20 Best Things to Do in Lancaster County, SC

20 Best Things to Do in Lancaster County, SC

There's a unique rhythm to life in Lancaster County, South Carolina.

It's in the sway of the longleaf pines, the hum of the bees in the wildflower fields, and the quiet serenity of the Catawba River.

It's a way of life that is relaxed, warm, and filled with the riches of Southern history and culture.

I've savored every moment of my life here, from the exciting festivals that fill our streets with music and laughter to the peaceful afternoons spent exploring hidden trails.

Come, let me share a small slice of my world with you, and together we'll discover the absolute best things to do in Lancaster County, South Carolina.

About this article: This article was written by a local contributor based on their own experiences and those around them. While this list showcases some remarkable places, it's important to note that this is an opinion piece, and there are many other exceptional places to visit that are not featured here.
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the county for yourself.

Go on Nature Walks at Landsford Canal State Park

The waters of Landsford Canal State Park
John C Davis III / Shutterstock.com

There's an incredible sense of calm that washes over me every time I step foot into the Landsford Canal State Park.

The serene beauty of the Catawba River and the thrill of kayaking through the spider lilies when they're blooming during peak season are moments that I've come to cherish.

The park is not only great for water activities but also features fascinating relics of a canal system abandoned in 1835.

As I stroll down the short walking paths, sometimes I find myself lingering around these structures, caught up in the stories they narrate of a bygone era.

These walks offer a peek into the park's interesting history and bring me face-to-face with its uniquely charming Canal architecture.

One of my favorite things to do at the park is to pack a picnic. There are numerous spots along the river that are perfect for a day out.

I've often found myself firing up the grill at one of the many setups available, adding another layer of enjoyment to my visit.

It's also a great way to immerse myself in the park's surroundings, basking in the ambiance of the river and the lush greenery.

A trail at Landsford Canal State Park
Jonathen Sanders / Shutterstock.com

The tables, restrooms, and shelters provided by the park are always well-maintained and clean, which as a frequent visitor, is something I greatly appreciate.

Another highlight of my visits is the wildlife.

I've had the pleasure of spotting eagles nesting and have been amazed by the sight of the spider lilies transforming the river shoals into fields of white in spring.

If you're a fan of outdoor activities, you're in for a treat.

The park has an easy and accessible hiking trail, a playground, and even a spot to put in for kayaking or canoeing.

And when the river conditions are favorable, it's just an invitation to put on water shoes and play in the river.

For anyone looking to surround themselves with serene beauty, history, and outdoor fun, Landsford Canal State Park is a must-visit any time of the year.

Discover Artistry at Bob Doster's Backstreet Studio

There's something soul-stirring about stepping into Bob Doster's Backstreet Studio.

The moment you cross the threshold, you're greeted by an interesting, eclectic mix of art from all genres.

It's like a visual feast, an explosion of creativity that hits you from all angles.

Every piece in the studio tells a tale - the labor of love that Bob's put into each one.

Do take a moment to chat with him if you can. You'll find that he loves to share about his artistry and the history of our beloved Lancaster. His passion is infectious!

Revamped recently, Bob Doster's Backstreet Studio has become an ideal venue for all sorts of large gatherings.

For family reunions, school get-togethers, business events, or receptions, Bob's studio can handle them all with an artistic flair.

But it's not just the art-filled interior that's a draw.

The outdoor patio area is a hidden gem - a serene, welcoming sanctuary.

It's my personal favorite spot to unwind with a glass of wine, soaking in the laidback vibes and, often, the tunes of live music.

I can't not talk about Bob's art.

Every glance at it fills me with pride and joy.

These aren't just pieces of decoration but heirlooms that I plan to pass down to my family for years to come.

Each piece is a slice of Lancaster's history, an embodiment of its spirit, a masterpiece from Bob's creative arsenal.

Step Back in Time at Buford Battleground

When you live in Lancaster, South Carolina, history is always just around the corner.

One of my favorite local sites is the hallowed ground of Buford Battleground.

Walking the trails, which are still in development, I'm often overcome by the profound historical significance of this place.

You see, the real battlefield isn't just the neatly maintained park with its picnic tables and porta-potty, it's the seemingly ordinary cornfield across the road.

That's where the Battle of Buford actually took place.

I often find myself looking out over that field, imagining the unimaginable - the brutal War Between the States playing out right where I'm standing.

A visual stretch of imagination takes you to the swamps and muck amidst mosquito bites and the terrifying image of hot lead bullets whizzing by.

The cannon fodder, exploding and tearing apart the lives of families and friends, is a chilling reminder of the battles fought here.

No, it's not an easy place to visit. It's a place that demands respect and remembrance.

I discovered this site by accident one day when I drove by the monument dedicated to Buford's massacre.

The information about the battle was detailed, and I found myself deeply moved. I think about the men who fought here and the families that were forever changed.

It's humbling to consider the lives that were lost, the sacrifices made for our freedom right here on Buford Battleground.

Go Fishing at Fishing Creek Reservoir

There's nothing that quite matches the tranquility of Fishing Creek Reservoir, a hidden gem that I have had the pleasure of exploring every nook and cranny.

I've been fortunate enough to stumble upon this naturally stunning reservoir during one of my aimless rides around town.

I couldn't help but appreciate the picturesque view, but alas, I didn't have the time to stop then.

However, the charming beauty marked in my memory promised a later return.

And indeed, I did return, but this time, equipped with my fishing gear.

The reservoir has always shown promising potential for some good fishing.

Each visit to the Fishing Creek Reservoir is a thrilling test of my angling skills.

The serenity is broken only by the splash of a biting fish - it's an angler's paradise!

Over the years, this reservoir has become more than just a fishing spot for me.

It's a place where I grew up, learned to swim, and spent countless summer afternoons. It's a place that holds a piece of my heart.

It's my childhood encapsulated - the spot where I spent my lazy afternoons, either fishing or just floating on the serene waters.

And it's a place I've come to love.

Enjoy a Pint at Benford Brewing Company

Ah, the sweet taste of a cold pint at the end of a long day!

And where better to indulge than at our very own countryside gem, the Benford Brewing Company?

Located just off the beaten track, this family-run business is a testament to the charm of rural life.

It's nestled amidst lush farmland, and the brewery grows its own hops, adding a unique, homegrown flavor to their brews.

When the county Farm Tour comes around in May, it's an absolute delight to spend the day here.

With the aroma of hops in the air, a Mexican food truck whips up 15 different delights, perfect to pair with the beer on tap.

There are plenty of choices, each one as refreshing as the last.

Whether you're a fan of a robust stout or a crisp pale ale, you won't be left disappointed.

Benford Brewing Company is more than just a place to grab a brew, it's a community hub.

The vast outdoor area is perfect for a game of Cornhole or simply to soak in the rustic environment.

Inside, it's a beer lover's paradise.

The walls are adorned with merchandise, and there's always a batch of freshly brewed beer in the cooler, ready to be taken home.

The warmth of this place extends beyond its beer and sunny farm setting.

It’s the friendly service and heartfelt hospitality that truly make Benford Brewing Company stand out.

The family-run charm permeates throughout, making you feel like you're part of the family.

And let's not forget about our four-legged friends - they're more than welcome here, adding to the jovial farm-like atmosphere.

Stroll Down 40 Acre Rock Heritage Preserve

Ever since I was a kid, I've been fascinated by the natural beauty that the 40 Acre Rock Heritage Preserve offers.

I remember the first time my parents took me there; I was about six years old, and the sheer size of the rock blew my mind.

It was like standing on the moon - a completely different world that was right here, just half a mile walk from the parking lot.

40 Acre Rock Heritage Preserve has changed a bit over the years, but the serenity it offers has remained the same.

The dirt trail from the parking lot is still as flat and easy to navigate as it was back then.

And even in the cold season, the rock and its surroundings maintain an incredible charm.

It's not just the rock that's worth exploring, though.

Just a mile or two down the road, you'd find the Cry Baby Bridge - another natural wonder that adds to the allure of this place.

I often make a point to visit it after spending time at the rock.

The bridge, much like the rest of the park, is a peaceful spot that offers a break from the busy life in the city.

One of my recent favorite activities at the Preserve is geocaching.

It adds a sense of adventure to the visit and also provides a great way to learn about the geological features of the area.

Walk through Lindsay Pettus Greenway

There's nothing like waking up early in the morning, lacing up my walking shoes, and heading out to the Lindsay Pettus Greenway.

It's really a Lancaster gem, tucked away, offering a quiet retreat for those like me, who enjoy immersing themselves in nature.

The Greenway is well designed with wide paved and wooden walkways, making it an ideal location for a walk, run, or bike ride.

It's great how the path winds through the lush vegetation, giving you the opportunity to take in the scenic beauty and feel that connection with nature.

And for those moments when I want to pause, reflect or simply catch my breath, there are a few benches conveniently placed along the path.

What makes my visit at Lindsay Pettus Greenway more exciting is the wildlife I encounter, especially in the early mornings.

It's not uncommon to spot squirrels darting across the path or deer blending into the landscapes, especially in the fall or winter months.

As for amenities, the park doesn't disappoint either.

There are clean restrooms on site and ample parking space.

But it's not just the facilities, it's the entire ambiance of the place that encourages a healthy lifestyle and even offers a tranquil space for meditation.

Play with Your Kids at Cane Creek Park

I've got to share about a place that's become a favorite of mine - Cane Creek Park.

This slice of heaven is a sprawling lakefront park offering a plethora of activities.

I've spent countless weekends here, each one different from the last.

When you've got kids, it's important to keep them entertained.

Luckily, the park gets this right with two separate playgrounds.

It's not just the children who have fun here, I've spent many hours fishing on the tranquil lake, the calm water providing the perfect backdrop for a relaxing day out.

Boating is a must-do at Cane Creek Park.

I remember one sunny afternoon, paddling on the lake, the water glistening under the sun.

It cost just $2 per person, a bargain for the fun we had.

My kids often play mini golf, too, their laughter echoing through the park as they compete against each other.

One of the best parts about Cane Creek Park is the abundance of picnic areas.

We usually pack up a lunch and enjoy a family picnic by the lake.

I've also rented the gazebo once for a friend's birthday party.

The view of the lake from there is simply breathtaking.

It's a bit of a trek to carry all the gear, but it's totally worth the effort.

Have a Picnic at Stevens Park

There's something undeniably charming about a sunny afternoon spent at Stevens Park.

The place is a sanctuary for both kids and adults, providing an escape from the mundane.

The park has morphed into our family's favorite weekend destination, and it's easy to see why.

The children are smitten with this place.

The park has separate playgrounds tailored for different age groups, ensuring that kids of all ages have a suitable place to play.

My kids are particularly fond of the older playground, which they claim has more character than the new one.

They also have a soft spot for the baby swings.

Their laughter echoes through the air as they glide back and forth on them.

Post-playground fun, we usually have a little picnic.

Stevens Park is perfect for this, offering plenty of shady spots to lay down your picnic blanket, unpack your sandwiches, and enjoy a tranquil lunch.

The sight of my grandkids munching on sandwiches and sipping on lemonade as they take in the beauty of the park is nothing short of heartwarming.

But Stevens Park is more than just a play area for the kids.

It's also a fabulous spot for adults.

A thoughtful addition to the park is the outdoor exercise equipment, where parents can get a quick workout while keeping an eye on their little ones.

I often take leisurely strolls along the nature trails, immersing myself in the park's tranquility.

Bring Your Fido to Fishing Creek Lake

My mornings start with a brisk walk along the serene shoreline of Fishing Creek Lake, and if you've ever had the chance to visit, then you'll understand why I'm so drawn to this place.

The sun radiates off the calm waters creating an exquisite tableau that words wouldn't do justice.

My family, including our two golden retrievers, absolutely adore this place.

There's something for everyone – be it the kids playing in the open water, my partner and I enjoying the beautiful sunsets, or the dogs splashing around.

But what catches my attention most is the fantastic fishing.

The lake is teeming with a variety of fish, and every fishing trip brings a different exciting experience.

I'm also looking forward to the new access that's set to open soon.

It will undoubtedly make the fishing trips even more enjoyable!

Nestled near the lake is the charming local community, Edgewater.

If you're looking for a peaceful and affordable home with breathtaking views of the lake, Edgewater is the place to be.

And the best part? It's conveniently located near Charlotte, providing the perfect balance of tranquility and urban life.

If you're looking for a place to unwind and spend quality time with your family, Fishing Creek Lake is a must-see.

Hike the Carolina Thread Trail

Daytime at Carolina Thread Trail
Simply Photos / Shutterstock.com

One of the best ways to enjoy a day off is by taking a hike on the Twelve Mile Creek Trail, part of the Carolina Thread Trail. It's an adventure just waiting for you right in our own backyard.

I must have walked this trail a hundred times, and it never gets old. There's always something new waiting for me around each corner.

It's not just the variety of scenery that keeps me coming back; it's the peace, tranquility, and excitement that only a trail hike can bring.

One of my favorite parts of the trail is the swinging bridge, a unique feature that always brings a thrill.

As you walk over it, the slight swaying adds an extra layer of excitement to your journey.

It's a charming addition to the trail that brings out the adventurous spirit in everyone.

The trail starts at Nesbit Park, just behind the public bathroom and snack shack building, at the end of a gravel road.

It's a convenient starting point and a perfect place to grab a snack before your hike or a cold drink when you finish.

While most of the trail is nestled in the woods, some parts open up to beautiful views of the nearby subdivisions.

It's an interesting contrast that might take away from the "wilderness" feel for some, but I like the reminder of how close we are to civilization, even when it feels like we're miles away.

It's not a very strenuous hike, and it's perfect for a bit of exercise or a leisurely walk.

It's a place where you can lose yourself in nature without straying too far from home.

Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just looking for a new way to enjoy a sunny afternoon, the Twelve Mile Creek Trail on the Carolina Thread Trail is a must-do.

Race to the Finish Line at Lancaster Motor Speedway

I remember my first time at the Lancaster Motor Speedway, like it was yesterday.

An old dirt track, breathing in about seven decades of racing history, it pulsates with the energy of a thousand thunderous races.

I took my son to a monster truck show a few months back.

His eyes sparkled in awe as we watched these mechanical beasts roar and rumble on the dirt track.

This time around, I decided to bring all three of my grandsons for a road race featuring several classes of cars.

The stands were abuzz with thrill-seekers, their cheers reverberating through the concrete steps we sat on.

I recommend bringing a cushion or a small beach chair; those concrete seats can be a little hard on your back.

The smell of food wafting from the outdoor grill was irresistible.

We enjoyed our meal under the open sky, the sounds of engines revving in the backdrop.

Just a tip for first-timers - bring ear protection, the noise can get loud, and an umbrella for some shade from the sun.

The Speedway doesn't charge for parking but make sure to carry cash.

They don't accept credit cards.

And if you want the best views, come early to nab the top-row seats.

Just remember to wear sneakers; navigating those steep steps can be a little tricky.

Book a Tee Time at Edgewater Golf Club's Charm

After years of living in the area, I finally got the chance to play at the Edgewater Golf Club for the second time.

The wait was well worth it – the golf club has managed to maintain its high standards over the years.

It was pure joy to witness the beautifully laid out course, with its challenging 18 holes set amongst the picturesque backdrop of rolling terrain and beautiful pines.

The quality of the greens, though recovering from being punched, was commendable.

Edgewater Golf Club's pro shop was stocked with everything a golf enthusiast could ask for.

What stood out was the courteous and efficient service; they promptly brought us carts to our vehicle right as we pulled in.

The clubhouse was a sight to behold, teeming with exclusive Edgewater merchandise.

The cherry on top had to be the scrumptious grilled turkey bacon club panini that I had at the turn.

The service was friendly and extremely helpful too.

Go Stargazing at Andrew Jackson State Park

Every day I wake up to the serenity of lush greenery that cradles my little town, a beauty that is magnified by the presence of Andrew Jackson State Park.

It's hard to imagine that this tranquil haven once echoed with the boyish laughter of Andrew Jackson himself.

Spreading over 1,200 acres, Andrew Jackson State Park provides a perfect retreat from the perpetual race of life.

I find myself getting lost in its vastness almost every weekend.

If you're someone who appreciates a good hike, you would love the trails here.

They're as diverse as they are challenging, perfectly mirroring the charisma of Lewis County, New York, the place we call home.

But perhaps my favorite part of this hidden gem is fishing.

The lake, a pristine water body that adds a captivating charm to Andrew Jackson State Park, is teeming with fish.

Sometimes I spend entire afternoons here, casting my fishing line and enjoying the silence, only broken by the sporadic splash of a fish taking the bait.

Camping at the lakeside under the star-studded sky is another experience that no local or visitor should miss out on.

The authorities maintain clean and equipped facilities for campers, making the stay comfortable and memorable.

And if you're visiting with kids, the small museum is a treasure trove of local history that's sure to pique their curiosity.

Catch the Sunset at Battle of Hanging Rock Historic Site

Have you ever witnessed a sunset so beautiful that it made you pause, capturing your breath in the enchanting hues of twilight?

I had one such experience while driving from 40 Acre Rock towards the Battle of Hanging Rock Historic Site.

The spectacle was nothing short of mesmerizing.

I remember it was the peak of summer, the time when the Battle of Hanging Rock Historic Site truly came alive.

The only challenge was navigating through the bees and spiders, but trust me, the reward was worth the effort.

As I entered the woods, I felt a mystical presence around me.

The tall, majestic trees, the soft rustling of leaves, and the sweet melody of birds singing in the distance felt like a different world - a world where Fairies might reside.

Practice Your Swing at Lancaster Golf Club

There's something about the open layout of the Lancaster Golf Club that makes stepping onto the greens feel like a breath of fresh air.

It's a popular spot in our community, bustling with activity from 7:30 to 10:30 in the morning.

I do think the price of $53 per round for non-members is a bit on the steep side, but that's where the club membership comes in handy!

For a monthly fee ranging from $120 to $150, you not only get to enjoy unlimited golf but also gain access to the Chester Golf Club.

And let's not forget about the sweet $10 cart fee exclusive for members.

Speaking of carts, they have these nice new electric ones that are a joy to ride in.

The staff at  Lancaster Golf Club never fails to impress with their welcoming demeanor.

The course maintenance, however, could use a bit of extra attention.

While the fairways boast lush Bermuda grass, the tee boxes, greens, and bunkers are only in fair shape.

Walk Your Fido in the Wilderness at Mineral Springs Greenway

Heading out for a hike at the Mineral Springs Greenway is always a treat.

You'll be surprised at how quickly you can escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Charlotte.

Only 26 miles away, this place is a haven for beautiful, wild scenery.

The three-mile out-and-back trail is a kaleidoscope of striking colors.

The path can be rugged and uneven, rocky, and a bit slippery after the rain, adding an adventurous touch to the hike.

Watch out for those pesky roots that catch your feet unexpectedly, though; I've tripped over a few myself.

Nestled nearby is a residential area, and you might hear lawnmowers or leaf blowers in the distance. It can be slightly annoying, but it's just a small price to pay for the tranquility this place offers.

The moderate hike is made more exciting by the varied terrain, and there are plenty of benches strategically placed for those who need a breather or just want to pause for lunch.

What I love most about the Mineral Springs Greenway are the lovely shaded trails winding alongside a creek.

It's great for walking your dogs or even for a trail ride with your horse.

It's always a delight to spend a day there, reveling in the beauty of nature so close to home.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Discover Local History at Chester County Historical Society

I'm a sucker for history, and if you're anything like me, then you will absolutely love the Chester County Historical Society.

Just stepping foot into the building, you'll be amazed. It's as if you've walked right into the past.

The building itself was once Chester County's old jail, and it still carries that haunting yet intriguing aura.

Surrounding you at every corner, you'll find an astounding collection of historical pieces.

Each artifact carries its own story, each more fascinating than the last.

It's a real-life treasure trove of history.

But wait, there's more!

The Chester County Historical Society staff are some of the most knowledgeable folks you'll ever meet.

Their profound understanding of Chester's history is truly remarkable, and their stories are sure to keep you engrossed.

One of my personal favorites includes a bit of spookiness.

Yes, you heard me right.

The Jailhouse ghost tour is an absolute must.

Just walking through the old jail cells and hearing the ghost stories can give you chills. And if you're lucky, the trustee might just rattle a door for you.

It's an experience that will leave you with an adrenaline rush and a new appreciation for history.

Final Thoughts

Lancaster County, South Carolina, is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered.

From the quaint charm of Bob Doster's Backstreet Studio, the enriching history lessons at the Chester County Historical Society and Buford Battleground, to the breathtaking nature at the 40 Acre Rock Heritage Preserve and Landsford Canal State Park, it's a veritable kaleidoscope of culture, history, and natural beauty.

Lancaster County has something for everyone, from the history buff to the outdoor enthusiast, the artist to the ale aficionado.

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