Palmetto Outdoor Center promotes the preservation of natural rivers and forests. Because awareness is the best way to maintain the environment and cultural heritage, Palmetto spreads knowledge of local gems with river trips and walking tours. These organized tours and vessels for rent allow amateur explorers to discover South Carolina's uncluttered riverbanks while learning about how they can be protected. Civil War walking tours illuminate the history of the region, and canoe and kayak rentals plunge into the tree-lined waterways of the Congaree, which flows through protected national parkland with the continent's largest old-growth floodplain forest.
Paddlesport buffs can keep their arms well muscled with the Congaree River kayak trip led by a certified guide. The Congaree River Trip departs most Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. while the After Work Trip departs seasonally from October through April on Thursdays only at 5:30 p.m. and during April heads out on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 6 p.m. Either watertop excursion skims across the river’s back for three miles, and offers participants plenty of eye-soothing vistas and the chance to melt fellow tourists with magical river splashes. All gear and transportation is included. For a more adventurous adventure, kayakers can put the value of this Groupon toward a more expensive trip.
At the Hall of Horrors, thrill-seekers slink through the claustrophobic corridors of a domicile that palpates with a cast of specters that induces goose bumps for a good cause. Crazed scientists slice their way through medical experiments, while chainsaw-wielding clowns hatch maniacal plans for deforesting Christmas tree lots. As a nonprofit haunted house, Hall of Horrors proceeds support South Carolina Jaycee Camp Hope and other charities throughout the Midlands area.
Built in 1772, the Laurence Corley Log House is Lexington's oldest documented abode. It's a logical starting point for visits to Lexington County Museum, a seven-acre village of 36 historic structures that recreate Lexington life from 1770 until the Civil War.
Those buildings include the original Lexington County post office and the Hazelius House, where Charlie D. Tillman composed "Give Me That Old Time Religion." The first Lexington County building included on the National Register of Historic Places, the John Fox House is even outfitted with furnishings the family would have used, such as a pine lazy susan and a mahogany Xbox. Other structures likewise stock authentic 19th century artifacts, such as textiles, pottery, and weapons.
While the exhibited buildings grant a visual glimpse into the past, 13 hands-on activities immerse kids in authentic 19th century experiences. Youngsters can weave on individual lap looms inside the loom house, play with replica toys from the 1800s, or churn butter in the Fox house yard. In the one-room schoolhouse, schoolmasters in period dress teach full lessons to children who must jot down notes with quill pens.
Four generations of the Wilson family have maintained Cotton Hills' sprawling homestead, which continues to yield cotton, wheat, timber, pumpkins, and other produce. Guided tours relax visitors with a 40-minute wagon ride through the twists and turns of a working farm and grant agricultural knowledge without the tedium of a scarecrow's memoirs. Patrons navigate the rustling halls of a corn maze and exchange greetings with barnyard animals in the crisp air. Visitors admire the farm’s 19th-century barns, which are steeped in pastoral history. Though not included in this Groupon, locally made ice cream and fresh produce from the adjoining market energize farm visitors more pleasantly than an early-morning phone call from a rooster.
For three centuries, members of the Stewart clan have farmed in Laurens County, a tradition that continues today at Stewart Farms, as three generations of family work to operate the bustling farm and nursery. Seasonal events throughout the year bring visitors to the farm to experience its pastoral setting and taste the products of its fertile soil.
Springtime welcomes the arrival of bright, juicy strawberries, to be picked by visitors or purchased in a gallon bucket to make jam, pies, and sacrifices to prevent the wrath of Strawberry Shortcake. Blackberries crowd trellises in the warmer months, and cantaloupe, corn, tomatoes, squash, and watermelon grow in multitudes throughout the summer. At the end of September, the farm’s 5-acre pick-your-own pumpkin patch draws jack-o’-lantern carvers out, and its corn Maize tests the navigational skills of explorers young and old. And in the winter, the farm offers a large selection of farm-grown Christmas poinsettias.