also close to Asheville, you’ll find Mountain Play Lodge, which is the perfect spot for little ones to burn off some energy while the adults chill a bit.
For families with older kids, take them back in time to a grander era, pay a visit to the Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Mansion. Admire the behind the scenes clockwork efficiency of the Biltmore staff using the innovations of the industrial revolution and how it made maintaining a 250 room mansion seem effortless. Witness another world of a bygone era of railroad magnates and their estates. Dine at the Bistro and don’t miss the ice cream from the Biltmore creamery.
Charlotte is another city with lots of indoor things to do with its share of art museums and play spaces, however, we wanted to highlight the NASCAR Hall of Fame, also built for an unforgettable multi-media experience that will fascinate and tickle the imagination of mini and not so mini car enthusiasts.
Something for teens, our writer, Leicey relates how much fun they had at Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze at Gatlinburg, Tennesee. If the rain stops pouring, Dollywood is a fun amusement park for the entire caboodle at Pigeon Forge.
Or see the Titanic Museum or Wonderworks in Pigeon Forge. Ride the giant Ferris Wheel at the Island at Pigeon Forge to take in incredible views of the Great Smoky Mountains. See our giant guide to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge for lots more things to do.
- Campbells Covered Bridge Road, Landrum, SC
- Cedar Falls Park, Fountain Inn, SC
- Hagood Mill Historic Site and Folk Life Center, Pickens, SC
- Hub City Railroad Museum, Spartanburg, SC
- Paris Mountain State Park, Greenville, SC
1 hour +
- Asheville Museum of Science, Asheville, NC
- Carl Sandburg Home, Flat Rock, NC
- The Park at Flat Rock, Flat Rock, NC
- Several waterfalls at DuPont State Forest, NC
- Musgrove Mill State Historic Site, Clinton, SC
- Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens, Columbia, SC
- South Carolina Botanical Garden, Clemson, SC
- The North Carolina Arboretum, Pisgah National Forest, Asheville, NC
- Western North Carolina Nature Center, Asheville, NC
- World of Energy, Seneca, SC
2 hours +
- Biltmore, Asheville, NC
- EdVenture Children’s Museum, Columbia, SC
- NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte, NC
- Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee, NC
- State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Athens, GA
- South Carolina State House, Columbia, SC
- South Carolina State Museum, Columbia, SC
- Reedy Creek Park Nature Center and Preserves, Charlotte, NC
- Catawba Science Center, Hickory, NC
- Howard Family Farm, Union, NC
3 hours +
- Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN
- Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, GA
- Anakeesta, Gatlinburg, TN
- Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
- World of Coca-Cola, Atlanta, GA
Also, see our list of 10 popular destinations from Greenville that are under a day’s drive.
What’s your favorite spring day trip to take with your family?