Greenville, South Carolina exudes southern charm and hospitality. From its tree-lined Main Street studded with shops and galleries to the 40-acre Falls Park on the Reedy River and the swooping Liberty Bridge over the falls, this is small-town America at its best.

Surrounded by miles of two-lane roads, state parks and designated trails, this is prime cycling country. But that’s not all there is to Greenville. The city is brimming with cultural venues, historic sites, and great restaurants.

Outdoor Activities in Greenville, South Carolina

Sign up for a driving program at the BMW Performance Center. This is the only place in the country where you can drive a BMW and a Mini Cooper on a specially designed track at speeds exceeding 90 mile per hour. When you are done burning rubber, explore the BMW Museum filled with past and present models including Art Cars designed by Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, and Roy Lichtenstein.

TIP: Reserve well in advance for the driving program.

The Swamp Rabbit Trail meanders for 22-miles along the Reedy River. Hunting Island State Park is known for its flat trails running alongside salt marshes and tidal basins. For a more strenuous workout, tackle the rugged forest trails of Paris Mountain State Park.

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Culture and History

The Greenville County Museum of Art pays homage to native son Jasper Johns with an extraordinary collection of his contemporary art.

Music aficionados will enjoy the Carolina Music Museum. The museum houses a stunning collection of European, English, and American pianos and harpsichords that date back 300 years from the 16th to 19th centuries.

Greenville History Tours offers guided walking and driving tours of several of Greenville’s historic neighborhoods.

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 Staying and Dining

Your dog is welcome at the Aloft Hotel. This trendy hotel is minimalist in design with sleek furnishings, an outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, and is walking distance to everything.

The Hotel Domestique, 20-minutes from Greenville, South Carolina is set in a peaceful oasis surrounded by miles of wooded trails ideal for cycling and hiking. All the bells and whistles are here for a delightful stay; a fine dining restaurant, a state-of-the-art fitness center with yoga and Pilates classes, 500-thread-count linens, and iPad concierge in all 13 rooms.

Ideally located downtown, are the Marriott, Hilton and Crowne Plaza. All three recently underwent multi-million-dollar renovations. Each has a fitness center, indoor pool, restaurant, and complimentary Wi-Fi.

If you love bar-b-que, then Greenville History Tours Bar-b-que Trail Tour is for you. It’s 2 1/2 hours of nothing but BBQ at three of the best BBQ joints in the city; Bucky’s Bar-B-Que, Henry’s Smokehouse, and Mike & Jeff’s BBQ. Your guide will do the driving and tell you about the places–all you have to is bring your appetite and sit back and enjoy the food.

Caviar and Bananas is two things, gourmet market and an upscale bistro. Everything here is fresh and comes from local farms. Choices run the gamut from sandwiches of house-made turkey sausage with Gruyere cheese to duck confit with pickled red onions and fig jam.

Dine on Moroccan, Spanish, Italian, African and Middle Eastern dishes at the Lazy Goat.

Husk is known for its southern dishes of cured meats, grits, and Appalachian tomato gravy. Specialties include corn-meal fried chicken skins, catfish (with corn and okra), and pans of cornbread.

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Historic Houses

An hour away in Asheville, NC, you can immerse yourself in the history and luxury of the Biltmore Estate. Built in 1895 as the country home of George Vanderbilt, the 250-room chateau is surrounded by gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.

The Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library is in the house where Jackson lived. There are exhibits detailing the life and career of this great baseball player.

Greenville, South Carolina Is Waiting For You

No matter whether you see Greenville, South Carolina by driving, cycling, walking or hiking you’re sure to enjoy everything that this pretty town has to offer.

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Images courtesy of VisitGreenvilleSC

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This article was written by Fran Folsom.

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