Are you looking for free or cheap family-friendly things to do in Spartanburg? Do you have an idea in your head that doing something fun with your kids in Spartanburg is going to cost money (and probably a lot of it)? We are setting the record correct today once and for all: Spartanburg has tons of fun free things to do and even more that are really cheap.
Free Places to Go in Downtown Spartanburg
Spartanburg Library – Ask your average person why you would visit the library and they will say to “check out books”. The Spartanburg Library offers much more than just books though. On their schedule you can find everything from puppet shows, to LEGO programs, to even exercise classes. The Spartanburg Headquarters Library even has a playground right outside the children’s area. (The library’s in-person events are on hiatus right now and have been replaced with a full schedule of virtual programming.)
Hub City Railroad Museum – This free train museum downtown allows children to sit in a caboose, watch trains from a special deck, and use a telegraph.
Sparkle City Mini Putt – You can pick up your putters and ball from several local businesses and play mini-golf for free in this Spartanburg themed mini putt. Now with the addition of FR8 Yard, you can also grab dinner.
Spartanburg Art Museum – Spark your child’s creativity by viewing some well curated art. SAM has great programs for kids, little art goers are always welcome. Check out their Learning Lounge for some interactive art activities.
Spartanburg Regional History Museum – A fantastic way to enrich young minds is to have them see historical objects and artifacts in context. What better way to learn about Spartanburg’s rich past? And yes, it’s all free.
The Johnson Collection – A private art collection shared with the public by esteemed philanthropists Susan and George Johnson. A wonderful place to cultivate your little one’s eye for art and expanding their imagination. This museum is the feather to Spartanburg’s art-filled cap.
Easy Free Walking Trails
The Rail Trail – This paved trail near the Spartanburg YMCA is perfect for biking, scooters, and walking. The trail is also located beside the Hot Spot Skate Park where in-county kids can skate for just $2-3.
Cottonwood Trail Preserve – These easy trails will take you over boardwalks, through forests, and into open picnic areas.
Tyger River Nature Park & Tyger-10 Nature Park – These two parks offer scenic easy hiking along the Tyger River. It’s common to see families wading and picnicking on the riverside.
Glendale Shoals Preserves – This park is a favorite of photographers and offers a pleasant place to walk.
Hatcher Garden & Woodland Preserve – This garden is beautiful in all seasons and easy to walk or picnic in.
Amazing Playgrounds Near Spartanburg
Cleveland Park – The playground at this park in downtown Spartanburg has bright colors and imaginative structures that encourage pretend play. The park also offers a walking trail that bends around a pretty pond with a gazebo. One disadvantage of this park is the playground is not fenced and it’s difficult to watch your child if they are quickly moving from place to place.
Tyger River Park – The massive park in Duncan contains perhaps one of the most impressive play areas in the Upstate. The playground has many surprises including a small cave, a pretend river with stones, and a sandbox. During the summer, a splash pad is also open.
Stoneledge Park – Right beside Shipwreck Cove in Duncan, Stoneledge Park is tucked away. This large playground is unique in that it has a rubber turf floor and decent shade. There are also two large picnic shelters that are relatively cheap to rent for parties.
Happy Hollow Park – This park is small but nestled in the scenic Converse Heights area. The playground is fenced in and offers plenty of shade. There is a small walking trail and green space as well.
Lake Bowen Park – This playground in Inman has a lake as the backdrop making it a scenic spot for picnics and evening play times.
McMillan Park – This large playground in Boiling Springs is unique in that the entire play area, including small kid playground, big kid playground, picnic shelters and swings, is entirely fenced-in making it a very easy place to keep track of your kids.
The Airport Park – This playground at the Spartanburg Downtown Airport features an aviation playground plus a splash pad. Of course, the big attraction is watching the planes land and fly while you play.
Conestee Park & Lake Conestee Nature Preserve – While these two parks are located in Greenville, they are certainly worth the drive. We recommend entering in the Conestee Park main entrance where you will find a large playground, green space, and picnic shelters. A short walk from the playground, you will find a main trail head that leads into Lake Conestee Nature Preserve where you will find several simple trail loops that include educational stops, boardwalks, and observation decks. Lake Conestee offers a wide variety of wildlife to observe as well.
Runway Park – It’s easy to make a day trip to this playground in Greenville because not only does it offer a fun place to play while watching planes, but you can also grab lunch at Runway Cafe and eat it in the park.
Herdklotz Park – This playground in Taylors is one of the largest in the area and has a lot of shade.
Simpsonville City Park – This park has new play equipment which includes a zip-line.
Inexpensive Things to Do in Spartanburg
Spartanburg Science Center – Spartanburg Science Center just opened three new exhibits including a robotic arm, a science theatre, and a virtual reality experience. They also have a very cute hedgehog (plus other animals). Admission is just $5 and kids under 5 are free.
The Children’s Museum of the Upstate – The Children’s Museum of the Upstate-Spartanburg is designed for children aged 5 and under. Admission is just $7(SC adult and child) and
Croft State Park – This wonderful state park includes boating, fishing, and hiking. Admission is only $3/adults.
Free or Inexpensive Day Trips Near Spartanburg
Reedy Creek Nature Center & Preserves (Charlotte) – You won’t believe it but this nature center is completely free. Amenities include two large playgrounds (one that is a treehouse theme and covered with shade), an indoor nature center with a play space, and hiking.
Roper Mountain Science Center (Greenville) – Once you figure out how much there is to do at Roper Mountain Science Center, you will want a family membership. Events include several 2nd Saturday events, planetarium shows, and the Butterfly Adventure where you can see butterflies up close. Admission is a great value for the activities at just $5-$8 per person. In addition, the grounds are open on non-event day open hours and the grounds include a walking trail, imaginative play areas, and the gardens. (Some of the programming at Roper Mountain Science Center is suspended for now. Check their website for the latest news on what events are happening.)
Upcountry History Museum (Greenville) – Throughout the year, Upcountry History Museum offers fun events like Toddler Times and Family Night. In the summer, they traditionally feature a large children’s exhibit. It’s all contained in one room making it an easy place for the kids to play without the parents having to worry about them getting out of sight.
Paris Mountain State Park (Greenville) – Paris Mountain State Park is a pretty place to hike and spend the day. During the summer season, they open the swim area on Lake Placid. Attend a free ranger-led hike or lecture at Paris Mountain’s 4th Saturday Events. In the fall, their Music in the Woods lets your family enjoy live music in the outdoor amphitheater. Events are free with regular park admission of $5 per adult and $3 per child.
Jocassee Gorges (Upper SC) – The Jocassee Gorges have been named one of the 50 World’s Last Great Places by National Geographic. This large wilderness area includes the beautiful Lake Jocassee and Devils Fork State Park.
Clemson University’s Bob Campbell Geology Museum (Clemson SC) – Located inside Clemson’s botanical garden. A fantastic little museum for your rock collector. Check out the glow-in-the-dark room of minerals for a nice surprise. Free. Check their website for visiting hours.
What are your favorite free things to do in Spartanburg?