Though it may not be the first city you think of when you hear the name Florence, this quaint hamlet nestled in the lowcountry of South Carolina has so much to offer.
Florence is a burgeoning hub of culture with a vast variety of arts, entertainment, architecture, wilderness, and classic country cooking. It has a rich history and a charming character, culminating in that special spirit of the Palmetto State.
Florence boasts a beautiful balance between the appeal of a small southern South Carolina town and the amenities and activities of a bustling big city. Here are all our favorite things to do in Florence, SC!
Best Things To Do In Florence, South Carolina
Florence County Museum
This is considered to be Pee Dee county’s crowning cultural jewel. It explores the historic and artistic heritage of the area through artifacts and artworks. The museum’s collections range from the Cretaceous period, to Colonial times, to the Civil War and modern day.
It displays some of the best Southern art available, including works by acclaimed Florence native, William H. Johnson. It’s the ideal way to learn more about the area and how it has evolved over the centuries. Check their schedule as they also host a yearly competition, and offer many community events and programs to partake in.
- Address: 111 W Cheves St (GPS)
- Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10:00 am- 5:00 pm, Thursday: 10:00 am- 7:00pm, Sunday: 2:00 – 5:00 pm
- Fees: Admission is free
Located on the lovely Palmetto Street, this flea market is a vast and veritable treasure trove. A haven for happy hunting, there are aisles packed with vintage, antique, and collectible gems.
There are over 60 vendors and it’s all outdoors, making it a lovely way to spend a day in the South Carolina sunshine. You will find clothing, furniture, homeware, handmade goodies, and unique curiosities.
Odds are you’ll walk away with something you never knew you needed and wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. A little bit of everything under the sun, there is always a surprise awaiting at Thieves Market.
- Address: 1820 E Palmetto St (GPS)
- Hours: Sunday-Tuesday: 1:00 pm- 5:00 pm, Wednesday-Saturday: 10:30 am- 5:30 pm
This planetarium is a beloved attraction of the area. It offers a variety of different shows on a rotating schedule, and hosts many private and public events as well. They even have a special projector to access live feeds from NASA; an out of this world experience to be sure.
The dome itself is 24 feet tall and seats 75. They also offer free presentations on Sunday afternoons that are not to be missed. There is an on-site observatory complete with top-notch telescopes that will often host star parties as well. There are exhibits to explore and animations to enjoy. Get lost in the cosmos of the celestial sky right in Florence.
- Address: Francis Marion University, 200 Alumni Dr (GPS)
- Hours: 2:00 pm- 4:00 pm
At the center of an abandoned trailer park is an atomic hole of alluring origins. The massive crater here was created by the accidental dropping of a B6 bomb by a U.S. Air Force B-47 Stratojet during the Cold War in 1958.
Luckily the rod which triggers explosions in such atomic bombs was missing so it only hit the ground and made quite a significant dent. There were no casualties from the incident, though the Gregg family got quite the shock in their backyard at the time. It fell from a height of 15,000 feet in the air and weighed just under 8,000 pounds, resulting in an extreme impact to say the least.
This atomic bomb impact crater now attracts shutterbugs and history buffs from all over the world. Keep your eyes out for the roadside marker for this attraction, as it can be easy to miss. This is one of the best bizarre things to do in Florence.
Columns Plantation Home
This two story structure is a restored plantation home and an impressive example of Greek revival style architecture. It goes by many monikers, including The Columns, Rankin-Harwell House, James Harwell House, and Carolina Hall. It was built in 1857 and is currently the last working plantation in the region.
They continue to grow corn, cotton, and tobacco on its expansive landscape. It’s privately owned but available for tours, a great way to engage with the history of Florence.
- Address: 5001 Rankin Plantation Rd, Florence, SC 29506 (GPS)
Palmetto Peddlers Antique Mall
Palmetto Peddlers is a premiere shopping stop that meets all your antique needs. It’s 38,000 square feet of interesting items to investigate. Housed in a former factory, the spacious and open location is temperature-controlled for perfect preservation. Everything you will find here is in pristine condition, from fine china to chandeliers to chaise lounges.
There is also a diverse selection of vintage collectibles, such as sports memorabilia, vinyl, and comic books. The inventory is ever changing, so there is always something exciting to explore here.
- Address: 2295 Hoffmeyer Rd (GPS)
- Hours: Monday-Saturday – 10:00 am -6:00 pm, Sunday: 1:30 pm- 6:00 pm
Visit a Brewery
Seminar is South Carolina’s first commercial craft brewery. It has a solid selection of standard taps, and several small batch speciality and seasonal drafts that rotate, as well. The outdoor beer garden is a shaded oasis for sipping and savoring pints.
Their Pulpy Love Sour and Diaspora Series Galaxy Mosaic IPA are creative concoctions full of fantastic flavor. Southern Hops is a microbrewery using local and fresh ingredients to make the best quality beer.
The brewery hosts many community events, such as trivia, family night and local band performances. It also crafts handmade pizzas to go with their carefully curated drafts. They host an extensive array of guest taps, right next to their famed flagships like the 5 Points IPA or Goldilocks Golden Ale.
- Address: 911 S Sunset Acres Ln (GPS)
- Hours: Monday 4:00 pm – 9:30 pm, Tuesday – Thursday – 11: 00 am – 11: 00 pm, Friday – Saturday: 11: 00 am – midnight
This nearby farm is a fun trip for fruit and nature lovers alike. Its U-pick field is open every Spring and Summer, full of the freshest and most succulent strawberries around. Pick a size and fill up your containers with ripe berries right from the vine. The farm has been family owned and operated since 1964.
Their fields grow grapes, blueberries, and blackberries as well. There is an impressive on-site greenhouse for vegetables. Feel free to admire and then purchase them from their small market shop if you wish. They also sell many handmade fruit products, such as jams, breads, and syrups. Idle among vast verdant scenery in the warm sunshine and eat berries ’til your belly’s content.
- Address: 3712 W Palmetto St (GPS)
- Hours: Sunday – 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Monday – Saturday : 9:00 am – 7: 00 pm,
- Fees: $13- u Pick, $16 We pick, $5 quart, $9 half gallon
Enjoy the Restaurant Scene
Located in a quaint red barn at the cherished Pee Dee Farmers Market, Julia Belle’s Restaurant is a culinary institution of Florence. It’s a humble joint carrying out the time honored Southern traditions of hospitality and home cooking.
The atmosphere is warm and welcoming just like the food, for example, the Country Pot Roast. For comfort foods just like mama used to make, this charming cuisine takes the cornbread.
Red Bone Alley is an impressive establishment, with a dining area overlooking the city, an atrium, an enchanting backyard, and a sweet little patio right out front. The plates themselves are just as picturesque, with refined Southern staples created using the best fresh and local ingredients. Dishes show French, African, and Mediterranean influences, as well, for an exciting surprise of flavors.
- Address: 2106-50 West Lucas Street (GPS)
- Hours: Monday 11:00 am – 9: 00 pm
Florence National Cemetery
This sprawling 25 acre area is administered by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs. It has become the final resting place of many unnamed soldiers who lost their lives in battle. Find the plot of the famous Florena Budwin, the first ever female soldier who pretended to be male so she could fight alongside her husband in the Civil War.
On-site is the Florence Stockade, where nearly 18,000 captured soldiers were held hostage during the same war in 1864. The trail tour illustrates the historical significance of the site.
- Address: 803 E National Cemetery Rd (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Friday : 8:00 am -4:30 pm, Saturday – Sunday: Closed
Jeffries Creek Park
This is a natural wonderland of local flora and fauna with 55 acres of rich protected wetlands, and a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Enjoy the enchanting old growth cypress trees and be sure to bring some binoculars for bird watching.
There are plenty of trails to traverse along the glistening creek. Pack a picnic for one of the many idyllic areas designated just for this. If you’re interested in some angling, there are plenty of places to cast a reel and fish the day away. This is a fortuitous find for a day of peace and quiet in Florence.
- Address: 1404 State Rd S-21-836 (GPS)
- Hours: Daily- 6:00 am – 7:00 pm
Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center
If you fancy catching a show in Florence, this is the hub for the best performance art productions around. Featuring two theaters and an amphitheater, this space hosts a wide variety of artistic events throughout the year, from contemporary theater to classical music and concerts of every genre.
There are also opportunities for educational activities and workshops on a broad range of topics. The acoustics are state-of-the-art and it feels intimate even though it seats over 800 people. The three resident companies of the theaters are the Florence Symphony Orchestra, South Carolina Dance Theater, and Masterworks Choir.
- Address: 201 S Dargan St (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Friday: 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Saturday – Sunday: Closed
Locked Inn is South Carolina’s first escape room and a one-of-a-kind experience. There are four different rooms, each uniquely themed and fully interactive. Every game is multiplayer and encourages guests to use their intellect to escape the space through solving puzzles and finding clues.
There is an option for every level of difficulty. Some options include the Winchester, a surely haunted vintage hotel, or House of Yaga, where the illustrious legend of Baba Yaga comes to life. Locked Inn is the adventure experience of a lifetime.
- Address: 214-A Dozier Blvd (GPS)
- Hours: Wednesday & Thursday: 5:30 pm – 9: 15 pm, Friday: 5: 30 pm- 10:00 pm, Saturday: 12:45-10:00 pm, Sunday: 1:30 pm – 6: 30 pm
Walk the Rail Trails
This group of hikes in Florence are 10 miles in total and snake through dense and lush wooded landscape in the hidden areas of Florence where the old railroad once ran. There is a network of paths; paved, natural, and boardwalk.
Meander through sweet gum, pine, and honeysuckle to experience the diverse native nature around. It ends at the revered Veteran’s Park, six acres of land dedicated to those who have served in the country’s military. Several sculptures honor these members throughout. The rail trails are one of the most scenic things to do in Florence.
South Carolina is the golf capital of the world and that is evident in Florence! There are four courses to choose from in Pee Dee, as golf is a preferred pastime of the region. The Country Club of South Carolina has been home to several PGA tournaments. With 18 holes each offers a new and exciting challenge for pros and apprentices alike.
Shadow Creek Golf Club makes your day out on the links truly breathtaking. With sparkling ponds and rolling hills surrounding these greens, it’s the most stunning setting for all your strokes.
Traces Golf Club offers 27 holes for all skill levels. The course is perfectly manicured and the forested scenery is picturesque. Palms Course is a true paradise. Located right on the shores of Lake Oakdale, the fairways are lined with towering palm trees. It’s a local favorite, known mostly for its tricky water features.
- Address: (Traces Golf Club) 4322 Southborough Rd (GPS)
- Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7:00am – 6:00pm
Straw Hat Distillery
Straw Hat Distillery is locally owned and operated and has been creating handcrafted small batch booze for many years. They source their corn and wheat from local Pee Dee farms and use all natural fruits, teas, and coffees to make their masterful infusions.
Take a behind the scenes tour to see and taste the entire process of production from start to finish. They love to honor their South Carolina spirit by brewing using the traditional methods.
Their offerings include Lemon Drop Moonshine, Blackberry Blast Moonshine, Hair of the Moon Coffee Moonshine, Apple Pie Moonshine, and Sweet Tea Moonshine just to name a few. It’s the first legal distillery ever in this area, and by golly if it isn’t some of the most scrumptious moonshine around.
- Address: 1301 N Douglas St (GPS)
- Hours: 9: 00 am – 5: 00 pm
War Between the States Museum
Calling all history buffs, the War Between the States Museum features an in-depth investigation of the Civil War era. It’s set in an old home from 1918 and was founded by the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 1988.
Displays feature unique and exciting artifacts and memorabilia ranging from 1850 to the turn of the century. It also exhibits items from the local Florence Stockade, along with rare books, weapons, and documents.
The walls are adorned with prints, paintings, and photographs, and there is a replica of the CSS Pee Dee which never made it to battle, but was important nonetheless. There is also a gift shop and reference library to peruse. It’s a collection that reflects the American heritage of this time period.
- Address: 107 S Guerry St (GPS)
- Hours: 10:00 am-5:00 pm