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Archive for the ‘Things to Do’ Category

Fluor Field: Greenville Drive Baseball and Year-Round Events to Enjoy

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Summer is here and Greenville Drive Baseball is in full swing at Fluor Field. Greenville, SC has one of the most adored minor league baseball teams, but Fluor Field also hosts several fantastic events throughout the year.  This micro replica of Fenway Park even has a mini version of the Green Monster, how cool! Find out why Greenville’s beloved minor league ballpark has become a top gathering spot for Greenvillians and visitors to the area. 

Fluor Field Greenville, SC: Greenville Drive Baseball and special events

Gateway to Baseball: Special Features of Fluor Field

The North End entrance at Fluor Field is welcoming, with a digital Drive marquee sign and an expanded brick and stone paved plaza as the backdrop to giant baseballs all in a row makes for an attractive and fun design element. Kids love to climb them and also a favorite spot for selfies.

In the middle of all this ruckus and seeming right at home, is the statue of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson which used to be outside a restaurant downtown. Did you know that before Jackson became a famous ballplayer, he was a mill worker at Brandon Mills in West Greenville?

With his connection to Greenville’s past, “Shoeless” Joe’s new location is a great choice. The statue highlights the city’s mill town past and memories of old textile baseball leagues. Ballgames were already a popular form of recreation and community building back then.

Entrance of Fluor Field, Greenville , SC

On Augusta Street, if you decide to enter through the East Entrance of Fluor Field, You can sit by the bar or at the picnic tables and have a great view of the action behind first base. NOTE: On the weekends, inflatable attractions are usually located at the East entry, where junior players can hit a few balls for FREE.

Greenville Drive Team Store and New Ticket Booths

Once you arrive, you can find will-call ticket booths alongside the Greenville Drive team store. Rolling barn doors offer more browsing space for souvenir shopping. Another piece of trivia, did you know that the store used to be a 1920s firehouse? Shop and have a look at the original tin ceilings.

Fluor Field box office, Greenville, SC

Front Porch Lounge at Fluor Field: Greenville, SC

Fluor Field has often been referred to as downtown’s “front porch.” As a nod to this, the Drive has turned its front office at the corner of Field and Markley Streets into the Front Porch lounge, a 2,700-square-foot hospitality area for Drive Ticket Plan holders. The lounge offers comfortable indoor seating, a full-service bar, flat-screen televisions, and other fun ballpark perks.

Event Venues: The Rooftop and Champion Lounge

One thing for sure, if you are catching a game, you can’t help but glance across the field and admire the Rooftop, and wonder, “How did the people get up there?” The Rooftop space is an events venue atop the adjacent Fieldhouse building with its own express elevator. This area can accommodate up to 75 people, providing picturesque views of the ballpark and downtown Greenville. 

The Rooftop even has a private food and beverage menu. Another venue is the Champions Club. The Club offers over 3,700 square feet of space and can accommodate groups of 100-300 people. The space is air-conditioned and even has outdoor seating, so it makes a great location for a year round event space.

Fluor Field view of the baseball diamond.

Family Friendly Year-Round Events at Fluor Field

Fluor Field has made a name for itself that is much more than baseball thanks to West End Events at Fluor Field. There are events throughout the year that help there, some of which are super family-friendly. Here is a list of some of the more popular events to check out!

  • Easter Eggstravaganza: Every spring you can watch your kid race across the field collecting as many eggs as their little basket can hold. There is typically a picnic, pictures with the Easter Bunny, and tons of kid-friendly activities to enjoy.
  • 4th of July at Fluor Field: Every Independence Day, you can watch a baseball game and fireworks in celebration of our nation’s biggest celebratory holiday. There is special programming this day for military appreciation, including flyovers and more!
  • Reading All Stars: If your kid participates in a summer reading program through their local library, chances are they will receive a ticket to the Reading All Stars game with Greenville Drive.
  • The Green Monster Mash: Enjoy kid-friendly Halloween activities, including inflatables, face paintings, costume contests, and more during this annual event.
  • Kringle Holiday Village: Get into the holiday spirit with this holiday market, fun inflatables, and Santa!

Plan a trip to Fluor Field: Greenville, SC

945 South Main Street
Greenville, SC 29601
See their season schedule here.

We hope we’ve enticed you to visit Fluor Field at the West End. Let’s root, root, root for the Greenville Drive!

This article was originally written by Anna Arzt and has been updated by the Kidding Around Team.

Kids in Parks: A Free Program that Lets Your Kids Earn Prizes

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Here’s the perfect way to earn prizes for exploring the great outdoors with your family. Kids in Parks is an incentive-based program from the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation designed to get kids away from screens and enjoying the outdoors. The best part – it’s FREE! So, enjoy a day of outdoor play while your kids earn prizes!


Cool Off in the Free Splash Pad at Downtown Memorial Airport Park: Spartanburg, SC

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Downtown Spartanburg has a fantastic park, located at the Downtown Memorial Airport with two playgrounds, paved paths for bike riding, picnic shelters, and a free splash pad. The Spartanburg Airport Park is perfect for the summer heat with that splash pad, plus year-round fun on the playgrounds. Here’s everything you need to know about the Downtown Memorial Airport Park.


Duke World of Energy: Learn About What Powers The Upstate

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Do you have a young one with an inquisitive mind? Bring them to the Duke World of Energy where they can learn how the electricity that keeps the lights on at home is generated and brought to local houses and businesses.

Did we mention this exhibit is FREE?

We know our readers love free things to do near Greenville so we visited the Duke World of Energy and we’re bringing you all the information you need to plan your own visit soon!

Looking for more Free Things to do in the Upstate? Here’s our list of free and low-cost things to do near Greenville, SC!


Pick Your Own Lavender at This Beautiful Upstate, SC Farm This Summer

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Less than a 30-minute drive from Greenville, SC amongst the pastures, back roads, and farmhouses lies Twin Creeks Lavender, one of two u-pick lavender farms in the Upstate. We have all the details on how to experience your U-pick adventure at this beautiful farm.

Picking lavender at Twin Creeks Lavender Farm
Picking lavender

Twin Creeks Lavender Farm is more than a century old and the current owner, Michelle Ducworth, is a fourth-generation farmer. Her father raised Beefmaster cattle during her childhood on the same land and worked as an ER doctor because, well, farming ain’t cheap. It was this bond between father and daughter that ultimately led Michelle to take over the farm and turn it into a place where people could come and pick the sweet-scented lavender flowers. 

About Twin Creeks Lavender Farm 

Originally, Twin Creeks was a cattle farm that consisted of 300 acres. It’s now about 200 acres and Michelle lives in the same house she grew up in at the farm. Her dad, Dr. Lyman Ducworth Jr., farmed and worked in the ER but was diagnosed with cancer and died at age 66 in 2015. He died in the very farmhouse where Michelle was raised and his death was devastating to the family. But it ultimately opened up a whole new life for his daughter.

Michelle is such an open book about her life and speaking to her about this brought up memories of my own mother’s death – also from cancer – and how it affected me and really changed how I live my life. Michelle is easy to connect with like that, which I think is part of the unique charm and welcoming atmosphere of the farm.

She had noticed I had a lot of mosquito bites from a recent camping trip and she so thoughtfully put together a basket of lavender remedies for me back at the barn, including the Lavender Flower Water that helped take away the itch. I thought it was such a kind and thoughtful gesture and one that revealed a lot about who she is and how she runs the farm.

There’s something really special when it’s so obvious that someone has deep roots to where they live and intentional reasons behind their business. 

Shortly after her father passed away and while working as a successful surgical sales rep, she felt a call to follow in her dad’s footsteps. So she answered. 

But how exactly did lavender come into the picture? It’s not a South Carolina crop and is very hard to grow here. Its roots cannot be oversaturated, which is exactly what the red clay in our soil here does. But Michelle wanted lavender because of the many things you can do with it and its many healing properties.

So she flew out a lavender consultant from Washington State and worked with Clemson, where she graduated from, to figure out how to dig deep enough in the ground to get past the red clay and ultimately change the pH balance of the soil to be lavender-friendly.

This massive chemistry experiment led to the first lavender plants going into the ground in May 2017. It’d be two years before she could open for u-pick. 

So Much Lavender

Today, there are 10 acres of more than 6,200 lavender plants at Twin Creeks. While there are more than 400 different types of lavender, Michelle grows seven of them at the farm: Grosso, Grosso Bleu, Royal Velvet, Violet Intrigue, Melissa, and Provence.

Each have their own properties and uses from oils to cooking to ornamental. Those are all explained at the farm in the different rows of lavender that you can pick from. 

While I was impressed with the rows and rows of purple and nearly blue lavender flowers, the barn and the products that Michelle has inside blew me away. And she makes nearly everything available for sale there. 

Goats milk soap from Twin Creeks Lavender Farm
Lavender goats milk soap

She makes goat milk lavender soaps in scents that will whisk you away to some peaceful place. There are sprays for everything from linens to bug bites. There are lotions, body butters, hand soaps, sachets, bath bombs, foot moisturizers, and honey. The entire barn smells like heaven. 

You can also purchase already dried lavender to use for future lavender projects.

While you can only shop at the barn during u-pick season, you can find Twin Creeks Lavender Farm all over the Upstate at farmers markets (that’s how I first heard of them – thanks, Toasty Farmer!). They have a booth at the TD Saturday Market in downtown Greenville over the summer. 

Lavender Honey Ice Cream & Lavender Lemonade

When you go to Twin Creeks, you are more than welcome to take a picnic blanket, lunch, and hang out, relax, and stop and smell the lavender. 

But don’t miss the Lavender Honey Ice Cream made by Honest Scoop ice cream. They have an adorable ice cream truck with amazing ice cream, some of which they make for Twin Creeks Lavender Farm. It is delicious. 

The other don’t-miss item is the Lavender Elderberry Lemonade made by Mama K’s Elderberry. If you have followed us for some time, you know we are big fans of Mama K’s! They have sold out of this delicious concoction in the past so be sure to get some when you arrive.

2023 U-Pick Lavender 

By this point, you’re wondering how to pick your own lavender, right? Well, you totally can!

Here’s how it works: You can either purchase a pass online (and get a $5 voucher for picked lavender) or buy a pass right at the farm. Then you go and get your scissors and pick your lavender. You pay for lavender based on how much you picked. The smallest bundle is an inch in diameter and is $5 and the largest is two inches and is $15.

Tickets online are $5 each and can be purchased here. You get a $5 voucher for picked lavender if you purchase online. Kids age 5 and under and seniors age 65+ are free.  Tickets are $6 each at the gate. 

And if you come once, you automatically get a season pass to come again anytime during the rest of the picking season. Just present your ticket when you come again and you get in free so you can go pick lavender again or just hang out in the field and relax. This is especially a great deal if you want to pick different kinds of lavender because the different varieties bloom at different times.

2023 U-Pick dates are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 am – 2 pm starting May 26th and running through July 2nd plus July 3rd and July 4th. The end-of-season party will be on July 4th at the farm.

If you’re a photographer or family who would just love their family photos at Twin Creeks Lavender Farm, you can pay a $100 fee to have the farm to yourself and take all the photos you need. Contact Michelle to arrange your photoshoot. 

Tips on Visiting Twin Creeks Lavender Farm 

To make the most of your visit to Twin Creeks Lavender Farm, here are a few suggestions:

  • Wear closed-toed shoes. It’s a farm and there are ants and that kind of thing. Come prepared and don’t wear sandals or flip-flops. 
  • Wear or bring sunscreen. It’s the summer in South Carolina. A hat would also be great. 
  • Bring lunch or snacks and hang out. The farm is very peaceful. 
  • Hang onto your smaller kids and don’t let them have scissors or if they do, keep a close eye on them.
  • Don’t bring your own scissors – Twin Creeks has some waiting for you. 

Nearby Things to Do 

If you want to make it a day trip down to Twin Creeks Lavender Farm, there are lots of great things in the area to do. Here are a few ideas:

Twin Creeks Lavender Farm
4638 Midway Road, Williamston, SC
[email protected] 

UPick flower farms near Greenville, SC

See more places to pick flowers near Greenville, SC.

Upick Flower Farms

Pick Your Own Blueberries and Blackberries at These Farms Near Greenville, SC

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Dreaming of ripe blackberries? Interested in upick blueberries? Greenville, SC, and WNC have several places to pick those sweet, juicy berries yourself! We love picking fresh berries and filling up the freezer for this year’s blueberry muffins, oatmeal, blackberry cobbler, pies, and more. Here’s a list of local blueberry and blackberry farms in Greenville where you can pick your own.


The Five Forks Library is the Envy of All Other Libraries

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Libraries are great. They have free Wi-Fi, story time, free DVDs to rent, and you can read until your heart’s content. But all libraries are not created equal. The Five Forks library branch of the Greenville County Library System made all the other libraries jealous. Here’s why.

What makes the Five Forks library branch so great?

With it’s 28,000 square feet of floor-to-ceiling windows, bright colors and inviting decor, a fenced-in play porch for the little kids, a quiet room that is as peaceful as a spa, and a teen room with giant bean bag chairs, this library is incredible.

Five Forks Greenville library

Kids Area

When you walk into this gorgeous glass-walled and colorful building, make a left and go straight to the massive kids’ area. Sectioned off by age group in the main space are reading tables, computers with games and headphones, and play tables with toddler games. Attached to the kids’ space is an entirely other room for story time, complete with enough space for kids to run circles around each other and parents to sit on the side benches and watch.

Off the kids area is also an outdoor play porch with stackable cubes and picnic benches. There is also a family bathroom and a nursing room.

*High-five* Greenville Library system.

Teen Room

Next to the kids’ space is an enclosed teen room that overlooks a field next door and is outfitted with private cubicles and giant bean bag chairs. There is art on the wall by local students and all the latest books that teens care about.

And it says “TEENS” on the door, so it’s cool.

Main Space

The Five Forks Library has a huge meeting space for local groups to rent out plus an enclosed room on the other side of the library that can be used for crafts or homeschool groups (the floor is waterproof because….crafts).

You can bring your coffee and relax in the designated space near the front of the library where drinks other than bottled water are allowed and read or work. If you need a laptop, rent one out with your library card. You can use it throughout the building.

Near the giant windows is plenty of seating to work or read or ponder life. The quiet room has several tables and chairs with ottomans where guests can read quietly away from the rest of the library. It is decorated with really cute wallpaper and relaxing yellow and green colors. It’s my favorite room.

Greenville County Library Five Forks branch Simpsonville

The Return of the Books

Returning books to the library is not usually exciting. It is at the Five Forks Library though. Head inside and immediately to your right is the cool returning-your-books contraption. Place your book in the slot and watch it go up a conveyor belt, be read by a machine, and then onto another conveyor belt where it is dumped into a giant bin of its friends where it will be returned manually to its proper place in the library.

Kids love watching this. Adults love watching it. And it gives you an incentive to return books that you should be returning anyway to avoid late fees.


Monday – Thursday: 9 am – 9 pm
Friday -Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 2 – 6 pm

Five Forks Library
104 Sunnydale Drive, Simpsonville

Visit the Five Forks Library Website.

What’s your favorite thing about the Five Forks Library?

Greenville County Library System

Here’s everything you need to know about Greenville County Library System.

Play, Dig & Splash: Riverbanks Zoo Splashpad, Waterfall Junction

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Have you visited the Riverbanks Zoo Garden? The Botanical Gardens and Waterfall Junction at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC are fun to visit any time of year, with a variety of attractions that keep everyone entertained, like the big attraction: Riverbank Zoo Splashpad!

At the Riverbanks Botanical Gardens and Waterfall Junction you will find several beautiful and award-winning flower gardens, a huge splash pad, a dinosaur fossil dig, and several areas for exploration and play. We’ve got all you need to know to plan your trip from a mom who visits frequently! 

Waterfall Junction, Riverbanks Zoo Splashpad

This article includes:
Tickets for Waterfall Junction in Riverbanks Botanical Gardens
Parking for Waterfall Junction
About Riverbanks Botanical Gardens
About Waterfall Junction
Splashpad at Waterfall Junction
Toddler Splash Zone
Dino Dig
Greenspace at Waterfall Junction
More Things to Do at Waterfall Junction
Packing Checklist for Waterfall Junction and Riverbanks Botanical Gardens

Riverbanks Zoo

Visiting The Riverbanks Zoo and want to see the animals? You’ll want to jump over to our guide for the Riverbanks Zoo, as this piece focuses on the amazing gardens and water play spaces at the Riverbanks Botanical Gardens.

Tickets for Riverbanks Botanical Gardens  

Tickets can be bought online prior to your arrival or at the gates. To save a little bit of time, we recommend purchasing tickets in advance! Tickets to the gardens and Waterfall Junction are included in tickets for the animal side of the zoo. We discuss more about tickets and annual membership options in our guide for Riverbanks Zoo. 

Parking for Riverbanks Gardens and Waterfall Junction 

You can get into the Botanical Gardens/Waterfall Junction one of two ways.

  • If you’re looking to stop by and say hey to the animals first, parking in the main zoo lot at 500 Wildlife Parkway will be the best option for you. 
  • The second way to get to the Botanical Garden and Waterfall Junction side of the zoo is to park in the lot specifically designed for the gardens at 1300 Botanical Parkway. This parking lot is a bit smaller than the main lot and fills up quickly, especially on the weekends. Also found beside this parking lot is a nice-sized picnic shelter. Since outside food is not allowed in the zoo, this is a perfect spot to have a packed lunch before loading back into the car after your day of fun! 

Regardless of which parking lot you decide to park in, you can get to both the garden and animal side of the zoo easily. There is a tram that takes you back and forth or you can walk across the bridge connecting each side. If you’ve got littles or a lot of things to carry/push, it would be best to utilize the tram as the walk is a bit long and can get somewhat strenuous at times. 

Stroll Through the Gardens

At the Riverbanks Zoo Botanical Gardens, you will find more than 5,700 species of plants spread across 70-acres. And let me tell you, it is just as beautiful as it sounds! With several different gardens such as the walled garden, bog garden, and shade garden (just to name a few) there are no areas that won’t be fascinating and wonderful to look at!

Even in the cooler months, the zoo does a fantastic job at making sure the gardens still look as beautiful as possible. There are restrooms and sitting benches all throughout the gardens. Also, the walkways throughout the gardens are paved, making pushing strollers or wagons easy.  

Approaching Waterfall Junction at Riverbanks Zoo Garden

Riverbanks Zoo Splashpad

Within the Botanical Gardens, you will find Waterfall Junction – Riverbanks Zoo Garden’s very own huge splash pad and kiddy play zone! This area spans across 3-acres and includes a splash pad, life-size dinosaur fossil dig, a large treehouse, playhouses, and an open green space for endless fun and imagination! 

Waterfall Junction is open year-round, however, the splash pad is only open throughout the summer. All water functions turn off 15 minutes before closing. 

Splash Pad at Waterfall Junction

You haven’t been to a splash pad until you’ve tried out the one at Waterfall Junction! It is massive and will have your kiddos laughing and playing in the summer sun for hours.

Recently, the splash pad got a bit of an upgrade and now features soft, rubber flooring making it much less slippery and easier on little toes, however, water shoes are still a great idea. 

Think of the splash pad as 2 separate levels. The largest and first area includes a 25-foot waterfall surrounded by several water sprays all around. From here, your children can play and walk through a pretend stream complete with running water. 

Waterfall Junction

Toddler Splash Zone at Waterfall Junction

A little further down you will find a wooden bridge and another set of stairs down to the toddler splash zone. The toddler zone is operated by buttons to turn the sprayers off and on. There are a variety of water sprays here, no zones with standing water for added safety, and no sprayers that shoot out an intense amount of water.

There are also several Adirondack chairs and large umbrellas for shade that can be found here. Speaking of tots…if your children are not yet potty trained, swim diapers must be worn while at the splash pad! 

Toddler splash pad at Riverbanks Zoo Garden

We Love Waterfall Junction

There are several things to love about the splash pad, but one thing worth giving extra attention to is the fact that there are lifeguards that can be found all throughout the water areas!

While there aren’t many places with standing water, the splash pad itself is pretty spread out making it difficult to see your kids at all times, especially if you’ve got more than one to keep track of. It definitely gives some peace of mind knowing that there are extra sets of eyes on your tribe!  

Right next to the largest part of the splash pad you will find a covered picnic area that offers plenty of shade, tables, and chairs, and a great place to set down your bags or enjoy lunch and snacks. You will also find a concession stand, changing stations, and restrooms close by. 

Dino Dig 

Do you have any dino lovers in your family? If so, you won’t want to miss the dino dig! Here, you will find a huge sandpit with replicas of life-sized dinosaur bones scattered all around. There are plenty of buckets and shovels for your kiddos to use and put their archaeologist skills to the test! 

Dino Dig at Riverbanks Botanical Garden

Because this area is made up of sand, I highly suggest going here either before or after your children are done at the splash pad and have on their dry clothes. Most of the dig area is covered by large shades, however, there are a few parts that aren’t. If your kids are anything like mine, they will gravitate towards those tiny areas that aren’t shaded so I highly recommend bringing extra sunscreen and sun hats!  

Green Space 

In the middle of Waterfall Junction sits a large green space with endless amounts of open-ended fun! There are several hula-hoops, a wooden balance beam, and big building blocks that can be found here. Bring some bubbles or a ball to share, spread out a towel and have a family picnic, or just let your kids jump and run…the options are endless in this space! 

Greensapce at Riverbanks Zoo Garden

Other Things To Do at Waterfall Junction at Riverbanks Zoo Garden

Also found within Waterfall Junction are giant tree houses, playhouses, and a small, hidden playground. The tree house is 2 stories tall and gives great views of nature all around. The playhouses are situated right off of the green space and are great areas for the imagination to flow freely. 

To find the playground you will have to go to the toddler area and head left into what looks like a little grassy area. There is a wooden play structure with climbing ropes and a tunnel slide that can be found here. I like this area because it is a bit quieter than the other attractions and is a nice place to go for a bit of a break and reset if needed. 

Waterfall Junction Checklist

There is a lot to remember when you’ve got to load up your kids for a day out of the house, especially when there is a potential for water to be involved. Here are some things we don’t want you to forget when you visit the Riverbanks Zoo Splashpad at Waterfall Junction:

  • For the splash pad and Waterfall Junction
    • Water shoes
    • Towels
    • Sunscreen
    • Water bottles
    • Sunglasses
    • Sun hats 
    • Dry change of clothes
    • Swim diapers if not yet potty-trained 
    • Ball or bubbles for green space – not necessary, but fun! 
  • For the gardens
    • Stroller or wagon – can be rented at the zoo if needed 
    • Walking shoes
    • Sunscreen
    • Bug spray
    • Water bottle 

Riverbanks Botanical Gardens 
1300 Botanical Parkway
West Columbia, SC 29169 

Daily from 9 am – 5 pm 

Has your family visited the Botanical Gardens and Waterfall Junction yet? What attraction did you enjoy most? 

Lake Conestee Nature Preserve Guide

Lake Conestee Nature Preserve opened in 2006, and over the past ten years has become a favorite destination for families across the Upstate.  The preserve boasts 12 miles of trail that crisscross 400-acres of forest and wetlands. With multiple entrances and all those trails, it can be intimidating to head off the beaten (or paved!) path at Lake Conestee Nature Preserve. However, we hope this guide will give you the confidence to more fully explore all that Conestee has to offer with your family!

Lake Conestee Nature Preserve

Lake Conestee Nature Preserve Vs. Conestee Park

First and foremost, it is easy to confuse Lake Conestee Nature Preserve (LCNP) with its neighbor, Conestee Park.  Managed by Greenville County Recreation, Conestee Park has an enormous playground, stadium, baseball fields, dog park and picnic shelter. We often incorporate a stop on the playground before or after a hike in the nature preserve.  For more about Conestee Park check out Kidding Around Greenville’s mom review of Conestee Park.

The multiple parking lots in Conestee Park are your best bet on weekends when the other, smaller lots might be full.

To complicate matters slightly, Lake Conestee Nature Preserve was known as Lake Conestee Nature Park until early 2020. The name change was done to better reflect the park’s environmental education and conservation mission.

Tip: Conestee Park has three separate restroom facilities that will probably be your closest restroom while on the trail.

Layout of Lake Conestee Nature Preserve

I find it easier to understand Lake Conestee Nature Preserve’s layout if I imagine it split into five zones: north, east, south, west and central. This transfers to the official Lake Conestee Nature Preserve trail map, which uses the abbreviations N, E, S and W to describe its entrances.

East Area

From the county park there are four different entrances into Lake Conestee Nature Preserve known as the east entrances (accessible from Mauldin Road).  E1 (East entrance 1) is near the dog park and is the north entrance to the popular Racoon Run trail, which runs on the east bank of the Reedy all the way to south of the baseball diamonds.

E2 is the Reedy River bridge entrance, which connects with the heart of the preserve; the bridge is the only way across the Reedy River within LCNP. E3 is at the end of the parking lot that is south of the stadium, and E4 is next to the baseball diamonds; it leads to Forrester Farm, the East Bay and the other end of Raccoon Run. Other trails on this bank of the Reedy include Sapsucker Spur, Coyote Cut-Thru, Chickadee Link and Dragonfly Way.

These trails (with the exception of the E2 trail that leads to the bridge) are not stroller-friendly, and mostly serve as access points to Raccoon Run (except Dragonfly Way, which is a nice loop around Forrester Farm near the end of Raccoon Run, adding ¼ mile to your route).

South Area

The south end of Lake Conestee Nature Preserve is off Conestee Road. At the point where the road crosses the Reedy River there is a good view of the Historic Lake Conestee Dam which once powered Historic Conestee Mill.

After crossing the bridge turn right on one-way Spanco Drive; this is where the parking lot for the first south entrance (S1) is; it’ll be to your right just after passing the mill. S1 is the southernmost point of the Swamp Rabbit Trail and features a picnic area, the trailhead, and gorgeous views of South Bay.

Another access point, S2, is at South Pine Circle and Conestee Road. Rusty Link serves as a connector to the Swamp Rabbit Trail; these are the only trails on the south end of the preserve. As the Swamp Rabbit Trail curves around South Bay and up north past Crescent Slough to the heart of the Nature Preserve, you’ll find a couple of observation decks that are great places to rest while you look out over the water.

Lake Conestee Nature Park Greenville SC

West Area

The Swamp Rabbit Trail cannot follow the Reedy River through the center of the preserve as it is mostly wetlands and open water. Instead, it loops around Bone Marrow Creek to the west end of the preserve, in two spots utilizing boardwalks to cross the creek and sections of marsh.

There are four entrances on this side. W1 is next to the Belmont Fire Station, but it is very important that you only use the LCNP parking; if it is full, head to the W2 entrance which is the LCNP office at 601 Fork Shoals Road. Here, in addition to the parking lot and picnic area you’ll find restrooms (if the office is open) and trail access to the Swamp Rabbit Trail and Henderson Farm via the Stone House Spur and Spring Lizard Link trails.

Further north the W3 access point is at Chatham Drive and Henderson Avenue, and then there’s a parking lot at W4 (Meadors & Henderson Avenue)– although the gate isn’t always open.

The west area of the park features several miles of trail. The Stone House Spur and Swamp Rabbit Trail are paved, perfect for cycling and strollers, while the other trails such as White Tail and Flat Tail Trail (which connects to the fire station) are dirt trails. Several picnic areas and viewing overlooks are scattered throughout, offering scenic views of Marrow Bone Creek and the Henderson Farm meadow.

North Area

The north area is actually a separate unit from the rest of the preserve, and is accessible from the parking area N1 at 415 Churchill Circle. The Swamp Rabbit Trail connects the north section to the west portion; follow the signs on Churchill and Chatham from N1 to W3. N2 is the other access point, marking the north boundary of the preserve at Brushy Creek.

From here the Swamp Rabbit Trail proceeds north along Reedy River to Parkins Mill Road and I-85. Hopefully this missing section will eventually be completed to connect to where the SRT picks back up again at Cleveland Street and Pleasantburg Drive, but until then cyclists looking to connect the two must use Parkins Mill Road and Cleveland Street, two rather busy roads.

There are only two trails in this section of the preserve; Tree Frog Trail hugs the Reedy River for most of its 0.8-miles, looping around to connect to the Swamp Rabbit Trail which cuts straight through Breazeale Farm.

The Heart of Lake Conestee Nature Preserve

Finally we are left with what I call the heart of the nature preserve, the area bordered by the Reedy River to the east and the Swamp Rabbit Trail to the south and west. This section is mostly wetlands, with boardwalks and trails extending on all sides around West Bay and North Slough.

It includes Sparkleberry Island and the River Otter Way and Froggy Bottom Link trails, the rest of Flat Tail Trail (which originates at the Fire Station on the west end), the Sparkleberry Connector (paved trail running from the bridge to the Swamp Rabbit Trail) and various connectors such as Gray Fox, Turtle Run and Possum Run. The highlight of this central area are the observation points.  

The “Birdnest” observation deck and Heron Spur (features #9 and #11 on the map) on opposite ends of West Bay offer great views of the Great Blue Heron nests in the center of the bay, while the learning loops and teaching areas on Sparkleberry Island tell the history of the area and introduce visitors to the animals and plants that call Conestee their home.

Lake Conestee Nature Park hiking biking

Things to Do

Other than hiking and biking, there are many other fun things to do at Conestee Nature Preserve.  LCNP is one of our favorite destinations for birdwatching. The National Audubon Society has designated the preserve as an Important Bird Area of Global Significance, and over 220 bird species have been reported by the Greenville County Bird Club. You can join the Greenville County Bird Club on a guided bird trip in the preserve on the third Saturday of every month.

The nature preserve also offers a multitude of educational opportunities.  For a list of field trips offered for homeschoolers, schools and other groups, please visit the LCNP website.

But there is one thing you don’t want to do at Lake Conestee Nature Preserve, and that’s go swimming.  The lake was created when the Reedy River was dammed at the Conestee Mill in 1892. The lake originally covered about 130 acres, but over the years industrial waste and discharge filled about 90% of it with sediment so toxic that the lake was classified a Superfund site.

Safety studies of the brownfield site were completed, and it was determined that the best course of action would be to leave the toxic sediment in place. For more information, please visit the LCNP website.

For those interested in finding out more about the history of the area, the Lake Conestee website is the perfect place to start.  Everything you need to know before you visit can be found here, including a map of the trails.

Love bird watching? Be sure to read our article about Upstate, SC birds at Lake Conestee.

What is your favorite place to visit in Lake Conestee Nature Preserve?

This article was originally published on Femme au foyer.

Lake Conestee Nature Preserve: Trail System Has Amazing Views and Wildlife!

Have you enjoyed the trails at Lake Conestee Nature Preseve? The 21-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail crosses through the nature preserve and offers beautiful views and opportunities to see local wildlife. This article is all about this Lake Conestee Nature Preserve portion of the Swamp Rabbit Trail. We’re telling you how to get there and what you can expect to see!

Discover the Swamp Rabbit Trail

The Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail travels 21 miles across the Upstate, and in order to help families plan their excursions on the SRT we are offering this series on the different sections of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail. The Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail overview is a great place to start.  Then, in this article local mom Liene, gives more detail on the Lake Conestee Nature Preserve section of the Trail. Please also visit our Lake Conestee Nature Preserve overview for more information on what else this fantastic park has to offer.

Swamp Rabbit Trail in Lake Conestee Nature Preserve

Looking for a place to go bike riding this spring? One of my family’s favorite sections of the trail system is the south end within Lake Conestee Nature Preserve With a few road crossings, beautiful scenery, ample parking, and plenty of interesting stopping points, your family is guaranteed a stress-free outing.

Of the 21 miles of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail System, 2 are within the main section of Conestee, while another 2 miles connect to the north portion of the park and to Parkins Mill and Mauldin Road, making for an 8-mile round trip that can easily be shortened as needed.

Highlights of the Lake Conestee Nature Park Section of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail:

  • Perfect for bikes. (Note: signs advise cyclists to walk their bicycles for the portions of the trail utilizing boardwalks).
  • Features calming scenery and interesting stopping points in a natural setting.
  • With a total of 8 miles of trail (round trip), the route is easily customized for your family.
  • Utilizes public roads for a short section between the north and main units of Lake Conestee Nature Park.
SRT Conestee Mill

Start at Historic Conestee Mill

The adventure starts at Historic Conestee Mill ( 1 Spanco Drive, Conestee). While the Conestee section is not connected to the main trunk of trail (that winds its way north along the Reedy River all the way to Travelers Rest), the trailhead at the historic Conestee Mill serves as a southern terminus for the trail.

The History of Conestee Mill

There has been a mill on the Reedy River at this spot since as far back as the 1790s, but it was small scale until the 1830s when Vardy McBee purchased almost 300 acres in the region and built a much larger dam. Over the years ownership changed hands, the dam was rebuilt, and it is thought that material for Confederate Army uniforms was manufactured at the mill during the Civil War.

In 1909 Reedy River Manufacturing was renamed Conestee Mill, after the Cherokee word for “running waters.”  The mill ceased production in the early 1970s and foreclosed in 1978.

A new redevelopment plan brings residential and commerical space to Conestee Mill.

Spot birds and animals from one of the several observation decks

There is a free parking lot for trail access off Spanco Drive, and the first tenth of a mile of trail winds away from the kiosk around the South Bay (named for the location in relation to Reedy River).

Right across from the intersection with the Rusty Link connector (access at South Pine Circle off Conestee Rd.) is the South Bay Observation Deck. This is a good spot to look for great blue herons and other waterfowl.

The next observation deck (overlooking Crescent Slough) has given us glimpses of muskrats, snakes and a multitude of birds. This relatively short stretch of trail sees an abundance of wildflowers in the spring, and the kiddos are almost guaranteed to spot a few turtles sunning themselves on logs at the edge of the lake.

Note that portions of the trail utilize boardwalks; signs advise cyclists to walk their bicycles on these sections.

Once the trail turns west a boardwalk goes off to the north, to River Otter Way and Froggy Bottom Link on Sparkleberry Island. Heron Spur, the small boardwalk to the West Bay observation deck, is just a short distance from this point and definitely worth the detour. This is the best viewing spot for the great blue heron rookery, and American green tree frogs, fish & turtles can usually be seen from the viewing deck.

Great Blue Heron at Lake Conestee

The Sparkleberry Connector Connects the Swamp Rabbit Trail with Conestee Park

Once back on the Swamp Rabbit Trail you’ll come to a scenic viewpoint on the opposite side of West Bay, and a short distance later is the intersection with Flat Tail Trail (connects to the parking lot at the Belmont Fire Department). At this point, the SRT makes a wide loop around Marrow Bone Creek, and connects to the Stone House parking lot, Henderson Farm, and various observation points with a series of connector trails and boardwalks.

These trails mostly aren’t bicycle-friendly (with the exception of the Stone House Spur), but do make for awesome hiking adventures.

Approaching the two-mile mark you’ll find the entrance to the Sparkleberry Connector which just opened a little more than a year ago. The ¾ mile paved trail connects the Swamp Rabbit Trail to Conestee Park (Greenville County Recreation), popular for its dog park, playground, ball parks and restroom facilities.

Make sure to check out the bridge over the Reedy River; an enormous black rat snake calls the large tree hanging over the river its home, and on sunny days it can often be seen sunning itself on the branches.

Head North to Breazeale Farm

To reach the north section of Lake Conestee Nature Park follow Chatham Drive to Churchill Circle, and re-enter the park at the Churchill Trailhead.

The next 0.6 miles through the Breazeale Farm portion of the park will pass both ends of Tree Frog Trail.  This trail utilizes a portion of the SRT to form a 1-mile loop.

The Breazeale Farm parcel was historically a cotton farm before being converted to a dairy farm and was home to dairy cattle as late as the 1960s.

The Swamp Rabbit Trail emerges at Brushy Creek south of ReWa’s Mauldin Road Wastewater Treatment Plant, from where it crosses the river once more before ending just short of Interstate 85 on Parkins Mill Road. The gap from Lake Conestee Nature Park to where the trail picks back up again at Greenville Technical College is only two miles. 

Although long-term plans hope to connect the two sections, funds are currently being diverted to the addition of a connector that will link the SRT in Cleveland Park to ICAR down Laurens Road.

If you choose to continue, please keep in mind that the 2-mile suggested route to Greenville Tech sees some pretty intense traffic. Check out our KAG guide to the northern section of the Swamp Rabbit Trail for more information!

Once you’ve returned to Conestee Mill make sure to rest and refuel at one of the picnic tables situated overlooking the South Bay. Pack a picnic to enjoy at one of the overlooks, remember your water bottles & sunscreen, and enjoy your time on the trail.

Whether you choose to cycle or to hike, whether you complete the entire 8-mile southern portion of the trail or the 4 miles within the main portion of the park; this beautiful, wild section of the Swamp Rabbit Trail will have you itching to continue north all the way to Travelers Rest!


For a map of Conestee Nature Park, click here.

For more on the Conestee section of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail, parking, overlooks and all other trails, please click here.

This article was originally published on Femme au foyer.

Has your family explored the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail at Lake Conestee Nature Park?