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Author Archive

GCS Backpack Keeps Parents Connected in Greenville County Schools

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Do you ever struggle to keep up with all the information from your child’s school? Grades, attendance, teacher information, school calendar. It can all feel overwhelming. Greenville County Schools has an excellent solution with their Backpack app. Here’s everything you need to know about GCS Backpack.

What is Backpack?

Backpack is a resource provided by Greenville County Schools to keep students and parents updated. It can be accessed through a browser but is also available as an app.

Things Parents Can Do on Backpack

  • Easily edit emergency contact information
  • Check their child’s meals balance and add funds
  • Find their child’s school and teacher contact information
  • Enroll additional children
  • View available programs for their child
  • See their child’s grades and test scores
  • Check their child’s attendance and daily schedule
  • Stay informed about their child’s behavior 
  • Find a link to the school calendar

Student Dashboard

GCS students are assigned an email address and password when they are enrolled and have access to their own Backpack dashboard. There they can view their class schedule, check their grades and test scores, and view their lunch balance. Students can also use their Backpack dashboard to access the educational apps they use for school.

Parent Dashboard

The parent dashboard has a wealth of information. Parents can view basically the same information as on the student dashboard, but with additional features.

You can easily edit your child’s emergency contact information, pay on their meal cards, check their behavior and attendance, and enroll additional students. You’ll also find your child’s teacher’s contact information, their school’s contact information, and a link to the GCS calendar.

Have more than one child in GCS? You still only need one Backpack account. You’ll be able to access each child’s information easily from the main dashboard.

How do I create a Backpack account?

Parents can set up their own account by going to the Backpack website and selecting the “I’m a Parent” option. You’ll need your child’s student ID number to add them to your account. At the end of the process, you’ll be prompted to contact your child’s school to complete your account.

GCS has a page on their website with information and a video with instructions on setting up your account. 

Ultimate Guide for Teens in Greenville, SC

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Do you have a teen in Greenville, SC? Are you looking for ways to get your teens involved in the community? Is your teen heading to college soon and looking for help as they prepare? Or are you trying to find fun new family activities with your teen kids? Our teen guide to Greenville has all the details about things to do with teens in Greenville, SC.

Group of teens with books and backpacks

This article includes:
Indoor Things to Do for Teens in Greenville, SC
Day Trips with Teens from Greenville, SC
Hiking with Teens Near Greenville, SC
Outdoor Things to Do for Teens
Free Time Things to Do for Teens in Greenville, SC
Volunteering Opportunities for Teens in Greenville, SC
School and College Prep Resources in Greenville, SC


Waterfalls of the Southeast: Waterfall Hikes for Families

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Looking for waterfalls in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee? Enjoy a hike with waterfall views as a reward, then relax by the sound of rushing water with a snack. Some waterfalls even have pools suitable for wading where you can cool off after a hot summer hike. We’ve put together a list of our favorite waterfall hikes in the southeast! Most of these hikes are great for families to do together, there are even a few that don’t require anything more than a short walk to view the falls.

We split up our list of great waterfall hikes by state. Use the links below to navigate our list!

This article includes:
Waterfall Hikes Near You, Just Right For Your Family
Waterfall Hikes in South Carolina
Waterfall Hikes in North Carolina
Waterfall Hikes in Tennessee
Waterfall Hikes in Georgia


The Ultimate Guide to All 47 South Carolina State Parks: Everything You Need to Know

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Are you new to South Carolina and want to start getting outside and exploring our SC State Parks? Are you a local who wants to branch out and try a new park for camping or hiking? We’ve put this guide together to help with your adventures! From the Upstate to the Coast, we have the details for all 47 South Carolina State Parks.

The Ultimate Guide to all 47 South Carolina State Parks

This article includes:
South Carolina State Parks in the Upstate
South Carolina State Parks in the Midlands
Coastal South Carolina State Parks
South Carolina State Park Passports, Annual Admission Membership Program
South Carolina State Parks Outsiders Incentive Program


10+ Family Friendly Vacation Rentals in Western North Carolina

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Trying to book a vacation rental in Western North Carolina but overwhelmed by all the options? We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite WNC rentals. Not only are they in convenient locations, but also the hosts have been sure to include family-friendly amenities!

Through affiliate relationships, Kidding Around earns when you book through these links.

This article includes:
Vacation Rentals for Families in Cashiers, NC
Vacation Rentals for Families in Brevard, NC
Family Vacation Rentals in Hendersonville, NC
Vacation Rentals for Families in Asheville, NC

Cashiers, NC Vacation Rentals

Stay busy in Cashiers, NC with this list of places to explore in Sapphire Valley.

Cashiers Downtown Getaway

Looking for a place to stay that is near restaurants and shops? This is one of the few vacation rentals right in the town of Cashiers. While you have the convenience of the town, waterfalls, skiing, hiking, and boating are still just a short drive away.

Cashiers Downtown Getaway Photo Credit: VRBO
  • 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 8
  • Updated kitchen
  • Large yard for playing
  • Wooded area with a stream on the property
  • Wrap around deck
  • Book Cashiers Downtown Getaway

Free Bird

Enjoy gorgeous views of Whiteside Mountain from an extensive stone eating area outside at this cozy cabin near Cashiers. This rental is perfect for families with young children who need space to burn off energy. The large yard is level and shaded and even has a fun swing.

Free Bird Photo Credit: VRBO
  • 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 8
  • Cozy, rustic interior
  • Level, shaded yard for playing
  • Games and toys for kids
  • Outdoor stone seating area
  • Book Free Bird

Whitewater Whispers

Whitewater Whispers is a 3-bedroom 2-bath house with a jaw-dropping mountain view and the gentle soundtrack of a rippling river you can hear from the back deck. Need more adventure? The nearby Sapphire Valley Resort is open year-round and offers plenty of family fun!

Deck at Whitewater Whispers
Whitewater Whispers
  • 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths
  • Sleeps up to 8
  • 1570 square feet
  • Gas log fireplace
  • Located in the quiet wooded setting of the Whisper Lake community
  • Allows pets
  • Several easy-to-access waterfalls & hiking trails nearby
  • Nearby Sapphire Valley Resort offers indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tub, miniature golf, game room, fitness room, skiing, snow tubing, zip-lining, a golf course, and gem mining. 
  • Stunning mountain view
  • Rippling waters of the Horsepasture River offer a calming soundtrack
  • Book Whitewater Whispers on VRBO.

Brevard, NC Vacation Rentals

Custom Mountain Cabin

Don’t forget to use promocode KAG22 for 10% off this cabin!

Weary from the day-to-day grind of work and life? Why not escape to this secluded, 2,200 square foot mountain cabin near Brevard, NC? It’s the ultimate destination for a big family or group of friends that want to recharge and reconnect.

Read our full review of this luxurious cabin rental.

Custom Mountain Cabin Photo Credit: StayGVL
  • 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 12
  • Fully stocked gourmet kitchen
  • Heated flooring
  • Back porch and separate screened-in porch with outdoor seating
  • Fireplace and outdoor firepit
  • Ping pong table
  • Hammock style chairs
  • Book Custom Mountain Cabin Don’t forget to use promocode KAG22 for 10% off this cabin.

Waterfall Cabin

If you’re looking for privacy, this is the rental for you. This cabin is surrounded by forest and has an actual waterfall just 25 feet from the porch! Spend your days relaxing by the private stream, swinging on the porch swing, and enjoying the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Waterfall Cabin Photo Credit: VRBO
  • 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
  • Sleeps 4
  • Private stream
  • Waterfall 25 feet from the porch
  • Porch swing
  • Firepit with stone outdoor seating area
  • Book Waterfall Cabin

Treehouse with Views

What could be more exciting for kids than staying in a real treehouse? Climb into the trees for a stay at this unique rental near the entrance to Pisgah National Forest. If you manage to leave the stunning mountain and valley views for the day, you have convenient access to all the outdoor fun you could want.

Treehouse with Views Photo Credit: VRBO
  • 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
  • Sleeps 4
  • Minutes from the entrance to Pisgah National Forest
  • Mountain and valley views
  • Private treehouse
  • Games for kids provided
  • Near Davidson River, great for fishing or tubing
  • Book Treehouse with Views

New and Rustic Cabin

This new cabin was designed with a rustic feel to give guests a cozy stay. Spend your days biking and hiking at DuPont before coming back to relax in this private and quiet bungalow.

New and Rustic Cabin Photo Credit: VRBO
  • 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 6
  • Easy access to hiking and biking trails
  • Bike wash station
  • Games for kids
  • Firepit
  • Porch swing and hammock
  • Book New and Rustic Cabin

Shoal Sound

Located across the road from Shoal Creek Falls, this new cabin is designed to make your vacation comfortable. The huge wrap-around porch is ideal for outdoor eating as you listen to the sounds of the falls. This cabin is only 10 miles from downtown Brevard and Hendersonville.

Shoal Sound Photo Credit: VRBO
  • 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 4
  • Near Shoal Creek Falls
  • Huge porch with outdoor eating area
  • New cabin designed for comfort
  • Games for kids
  • Firepit
  • Porch swing
  • Book Shoal Sound

Hendersonville, NC Vacation Rentals

Blue Ridge Cabin

Experience luxury in the mountains at this incredible cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This rental near Flat Rock is sure to make you feel like you never want to leave. The huge wrap-around deck has comfortable rockers where you can sit and enjoy the mountain views.

Blue Ridge Cabin Photo Credit: VRBO
  • 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 8
  • Ping pong table
  • Foosball table
  • Board games and children’s books
  • Wrap around deck with rockers
  • Stone fireplace
  • Book Blue Ridge Cabin

Laurel Cottage

If you’re looking for a place with everything, look no further. This designer cottage is one of two located in a gated riverfront conservation community. There are hiking trails and a river on the property where you can tube, fly fish, and swim to your heart’s content.

Laurel Cottage Photo Credit: VRBO
  • 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 8
  • Gated riverfront conservation community
  • Hiking trails onsite
  • Riverside firepit
  • Huge yard
  • Half mile of river for tubing, fishing, swimming
  • Book Laurel Cottage

Serenity and Birdsong

This quaint little cottage provides a private retreat near Chimney Rock. Enjoy the sounds of a bubbling creek from the large gazebo and firepit or relax in the unique loft with a good book.

Serenity and Birdsong Photo Credit: VRBO
  • 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 6
  • Loft area for reading and games
  • Creek onsite
  • Gazebo and firepit
  • Book Serenity and Birdsong

Asheville, NC Vacation Rentals

For things to do in Asheville, NC don’t miss our Ultimate Guide to Asheville, NC.

French Broad River Views

Only 3 miles from the heart of downtown Asheville, this brand new home is perfect for families who want to be close to the city. Check out the beautiful French Broad River from the huge covered deck. This rental has tons of space to spread out and relax after a day of exploring Asheville.

French Broad River Views Photo Credit: VRBO
  • 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 11
  • Brand new home
  • Large covered deck with outdoor dining
  • Ping pong table
  • Book French Broad River Views

Cozy Modern Cabin

This unique, modern cabin is conveniently located near I26 with access to all your favorite WNC spots. Downtown Asheville is just a 10-minute drive away. Both levels of this house have their own kitchen so this could be a great choice for families vacationing with grandparents or another family.

Cozy Modern Cabin Photo Credit: VRBO
  • 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
  • Sleeps 10
  • Large sunroom
  • Pool table
  • Family-friendly games
  • Two kitchens
  • Book Cozy Modern Cabin

Does your family have a favorite place to stay in WNC?

Hamilton & Co. of Keller Williams: One of SC’s Top Producing Real Estate Teams

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Hamilton & Co landing page

About Hamilton & Co.

Hamilton & Co. (partner) are experts on real estate in the Upstate. With over 900 5-star reviews on Google and nearly 1000 families served in the last five years, Dan Hamilton and his team are the top-ranked real estate team in Greenville. They work with clients to find the right home to buy or the right strategy for selling a home.

Real Estate Tips from Dan Hamilton

Dan’s Favorite Fall Activities for Greenville Newcomers: There’s plenty of family-friendly fun and adventure to be had during the Fall in Greenville and the Upstate. See Dan’s list of activities that will remind you of why Greenville is the place to be!

Dan Hamilton’s Guide to Spring Home Maintenance:  For those ready to tackle spring cleaning on a whole new level, Dan Hamilton breaks down some of his team’s favorite home maintenance tasks. Whether you’re prepping for a move or just happy to crack open some windows, you’ll improve your home by taking a few steps needed to keep things in tip-top shape.

Dan’s Guide for First-Time Home Buyers:  Buying your first home doesn’t have to be difficult! Dan breaks down the home buying process for you, with special tips just for first-time buyers and buyers looking for a home in Greenville, SC.

Dan’s Guide to Upstate Neighborhoods: In this guest article, Dan offers an overview of some of Greenville’s gems–its quaint communities and neighborhoods. Whether you’re already settled into a community you love or you’re looking for a new one, learn a little more about the neighborhoods that make Greenville special!

Dan Hamilton’s Guide to Walkable Communities: Interested in a home within walking distance of activities, shopping, or dining? This guide is for you! In this article, Dan highlights some Upstate neighborhoods with amazing amenities like pools, walking trails, and sports facilities, along with others that are right next to some unique shopping and retail locations.

Dan’s Guide to the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail System: A long-time resident of Greenville and a fan of getting outside and having fun with his family, Dan Hamilton shares some of his favorite stops along the trail system.

10 Amazing Activities from Dan Hamilton that You Need to Do This Fall: For those looking for a fun activity or two to help ease your family back into the school year, enjoy this list of some of Dan’s family’s favorites. This list includes the very newest and most popular Greenville attractions right along with some old classics.

Frequently Asked Questions Facebook Live: During a Facebook Live discussion with Kidding Around’s Bethany, Dan tackles some of the most frequently asked questions he and his team hear when helping families find the right home in the Greenville area. 

Meet Dan Hamilton

Hamilton shake hands buyers

Dan Hamilton is a founder and Team Leader of Hamilton & Co. of Keller Williams Realty, which consistently ranks as one of the top-producing real estate teams in South Carolina. Passionate about Greenville and the Upstate, Dan is also a former member of the SC House of Representatives and has also served as a Director for the Greater Greenville Association of REALTORS and the South Carolina Association of REALTORS. Dan and his wife Kelly are also parents to four children. On most weekends, Dan can be found on the sidelines of the soccer field either coaching or cheering on one of his kids.

Contact Hamilton & Co

Phone: 864.527.7685
Location: 403 Woods Lake Rd #100, Greenville, SC
Website: My Greenville Home
Hamilton & Co on Facebook
Hamilton & Co on Instagram

Check out our Ultimate Guide to Moving to Greenville!

Adulting in Greenville: The Ultimate Grown-Ups’ Guide to Greenville, SC

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Are you an adult in Greenville, SC? This guide is for you! We know we’re all about kidding around Greenville, helping families get out and enjoy Greenville together. But really, we’re all adulting around Greenville, too. And adulting is not easy. The Grown-Ups’ Guide to Greenville is full of date night ideas, places for a parent to snatch a few minutes of relaxation, the best coffee shops, and even some resources to help make all that adulting just a little bit easier. You’ll find mental health resources, plus links to our healthcare guides and childcare help.

Pink flowers blooming in front of Liberty Bridge at Falls Park, Greenville

Plan a Date in Greenville, SC

Whether you’re planning a date night, date day, you’re on a budget or you’re looking for something extra extravagant, we have some suggestions. Plan the perfect date in Greenville, SC!

Top 14 Romantic Dates in Greenville

Top Date Night Restaurants in Downtown Greenville

6 Stress-Busting Date Ideas in Greenville, SC

This Unique Date Amounts to a Five-Course Meal at Five Different Greenville Restaurants

Plan the Perfect Greenville, SC Date Night

10 Inexpensive Date Ideas for Greenville, SC

10+ Dates that Cost $0 This Summer in Greenville, SC

Where to ride in a horse & carriage in Greenville during Christmas

10+ Great Christmas Date Ideas

Frose from Juice Box at Gather GVL

Things to do for Grown-Ups in Greenville, SC

Group Therapy Pub and Indoor Playground

Frozen Cocktails in Greenville, SC: Here’s where to find them!

Greenville’s Local Coffee Shops

Enjoy a Glass Of Wine and Some Self-Care Time At This Local Studio

You Can Find Bliss Again At Drift Float & Spa

Things to do for Grown-Ups near Greenville, SC

Plan a day trip or a weekend away with these ideas for the grown-ups in Greenville, SC.

People mingling on the back upper deck at Sierra Nevada Brewery.

Day trips for couples

5 Destinations that make a Perfect Day Trip for Couples

14 Most Epic Date Nights Within 2 Hours of the Upstate

5 Amazing Bed & Breakfasts All Within 1 Hour of Greenville

A 2-3 Day Downtown Charleston Itinerary for Grown-Ups

Parenting in Greenville, SC

Parenting is hard. No doubt about that. Here are a few resources to help make things a little easier. From child care needs to parenting help, we have you covered.

Save money! Find low-cost services at GTC student-run clinics, including haircut and salon services, pet grooming, dental care, and more!

dad walking with daughters down paved trail

The Ultimate Guide to Daycare Near Greenville, SC

Date Night Ideas Including Your Baby!

Here are the best Daddy/Daughter Dates in the Upstate

20 Top Ideas for Great Dates With Your Kid

Achieving Good Sleep for Parents and Kids

Meeting Mom Friends in Greenville, SC

Finding Health Care in Greenville, Sc

Ultimate Guide to Healthcare in Greenville, SC

Ultimate Guide to Dental Care in Greenville, SC

Ultimate Guide to Maternity and Postpartum Care in Greenville, SC

4 Places Where Moms Can Find Mental Health Care

Marriage Counselors in Greenville, SC

All Is Well In My World | Doula Services in Greenville

Physical Therapy Practice Focused on Women’s Health & Wellness

Pelvic Floor Therapy in Greenville

Grown-Ups Who are New to Greenville, SC

If you’re new to Greenville, SC, these guides can get you started!

Lake Placid at Paris Mountain State Park

Why You Will Love Moving to Greenville, SC

The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Greenville

Shopping, Saving Money and More

Gift Guide for New Moms

Women’s Consignment Stores in Greenville

Plan for Your Family’s Future with Parent Financial

How You Can Save Money in Greenville

Mom Review: SCCT’s Miss Nelson is Missing

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Looking for some indoor summer fun and thinking about bringing the kids to see a South Carolina Children’s Theatre production? The South Carolina Children’s Theatre‘s brand new Bell MainStage is currently showing the hilarious musical mystery, Miss Nelson is Missing. KAG’s Elizabeth took her kids to the show and got to experience all the fun and drama SCCT has to offer.

Thank you to the South Carolina Children’s Theatre for sponsoring Kidding Around Greenville. SCCT provided tickets for this review.

Miss Nelson is Missing sign on a screen at SCCT

Miss Nelson is Missing – No Spoilers!

Originally a book written by Henry Allard and illustrated by James Marshall, the Miss Nelson is Missing theatre production brings their story to life with the addition of catchy and often hilarious musical performances.

Miss Nelson’s students in Room 207 are awful. She is a kind and patient teacher, but when the students refuse to pay attention and learn, Miss Nelson decides she has had enough. The next day, the kids return to school only to find Miss Nelson is missing and has been replaced by the mean and scary Viola Swamp!

When they realize Miss Nelson isn’t coming back, the kids decide to go out on an adventure to find her. With some help along the way, they learn to appreciate each other and their teacher.

Will they ever find Miss Nelson? Or will they be stuck with Viola Swamp forever? Go check out the show for yourself and find out!

kids in the audience at Miss Nelson is Missing at SCCT

Know Before You Go

Miss Nelson is Missing is best suited for kids 5 and up. My youngest just finished kindergarten and absolutely enjoyed the show. All three kids had laugh out loud moments during the performance, and I admit I did too!

Performance time is 60 minutes. At the end of the show, the actors stay on stage to answer questions from the audience. Allowing kids to ask questions and feel like they are a part of the show is one of my favorite things about SCCT.

Actors on stage at Miss Nelson is Missing at SCCT

Covid Precautions

SCCT is serious about keeping their patrons and staff healthy! Masks are required for everyone over the age of 3 and must be worn at all times while inside the theatre.

Audience at SCCT is currently at a 50% capacity. Groups who purchase tickets together will be seated in pods to ensure social distancing. See all of SCCT’s Covid precautions here.

Want to see Miss Nelson is Missing?

Tickets are $20 per person. Ticket sales close 24 hours prior to each performance time.

June 12th – 10:30 am
June 12th – 1:30 pm
June 13th – 1:30 pm

June 19th – 10:30 am
June 19th – 1:30 pm
June 20th – 1:30 pm

June 26th – 10:30 am
June 26th – 1:30 pm
June 27th – 1:30 pm

South Carolina Children’s Theatre
153 Augusta Street
Greenville, SC 29601

Camp on the Shores of Lake Russell at Calhoun Falls State Park

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Have you visited Calhoun Falls State Park? My family and I recently started the Ultimate Outsider Challenge through South Carolina State Parks. We’ve quickly made our way through most of the parks in the Upstate and wanted to start branching out to some of the ones further away. When I saw a friend’s pictures of her family’s camping trip to Calhoun Falls State Park, I knew I had to go see it for myself.

Kayaker on Lake Russell at Calhoun Falls State Park

See our Ultimate Guide to All 47 South Carolina State Parks to find your next adventure!

The Campgrounds at Calhoun Falls State Park

Situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Russell, these campgrounds are some of the most desired in the SC state park system. There are 86 standard (RV or tent sites with water and electricity) and 14 walk-in tent sites. We stayed at one of the walk-in sites which are scattered along one of the points jutting out into the lake. 

View of campsite with hammock and tent at Calhoun Falls State Park

The tent sites do not have electric hook-ups but they do have shared water pumps. I chose T8 because it has one of the larger tent pads. We just bought a new tent and I was nervous about it being too big for the other sites. After being there though, I think it would have been fine at any of them.

Our site was the closest to the parking area and had a trail down to the water. The shore was grassy where we were but some of the other sites had little rocky beach areas that would be great spots for kids to splash.

Path leading to Lake Russell at campgrounds at Calhoun Falls State Park

The tent only campground has an outdoor shower area and single bathrooms. The standard campground nearby has two full bathroom buildings with showers and two playgrounds.

Cedar Bluff Nature Trail

During our stay, we checked out the Cedar Bluff Nature Trail. It is the only hiking trail at the park and is a 1.75 mile easy to moderate loop hike through the forest. The signage is not great so be careful as you go. We took a wrong turn at one point and ended up at one of the campground playgrounds instead of finishing the loop as we had planned. But it’s a pretty trail with multiple wooden bridges and steps and we didn’t mind getting lost in nature for a while.

Family walking hiking the nature trail at Calhoun Falls State Park

More Things to do at Calhoun Falls State Park

We stuck to camping and hiking during our visit, but Calhoun Falls offers many other activities, especially on the lake. It’s the perfect spot for boating, paddling, and fishing. There is also a marina with rental boat slips available.

If you forget anything at home, the gift shop has you covered. It is definitely one of the nicest state park gift shops I’ve been to! We stopped in on our first morning to register and to get some cold treats for the kids and I was impressed at how much it had to offer from bundles of wood and s’mores ingredients to souvenirs and clothing items.

Line of boats at the marina at Calhoun Falls State Park

Visit Calhoun Falls State Park


46 Maintenance Shop Road
Calhoun Falls, SC

Hours and Admission

The park is open from 6am – 6pm (extended to 9 p.m. during Daylight Saving Time) and the Park Office is open from 9am – 5pm, daily.

Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children age 6-15. Children 5 and under are free. Admission is free for Park Passport holders.