Scenic Train Trips in South Carolina

Scenic Train Trips in South Carolina
Rich in history, steeped in culture and laden with natural beauty, South Carolina is a vacation hot spot. From museums to historic towns, speedways, nature preserves and hiking trails, South Carolina has something to offer every traveler. Visiting South Carolina via rail is a fun way to travel the state. Whether learning history at the South Carolina Railroad Museum or riding Amtrak's rails, enjoy creating your very own rails-and-trails adventure.

South Carolina Railroad Museum

Located in Winnsboro, the South Carolina Railroad Museum offers visitors an opportunity to learn about the history of the rails in South Carolina. At the museum, visitors can ride on a real passenger train, visit a red caboose, see an authentic dining car or tour an authentic Pullman car that once carried people across the country. The museum runs on five miles of the 11.5-mile line of the former Rockton and Rion Railroad. The scenic, one-hour, round-trip train excursion runs through Rion to Anderson Quarry, famous for its blue granite.

Near the museum is Lake Wateree State Recreation Area. In addition to a variety of camping sites and fishing spots, the park is home to the Desportes Island Nature Trail, a moderate 0.7-mile loop.

The South Carolina Railroad Museum, Inc.
110 Industrial Park Road
Winnsboro, SC 29180
(803) 635-4242

Dillon, S.C., to Florence, S.C. (Myrtle Beach area)

A short, 35-minute trip from Dillon, located on the North Carolina border, to Florence offers Amtrak riders a scenic view of South Carolina's historic past. Before departing from Dillon, be sure to explore the Little Pee Dee State Park and adjacent Little Pee Dee Hertitage Preserve. The park has camping sites tucked among the waters of 54-acre Lake Norton. Visitors to the park can enjoy nature trails, picnic areas and fishing while exploring the sandhills of South Carolina.

Upon arriving in Florence, the Florence Rail Trail and Connections has both hiking and biking trails. A paved rail-trail runs east about a mile and a half and at the end, is a series of unpaved trails through the woods. Also in Florence is Jeffries Creek Nature Park, which offers hiking trails through an upscale neighborhood. The park protects some valuable South Carolina wetlands.

For an interesting side trip, the Darlington Raceway, where "Days of Thunder" starring Tom Cruise was filmed, is nearby.

Kingstree, S.C., to Charleston, S.C.

Kingstree has a rich history, including a wealthy past derived from the raising and processing of the indigo plant into indigo dye. The Mill Street Landing is a boat ramp in downtown Kingstree that also provides short hikes and fishing along the Kingstree Swamp Canal.

The Amtrak rails will bring you from Kingstree to Charleston under an hour. A city steeped in southern charm, culture and history, Charleston houses the James Island County Park. This 643-acre park features paved bicycle and hiking trails, a campground, saltwater fishing and crabbing, open grass meadows, kayaking, horseshoe pits, playgrounds, a water splash park and an outdoor climbing wall.

Yemasseee, S.C., to Columbia, S.C.

Rich in history and key to the development of baiting in the shrimping industry, Yemassee offers the Combahee Landing as a scenic stop before boarding the train to Columbia. A small scenic area, the Combahee has a boat slip that provides access to the Combahee River.

An hour on the rails will bring you from Yemassee to Columbia. Located in Columbia in the middle of the sandhills region is the Sesquicentennial State Park. Featuring a pond surrounded by trails, the Sesquicentennial State Park offers a 6.1-mile unpaved bicycle trail. Also located in Columbia is the Riverfront Park within walking distance of Columbia's business district. Riverfront Park also has access to The Palmetto Trail, which connects the mountains of South Carolina to the seacoast. Most of the trail is unpaved and is used for horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking. The terrain varies from hard-packed dirt to challenging, rough trails.

Article Written By Wendy M. Vincent

Wendy M. Vincent is a freelance writer with a B.A. in communications and an M.A. in liberal studies. With more than 10 years' experience in writing, Ms. Vincent has authored press releases, newsletters, websites, corporate presentations, book reviews, print articles, promotional materials, training manuals and resumes. Some of her recent work appears in "Renaissance Magazine" and "Personal Development Magazine."

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