Carnivorous plant huntin’, Southern rock and rollin’, and fresh produce-pickin’ – our highlighted midsummer 2023 day trips provide ample ways to enjoy the outdoors in hidden gem towns of the Carolinas. 

Sandhills Horticultural Gardens

The English Gardens are just one type of natural sanctuary at Sandhills Horticultural Gardens.

NC Piedmont: Walk On The Wild Side 

Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve 1024 N Fort Bragg Blvd. Southern Pines, NC 28387
Sandhills Horticultural Gardens 3245 Airport Rd. Pinehurst, NC 28374

Birdwatchers, botanists, and seekers of beautiful blooms will find their summer paradise in the NC Sandhills, home to astonishingly exceptional gardens. Start at Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve in Southern Pines, home to rare flora and fauna like the red-cockaded woodpecker, fox squirrel, and purple pitcher plant. The Horticultural Gardens in Pinehurst are open to the public year-long, boasting succulent gardens, sunken gardens, Japanese gardens, and more. 

Pinnacle Park in Sylva NC is a must-see item on your midsummer 2023 day trips itinerary

Take in the beauty of bubbling streams, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic views as your make your way to the peak of Pinnacle Park.

NC Mountains: Partake In A U-Pick Picnic In The Park

Jet off to the best u-pick farms in Jackson County for a quintessential Carolina experience. From ruby red strawberries and crisp lettuce heads to crunchy cucumbers and juicy peaches that taste of sunshine, you can find all pertinent ingredients for a perfect summer picnic. Haul your stash to the 1,000-acre Pinnacle Park preserve in Sylva, where an old logging road turned moderate trail leads you to panoramic views of Sylva and Scotts Creek Valley #picnicgoals

Lake Waccamaw State Park

A quiet moment in Lake Waccamaw State Park (Photo Credit: Sam L. Hinson, 2007)

NC Coastal Plain: Fish NC’s Largest Natural Lake

Lake Waccamaw State Park 1866 State Park Dr. Lake Waccamaw, NC 28450

Lake Waccamaw’s unique limestone bluff makes it home to aquatic species found nowhere else in the world, including the Fatmucket mussel, siltsnail, and killifish. Tow your bait and tackle along the Venus flytrap-ridden Pine Woods Trail at Lake Waccamaw State Park and traverse the pedestrian bridge over the Waccamaw Dam to access the perfect fishing spot (an accessible boardwalk is close to the visitor’s center). Learn more about encounters with carnivorous plants.

Anne Springs Close Greenway

Traverse the suspension bridge at the Anne Springs Close Greenway.

SC Midlands: Ride Through Yesteryear

Anne Springs Close Greenway 148 Adventure Rd. Fort Mill, SC 29715 or 2573 Lake Haigler Dr. Fort Mill, SC 29715
Amor Artis Brewing 
204 Main St. Suite 101, Fort Mill, SC 29715

Double the size of NYC’s Central Park, the Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill can entertain all kinds of Carolina travelers for the entire day. You can explore the area on foot, by paddleboard, and even on horseback, as the Greenway Stables working horse farm offers guided trail rides and up-close equine encounters. After checking out the historic buildings on site, enjoy a cold pint of beer at the top-rated Amor Artis Brewing in downtown Fort Mill, only three miles from the Greenway.

Marshall Tucker Band sign on the Spartanburg Music Trail

I'm gonna take a freight train, down at the station, I don't care where it goes…

SC Upstate: Put The Art In Spartanburg

Chapman Cultural Center 200 E. St. John St. Spartanburg, SC 29306
Spartanburg Music Trail W. Main St. and N. Daniel Morgan Ave. Spartanburg, SC 29306

A day trip to Sparkle City is ideal for arts and cultural immersion. The Chapman Cultural Center hosts rotating art galleries and live performances, along with frequent educational workshops for kids and adults. Rock music enthusiasts can take a self-guided tour along the Spartanburg Music Trail – you’ll be surprised to learn just how many distinguished American musicians (like the Marshall Tucker Band) hail from this charming town.

Mule pulling a plow at the L.W. Paul Living History Farm.

Get a taste of old-time farm life on the L.W. Paul Living History Farm.

SC Pee Dee: Live The Farm Life

L.W. Paul Living History Farm 2279 Harris Short Cut Rd. Conway, SC 29526

The L.W. Paul Living History Farm in Conway takes farm to table to a whole new level! Free one-hour guided farm tours weave visitors through facades and fixtures of old-time domestic farm life. Watch an agriculturalist tan hides, milk cows, and grind corn. You’ll feel transported back to the early 1900s as you wander through the saw mill, smoke house, tobacco barn, and sprawling fields worked by horse-drawn plows.

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