By the time customers climb atop tubes and kayaks from Saluda River Rafting Adventures and begin their sunlit floats down the river they may have already reached the halfway point of their outdoor adventure. That's because the rafting company's staffers also set up rustic riverside campsites that customers can rent the night before their river outings. In the morning Bubba the bus driver steers them through idyllic fields to their float site, passing horses along the way that approach the bus for carrots or advice on how to grow turn signals.
The horses are not just for feeding; staffers also lead camps—along with private and semiprivate lessons—that introduce youngsters to the equestrian arts. Alternatively, patrons can hone the more literal art of paint splattering on a lush Airsoft field, where soldiers armed with paintball guns fight in a sportsmanlike fashion, rather than by force-feeding each other paint pellets. Interested campers can also call to inquire about free rustic camping available for youth groups.
Designed in 1918 by prolific course architect Thomas Bendelow—reputed as "The Johnny Appleseed of American Golf" after designing roughly 600 courses over 35 years—Anderson Country Club's 18-hole, par 71 course stretches across 6,402 yards of lush Carolina woodlands. The emerald landscape features mostly straight-ahead fairways and favors a straightforward design in which tight tree lines provide the bulk of the challenge and most obstacles are easily identified from a distance. Four chromatically designated tee options make the course surmountable for players of all abilities, allowing scratch golfers to play alongside 10-handicap frenemies or competitively deficient alter egos.
Icy coats clothe the hills at Snowy Joe's Winter Park from December to February as riders cut through winds atop inflated rings. At the top of the massive mound, bodies are postmarked express and delivered to the end of 350-foot alleys. Younger racers hike to the top of a shorter hill to shoot down smooth, 60-foot chutes. The venue welcomes large groups or birthday parties, providing pizza or special rates for family gatherings. Riders can also gather around a crackling open fire and sip on free hot chocolate.
Southern Oaks’ 18-hole golf course is designed to incorporate the tree-lined countryside with 6,495 yards of bermuda-grass fairways and greens. A large, wishbone-shaped lake occupies the south end of the course, its surface forming a glassy resting place for errant golf balls and a natural mirror for self-absorbed golf carts. More than 650 trees line the fairways, further compounding the need for accurate shots. Golfers can warm up for rounds at the onsite driving range and practice green.
From its hilltop perch, Southern Oaks' clubhouse beckons golfers for a postround dinner of savory grill cuisine, an ideal way to replenish muscles after a long day of swinging for distant greens or setting personal long-jump records in sand traps.
Course at a Glance:
Located near Table Rock State Park, The Rock at Jocassee nestles a community and golf course at the base of South Carolina's highest mountain. Trout streams wind through the 18-hole course, which challenges golfers of all skill levels with bending fairways and sloping, bentgrass greens. At the clubhouse, a full sports bar and restaurant let visitors relax before heading out to the links or taking a lesson from a golf professional at the driving range. Surrounded by hundreds of miles of hiking and horseback-riding trails, The Rock embeds its golf course within a landscape of towering trees and sweeping foothills, forcing golfers to distinguish between their own balls and rolling acorns.