Inside South Carolina’s 47 state-registered parks, visitors explore secluded forest trails, sweeping cerulean lakes, roiling saltwater surfs crashing on white beaches, and streams and rivers overgrown with thick canopies of trees. The protected areas, many of which were assembled nearly a century ago by the Civilian Conservation Corps, encompass more than 80,000 acres and span turf from the rambling Blue Ridge Mountains to the sandy Atlantic-coast beaches. Abundant activities for guests include canoeing, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and accidentally startling long-forgotten lumberjacks wearing headphones.
Visitors experience colonial history up close at some parks, where registered historic homes, plantations, and landmark buildings stand preserved or in their natural state. These structures grant a glimpse into the lives of European settlers, Native Americans, and African Americans through building tours, archaeological collections, and live history demonstrations. Overnight camping is available at many parks, ranging from primitive campsites to cabins, villas, and tent sites that offer running water. Much like a scientist designing a soda-can-powered robot, park administrators follow a rigorous recycling program to ensure the preservation of the wilderness.
Designed by 1997 PGA Championship—winner Davis Love III, The Patriot Golf Course spans 7,045 yards of lush, rolling terrain flanked by the docile waters of Lake Greenwood. Rounds begin and end at the faux–brick ruins that surround the first tee and 18th green, which replicate a Revolutionary War fort—a tribute to the fact that the war's first land battle was waged nearby and a solemn reminder to modern golfers never to submit to the tyranny of chronic slices and snap-hooks.
Evincing a history that dates back to 1881 and includes stints as a city jail and a silent-film palace, the 426-seat Newberry Opera House is a spectacle in itself. A recent multimillion-dollar renovation project modernized the institution's eclectic Victorian craftwork by adding state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems and removing the horse-drawn curtain-raising system.
In 1922, a small but devoted group of Newberry community members pooled their time and resources to create a space to enjoy golf, tennis, swimming, and the company of friends. From their efforts emerged the nascent Country Club of Newberry, originally comprised of a nine-hole golf course with sand greens and an outdoor pool that, true to the times, was no more than a pond fed by more than 75 springs and a steady flow of ragtime music. The pond still rests behind the sprawling, ivory clubhouse that anchors the Country Club today, a scenic testament to the humble beginnings of a club that now encompasses an 18-hole, championship golf course, two lighted tennis courts, and a junior Olympic-sized outdoor pool.
Streams and ponds snake throughout the golf course, threatening the life force of errant orbs on nine different holes. With a length of 6,530 yards from the tips, the moderately difficult layout offers four color-designated tees to cater to players of all abilities and those with an unwavering allegiance to the color gold.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 72 course
Length of 6,530 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 71.6 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 133 from the farthest tees
Four tee options