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.
Amid the cracks of strikes and spares, Lumberton Bowling Center fetes twosomes with pin-annihilating festivities to enliven afternoons and evenings. Set up shop at one of the 24 smooth lanes, lacing up a functional pair of rented kicks before striking a fashionable pose with a selected three-holed orb. Couples keep score during the six-game stretch, sip on 16-ounce soft drinks, and attempt to execute challenging triple-axel throws.
Students at Fast Track High Performance Driving School don't need to prove that they can parallel park—they're more concerned about taking a turn at more than 100 miles per hour. Most of them have never even felt the rumble of a 600-horsepower engine before. After plenty of safety debriefing from expert instructors, however, they usually are no longer intimidated by its purr. They'll then hop into the vibrant shell of an ARCA-style stock car, a former racing vehicle that's still capable of rocketing down the track at a blur-inducing speed of 165 miles per hour.
Since 1989, the school has been fulfilling speed-demon fantasies with its courses and ride alongs at racetracks throughout the country. The staff meets with everyday fans and aspiring competitors alike to cover racing protocol, safety, and appropriate postrace dance moves. Depending on the depth of their lesson, pupils might take the wheel during a four-car passing exercise or simply sit back in the passenger seat as a professional flies through three–five laps.
Heather Rossio thinks confidence is sexy. That’s why she founded Studio X Pole Fitness—to help women to feel comfortable in their own skin. Here, experienced instructors show students of all levels how to move their bodies with power and grace. Intro to Pole sessions acquaint first-time twirlers with metallic dance partners through basic stretches, grips, and noninvasive icebreakers. Students can then move on to Beginners Pole courses that teach simple spins and transitions, as well as strength training and calorie-torching floor work. The staff recommends that attendees take at least two basic courses before graduating to Intermediate Pole's lessons on climbing the pole, sitting on the pole, and prepping for upside-down inversions. Advanced Pole classes—at the top tier of the pole pantheon—ready tricks, inversions, and spins for gravity-defying routines or actual moonwalks. Additional classes include Chair X-Fit, which tightens the core, hips, and thighs in 50-minutes sessions, and cardio-packed, dance-heavy Zumba classes. To glide and shimmy effortlessly and comfortably, guests are encouraged to don form-fitting shorts and tank tops.
More than 8,000 square feet of space comprise RedPoint, a climbing gym set in a renovated warehouse. Nearly every inch has been set aside for towering climbing walls and exercise equipment to help climbers shore up their skills.
Within these confines, a team of instructors is on hand to teach the skills needed to conquer the facility’s tricky bouldering routes. They can also teach the fundamentals of belaying, which will help you to scale any of the more than 30 onsite climbing stations for top roping, lead climbing, or washing windows on the state capitol building. Back at ground level, you can tone your physique on pull-up bars, rowing machines, and Olympic weights as well as in CrossFit classes, which work on building core strength and overall fitness. The facility also hosts various kid-focused activities such as lock-ins, birthday parties, and corporate retreats for mountain goats.