It is easy to have a wonderful time in Florence, South Carolina. There are cultural activities, history to learn at museums and through Civil War reenactments, great restaurants with delicious food, superb pecan delights, live music, annual celebrations, and plenty of natural areas with beautiful lakes and rivers to enjoy.
Famous Artist William Henry Johnson
William Henry Johnson is a famous black American artist who was born in Florence, South Carolina. He is known for paintings that include a period of his efforts in realism, followed by expressionism, and then most fondly a folk style. A substantial collection of his art is held in the Smithsonian American Art Museum and locally some of his paintings can be viewed in the Florence County Museum.
Excellent Community Theater
The Florence Little Theatre is the place to go for a delightful theater night out to see a show after having a nice meal at the nearby downtown restaurants that include Town Hall for upscale southern style cuisine and many others.
Buff Up Your History
In downtown Florence, history buffs will not want to miss the War Between the States Museum that has exhibits about the Civil War. During spring, each year at the Columns Plantation there is a reenactment of the Civil War battle called the Skirmish at Gamble’s Hotel.
If you live in South Carolina, you are going to fall in love with pecans. In this part of the country, pecan pie is as American as apple pie.
Spend Some Time on the Pecan Trail
Serious pecan lovers will want to stop by the Florence Visitor Information Center to pick up a copy of the Pecan Trail Passport. You can find the office on the upper level of the Florence Center located at 3290 W. Radio Drive.
The passport is a guide to all things pecan in Florence. If you want to have a good time do the Pecan Trail tour during the South Carolina Pecan Festival held in November each year.
Fill the Pecan Trail Passport with stamps as you go along the tour. Start at Young Plantations where you can sample the flavored pecans of the many varieties on offer. Try the double-dipped chocolate-covered pecans, and we dare you to stop. They are so delicious as to almost be addictive.
Move on to the next stop on the trial at Julia Belle’s Restaurant, found in the Pee Dee State Farmers Market. There you must try a slice of White Russian Pecan Pie. You can also have a southern-style meal; however, we suggest eating dessert first.
At night, go to downtown Florence. Meet for drinks at Victors Bar in the Hotel Florence for a Pecan Pie Martini made with vanilla-flavored vodka and butterscotch schnapps. Have dinner at the Town Hall restaurant. Try a side dish of Espelette pepper-spiced pecans lightly braised with sage oil. Save room for dessert at another place on the downtown restaurant row called Wholly Smokin’ and try the Decadent Brownie Sundae topped with candied bacon and spiced pecans.
After dinner, enjoy some live music at the Renaissance Courtyard. Then, have a nightcap and enjoy the view at The Dispensary, which is a rooftop bar above the Town Hall restaurant.
What a marvelous day! That is only about a third of the places on the Pecan Trail. When you fill-up the book with stamps, return to the Visitor Center or mail the book in, to get your free souvenirs that include a t-shirt, a nutcracker, a mini pecan pie, and a gift bag.
You only get to be a tourist once if you move to Florence because, after that first time, you are going to be taking friends who visit on the Pecan Trail.
Farm and Ocean to Table
To buy some locally-grown produce visit the Pee Dee State Farmers Market. This farmers market is open all year long. About 700,000 visitors come from all over the southeast to enjoy this market. Fresh fish and seafood is found in abundance at Ward’s Fish Market
Shop Until You Drop
Florence has plenty of shopping for all to enjoy. You can hunt for antiques, find a bargain at a second-hand store, and be sure to check out the cool boutiques in downtown where you can also grab a delicious lunch.
Enjoy the Outdoors
There are many things to do that make fun day trips. Rent a canoe or a kayak and go paddling on Snow’s Lake. Most of the paddle tours are two to four hours long. Some tours include time for swimming.
When the full moon is out, go for a guided tour on Lynches River and listen to the night owls hooting from the magnificent cypress trees that line the river bank. The Lynches River runs through a county park of 676 acres.
Another choice is to enjoy the Woods Bar State Natural Area that is 1,500 acres in nearby Olanta. For beachgoers, Myrtle Beach is only one hour away from Florence if you want to enjoy some time suntanning on the beach.
Calling all Sports Fans
Spectators and participants are welcome to enjoy the magnificent sports facilities in Florence. There is the Griffin Athletic Complex on the Francis Marion University campus. It is the home of the Patriot baseball team. The complex has a lake, a field house, a softball stadium, and a soccer stadium.
Another huge facility is the Freedom Florence Recreation Complex, which has a gymnastics center, nine softball fields, four football fields, and a soccer complex. There are more than a mile and one-half of walking, jogging, and bicycle trails. There is a nice fishing area in Freedom Park with picnic tables and outdoor grills for use by the public.
Race fans meet up every Saturday for the Weekly Racing Series at Florence Motor Speedway that begins each year in April and runs until November. NASCAR fans will like the Xfinity Series and Monster Energy Cup races held at the Darlington Raceway.
The Blue Line Shooting Center is an indoor shooting-range for target shooting and lessons.
Tennis aficionados will love the premier tennis facilities at the $6 million Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center with 24 hard courts and six clay courts. There are nice walking trails and an activity center as well. Play a round of tennis or come to watch the frequently-held championship tournaments.
Golfers play at the 27-hole Traces Golf Club designed by James Goodson, which has wide fairways and big greens surrounded by trees and water. Three different 18-hole combinations can be played on this course. One of the courses, called Meadows, is easy to play with flat open fairways and large greens. The other courses are more challenging. The club has practice areas and a popular bar and grill.
Other golf courses include the private 18-hole Palms Course Country Club, the Crossing Golf Club, and the Country Club of South Carolina.
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