8 Off-The-Beaten Path Adventures in South Carolina’s Old 96 District

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South Carolina is renowned for many things: its subtropical beaches, world-class golf courses and iconic gastronomy. What visitors may not know is that The Palmetto State is also home to the Old 96 District—a monumental region whose rich history dates back to the 1700s.

The Old 96 District, which spans the Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens and McCormick counties, has been drawing in families from all over. With its one-of-a-kind experiences (and of course, small-town, Southern charm) road trippers are looking to its unexpected wonders for a memorable family road trip.

For an adventure down the road less traveled, we’ve compiled a list of hidden gems throughout the Old 96 District that’ll deliver historical landmarks, scenic views, arts and culture, and more in a very unique way.

1. Hidden Pasture Unicorn Farm

Remember that unicorn your tot begged for on their third birthday? Now is your chance to allow them to get up close and personal with ponies or, as your little one will call it, a “real-life unicorn.” Located in Laurens County, Hidden Pasture Unicorn Farm offers pony rides and plenty of farm dogs, chickens, roosters, turkeys, rabbits, and farm dogs to see.

2. Abbeville Opera House

In 1904, Abbeville Opera House opened its door to the local community as a cultural center, hosting musicals, live stage productions, comedy shows, film screenings, campaign speeches, and town events. Today, the Opera House is fully restored to its turn-of-the-century condition, featuring a 7,500-square-foot stage and two concessions. Wow your kiddos with a behind-the-scenes look at the original rope-pulled rigging system that lowers and raises the stage’s curtains.

3. Winchester Museum at the National Wild Turkey Federation

As the only museum in the world dedicated to wild turkeys, the Winchester Museum in Edgefield provides insight into the National Wild Turkey Federation’s ongoing conservation efforts and a look at the rich history of our favorite Thanksgiving birds. Children will be amazed at the museum’s colorful dioramas and will discover more about the five different species of wild turkeys.

4. Diamond Hill Mine

Grab a rock hammer, shovel, gloves and anything else your mining crew may need to dig up stunning crystals at Diamond Hill Mine. Located outside of Due West, with over six acres of land, the mine is one of the largest in the South and is covered in gems like amethyst, smoky quartz, and skeletal elestial. Diamond Hill is also “unsalted,” meaning that every crystal you discover is true to the Earth–thanks to erosion that took place in the southern part of the Appalachian Mountains.

5. Battle Of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site

Old 96 District is best known for its role in the American Revolutionary War in the 18th century, and fortunately for history buffs, many of these battlegrounds still remain. Head to Clinton to explore the rolling fields of the Battle of Musgrove Mill for an educational touch point on your road trip. Your children will learn the history of the battle’s surprise ending and hike the trails with historical markers.

6. Dorn’s Grist Mill

Travel back to 1898 at Dorn’s Grist Mill in McCormick where your little ones can get an up-close view of America's agricultural and industrial history. Originally built as a cottonseed mill in 1898, the two-and-a-half-story structure was converted into a flour and gristmill in the 1920s and still houses much of its old equipment. Today, the Mill is listed in the National Register.

7. The Phoenix Factory’s Old Edgefield Pottery

A half museum and half working study, the Phoenix Factory's Old Edgefield Pottery is continuing the 200-year-old tradition of making and firing high-quality pottery. Make a stop at the museum to see a wide variety of 19th and 20th century Edgefield-inspired ceramics and purchase a one-of-a-kind pot from the store for the road.

8. 25 Drive In Movie Theater

Greenwood’s 25 Drive In is one of few drive-in movie theaters left in the U.S. Delight your family with this retro experience by loading up on snacks from the concession stand and enjoying a first-run film on one of the two large screens. Don’t forget to pack pillows and blankets for a cozy dinner and movie experience like never before. 

Start planning a road trip to the Old 96 District today with the Family Fun page, which provides additional recommendations for a memorable road trip. Check out exclusive deals and packages for ways to save on lodging and local attractions, or take a look at the calendar of events for insights on upcoming festivals and performances.

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