Living in Columbia is so lucky; we are central to everything, and in less than two hours, you can be swimming in the ocean or climbing a glorious mountain. It’s the perfect home base for some really memorable day trips! Here are a few of my favorites:
Asheville, North Carolina
My personal favorite. Easy for a day, and even better for a weekend. Asheville is beautiful, interesting, and a funky, artsy hippie town to the max, all while being surrounded by the breathtaking Smoky Mountains.
Start your day with an interesting lunch at 12 Bones BBQ, Chai Pani, or White Duck Taco Shop. Explore downtown and pop into some art galleries and hip vintage shops, or do some hiking and see some waterfalls in the mountains. Take a break at the Dobra Tea Room where you can take off your shoes and sit on the floor behind a bead curtain and sip a warm beverage, or on a warm day, order a Bees Knees: a refreshing blend of coconut water, mint, lavender, rose water, and honey.
Before dinner, grab a tube or kayak and float down the French Broad river, which is warm all year long. And before you head home, grab a bite from Salsas or Rosetta’s Kitchen, and don’t even think about leaving without a visit to dessert nirvana: the French Broad Chocolate Lounge! (Can you tell food is my favorite reason to travel??)
Charleston, South Carolina
Gorgeous, broad beaches combined with a vibrant, beautiful downtown make Charleston one of the best day trips from the Midlands. I like to start my day on the beach, usually on Sullivan’s Island or Isle of Palms, and play until sun-drenched and pruney.
After a quick wardrobe change, head into downtown to stroll the cobblestone streets and take in the history with a gelato or hunk of fudge from one of the many touristy (but yummy) sweet shops. Let the littles run in Battery Park and take a moment to enjoy the porch swings on the pier, and once you’ve worked up an appetite again, check out SNOB for a more upscale (but still family-friendly) bite, or keep it casual with interesting tacos and outdoor seating at FUEL. (One-word restaurants tend to be delicious in my experience.)
Greenville, South Carolina
I just love Greenville. Where else has a WATERFALL smack in the middle of downtown?? Explore their charming Main Street with an Underground Coffee in hand, being sure to make some time to picnic in Falls Park, where you can spend hours with a book in the sunshine or splashing in the Reedy River with the kids.
Then grab dinner on the patio somewhere great, like Soby’s, where the food is impeccable but little ones are still welcome. Or head to the Runway Cafe, where you’ll find an attached park and a real airstrip where the kids can watch planes takeoff and land!