There’s truth to the idea that life “up North” is faster-paced than that in the South, but it doesn’t mean that we only take things slow and steady, and it definitely doesn’t mean that we lack for curiosity and adventure.
Here is a list heftier than a baker’s dozen of mega fun and super memorable outdoor adventures to do in South Carolina:
First on our list, of course, is home base – the premier skydiving center in the Carolinas. With more than 30 years of experience, Skydive Carolina is a full-service dropzone offering tandem skydiving for first-timers, Accelerated Freefall Progression courses for those ready to earn their license to fly, and great amenities for sport jumpers. We annually host one of the country’s largest skydiving events – CarolinaFest. Located on the border of North and South Carolina, we’re just an hour’s drive from Charlotte and Columbia and within easy reach of Asheville, Greenville, Spartanburg, and Charleston. Need more deets? Check out our tandem FAQs and learn to skydive FAQs.
From here we’ll take you Upstate toward Rock Hill, Fort Mill, and Charlotte, then Down East to the coast, South toward Columbia, and finally to the Georgia border – a section of the state we’ll call Yonder.
There are numerous South Carolina adventures less than an hour northeast of Skydive Carolina that offer fun for adults and the whole family, including:
One of the many attractions featured at the Rock Hill Outdoor Center, the Giordana Velodrome is just 30 minutes from Skydive Carolina. Built in 2012, this 250m Olympic-sized concrete track is the real deal with its 42.5-degree embankment in the corners and a 17-degree embankment on the front and back straights. Have your own track bike? Bring it on (and make sure to have it inspected). Don’t? No worries, rental bikes are available for a nominal fee.
In spitting distance from the Giordana Velodrome (i.e. still only a half-hour from the DZ) is another world-class cycling facility. Suitable for all ages, the Rock Hill track represents the East Coast’s first Olympic-caliber BMX training center that’s open to the public. The Track features amateur and elite supercross start hills and a pump track and offers instruction and competition opportunities. Since it opened in 2014, the Track has hosted numerous high-profile events.
Located on beautiful Sand Island just 35 minutes from the dropzone, Canaan Zipline Canopy Tour invites adventure-seekers of all experience levels to zig-zag across the Catawba River. Seasoned zippers can opt for the full three-hour tour, which encompasses nine zip lines (including a 900-foot zip!) and challenge elements. Treetop newcomers can try the first five zips on the Bootleg Tour and – if they find it floats their boat – can upgrade to the full tour. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for your tour.
A 2,100-acre nature preserve within 35 minutes of our airport, the Anne Springs Close Greenway is a gem in the Upstate crown. There’s something for all ages and experience levels to enjoy across 36 miles of trails – from hiking and biking to horseback riding and kayaking. And the recently added Greenway Gateway at the Lake Haigler entrance is a great place to start. There are several entrances into the property so be sure to decide ahead of time which one suits you best.
For horseback riding enthusiasts, Leg Up boasts more than 20 years of service and a stellar reputation as one of the area’s most comprehensive Horsemanship programs. Located just 45 minutes from Skydive Carolina and geared toward all ages, Leg Up is an English Riding Academy that focuses on introducing students to Combined Training (dressage, stadium jumping, and cross country).
Despite the Charlotte address, the 407 acres that make up Carowinds straddles the North and South Carolina border. Forty minutes from the DZ, thrill-seekers should get ready for eight theme areas featuring roller coasters worth writing home about (don’t miss the Copperhead Strike, Fury 325, Intimidator, and Afterburn), attractions, and a water park. The 2018 addition of Camp Snoopy makes Carowinds super fun for those not tall enough for the big coasters, and special events like SCarowinds and Winterfest make for awesome “off season” excuses to check out the park. Find out more here.
Heading to the coast before or after your jump? Check out these outdoor attractions:
If you’re like us, there’s nothing more exciting than spending time up high in our gorgeous Carolina-blue skies. Just an hour and 10 minutes from the dropzone is Bermuda High Soaring, a facility and 4,000-foot grass runway dedicated solely to the sport of soaring. Whether you’re looking to experience a glider ride, are keen to enroll in an instructional course, or join a passionate soaring community, you’ll find it all at Bermuda High Soaring.
Oooh, Nelly. If motocross or supercross is your thing, you’re in for a treat. Club MX is one of the top training and practice facilities is in the Southeast, if not the country. Monthly, yearly and private training options and one-week camps are available at their 98-acre training facility, and practice opportunities abound at an adjacent 102-acre property. The tracks are 90 minutes from Skydive Carolina. Check out their facebook page for tons more info.
Equally breathtaking and heartstopping, alligators like those found at Alligator Adventure located in North Myrtle Beach are known to make even non-Southerners utter a twang-filled, “Damn, y’all.” The park is one of the largest reptile facilities in the world and is home to a number of animals such as snakes and turtles, a variety of birds, monkeys and lemurs. Alligator Adventure is just short of three and a half hours from the DZ.
On your way to us or easin’ on to your next adventure, there’s a ton to do South of Skydive Carolina. Here are some of our faves:
Situated on 2,600 acres of private land, Carolina Adventure World is the Southeast’s largest ATV, UTV and dirt bike riding park. This place – with its mudbogs, rock crawl, 100 miles of trails (including 10 miles of dedicated dirt bike trails), enduro course, oval track and competition strips – is hog heaven for those who love gettin’ down and dirty. Rent equipment or bring your own, make use of the barbecue pits or grab grub from The Kitchen, camp on site or rent a cabin … this place has everything, and it’s only 40 minutes from Skydive Carolina.
The Three Rivers Region refers to the area at which the Saluda and Broad Rivers meet to form the Congaree … which means there’s a ton of water fun to be had in Columbia. From tubing packages and kayak rentals to whitewater clinics and guided tours through the Congaree National Park, down the Saluda River and to the elusive spider lilies that bloom only in May, Palmetto Outdoors has a variety of cool ways to experience SC. Be prepared with what to bring, not to bring before you head over. Located 75 minutes from Skydive Carolina.
As one of the country’s largest mid-sized zoos and a major SC attraction just an hour and 10 minutes from the DZ, Riverbanks is home to more than 2,000 animals from around the world. The Zoo feels big while the smart layout makes it possible to take it all in without the littlest members of your party pitchin’ a fit. Adjoined by a footbridge is a botanical garden that boasts 4,300 species of native and exotic plants as well as Waterfall Junction, a three-acre garden designed for big and little kids alike. For more info, check out their FAQs.
At the bitty-bottom of the state is a gorgeous area locals call the Lowcountry. Charleston, Beaufort, Hilton Head Island … places with names you recognize for good reason, check it:
At first glance Force Kite and Wake is a retail outlet for extreme watersports, but dig into the Lessons section of their website and you’ll see opportunities for private and semi-private kite, wake and foil courses. Harness the wind from a whole new angle with this Charleston-based company staffed with some of kiteboarding’s most accomplished athletes. Check out their facebook page for more info. Located three hours from the dropzone.
When the sun sets, a different kind of SC adventure awaits. Three hours from the DZ, Bulldog Tours is the only of Charleston’s walking ghost tours that can take you beyond the sidewalk after dark – meaning you’ll have access to the Old City Jail, Dungeon, and Charleston’s oldest graveyard. Not only will you be entertained, amazed and afraid but you’ll also be giving back. A portion of every tour ticket helps to preserve Charleston’s historic landmarks. Boom. Keep your freak outs in check with these FAQs.
A skateboarder’s paradise, SK8 Charleston is a 32,500 square foot skate park. Features to drool over include a 200+ foot long snake run that funnels into a 9-foot deep pocket, a pro-bowl, an intermediate bowl, and a 315-foot long street course. Lessons are available for beginner, intermediate and advanced skaters. Bikes welcome on Tuesdays only. Know the rules before you go. Three hours from Skydive Carolina.
According to Captain Chip, “there’s always something biting”. And he should know – this is the only boat to hold two state records (Lemon Shark, 380 lbs and Blacktip Shark, 163.9 lbs), he’s on record as catching the most Great White sharks on rod and reel in history (including the largest male ever to be tagged in the Atlantic), and has come out on top in numerous tournaments. Catch the details of what to expect on his website, then head down to sunny Hilton Head four hours from Skydive Carolina.
Experience Hilton Head from a different perspective by choosing one of seven tours, treating yourself to an exciting experience package (horseback riding or cocktails anyone?), or charter a flight that meets your fancy. Those keen to up the ante should consider the Doors Off Adrenaline Package that allows you the choice of some or all of the doors off during your excursion (our vote: do it!). HHHT also offers flight instruction. For more info, check out their FAQs.
In sweet South Carolina, the weather lets us play outside pretty much year round. Ahhhhhh, bliss. Come and spend the day – or the whole weekend – jumping with us! We can’t wait to swap adventure stories with you around the fire.
Blue skies, y’all.
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