Top Ten Reasons to Visit Florence
Birthplace of BBQ
South Carolina is the "Birthplace of BBQ," and Florence County has been keeping the tradition alive for as long as we can remember. You'll find four types of barbecue sauces in South Carolina - mustard, light tomato, vinegar and pepper, and heavy tomato-based. This part of the state tends to prepare the the pork with vinegar and pepper or light tomato-based sauce, but as you visit our barbecue restaurants (Florence County has 10 of them), you may just find the other two styles, as well.
Traditionally, the pork is cooked as a whole hog "low and slow" over a fire pit, just as the Native Americans taught the colonists. The pork is removed by pulling it in long strips, hence the name pulled pork barbecue. When we gather our friends and neighbors together for the process, we call it a pig pickin'. The state celebrates the barbecue heritage through the SC BBQ Trail.
Dynamic Live Music
Florence County is lively. You'll find concerts being held at the Performing Arts Center and the Florence Civic Center. Musicals at Florence Little Theatre and Lake City Community Theatre, and performances by Florence Symphony Orchestra, Masterworks Choir, and Florence Men's Choral Society are on our calendar. The downtown has free live entertainment on the first and last Fridays, and restaurants often have live music on their patios and courtyards.
Whether you're looking to spend some time out on the golf course or on the tennis courts, Florence has some great places for you!
Golf is played year round in Florence, and our courses stay lush and green throughout the seasons. We have some great courses, including a PGA-sanctioned tournament site right in Florence, and many of the hotels offer golf packages.
If you're in for a few games of tennis, we have a new tennis complex with 30 courts, six of them hard clay. The complex is top notch, and there is no charge to play.
Hitting the Trails
Florence has a trail system 43.6 miles long that connects parks, cultural features, and historical sites. Along the trail, you'll find Florence Veterans Park, Florence Stockade and National Cemetery, Jeffries Creek, Timrod Park, Florence Civic Center, downtown Cultural Corridor with the library, Performing Arts Center, Florence Museum, and more.
So, grab a friend and enjoy a hike! You never know what you might find.
Location, Location, Location
Florence is right at the intersection of I-95 and I-20, halfway between Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Florida. We're also at the halfway point between New York City and Miami. We've long been the resting point for families on vacation and for group tour buses. With nearly 5,000 hotel rooms and 300+ restaurants, we're the perfect stopping point for you, too!
We're located just an hour or so from Myrtle Beach and an hour and a half from the historic city of Charleston. Florence is the hub of the northeastern part of South Carolina for shopping, dining, healthcare, and manufacturing.
We've found a better way to learn about our history - we don't just read it, we paddle it. The 66 miles of SC Revolutionary Rivers paddling trails take you into the cypress and tupelo swampy region, where General Francis Marion would disappear after attacking the British. His actions provided him with the name "The Swamp Fox." Paddling excursions into pristine wilderness let you imagine history happening around you.
SC Revolutionary Rivers was designated a National Recreation Trail in 2014.
When you're in Florence, you'll find we really have taste! We firmly believe the best way to experience the culture is gastronomical. The city is fortunate to have more than 300 restaurants with a growing number of locally owned, locally sourced choices. You'll find fresh caught catfish tacos, zesty pulled pork barbecue, shrimp from Charleston over grits that were ground just a few miles away,
and made from scratch 12-layer cakes. Check out our list of local restaurants - we've collected some menus for you.
That's Just Natural
We love to connect people with nature. A great place to start is the Lynches River County Park's Environmental Discovery Center. The EDC was designed with technological-advanced youth in mind -- letting them feel comfortable in nature while still staying connected. Weather stations set up in the tree canopy and in the parking lot give a visual of how the loss of trees heats up our environment. The microeye offers a magnified look at objects the kids find along the trails, and a cool collection of findings are ready for them to view. The swinging boardwalk through the tree canopy lets them get away to hear birds, (and maybe record the bird calls on their phone). There is even a simulator canoe so the kids can try their hand at paddling before you rent a boat to get out on the water. (Kids can paddle with an adult, but they need to be a minimum of 5 years old and 50 lbs.)
The Arts are Everywhere
Wherever you go in Florence County, you'll find the arts - visual, performing, architectural, spoken, culinary... and the list goes on.
If you're looking for an especially artsy time to visit, plan a trip in late April. Pianos will be set up all around downtown Florence for Play Me, Florence, I'm Yours! In the Florence Museum you'll find the William H. Johnson exhibit, and the Florence Little Theatre will be performing its spring musical. The Florence Symphony will be playing in the Moore Farms Botanical Garden.
All this happens while ArtFields brings thousands into Lake City to view the competition. Four hundred artists will be competing for $100,000 in prizes in downtown Lake City, and you'll be helping to choose the winners.