20 Best Things to Do in Pickens, SC - Travel Lens (2024)

Pickens, South Carolina, is a beautiful hidden gem nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Pickens is a city with a lot of heart and promise.

Founded in 1826, it’s the county seat of Pickens County, named after its incorporation in 1868.

The town became a city in 1998, but the Census Bureau did not record the change until 2001.

The city’s name came from Andrew Pickens, a U.S. Congressman from South Carolina who served as a general in the Revolutionary War.

This city is a beautiful place to spend a long weekend or a summer.

Here you will find people who value family, friends, and a relaxed lifestyle where you become part of the community.

Check this list of the best things to do in Pickens, SC:

Walk and Relax at Keowee Toxaway State Park

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Find time to relax after eating and shopping!

Keowee-Toxaway State Park is one of Pickens’ prettiest places, with some of the most stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The exhibits and information at the Jocassee Gorges Visitor Center serve as a gateway to the Jocassee Gorges.

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The park’s two hiking routes take tourists over a natural bridge and through the Blue Ridge Mountains’ foothills, where the Cherokee once roamed.

Half-mile to Lake Keowee offers bream, catfish, and crappie fishing.

If Lake Keowee camping isn’t for you, a three-bedroom rental cabin with a magnificent view of Lake Keowee and a private boat dock is a good alternative.

Tourists seeking a more rustic overnight stay can find camping sites around Lake Keowee with water and electrical hookups.

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Capture Pickens at Table Rock State Park

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Capture the natural beauty of Highway 11 in Table Rock State Park.

The park’s famous mountain frames the 3,000-acre park and its facilities.

The views from the hike are fantastic; standing on Bald Knob and gazing back toward Table Rock gives you a unique perspective of the mountain.

This trail is also unusual because it provides access to Table Rock State Park’s viewing platform and a lovely waterfall.

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Table Rock State Park has cabins, camping, and an old-fashioned swimming hole on one of the park’s two lakes.

The park is the starting point for the 76-mile Foothills Trail.

Hikers can use it to connect many state parks in Pickens, South Carolina.

Hiking trails in Table Rock State Park lead to the peaks of the Pinnacle and Table Rock mountains.

Table Rock State Park is well-known for its natural beauty, but it also has a long and illustrious history.

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Find Honey at the Bee Well Natural Market

Are you looking for something sweet in Pickens?

Stop by at 205 Hampton Avenue and fill your baskets with all-natural honey products.

Bee Well Honey Natural Market and Coffee Shop is a family-owned business that supplies local foodies with delicious honey.

Shelves loaded with groceries aim to encourage customers to live healthier lifestyles.

Buy the ingredients for a home-cooked supper, including eggs from local farms and homemade soaps and candies.

Enjoy the View at Glassy Mountain

Witness a little “mountain magic” this summer at Glassy Mountain.

This 2647-foot-tall peak stands apart from other mountains near Pickens, South Carolina.

It’s the only monadnock in the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Glassy Mountain is a unique natural wonder.

It’s known for having so many small springs that the rock glistens in the sunshine.

Transmitter towers are at the top of the mountain, led by small service roads.

Glassy Mountain Golf Course’s Cliffs are close by.

Learn Pickens’ History at the Hagood Mill Historic Site

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Time to get out of town and visit Hagood Mill Historic Site to learn about the Mill’s history, present, and future!

The historic site spreads out over more than 50 acres of beautiful South Carolina countryside.

Some of the few sights are a gristmill from 1845, a cotton gin, a moonshine still, and nature excursions.

You can purchase gifts from local artists, authors, and entertainers in the gift store.

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Don O’Brien from Piketon, Ohio, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1973, Pickens County gave the Mill and its surrounding acres to the Pickens County Museum to save them.

In the same year, local historians and volunteers rebuilt the Mill’s water wheel and mechanical components.

More restoration work has brought this old relic closer to its former brilliance.

All this and more awaits your visit.

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Bill Fitzpatrick, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shop and Relax at Market at the Mill

Ready for a fun spot to shop, eat, or relax?

The Market at the Mill (the Mill) is a community-oriented shopping mall that houses over 100 shops.

The Mill is located in Pickens, South Carolina, and offers its customers a wide range of shopping experiences.

The Market features handmade crafts and clothing, jewelry and gift boutiques, food, antiques, and more!

Don’t worry about getting hungry while strolling.

Food and beverages are offered in the area’s nearby eateries.

Go Thrift-Shopping at Pickens Bargain Exchange Flea Market

The Pickens Bargain Exchange Flea Market is the Area’s Largest Yard Sale.

It has the world’s most extended shed, which has a covered area with over 100 tables.

It’s an excellent spot to find one-of-a-kind gifts for friends, family, and cuisine.

It started as the area’s first drag strip.

Since then, it has become a family-friendly environment for quality vendors to sell anything you can imagine, from Home-made Caramel Kettle Corn to Discount Power Tools.

Don’t miss the Pickens County Flea Market, which opens every Wednesday!

Enjoy a Family Picnic at Long Shoals Roadside Park

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Are you tired of the same old picnic spots?

Then Long Shoals Roadside Park in Pickens is the right place for a new picnic experience.

Long Shoals Roadside Park, also known as Loing Shoals Wayside Park, is on the Cherokee Scenic Highway 11.

It’s a short walk from Keowee Toxaway State Park, so make a day of it by hopping back and forth between the two parks.

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MILA PARH / Shutterstock.com

This 2-minute hike from Lake Jocasse’s parking lot is excellent for families with young children who need to get back to their car fast.

The park also contains Little Eastatoe Creek, which is ideal for water enthusiasts.

Continue walking north along the shoals until you reach the end of the exposed rock.

Follow the shoals south until you reach a sandy ‘beach.’

Blue blazes mark a half-mile in-and-out trail.

Despite the fallen trees, the views of the river and rapids are magnificent.

Discover Art at Pickens County Museum of Art and History

If you love Pickens County and its history, you’re going to love the Heritage Museum of Pickens County!

Permanent exhibitions at the museum will fascinate you with information, artifacts, and antiquities about Pickens County, its predecessor regions, and the Upcountry.

The museum also hosts three “focus” galleries that change every eight to twelve weeks with new works by regional artists.

You can also expect contests, thematic exhibits, historical context displays, and annual “Youth Arts Month” activities.

Round out your experience by heading outside to see the Joe and Maggie Rampey Native Plant Garden—an outdoor Natural History exhibit on the museum’s grounds.

If you’re into performances or arts and crafts, you’ll also want to check out the performance areas and studio classroom on-site.

And did we mention this is a great place to take Instagram photos?

Look for the crenelated turret and copper-colored tin roof.

Your friends will think you’re cultured.

Enjoy Various Activities at the Doodle Trail

Discover Pickens in a whole new light.

Easley and Pickens collaborated on the Doodle Trail, a 7.5-mile rails-to-trails project that debuted on Memorial Day Weekend 2015.

Cycling, walking, running, rollerblading, and roller-skating are permitted on the multi-use trail from sunrise to sunset.

The route prohibits the use of unlicensed motorized vehicles or mopeds.

Visit with family or friends and take in the breathtaking views!

Hikers and walkers will appreciate the beauty of the upstate by taking the Doodle Trail.

The trail follows the original railroad line between Easley and Pickens established over a century ago.

It’s also a terrific area to visit local shops, so you can learn about history while also supporting the town.

Experience History at Old Pickens Jail

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The Old Pickens Jail isn’t a tourist attraction—it’s a piece of history.

Built in 1903, the jail was a detention center for criminals and the residence of the Pickens County Sheriff.

In 1928, the prison added more cellblocks to house more inmates.

It features 1/1 segmental arch windows with stone sills and a hip roof with two inside chimneys.

A two-story crenelated tower made of Flemish bond bricks stands on the northeast corner.

It held inmates until 1975.

Since then, it has become a historical museum and an art gallery.

The Old Pickens Jail is one of the only remaining early jails in Piedmont, South Carolina, and it has a considerable historical and cultural significance!

Go Back in Time at Morgan House

If you’re looking for something to do that’s both fun and educational, it’s time to go downtown and tour the Morgan House.

The Morgans, a prominent Pickens family, built this gorgeous house in 1893.

The architecture is noteworthy because it transitioned from Queen Anne to Classical Revival in the early twentieth century.

They added porch gables with arched glass motifs to the porch with classical Doric columns.

Except for these changes and the addition of a room in the back, the house has remained untouched.

The Morgan House is famous for its ties to Jeptha Norton Morgan and his family, who were instrumental in developing Central’s economy.

Morgan and his brother Francis opened the F.B. and J.N. Morgan’s Store on Main Street.

Find a Quiet Spot at Oolenoy Baptist Church Cemetery

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Bill Fitzpatrick, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking for a quiet place to reflect, Oolenoy Baptist Church Cemetery might be your spot.

The Pickens Cemetery, established in 1798, now serves as the final resting place for 839 persons.

Headstones and footstones, as well as a few site enclosures, make up the cemetery.

The Rev. Tyre L. Roper preached here from 1840 until he died in 1876.

Built in 1952, the present brick sanctuary and the cemetery include the graves of many veterans of American wars from the Revolution through World War II.

This cemetery is an outstanding representation of what a nineteenth-century church cemetery would have looked like.

It’s also an ideal location for admiring nineteenth-century tombstone art.

Hang Out at Burning Brick Tavern

Are you excited to hang out with friends in Pickens?

Located at 301 E Main St, it’s the newest place for great food and a fun atmosphere.

The Burning Brick Tavern offers the finest beer and snacks.

It’s also where you can catch a game on TV, enjoy some karaoke, or even get your dance on.

With a full bar and good music, this is the perfect place to spend an evening.

Spot the Turtles on the Town All Over Pickens

Looking for a unique way to explore Pickens’ art culture?

Go on a turtle-hunt adventure with Turtles on the Town.

This art installation set is a project by Susan Hilyer and Louise Hope, totaling 13 sculptures in all.

Start your hunt on Main Street right where the Legacy Square Fountain resides.

There are two more turtles on Lewis Street and Florence Street.

And the rest should be a discovery you make on your own!

Better yet, compete with a loved one for a more difficult Turtles on the Town hunt.

Start a Bike Ride around Town Creek Bike Park

Find the peace and privacy you need while in the outdoor setting at Town Creek Bike Park.

Open and free to the public, this multi-purpose bike park extends to over 100 acres.

It’s an ideal off-road biking practice facility for bikers of all skill levels.

Its amenities include dirt jumps, all kinds of rollers, wooden banked turns, and wall rides.

While you keep your biking spree adventurous, you also learn a thing or two about your environment and the importance of saving it.

Town Creek Bike Park is off of Sangamo Road.

Traverse the Mountain Arts Interpretive Trail at Holly Springs Center

Holly Springs Center offers a blend of educational, cultural, and historical premises that may be missing from your usual itinerary.

And one of its most-visited amenities is the Mountain Arts Interpretive Trail.

This trail is an SC Arts Commission-funded project.

It features a different kind of workshop without the traditional four-walled facility.

Within its route are pottery and Native American jewelry displays.

There’s also a practice area for mountain music and dance.

Along the way are markers embedded with informational guides on the different artistic pursuits offered by the center’s classes.

And all the while, you feel refreshed with the beautiful natural scenery all around.

Holly Springs Center and its famous trail are on Holly Springs School Road.

Go on Amusem*nt Rides at the Pickens Azalea Festival

One of the city’s most awaited festivals is the Pickens Azalea Festival.

Started as an arts juried show in 1983 celebrated in the northern section of the city, this festival soon became a downtown tradition.

This festival strives to bring local entertainment and affordable goods to the community, even for just a few days.

It’s also a way to honor the season of bloom for azaleas.

Within its usual program lineup, you can expect a pageant both for young girls and pets and live music shows.

There’s also an art contest revolving around azalea artworks.

And at Legacy Square Park, amusem*nt rides are open for everyone to enjoy.

The Pickens Azalea Festival is an event worth celebrating with the whole family on Johnston Street.

Sign Up for an Educational Tour at Table Rock Tea Company

In between tours around Pickens, be sure to have time for a lazy cup of tea.

Table Rock Tea Company has your tea preferences sorted.

Offering locally-sourced artisan tea, this farm-and-shop takes pride in its craftsmanship for a wide variety of tea types.

But perhaps what makes this site a visit-worthy attraction is its offered tours around its facility.

Now, you can learn a thing or two about the tea making process and wander the grounds and greenhouse of this site.

Table Rock Tea Company is on High Hills Lane, ready to brew you the tea you can’t taste anywhere else.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot more to see and do in Pickens.

The locations listed above are only a few of the many things to do and see in this lovely town.

Pickens is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful towns in South Carolina.

It offers incredible opportunities for nature excursions.

There is very little adverse weather, but it is usually not too awful when it does happen.

20 Best Things to Do in Pickens, SC - Travel Lens (2024)
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