Summer in South Carolina can be, um, intense, to say the least! In this guest post from our partner realtor Elizabeth Faulkner, she shares her top 5 favorite activities that you and your family should tackle before the heat dictates what you can and can’t joyfully (or even safely) do! Outdoor activities are still manageable, so check out the list and plan your family’s next outdoor adventure now—before it’s too late!
As spring winds to a close I find myself bracing for the dog days of summer. Lucky for us here in the Upstate of South Carolina, June tends to be a month with some lingering beautiful spring-like days! So, before my family hunkers down at our neighborhood pool for the hottest part of the summer, we make every effort to get outside and enjoy SPRING while we still have it! Here are a few of our favorite things we try to do every year in the short season we love so very much.
Visit a brewery
Checking out a local brewery is a go-to activity on a pretty spring or summer day for my family. There are so many family-friendly breweries in our area! Many breweries offer the perfect balance for my family. My husband and I get to enjoy a locally brewed beer. My kids find a fun game to play as breweries typically offer a wide array of things to do while hanging out. The best part – we all get to sit outside and enjoy a beautiful day. Plus, many breweries offer fantastic food too! For the breweries that don’t have a kitchen, we’ll often find an on-site food truck! Double bonus! In my book, that’s a well spent spring afternoon.
Fireforge in downtown, 13 Stripes in Taylors Mill and Birds Fly South are a few of my family’s favorite breweries but there are many, many more options in the Upstate! Many of which I’ve yet to even get to. Yet.
Tip: One of my family’s favorite breweries has an arcade right next door! Pac Man anyone?
Need a few more breweries on your list? Check out Kidding Around’s list of family-friendly breweries.
Ride a bike
This seems like such a silly thing to even put on my list of favorite things to do list, but it could very well be my number one thing. Hitting the Swamp Rabbit Trail with my family doesn’t happen nearly enough but it definitely happens every spring. Typically, we load our bikes onto the back of our car and head to Cleveland Park to hit the trail. We like to ride north, through downtown Greenville and Falls Park, past Furman University and on to Travelers Rest. TR makes a great place to grab a meal and rehydrate before making the return trip to the car.
Admittedly, there are lots of amazing distractions along the way so the ride could take a very long time if we let it! Over the years my family has enjoyed a game or two of hide and seek in The Children’s Garden at Linky Stone Park, explored the beautiful Furman campus, and visited the ducks at Falls Park along the way. Like I said, lots of “distractions” can make the ride as long as we want it to be!
Looking for other great family-friendly bike rides? The Upstate offers plenty of other places to ride!
Visit a local market
Another thing my family loves to do in the spring or summer is visit a local market. We have a few favorites. The downtown Greenville Saturday Market is, by far, our favorite. I won’t even call this one a farmer’s market. We can spend hours strolling along Main Street in downtown with coffee in our hands. While, yes, we buy produce at the market, we always find so much more. We have discovered some fantastic homemade pasta, homemade soaps my daughter loves, plants for our yard, fresh seafood and the most amazing pastries EVER at the market in Greenville. Hours are easy to remember for the Saturday Market if you want to go. It is open every Saturday from May – October from 8 am until noon.
Downtown Greer, one of our favorite places to go on a nice day, offers a variety of markets during the spring and summer. Farmers markets happen on the weekends, sometimes on Tuesday, plus there are several festivals throughout the summer months! Keep up with their Facebook page so you’re in the loop with their happenings!
The Traveler’s Rest Farmers Market in Trailblazer Park has been another market we love for the variety of local vendors and the ample green space!
No matter where you live, you’re sure to find a market your family will love as they seem to happen in just about every town in the Upstate!
Take a road trip
A couple of my family’s favorite day trips happen in the spring. I love a good arboretum – exploring flowers, learning about plants, and meandering through a beautiful garden makes my heart happy! So come warmer temps, my family will seek out somewhere to go where we can walk, enjoy the beauty of the season and spend a day relaxing in nature.
One of our very favorite spring day trip locations has been the Biltmore Estate. The gardens are breathtaking, and the grounds are amazing in the spring and summer! Walking the property in the spring and visiting the gardens in bloom is not only beautiful but also a great way to learn about a new plant or flower to try in my own yard! They even have a pretty great nursery if I want to take home something to plant when we return to Greenville.
Also in Asheville, the North Carolina Arboretum is a short drive away and makes a great place to spend a spring day. My family loves exploring the gardens and the trails here. There is certainly plenty of room to roam as this botanical garden is spread over 65 acres of property. This is a great spot for some hiking and biking too if you’re up for a little more activity after taking in the gardens!
Another great garden exploration option that isn’t quite as far away is Hatcher Gardens. Located right in Spartanburg, Hatcher Gardens is a great way to spend a beautiful sunny day. Walk the trails, feed the wildlife, explore the flowers and plants – just get lost in nature! Hatcher Gardens is a perfect spot to have a picnic too as there is so much room to roam here!
Kidding Around also has a really great list of other day trip ideas worth checking out!
Take a hike
One of my very favorite things about living in Greenville is the proximity to the mountains and some amazing hiking. For a short drive we like hiking at Paris Mountain State Park or Nine Times Preserve in Pickens. Paris Mountain is close and has some great hikes, no matter what skill level and distance we’re up for at the time. Nine Times Preserve is a favorite because there are a variety of trails offering some pretty amazing mountain views. Plus, if we don’t get an early start we know we won’t be turned away because the parking lot is full. Perfect!
When we are up for a bit of a drive, we have really enjoyed some hiking north of Greenville County too. Dupont State Forest is a great choice as this area offers a lot – hiking, views, waterfalls and swimming holes. Dupont even works well on a warmer day since its higher in elevation and has some fun places to cool off too! One of our most memorable hikes was a bit further away, on Grandfather Mountain in Banner Elk, NC. Grandfather Trail to Calloway Peak made my heart race and is something none of us will forget anytime soon!
Check out Kidding Around’s Guide to Hiking for even more excellent family-friendly day hikes!
I hope this list of my family’s favorite spring activities gives you some ideas on where to enjoy spring in the Upstate! It is a beautiful time of the year, and our area has so many amazing places that make the perfect spot for taking in an amazing spring or early summer day!