Immerse Yourself in the Stunning Scenery of Greenville, South Carolina
An abundance of green spaces and waterfalls, plus proximity to the high peaks and rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, make this destination a dreamy home base for exploring South Carolina’s under-the-radar Upstate region.
With a waterfall that cascades through the city center and majestic mountain vistas just a short drive away, Greenville, South Carolina is tailor made for nature lovers. Casual explorers and hardcore hikers alike can appreciate the city’s privileged location in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, midway between bustling Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina. Plus, with Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport located just a few minutes from the city center, visitors from all over the country can easily fly in for a visit. Whether you simply want to soak up the spectacular landscapes or you’re craving adrenaline-pumping adventure, Greenville has all that and more.
Discover Greenville’s green spaces
Begin your explorations in the heart of the city, where natural beauty seamlessly meshes with urban life. The jewel in the city’s crown is Falls Park on the Reedy, renowned for its manicured gardens, riverfront trails, and the striking Liberty Bridge spanning Reedy River Falls. Summer Movies in the Park, the Upstate Shakespeare Festival, and Yoga in the Park are just a few of the local events you may stumble across at this community hub.
Falls Park connects with the 22-mile Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail, which follows the river and an old railroad corridor to the nearby town of Travelers Rest. Along the way, the trail passes by breweries, cafes, and parks, including the recently opened Cancer Survivors Park and the 122-acre Cleveland Park. The newest addition to the city’s park system is Unity Park, where you’ll find four modern playgrounds, a massive splash pad, walking trails, and a welcome center.
Travel a short distance outside of the city center to discover striking scenery at any one of the region’s state parks. Just 10 minutes from downtown Greenville, Paris Mountain State Park offers 15 miles of hiking and biking trails, campsites, and two tranquil lakes. And less than an hour’s drive away, Caesars Head State Park has two trails leading to the dramatic Raven Cliff Falls, named for the more than 150 species of ravens that breed in the falls’ cliffs. An epic view from a suspension bridge spanning the 420-foot waterfall below rewards hikers who choose the more strenuous trail.
Looking for more awe-inspiring hikes? Jones Gap State Park and Table Rock State Park are also well known for their trails, waterfalls, and panoramas of the surrounding peaks.
Waterfall Country, U.S.A.
For a city centered around a waterfall, it’s no surprise that Greenville’s surrounding area is also home to numerous cascades. In fact, there are more than 50 waterfalls in the region—the heaviest concentration of waterfalls in the Eastern United States. Raven Cliff Falls in Caesars Head State Park is the tallest in the state, but the park also boasts four other dramatic cascades. In Jones Gap State Park, Rainbow Falls greets hikers at the end of a 2.4-mile trail. West of Greenville, Devils Fork State Park has a half dozen waterfalls scattered among its lush forests.
Great adventures in Greenville
Along with low-key activities like leisurely hikes through the woods, Greenville also caters to outdoor enthusiasts seeking more of an adrenaline rush. Five minutes from downtown, Treetop Quest Greenville is an aerial adventure park that promises a physical and mental challenge with more than 60 ropes courses and other obstacles.
Nearby Barefoot Acres Adventure Farm also has ropes courses along with two 800-foot racing zip lines for anyone with a competitive streak. A working farm, Barefoot Acres also invites guests to wander their lavender fields, visit their animal residents, and shop for freshly picked produce. Looking for rainy day fun? ProjectROCK in nearby Easley is the tallest indoor climbing gym in the country.
If you’d rather explore the area on two wheels, you’re in luck—Greenville is exceptionally bike-friendly, with challenging single-track mountain bike trails as well as wide, smooth asphalt paths well-suited to the whole family. Choose between several bike rental operations that are ready to get you on the trails quickly and easily, including Reedy Rides, Pedego Electric Bikes, Greenville B-Cycle, and Sunrift Adventures.
Self-guided and guided tours
In town, it’s easy to explore by way of a handful of self-guided walking tours developed by resident historian John Nolan. At two miles or less per jaunt, these easygoing tours take walkers through different parts of the city, stopping at landmarks including historic churches, parks, and museums.
Nolan, author of A Guide to Historic Greenville, South Carolina, also hosts guided tours of the city, including one focused on local architecture and another centered on the historic highlights of downtown. Outside of Greenville proper, Jocassee Lake Tours offers everything from fishing adventures and kayaking to hiking tours.
Rest and recovery
Here’s the not-so-secret best part about Greenville’s outdoor attractions: They’re all conveniently located within a few minutes of this welcoming, culturally rich city. That means there’s no roughing it required—unless you want to.
A day of Upcountry exploring can end with a round of craft beers from a homegrown brewery. Start with a River Falls Red Ale from the second-oldest brewery in the state, Thomas Creek Brewery. Then dig in to some blackened salmon tacos from Willy Taco Feed & Seed or savor a multicourse meal with views of Falls Park at Jianna.
Follow it with a night out at a concert, comedy show, or Broadway musical—or simply settle into your downtown hotel for a hot shower and well-deserved rest in your cozy bed. Greenville will always be there when you’re ready for your next incredible adventure.