Florence is a modern-day belle of a city that hums history, character, and southern charm. It belongs to the state of Carolina, United States. Endearing at its best, this small town is also known by “Flo-town” and “Magic City. A gleaming gem brimmed with nature’s abundance; a visit to this city will help you experience the agrarian lifestyle of the old South and its hassle-free way of life.
With a revitalized downtown, Florence is fast turning into a bourgeoning focal point for entertainment, recreation, and local cuisine for visitors in the Pee Dee region. On any given day, the tourists visiting this city will experience a sense of calmness that has no compare. In addition to all these, a diverse culinary scene and fun array of leisure pursuits make this city one-of-a-kind. On that note, here are the best things to do in Florence, South Carolina.
War between the States Museum
If you are someone who wants to know more about the Civil War Era, waste no time and visit this museum. This storehouse of historical archives was originally founded by the Sons of the Confederate Veterans in 1988. The museum contains many memorabilia and artefacts from 1850-1900. The photographs of military personalities and many items from the Florence Stockade are on exhibit here. A number of rare books and documents are also part of the collection. There is a reference library which is open for public use. There is also gift shop within the museum for the tourist to buy souvenirs
At a time when Escape Room Games are fast catching ground, the Locked Inn is South Carolina’s first of its kind. It is an extremely enjoyable choice if you want to indulge in something fun and exciting. They come with exciting adventure games with the players locked in a room. The players are supposed to use their intellect to solve a series of puzzles and other interactive multiplayer games to make their exit from the room in 60 minutes. They offer four unique themes which make it all the more exciting.
Florence County Museum
Florence County Museum is considered to be Pee Dee’s premier museum. It mirrors the region’s abounding artistic, cultural, and historic heritage through a vibrant collection of exhibitions, studios, lectures, and family programming.
Some of the fascinating collection highlights include artefacts from the Colonial period, Civil war and Native American period. In addition to the historical highlights, there are oil painting and other artworks that represent some of the best of Southern Art. The museum is also committed in providing a platform for the contemporary artist. The Pee Dee Regional Art Competition can be considered a product of these impassioned efforts. To this date, this contest remains South Carolina’s eldest juried art competition.
Florence Veteran’s Park
On the Veteran’s Day of the year 2008, during a special patriotic ceremony where active and retired members of the military were present, the town dedicated the Florence Veteran’s Park to those who served the country. The park covers a land of 6 acres and has wondrous attractions like the three-column obelisk that features a bronze bald eagle apex, heart-rending sculptures like Home Safe, the Wall of Honour among many others. The park also has an amphitheatre. There is no admission fee to enter the park and is open during the daylight hours.
Florence Stockade Visitor Centre
The Confederate States Military Prison (also known as Florence Stockade or The Stockade) was a prisoner-of-war camp that existed from September 1864 to February 1865 during the American Civil War. More than 18,000 soldiers were imprisoned here, out of which 2,800 died. As of present, it is enlisted in the US National Register of Historic Places. Since 2008, the site is open for public use and offers a guided walking trail, while presenting the information about stockade. Parking facility is also available. The centre open from dawn to dusk.
Florence National Cemetery
The Florence National Cemetery is one of the 144 National Cemeteries of the United States. Additionally, it also became a part of US Register of Historic Places in 1998. It is currently managed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. As of 2014, the cemetery had 9000 interments. The cemetery is open for daily visits, but only during daylight hours.
This fully digital Planetarium is a part of Francis Marion University in Florence. With the help of a special projector, the planetarium can access images, animation and even direct live feeds from NASA, to project and show the heavenly views to the public. The planetarium holds a variety of programs for different groups like special groups, students and the public. Public shows can be accessed on the second and fourth Sunday of every month at 3 pm. Private groups like school visit groups have access throughout the week. The admission to the planetarium is free of cost.
Mars Bluff Atomic Bomb Impact Crater
This almost atomic-hole stands on an abandoned trailer park. The crater that is the focal point of attraction here has an interesting account on its origin. Long story short, an atomic bomb was accidentally dropped in the garden of Mr Gregg’s house during the cold war. Because a rod which could have triggered the explosion was missing in the bomb, it didn’t explode and just hit the ground. Thankfully, there were zero casualties and everyone walked away with minor injuries. Today, a small observation deck stands in its periphery that attracts shutterbugs from all over the country.
Columns Plantation Home
This place adorns many names- The Columns, the Rankin-Harwell House, the James Harwell House and the Carolina Hall. Built in 1857, it is a two-story plantation house that primarily grows cotton, corn and tobacco. Designed in Greek revival style lodging, the house covers a total area of 2 acres of land. It is framed with a low pitched hipped roof and a raised basement. The houses are surrounded by 22 giant stuccoed brick columns, laid in Doric order. Today, this tastefully-restored home and surrounding plantation properties are owned by the Harwell family. Although it is privately owned, it is available for tours and events.
Palmetto Peddlers Antiques Mall
The mall is a 38,000 sq. ft. a big shopping stop for all your antique hankering. For that reason, the mall has controlled temperature conditions for preserving these. It provides a wide range of home décor items, collectables, vintages, jewellery and antiques, giving customers a true choice to grab their perfect match. On top of that, anyone can easily put their collections and products on displays or for selling. Visitors can pay a visit to the mall between 10 am – 6 pm from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, the timings are from 1:30 pm to 6 pm.
Beer Tasting at Seminar Brewery
For many people, having a glass of finely crafted wine is one of the best ways to end their day. If you are hunting for the perfect place to grab some, the Seminar Brewery is a great option. Be assured that this place has the best-tasting beers the state has to offer. In addition to beer, the place also offers wine tasting and a number of mouth-watering dishes to make your experience more memorable. The place also comes with fun games like cornhole, Jenga and other board games which make the place a whole lot of fun.
Thieves market is a huge flea market situated in the Palmetto Street of Florence. This outdoor marketplace is nothing short of a haven for vintage and antique collectors. With an admission fee of just $3 and free parking, this place is great for spending your weekends scavenging for things you may need.
It has a variety of unique and antique products to offer. In fact, Thieves has one of Arizona’s best miscellanies of collectables, clothing, furniture, homeware, and handmade gift items. The market opens from 9 am and the discount seekers will need to dig in deeper to find hidden treasures among the heaps. In all probability, you will end up finding a lot of things you didn’t even realise you wanted.
Dr Bruce & Lee Foundation Library
The enduring existence and classical detailing of the Florence Library provide a fitting background for the primary public building in this small southern city. Intended to catalyze downtown redevelopment, its park setting and enclosed porticos bolster public gathering. In addition, its hi-tech facilities serve the needs of the city and surrounding communities.
The library not only provides access to books but also audiocassettes, CDs, local history and genealogical collection, the internet as well as other reference services. All the services offered are free of cost to the citizens of Florence. However, cardholders who are non-residents of Florence County are required to pay a fee of $25 to access its resources. The library is open to the public from Monday to Thursday from 9 am-8:30 pm, Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 5:30 pm and on Sunday from 2 pm to 6 pm.
Pick Berries At Cottle Strawberry Farm
If you have a few hours to spare, head to the Cottle Strawberry Farm to pick the most delicious strawberries in town; all by yourself. The farm opens each spring for individuals, families, and groups to experience fresh from the vine strawberries. If you don’t want to pick your own strawberries, that is okay too- they allow for purchasing pre-picked strawberries. The visitors can simply choose from quarts, gallons, and their wide assortment of strawberry products like syrups, loaves of bread, and preserves.
A picnic area and a restroom are furnished inside the farm for public convenience. The farm is open to the public every spring from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and on Sunday, between 10 am to 6 pm. Although it is not necessary to make an appointment for your picking session, it is advisable to call ahead just to make sure there are plenty of berries and no weather-related delays
Gather Blessings at the First Presbyterian Church
The First Presbyterian Church of Florence came into existence in 1861 with the first pastor Dr Thomas R. English serving the church with other 34 members.
Classes are held for both children and adults on Sunday. Two services are held in the church with different timings; the Contemporary Worship service featuring the praise team is conducted at 9 am while Traditional Worship service featuring Chancel Choir, is conducted at 11 am. If you are nearby this region and want some peace, do visit the church to gather some blessings.
Picnic at Timrod Park
The 18-acre big Timrod Park is a favourite destination to the locals as well as the tourists. It comes with fourteen tennis courts, a playground and numerous picnic spots. If you are a cardio lover, you might want to take a small walk or jog on the natural trails of the park, to reach the fitness area. Feeling tired? Drink water and take a breath at the gazebo nearby. And as a cherry on the top, an amphitheatre is present in the park. Restrooms are accessible in the recreation centre and leashed pets are allowed to enter the park. Since the area is covered with trees and shrubs, watch out for snakes, squirrels, turtles and birds who might be out for a walk like you. Do not forget to apply insect repellent during warm and rainy days.