Ready to take a break and breathe some fresh air? Well, you have come to the right town! Greenville and the surrounding Upstate area offer a wide variety of outdoor pursuits, no matter the time of year. So three, two, one… aaaaand you’re off!
Adrenaline-Pumping Good Times
For all you thrill-seekers who feel the need for speed through adrenaline-pumping good times, check out The Gorge in nearby Saluda, North Carolina or the Wildwater Chattooga Adventure Center – Chattooga Ridge Canopy Tours for zipline adventures for the whole family. These tours take place high above the treeline so you’re sure not to miss out on the magnificent views. Your skilled guides first teach your group the basics, then set you up for progressively higher and faster elements. Before you know it, you’re flying through the wilderness like a pro. But if whitewater thrills and spills are more your style, look into the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) on the Chattooga River for whitewater adventures sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Designated as a Wild and Scenic River, the Chattooga is not only known as a premier destination for whitewater sports, but also as a memorable icon from the the 1972 movie Deliverance. Hands-down, the Chattooga is one of the area’s top picks for kayaking, rafting, tubing and canoeing. And for your ultimate need for speed, be sure to check out the BMW Performance Driving School in Greer, SC. Start your engines, y’all; this school will teach you real-world driving skills while delivering on the quality you expect from BMW.
Exhilarating Mountain Biking Destinations
And the fun doesn’t stop there! Greenville and the surrounding Upstate area are also home to some exhilarating mountain biking destinations. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just getting started, Greenville has exciting off-road trails for everyone. Paris Mountain State Park has 15 miles of trails, great views and fast downhill sections. Only a short drive from downtown Greenville, it’s considered a favorite among local mountain bike enthusiasts. Equally exciting are the trails at Issaqueena Lake near Clemson University. The Issaqueena trails have plenty of singletrack, awesome jumps and offer terrain for all ability levels. Finally, DuPont State Recreational Forest, located about an hour from Greenville just over the border in North Carolina, offers world-class riding on almost 100 miles of trails. The area is characterized by its unique slickrock features that will certainly keep your adrenaline levels high. Local mountain bike enthusiasts will confirm that you won’t be disappointed; it’s well worth the drive.
How About Golf?
The outdoors offer something for everyone, so let’s switch gears and get out on the green for some golf. First up – disc golf. Timmons Park is located right in Greenville and houses a full 18-hole course. Holmes Park, Gower Park, and the disc golf course at Furman University are 9-hole courses and offer the right blend of skill, atmosphere and fun. For the more traditional golfer, you have plenty of choices too. Improve your swing and get back to nature at the Embassy Suites Greenville Golf Resort and Conference Center – The Preserve at Verdae, whose mission is to Strive for Harmony Between Golf and Nature. Their focus on environmental responsibility and the use of native plants on their property has made them a leader in the unison of golf and environmentalism. The Furman University Golf Club, housed on the campus of Furman University, has been named # 29 in Golfweek’s “Best Campus Courses” list. The Cherokee Valley Golf Resort promotes not only their spectacular waterfall on the 5th hole, but also their new state-of-the-art wellness center complete with a pool, exercise equipment, tennis courts and lounge area. Or visit Hickory Knob State Resort Park and Golf Course to take in more natural surroundings. Bordered by Lake Thurmond, Hickory Knob is rated a “Great Value” by Golf Digest and is the only Resort State Park in South Carolina.
Explore Amazing Beauty
Don’t slow down yet, there’s so much more to explore! Leave yourself time to drive along the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway (Highway 11). This 112-mile road gives you a chance to see the area in a more up-close-and-personal way. Map your route to include some of the most amazing State Parks and waterfalls the area has to offer. At Table Rock State Park, nature lovers bask in the natural beauty of Table Rock Mountain, its main feature, and indulge in swimming and hiking. Or visit Jones Gap State Park to enjoy plenty of exploring, picnicking, and fishing in serene natural surroundings. For your chance to experience amazing waterfalls, don’t miss Caesars Head State Park, where the towering 420-foot Raven’s Cliff Falls can be viewed at an impressive suspension bridge. Check out another observation platform to feel the power of forceful water at Lower Whitewater Falls’ amazing 200-foot drop. Hidden Falls at Oconee State Park is another to put on your list, as is Issaqueena Falls, as both offer tranquil settings and serene beauty.
Speaking of State Parks, South Carolina’s large State Park system within the Upstate is peppered with picturesque lakes, sure to satisfy your yen for watersports activities. Lake Hartwell, one
of the largest lakes in the Southeast, is a playground for children and adults alike. Bring your crew up the Seneca River by boat to take in a Clemson football game, explore Ghost Island or Andersonville Island, or just take it easy. Nearby Lake Keowee is well known for its clear waters and truly breathtaking views. Or check out Lake Jocassee for exquisite trout fishing and camping. If you’re a scuba diver, you can explore the underwater relics of the Attakulla Lodge, Camp Jocassee and a graveyard that remained at the lake’s bottom when the lake was created. And if you visit Lake Jocassee in the springtime, you may just catch a sighting of the endangered Oconee Bell wildflower.
Keeping it Close
Finally, for convenient family fun without traveling far from town, check out Falls Park on the Reedy River. Centrally located in Greenville’s West End, it’s brimming with the sights and sounds of nature, yet close to shopping and restaurants. Ready for something a bit more exotic? Take the kids for a trip on the wild side and visit The Greenville Zoo, or rent bikes for the day and explore the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
So whatever you’d like to do to get active and explore the outdoors, Greenville is the place to do it. Now get going!