By Alli Hill
The best getaways don’t always consist of warm sandy beaches, spas, and all-you-can-eat restaurants, nor do they have to cost a fortune. If you’ve ever vacationed at a state park, you already know this is true. State parks are the all-inclusive “resort” for those who love the great outdoors and don’t want to spend their life savings on a vacation. Most of the state parks in South Carolina offer everything you could possibly want from a few days in the great outdoors. Best of all, a vacation to a state park gives you plenty of time to focus on family and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Tucked against the Blue Ridge Mountains lies one of Oconee County’s best kept secrets—Oconee State Park. This small yet amazing state park is your perfect mountain getaway, offering miles of hiking and biking trails, swimming area, canoe rentals, fishing, mini golf, and a slew of other family favorite activities. You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, but won’t have to sacrifice modern conveniences like running water, electricity, and Wi-Fi.
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One of the most unique wonders of the Upstate, Stumphouse Tunnel is the failed attempt to create a rail line connecting Charleston, South Carolina to Nashville, Tennessee. The onset of the Civil War brought the project to a grinding halt, but visitors can enter the one-way tunnel. Clemson University once used the tunnel to cure their famous Bleu Cheese.
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Accessible from the Stumphouse Tunnel parking lot, embark on a short hike to Issaqueena Falls, one of the most popular and beautiful waterfalls in the area. The easy trail is ideal for kids and adults of all hiking skill levels. Access to the falls is free.
This museum gives you a glimpse into the culture and history of Oconee County, including railroads, textiles, immigration, Native Americans, and a special children’s corner where kids can have fun learning. Entry to the museum is free, but donations are encouraged.
A local’s favorite, this cafeteria-style eatery has won the hearts of many with its wide variety of cuisine. You’ll feel right at home with cookin’ just like grandma used to make. The fried chicken alone is worth the trip.
This charming mountainside apple orchard and farm is a favorite place among locals and tourists alike. Often the backdrop for weddings and special events, visitors can explore the fresh marketplace for fruits, grass-fed beef, and brandy distilled on-site. They also feature a disc golf course and farm tours.
If you want to eat like a local, eat where the locals eat! Mountain View Restaurant is a must-stop for steak, seafood, chicken, and all the country fixings. They’re serving up all three meals of the day, so there’s never a bad time to stop.