10 Inexpensive Day Trips To Have Fun With Your Family Without Breaking The Bank (Or Having To Rob One)

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If you’re searching for “inexpensive day trips near me” or looking for fun outside Greenville that won’t break the bank, we have a list for you. This list of 10 fun day trips includes only destinations that are budget-friendly, keeping the cost approximately $40 or less for a family of 4.

All of these inexpensive day trips are also under 2 hours to save money and time in the car, but they are all outside Greenville. Otherwise, it’s not really a trip is it?

Your guide to cheap day trips near me and inexpensive day trips near me

Sliding Rock, NC

Pisgah Highway, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768 | Distance: 1 hour and 15 minutes from Greenville
Cost: $5/person

This waterfall in the Pisgah Forest (Asheville, NC area) is a natural water slide that has become a day trip destination for families all over the Carolinas. The slow sloping waterfall is 50 feet and the pool at the bottom is approximately 6 feet deep. Lifeguards are on duty during the peak times in the summer (9 am – 8 pm)
Lifeguards are on duty and restrooms are available when a fee is charged. There is no cost to just watch people slide.

Swimmers are advised to wear old clothes including shorts and closed toed shoes. Due to the depth, you will want to bring life vests for anyone in your group who can’t swim.

Find out more about Sliding Rock, NC.

Or go to Cashiers Sliding Rock, about the same distance from Greenville in Cashiers, NC and slide down a smaller waterfall for free!

Hendersonville, NC

Hendersonville is full of low-cost, family fun making it a perfect day trip from the Upstate. You’ll be busy the whole day. We have a huge list just for this topic. Free and Cheap Things to do in Hendersonville, NC

But, here are a few of our favorites to get you started.

Team ECCO Aquarium

Team Ecco
511 North Main Street, Hendersonville, NC
Admission is $6.75 for ages 5 to 65. $5.75 for seniors and $4.75 for kids ages 1 to 4.

Sting Ray at Team Ecco

Hands On! Children’s Museum

318 N. Main Street, Hendersonville, NC | Distance: 1 hour from Greenville
Admission: $10/ticket for adults and children

Also in downtown Hendersonville, you will find the Western NC Air Museum, Mineral Museum, Henderson County Heritage Museum, Ocean Center and Aquarium, and a Train Depot. These smaller attractions are all either a nominal ticket price or donation only.

Just a couple miles from downtown is also the home of Jumping Rock. This historic look-off point is not too difficult of a hike. Be aware though that it is steep and the hikes along the sides of the lookout are not fully fenced.

Be sure to check out our guide on Free Things to Do in Hendersonville, NC.

Fairy Trail

Fairy Trail

95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville, NC | Distance: 1 hour from Greenville
Admission: Free

The Fairy Trail is one of our favorite free things to do over the summer in Hendersonville. It’s at Bullington Gardens and just so much fun and a touch magical.

Carl Sandburg’s Home

Carl Sandberg Home Hendersonville NC
Play with goats at the Carl Sandburg Home

81 Carl Sandburg Lane, Flat Rock, NC | Distance: 1 hour from Greenville
Admission: Free to enter the park, access the bookstore and information on the ground floor of the *Sandburg Home, walk the trails and visit the barn.
$10/adults & kids over 16 years of age; kids 15 & under are free for a guided house tour
Hours: The Sandburg Home & Goat Barn is open daily 10 am – 3 pm.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years Day.

Read our review of Carl Sandburg’s home.

Devil’s Fork State Park

161 Holcombe CIR, Salem, SC | Distance: 1 hour from Greenville
Admission:  $8 adults; $5/ SC seniors 65+; $4 children ages 6-15; ages 5 and under enter for free.
Distance: 1 hour from Greenville

This scenic state park includes two trails, camping and access to the popular Lake Jocassee. Swimming, fishing, and boating are allowed at the lake.

Learn more about Devil’s Fork State Park.

Devil's Fork State Park
Lake Jocassee at Devils Fork State Park

The South Carolina Botanical Gardens & Bob Campbell Geology Museum

150 Discovery Lane, Clemson SC | Distance: 45 minutes from Greenville
Admission: Free for grounds, geology museum, and visitor center

Tiger skeleton at Geology Museum Clemson

Read a full list of fun things to do with your kids in Clemson, SC.

Stumphouse Tunnel Park and Issaqueena Falls

Issaqueena Falls

About 7 miles northwest of Walhalla on Highway 28 | Distance: Approx 90 mins from Greenville
Admission: Free | $5 parking fee per passenger car

Read our full review of Stumphouse Tunnel Park and Issaqueena Falls.

For more choices, see our list of places to hike near Greenville, or our list of Waterfalls Near Greenville.

Spartanburg Science Center

200 E St John St, Spartanburg, SC | Distance: Around 45 minutes from Greenville
Admission: $5 (ages 5+)

This science center is small but includes animals and interactive exhibits. Other nearby inexpensive attractions in downtown Spartanburg include: free splash pad at the adjoining Barnet Park, ice cream from Hub City Scoops, or free mini-golf (E. Main Street) at Sparkle City Mini Putt.

Find more information at Spartanburg Science Center.

While you’re in Spartanburg don’t miss:

  • Hatcher Gardens, a totally free garden to explore. It’s gorgeous!
  • Airport Park, an airplane-themed park beside the Spartanburg airport, complete with a splash pad

Tubing the Saluda or Green River

Most of the outfitters on the Green River in Saluda, NC are pretty cheap per person. You can tube for $10/person. The river isn’t a lazy river though as it has lots of rapids. We thought it was really fun though! It’s an hour from Greenville.

Or you can tube for free on the Saluda River in Powdersville at Dolly Cooper Park if you have your own tubes.

tubing down the green river
Tubing on the Green River on July 4th

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate Spartanburg

130 Magnolia Street, Spartanburg SC | Distance: Around 45 minutes from Greenville
Admission: $7

TCMU’s Spartanburg location is specifically designed for children 5 and under. The museum has 7 exhibits including areas for 2 and under and a water table. This location does accept TCMU Greenville memberships as reciprocal.

Anne Springs Close Greenway

2573 Lake Haigler Drive, Fort Mill SC | Distance: Approx 1 hour 45 mins from Greenville
Admission: $12 per person (age 13+) | $6 per person child (ages 5-12)

Read our review of The Anne Springs Close Greenway, and Our Guide to Spending a Day in York County, SC

Anne Springs Close Greenway

Athens, Georgia

Athens, Georgia is only 1 hour 45 minutes away from Greenville and is packed with fun things to do with your family. You could make it a day trip or even a weekend away. Check out our full guide on where to stay, things to do, where to eat, and more during your trip to Athens.

World of Wonders Playground

Mile Creek County Park

Swim in Lake Keowee, play in the small sandy area, string a hammock in the trees, play on the playground or have a picnic. Whatever you choose, you can do it all for one $5 per car admission fee.

Mile Creek County Park
757 Keowee Baptist Church Road, Six Mile, SC

Mile Creek County Park
Mile Creek County Park
Day Trips near Greenville, SC

Looking for more day trip ideas near Greenville, SC? We’ve got your Ultimate Guide to Day Trips.

About the Author
Bethany Winston is the owner and editor-in-chief of Kidding Around Greenville & Kidding Around Spartanburg. She enjoys exploring parks, discovering local events, and meeting the people who make Greenville an amazing place to live. You can contact her directly at bethany@kiddingaroundgreenville.com.

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