Are you looking for a South Carolina town day trip packed with Revolutionary War history? We found the perfect spot in nearby Camden, SC just 2 hours from Greenville. As South Carolina’s earliest inland town, Camden provides opportunities to learn about the American Revolution, enjoy a small-town downtown complete with unique shopping and dining, and even kayak through a state park.
A Couple Tips for Camden, SC
- Parking is easy downtown. There is plenty of free street parking.
- It’s a friendly town. If you have a question about what to do or eat, just ask.
- The City of Camden website is a great place to look for general information on the area and the Classically Camden website is packed with information for visiting.
What Are the Things to Do in Camden?
Revolutionary War Visitor Center (scheduled to open soon)
212 Broad Street, Camden
Mark the brand-new Camden Revolutionary War Visitor Center as not just a great road trip exit but also a destination for day trips. This brand new facility features educational displays that teach families about the history of Camden and South Carolina’s role in the American Revolution starting with its Native American settlements through the end of the American Revolution.
One thing we appreciated about the display was its nuanced history featuring multiple perspectives and critical thinking questions to spur great discussions with your kids. Life-like statues and exhibits created a special atmosphere.
The Revolutionary War Visitors Center will also host special programming and field trips once opened.
Right next to the Revolutionary War Visitors Center, you can explore colonial backcountry reconstructed buildings along over 100 acres at the Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site. We even found a blacksmith who made a nail for our kids. You can choose to either take a guided tour (approximately $8-10/person) or a self-guided tour ($4-5) of the grounds and buildings. The Kershaw-Cornwallis home (a 1970s replica of the original home of Camden’s founder) is only open to the public for the guided tours.
Each 2nd Saturday, the grounds also feature living history demonstrations. Field trips are available upon request.
Camden Battlefield and Longleaf Pine Reserve
1606 Flat Rock Road, Camden
Admission to the Camden Battlefield and Longleaf Pine Reserve is free, though guided tours are available starting at $12-20/person. Field trips are also available.
This site is currently being developed but you will find signage showing the different routes to see the battlefield and educational signage to explain the history of the area. We were on a tight time frame when visiting, but I did walk through the short .2 mile Eagle Loop Trail. This trail wound through the longleaf pines with signage telling the ecological history of what the mature longleaf pine forest used to look like and the current efforts to regrow the forest. A mature longleaf pine tree takes 120 years to mature so this is a long-term project.
One interesting thing I learned from the signage is how biodiverse a longleaf pine forest is. In fact, only a tropical rainforest is more biodiverse. Inside the trail, you could hear the many birds calling. Make sure though that you wear closed-toed shoes and bug spray as there were a number of ants and insects on the trail.
An expanded trail system is under construction (due to be completed at the end of 2021) and will include further trail access into the battlefield as well as interpretive kiosks to expand on the history of the area.
There are no bathrooms at this site.
713 Meeting Street, Camden
The Quaker Cemetery is another great place to learn more about the history of the area and it’s the site of multiple historically significant graves.
Downtown Camden, SC
In downtown Camden, you can search for eleven small bronze Boykin Spaniel sculptures. If you need help, clues are posted on the Classically Carolina website. Find all eleven and post your photos to the Boykin Spaniel Invasion page to get a Certificate of Discovery.
377 Cantey Lane, Rembert (about 10 minutes from downtown Camden)
Old McCaskill’s Farm opens their grounds to the public on Thursdays and Fridays. On Fridays, you can sit down for a southern buffet lunch. Even the seating of long farm tables will take you to a different era.
In the general store, you can shop for fresh farm meats, local honey, and handcrafted items. You can also take a walk around the property to see animals, a pond, and even baby chicks. If you are staying overnight, the McCaskill’s also operate a full bed and breakfast where you can stay right on site.
Old McCaskill’s Farm also offers field trips, birthday parties, canning classes, Border Collie demonstrations, and more.
650 State Rd S-28-331, Camden
Kayak a 3-mile water trail through cypress trees at nearby Goodale State Park in Camden, SC. This is a quiet park where you might be the only visitors.
This park has a diverse ecosystem including alligators, herons, eagles, and more. We also spotted pitcher plants (a native carnivorous plant in SC) along the lake.
Kayaks and canoes are available for rent, but the rangers recommended calling ahead if you want to reserve them as it’s a small park and that allows the rangers to ensure that they meet you at the rental area.
Goat Daddy’s Farm (open on Saturdays)
SC Equine Park – We didn’t have the opportunity to visit the SC Equine Park but numerous locals mentioned that it was one of their favorite local attractions and that many people come to watch the events hosted there.
Where Are the Best Places to Eat in Camden?
611 Rutledge Street, Camden
We started our visit to Camden by stopping by the Loopy Lemon Café for lunch. We were greeted not only by a friendly team but also by comfy benches with pillows and walls covered with local artwork. The Loopy Lemon Café’s menu included Southern/Mediterranean fusion cuisine such as Turkey, Brie, and Peach sandwiches and Pear Pecan Gorgonzola Salad. They also offered a wide selection of freshly baked desserts including a Blueberry Lemon Mascarpone cake that looked like it belonged on HGTV.
One thing we learned was that the Loopy Lemon also offers gluten-free bread options and carefully cleans the equipment for customers that need gluten-free meals so that even customers with celiac disease and allergies can enjoy a delicious sandwich.
The Loopy Lemon Café makes all of their food from scratch and uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients. As someone that can’t drink beverages with much sugar, I was excited to see that infused cucumber lemon water was a complimentary beverage and that unsweetened green tea was a beverage choice in addition to southern sweet tea.
Kid Review: “I think we all have to agree that this was one of the best lunches we have ever had.”
1011 Broad St, Camden
The definition of “Salud” is toast to your health and Salud Mexican Kitchen Tequila Lounge lives up to their name with a selection of 100 tequilas from around the world and a full menu packed with authentic Mexican dishes.
We loved the fun, colorful atmosphere, and our meals were delicious. All meals and drinks are made from fresh ingredients.
509 Walnut St, Camden
You can be a royal for an afternoon at the Shortcake Bakery & Tea Room in Camden. This cute tea shop is a great place to pick up some homemade scones, cinnamon buns, lunch kits, or teas. Dine-in for lunch or afternoon tea is available on a reservation basis for ages 5 and up.
Afternoon tea includes 2-4 courses, a tea of your choice, and lasts around 1-1.5 hours.
1026 Broad Street
When you are looking for that afternoon ice cream cone or homemade bakery treats, be sure to head to Sweet Lil’s Desserts. With custom flavors like Almond Joy and Coconut Lemongrass, anyone can find a flavor that suits their taste. The menu even included several dairy-free options including dairy-free ice cream and sorbet.
I was excited to see a wide menu with a variety of price points and portion sizes so that you could enjoy a sweet treat whether you wanted a full indulgence or just a small scoop.
545 E. DeKalb Street, Camden
Camden House of Pizza makes all of their pizzas to order with fresh pizza dough made daily. You can order pizza, subs, Greek dishes, Italian dishes, and salads. Our pizza and Souvlaki Chicken Dinner were both delicious. Both Hampton Park or Rectory Square Park are right next door for a picnic.
Other recommended restaurants:
We didn’t eat at these places but they were recommended to us by locals!
What Are the Best Places to Shop in Camden?
One thing we noticed immediately about Camden was how friendly everyone is. Popping into a store is more than just a chance to shop but it’s a way to meet the locals, learn more about the area, and find unique local goods.
944 Broad Street, Camden
All book-lovers need to pop into Books on Broad. This local book store greets you with wall-to-wall bookshelves and even a small coffee shop.
830 South Broad Street, Camden
This antique market has sold a variety of high-end antiques since 1995.
411 Rutledge Street, Camden
This local shop offers a wide selection of cottage industry, fair trade clothing as well as locally made jewelry and handmade goods, estate jewelry, and antiques.
508 Rutledge Street, Camden
Rutledge Street Gallery immediately welcomes you with its carefully curated galleries filled with colorful artwork. We were a little nervous walking into such a carefully ordered studio with even older children but were immediately welcomed kids and all (of course we were careful to make sure we respected the space). The artwork was varied and interesting to browse and the store also had a wide selection of Turkish rugs.
1011 Broad Street, 3rd Floor, Camden
You can access the entrance to Camden Quilts by entering the door that leads to Salud Mexican Kitchen Tequila Lounge, walking through the restaurant, and looking for a stairway with signage to your left.
Up the stairs, you will find a cheerful quilting, sewing, and gift store packed with treasures. Not only does the store sell quilts and quilting supplies, but it also sells a wide variety of locally made unique gift items. The store also allows for free sewing where patrons can bring their sewing machines and work on their projects right there inside the store. Check their calendar for a wide variety of classes & gatherings that are perfect for anyone that handcrafts or wants to learn more about handcrafting techniques.
906 Broad Street
Each Saturday, local produce, handmade goods, and even sweet treats and flowers are sold at the downtown Kershaw County Farmers Market. Be sure to bring cash as most of the vendors do not take credit cards.
Where to Stay in Camden?
This list contains Stay22 Affiliate links.
122 Wall Street
We stayed at the Hampton Inn on Wall Street. Our hotel looked new and fresh and was just 5 minutes from downtown Camden. It offered free Wi-fi, pool access, and free breakfast and a fruit bowl was at the front desk for daytime snacks. The staff was friendly and helpful.
Four Oaks Inn
The Four Oaks Inn is located in a two-story, plantation-style building that dates back to the 1860s. For a historic trip to Camden, Four Oaks Inn is the perfect home base. The inn has several suite options, a pool, and luxurious ammenities.
Bloomsbury Inn is a 165-year-old property with a full Bed and Breakfast.
Old McCaskill’s Farm
As mentioned earlier, Old McCaskill’s Farm also has a Bed and Breakfast. Each bedroom is housed inside the main house and has its own bathroom. The property is located within a convenient distance of the area’s historical sites and patrons can walk around the farm.
Annual Events in Camden
This annual steeple horse race brings over 30,000 fans to Camden each year.
BBQ competitions, live music and entertainment.
This multi-day festival celebrates Irish and Celtic heritage and even has a free block party and huge Saturday festival.
This parade of emergency vehicles through downtown Camden takes place every year on the last Saturday in September. There are tons of free activities including seeing antique fire trucks, kids games, demonstrations, firefighter competitions and local entertainment.
Revolutionary Run Half Marathon
The USATF-certified half-marathon racecourse and 5K through South Carolina’s oldest inland city covers eight of Camden’s nine touring districts and passes by nearly 50 historical sites.
This festival is an award-winning event recognized for featuring legendary blues artists from around the globe.