Things to See & Do
Florence has such a wide variety of things to offer.
Here in South Carolina, we love our hot summers and mild winters. Our state is the perfect setting for corn mazes, vineyard tours, syrup making, horse-drawn wagon rides, sheep shearing and berry pickin’. We invite you to come get Ag-Cited with us!
Farmers, artisans and agricultural professionals are celebrating agritourism in northeast South Carolina with Ag-Cited, an agritourism initiative created by the Florence Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) in conjunction with Pee Dee Agritourism Association. The intent of Ag-Cited is to let everyone know about the family-friendly events happening every weekend of the season in the northeast region of the state.
Events from the Ag-Cited promotion range from farm festivals to wine tastings, and include plenty of fun activities such as live music and entertainment for the whole family. In April, visit the L.W. Paul Living History Farm in Conway for its annual Spring Planting Event as they gear up the mules to set tobacco and plant corn for the summer. They recreate the “old days on the farm” using traditional tools and techniques for planting and cultivating crops. You’ll also see demonstrations of traditional crafts. Try your hand at planting tobacco, and see such demonstrations as blacksmithing and butter making at L.W. Paul Farm.
In May, take in the sweet aroma of homemade strawberry ice cream and shortcake at the McLeod Farms Strawberry Festival in McBee. In July, partake in a watermelon eating and seed-spitting contest at the Pageland Watermelon Festival. As cooler weather sets in, plan to stay the weekend with the Williams family picking muscadines and enjoying wine tastings at the Williams Muscadine Festival in Nesmith.
Florence County is overflowing with arts! You’ll find your fill of the arts here – whether you’re looking for arts festivals, locally crafted art pieces, exhibits, or live performances.
ArtFields epic Southern artfest is held in the spring each year in Lake City, and you can help to decide the winners of $120,000 in prizes. You’ll also find Lake City Community Theatre and Lake City Concert Series in Lake City. Arts International Festival coordinated by Francis Marion University is held in the spring, bringing unique performances and tasty ethnic cuisine to Florence.
Galleries and markets offer a wide range of hand-crafted items. Artists at work are The Earring Lady, Winter at Addie’s Baby, Lynda English and Jackie Wukela at the Lynda English Studio, and TthomasArts in downtown Florence.
Live performances are held regularly at the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center, Florence Little Theatre, Florence Center, and in local restaurants. Downtown Florence has Florence After Five, a monthly line-up of free outdoor concerts, and the Florence Symphony, Masterworks Choir, and Florence Men’s Choral Society also keep full schedules of performances.
There are tons of places to see and things to do in Florence.
The Florence County Museum recently reopened in its new space on Cheves Street, and it’s just amazing. Check out the artwork by Florence native William H. Johnson for a starter. Just across the street from the museum is the Francis Marion University Performing Art Center, which has a full season of entertainment planned for you.
And just a block or so down the street is Florence Little Theatre, where a community theater group puts on top-notch shows. At the intersection of I-20 and I-95, the Florence Center holds a wide range of shows, expos, and sporting events.
The War Between the States Museum highlights the Civil War history in Florence, including the Florence Stockade and National Cemetery. In early March, the Columns Plantation has a reenactment of the Civil War Skirmish at Gamble’s Hotel.
Florence has a great trail system that connects wonderful parks, including the Florence Veterans Park and Timrod Park. Lynches River County Park in Coward offers a tree top canopy walk and Environmental Discovery Center, along with a splash pad that is a favorite for kids during the summer months. Woods Bay State Natural Area offers a variety of natural habitats surrounding the Carolina Bay.
Young Plantations is a pecan outlet that offers samples of flavored pecans. It’s also a great stop for items made in South Carolina. Just down the road (Highway 52) is the Pee Dee State Farmers Market, where you’ll find all sort of local flavors.
Just outside Florence County, you’ll find the internationally renowned Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden and Darlington Raceway. For a quick reference, check out the Florence County Visitor Guide (click in footer below).
Once you get your fill of golfing in Florence, check out the others in the area. There are tons of courses near Florence to enjoy.
We’re serving up something special, just for you.
You’ll want to dive right in! South Carolina was the birthplace of barbecue, and Florence loves to spice it up. Many of our BBQ restaurants are buffet style, offering other Southern specialties like fried chicken, mac-n-cheese, and fried okra. If you’re into mac-n-cheese, Florence has a Mac Madness Day in July that brings local chefs out to compete with special recipes — lobster mac-n-cheese is pretty tasty!
Other Southern specialties include great desserts like pecan pie and cake-in-a-jar. You’ll find Sweetleigh’s Cakes at Dolce Vita downtown. Sweetleigh’s offers cakes in jars and full size Southern-style gourmet cakes like 9-layer caramel layer cake. Florence is famous for pecans, and Young Plantations made it so! Their outlet shop offers samples of flavored pecans and serves up some tasty pecan pie.
Other local specialties include boiled peanuts and Blenheim Ginger Ale. Whether you buy the peanuts straight from the farmer’s market or packaged by Peanut Patch (McCall Farms is right here in Florence County), they are unique to the South. And Blenheim Ginger Ale is bottled just a few miles north of Florence at South of the Border. Choose from hot and extra hot!
If you have a craving for Low Country Shrimp and Grits, RedBone Alley is the place to be. Whether you are looking a meal or just a treat, you’ll want to keep your eye out for these specialties:
hot boiled peanuts, the state snack – at farmers markets, in supermarkets, and even in crock pots in convenience stores
collard greens, cooked with fatback and sprinkled with hot vinegar – you’ll find them on most BBQ buffets
vinegar-based pulled pork BBQ
cornbread flat as a pancake – we call them “hoecakes”
shrimp and grits
pimiento cheese sandwiches, or better yet, pimiento cheese on a hamburger
pecan pie, and praline covered pecans
syrup and molasses made from pure cane sugar
muscadine grapes, especially in wine form
sweet tea (make that really sweet tea!) – it’s the state hospitality beverage
7-layer cake, 12 if you’re lucky!
Have you already explored the cities? There is plenty to discover in the outskirts of Florence and Lake City.
- Coward is the home of Lynches River County Park – a great place for birding, archery, kayaking, and river fishing.
- Johnsonville is the place for Revolutionary War buffs – check out Venter’s Landing, or rent a kayak from Swamp Fox Kayak and Canoe Rental to check out Rev War sites.
- Olanta has an unusual Carolina Bay that is wet year round. Check out Woods Bay State Natural Area.
- Pamplico is the home of the annual Cypress Festival in September.
- Scranton is THE place for lunch – check out Scranton Cafe and Schoolhouse BBQ. You’ll also find River Rats Kayak and Canoe Rental in Scranton, along the Lynches River.
- Timmonsville has three exceptional farm stops – Ovis Hill, Little Fruit Farm, and Middle Sparrow Ranch.
Once you master the links in Florence, check out the others in the area. There are tons of courses near Florence to enjoy.
There’s also plenty of games and matches to watch! From amateur to professional, Florence is covered with teams to enjoy. From baseball to tennis, soccer to swimming, there are leagues for all and games to enjoy. From Francis Marion University and Florence-Darlington Technical College sports to summertime’s Florence RedWolves baseball to city and county recreational teams, there’s plenty to cheer for.
There’s a reason why Florence is the shopping hub for this part of the state!
You’ll find big name stores such as Belk, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Best Buy, and Target at Magnolia Mall. While you’re there, stop by Palmetto Moon – the store carries all types of South Carolina-related items with the state logo.
Restaurants for the hungry shopper include Ruby Tuesday, Outback, Mellow Mushroom, Chipolte, and a wide variety at the pavilion inside the mall.
At Florence Mall, you’ll find more big names such as Ulta, TJ Maxx, Stein Mart, and Dress Barn. Dining is convenient with Red Bone Alley, Schlotsky’s, Starbuck’s, Five Guys, Moe’s, and Cici’s Pizza right at the mall.
Across the way on Hoffmeyer Road, B. Nance Fine Gifts specializes in gifts for baby showers, engagements and birthdays.
If you’re looking for boutique shopping, Main Stream Boutique keeps up with the latest fashions. Ella’s Boutique and Mi Ladies also have a great selection of Sunday dresses and millinery.
Florence has plenty of recreation facilities, including the 2014 SC Top Tennis Facility, Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center. Timrod Park offers additional tennis courts and beautifully maintained picnic areas. Travel teams play softball and baseball at Freedom Florence, and collegiate teams play at the Francis Marion University Athletic Park.
Lynches River County Park offers educational activities at the Environmental Discovery Center, and it has a canopy swinging boardwalk taking you into the forest with a bird’s-eye view. The splash pad is a refreshing spot to cool off during the summer.
Florence also has a 20-mile network of walking trails throughout the city – the trail system connects to parks, attractions, and historical sites.