Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends


South Carolina’s coast attracts the lion’s share of the Southern State’s visitors but there’s more to the Palmetto State than hitting the links in Hilton Head, antebellum mansion gawking in Charleston, and learning how to dance the shag in Myrtle Beach. Follow us along an inland road trip with pit stops in underrated enclaves of Greenville, Aiken and Columbia.

RELATED: Here’s your perfect Blue Ridge Parkway road trip

Day 1: Gallivanting in Greenville

Greenville Main Street

This best way to experience this southern boomtown, the fourth fastest growing city in the U.S., is to get a move on.


Take a southbound stroll down Main Street’s shady blocks and binge on boutiques. Embrace your fandom nostalgia at retro sports apparel specialist The Vault, find preppy cool at Southern Tide’s flagship Store, peruse the latest kitchen gadgets at The Cook’s Station or find a bike for her at Pedal Chic. Speaking of cycling, burn less bank and more calories, by changing gears and rolling along the 20-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail connecting Greenville to Travelers Rest. While there are plenty of places to take a breather along the trail, Falls Park, with it’s signature water features and beautiful gardens, is the perfect spot to stop and linger.


Photo courtesy of the Lazy Goat

After working up an appetite, head to the patio at The Lazy Goat overlooking the Reedy River in Greenville’s trendy West End. Here, you’ll graze on chef Steven Musolf’s exquisite scratch-made modern Mediterranean fare, serving everything from paella and Moroccan lamb to beet tagliatelle.

While in the West End, if you or a loved one has ever rooted for the Red Sox be sure to take a look at Fluor field, home of the Greenville Drive. The 5,700 seat baby Fenway has a green monster replica in left field, a manual scoreboard, and a “Pesky’s Pole” in right field.  A stone’s throw from the ballpark is Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum & Library (356 Field Street), open Saturdays from 10-2pm; the baseball great is buried in Greenville’s Woodlawn Memorial Park.


The Westin Poinsett, built in 1925, is the city’s most iconic hotel and puts you literally steps away from a pair of the city’s cultural treasures with the Peace Center and the Greenville Symphony Orchestra right next door.

ALSO: Hit the road running when you earn instant rewards—join Orbitz Rewards today!

Day 2: Horsing around Aiken

Aiken Horse

Two hours south of Greenville, get ready to giddy up to the Carolinas’ equestrian epicenter where riding boots and breeches are as ubiquitous as yoga pants.


If you want to feel really tall, head on over to Track Kitchen (420 Mead Ave), a breakfast joint on a dirt road frequented by jockeys. Whatever your flavor of horse sport—dressage, show jumping, steeplechase or polo—Aiken’s equestrian calendar is as full up as a Triple Crown winner’s studbook. Steep yourself in pony history at The Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame at Hopeland Gardens. While there are plenty of venues to watch the ponies train and compete, few are as magical as Hitchcock Woods, a 2,100-acre urban long-leaf pine forest that’s popular with riders and dog walkers alike. If you’re looking to saddle up and learn how to ride, Devonwood Farms offers adult and kid lessons for $40.


Drink like a horse at the Alley Taproom, a unique BYOF (bring your own food) concept pairing craft beer with craft kombacha. There are 48 self serve taps—you pay by the ounce. For a more traditional sit down meal, The Bradley, an American Brasserie just down the street, is fantastic as are longtime Aiken favorites The Stables, Linda’s Bistro and Malia’s.


Photo courtesy of the Carriage House Inn

Book well ahead of time at the stately Willcox, a 22-room boutique where titans of industry and presidents have bed down. At the perfectly located and well-appointed Carriage House Inn you can just park and explore.

Day 3: Carousing in Columbia

Columbia State House

South Carolina’s capital, a 45-minute drive east of Aiken, is known as Cola by locals. It is currently bubbling up and we’re not just talking about the state’s flagship University’s Women’s Basketball ascendancy. Long acknowledged as being well situated—just two hours to the Blue Ridge Mountains and a ninety-minute drive to Charleston—Columbia has outgrown its waypoint tag. With cultural institutions being feted with national honors, regional attractions look more inviting than ever thanks to major makeovers, and a bevy of new breweries, indy coffee houses, and artisanal distilleries opening up shop in the past couple of years, there’s never been a better time to spend a night in the heart of the Midlands.


On Monday August 21, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the nation from Oregon to South Carolina and Columbia is smack dab in the path of totality. In fact, scientists anticipate the capital city will enjoy the longest blackout of the sun on the eastern seaboard. Set the mood on Sunday before the celestial show with Star Wars Musiclipse, where the strings section of the South Carolina Philharmonic will probably ditch their bows for light sabers. While you’ll be able to see the eclipse all over the city, why not do it with a Low Country Boil and Paella Party at City Roots, an urban farm in the rosewood neighborhood.

The War Mouth’s Vegetable Purloo


The War Mouth is a culinary hot zone named after the sight feeding sunfish. Try the chicken bog—pilaf’s Carolina cousin, vegetable purloo or mustard-fried venison. Continue sampling the area’s edible heritage at Tallulah and Motor Supply Company Bistro, both popular haunts boast killer craft cocktail programs.


The new Aloft is well situated in the heart of the thriving Vista district, a hub for restaurants and revelry. Be sure to check out the sculptures, murals and other public art on display at the mouth of the Lincoln Street Tunnel, adjacent to the hotel. If you’re up for a stroll, follow the urban greenway north through Finley Park and climb the stairs to the bench swings to enjoy a panoramic view of the Columbia skyline.



Tagged: Feature

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Mike Dojc

Mike Dojc

Professional golf pundit and globetrotter Mike Dojc has slung copy for Nike, AAA, Geico, Maxim,, Atlanta Magazine, Score Golf, Golf Canada, ClublLink Life, Inside Fitness, Fatherly, Toronto Star, Globe & Mail and many other outlets. His YouTube comedy channel Slinging Birdies will leave you in stitches.

One thought on “Think the coast has the most? Try this inland South Carolina road trip”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *