Day Trip Ideas for Greenville, SC!
Day Trip Ideas For Greenville, SC!!
A day trip to Greenville, South Carolina will be one your family will remember – and one where the kids will likely be begging to go back to. The town is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where Main Street still has a small town feel and the Liberty Bridge, a one-of-a-kind suspension bridge, traverses the gorgeous waterfalls and overlooks Falls Park. Whether you like the outdoors or prefer a more cultural experience, Greenville has it all.
Here are some ideas if you want to spend a day in Greenville, SC.
Enjoy Downtown Greenville
Greenville’s Mice on Main
Families love searching for the Mice on Main, a collection of brass mice hidden along Main Street, inspired by the hit children’s book Goodnight Moon. It’s a fun activity that has the added benefit of being free. Print out a map and clues or pick up a map from the Mast General store on Main Street, which has pretty much everything you can imagine and is a cool place to grab some candy or Greenville-centric mementos.
Parking in Greenville
There is limited street parking during the week but there are parking garages, where the max you’ll be charged at most is around $7 and the first hour is free. On the weekends and after 6pm on weekdays, you can park in the lot for free on the corner of Richardson and Washington Streets. To get around Main Street and downtown, take the free trolley, which operates Thursday-Sunday!
Restaurants in Greenville
There are plenty of places to grab food in downtown Greenville. Cantina 76 is a family favorite, with an amazing Sunday brunch and affordable, kid-friendly Mexican fare all week. Vic’s Pizza is a hole-in-the-wall place right off Main Street on Coffee Street where you can get a delicious lunch for not much money. And it’s delicious. And for dessert, Luna Rosa is a great place for a tasty gelato.
For a unique coffee experience, locals love Methodical Coffee, right behind Cantina 76 at 101 North Main Street. They are coffee experts but without any of the pretentiousness of being coffee experts.
Greenville’s Falls Park
After eating, be sure to take a stroll through Falls Park, where the centerpiece waterfall lies under the Liberty Bridge. During the summer, the kids can play in the free splash pad right along the Reedy River next to Papi’s Tacos, which also has authentic Mexican dishes.
If the family is into bike riding, rent bikes at Reedy River Rides and bike the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 20+-mile paved trail that goes through Falls Park and either north to Travelers Rest and Furman University or south to the Swamp Rabbit Cafe, where you should totally stop, and Cleveland Park. Right near Falls Park on the trail is the Linky Children’s Garden, a cool little spot to explore along the river that is mostly hidden from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
Things To Do Inside In Greenville
If the weather isn’t cooperating and strolling along Main Street isn’t an option, there are ton of options for things to do indoors in Greenville.
The Children’s Museum of the Upstate is one of Greenville’s biggest attractions for families and the 7th largest children’s museum in the country. With three levels of interactive fun, kids will beg you to stay all day, but plan to spend about three or four hours there. It’s best suited for kids ages one through 11-years-old. The best times to visit are usually weekday afternoons during the school year to avoid field trips. You can park at Heritage Green for 50 cents an hour or $4 for all day parking and there is a small vending area for food at the bottom level of the museum. Downtown is a few blocks away where you could walk to grab lunch or dinner – Tupelo Honey, a 15-minute walk, is a local favorite for their southern comfort food perfect for families.
The Peace Center is the cultural hub of downtown Greenville, showing everything from children’s theatre shows to Broadway musicals. It sits about a five-minute walk from Falls Park so it’s fun to get some ice cream in homemade waffle cones at Spill the Beans right next to the park and walk over to the show or grab some for an after-show snack. Check what’s playing there before you come for the latest schedule.
For a unique indoor activity downtown, try the Greenville Gemstone Mine on Main Street, where kids can mine for precious gems and metals. Kids can keep whatever they find, too.
Get Outside in Greenville
Because Greenville is situated in the foothills of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, there are plenty of outdoor activities and Greenville area parks to enjoy. Paris Mountain is a local favorite and just 15 minutes away from downtown Greenville. During the summer, you can swim in the lake and rent paddle boats and kayaks. Hiking and mountain biking are available all year round and it’s a beautiful place for a picnic or easy stroll around the lake. There are small fees for entrance and for renting boats.
Bring a picnic and stay for the whole day!
Spend a Day at the Greenville Zoo
The Greenville Zoo is a favorite of Greenville families because it’s small enough to be manageable for kids no matter their age but also big enough to hold some really cool animals like giraffes, lions, and alligators. There are two small playgrounds inside the zoo plus a huge, free playground right outside the zoo, known as Cleveland Park, which happens to be a great place to fly a kite as well. Over the summer, there is usually an ice cream truck outside the zoo and inside, there is a small cafe. But eat either before or after you go at nearby Willy Taco where delicious tacos and tortas await.
The Greenville Zoo sits on the Swamp Rabbit Trail so you could very well bike there from elsewhere We suggest Swamp Rabbit Cafe, about four miles south of the Zoo where the scones, pizza, and bread are to die for.
Seasonal Fun in Greenville
Enjoying all four seasons in Greenville is a fantastic experience. No matter the time of year, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy all four seasons in town.
During spring in Greenville, there are several fantastic festivals like the Duck Derby, Greek Festival, and Artisphere. There are dozens of Easter Egg hunts and several places to pick your own strawberries.
Downtown Greenville in winter lights up with the free Festival of Trees, an awesome outdoor ice skating rink, and even a chance to ride on Santa’s Sleigh.
Further Out But Worth It
A fantastic nature park and playground filled with miles of trails is Conestee Park, about 20 minutes from Greenville. There are miles of trails through wetlands where you’ll likely see snakes, insects, turtles, and unique vegetation. The park is also ideal for a picnic in their giant shelter and kids can burn off energy at the two playgrounds on site. Be sure to go into the entrance to the park at 840 Mauldin Road, Greenville where you will pass baseball fields and then park by the playgrounds.
About an hour outside of Greenville is Lake Jocassee, perhaps the most stunning lake in the entire state with it’s crystal clear water and mostly uninhabited coastline. There are plenty of places to rent kayaks and stand up boards when the weather is nice. You can also swim through access on the small beach at Devils Fork State Park or camp or hike. You’ll never want to leave once you see this beautiful place. There is a small entrance fee for all South Carolina State Parks.
Whatever time of year you come to Greenville, you can always find something to do with your family. Find more activities, reviews, and everything else you need to know about Greenville at Kidding Around Greenville.
Kristina Hernandez is a mom of two girls, freelance writer and photographer and contributor of Kidding Around Greenville. Originally from New Jersey, she is in love with Upstate SC and could not imagine raising her kids anywhere else. She enjoys hiking to waterfalls, kayaking, camping, cooking, and exploring all that Greenville has to offer. And she really loves baby goats. Follow her on Instagram at @kristinajgh.