We traveled up to the Pee Dee region of South Carolina this past weekend to mark off a couple counties. We stayed in Florence, but were able to make stops in 6 different counties. Overall impression of this area of the state is LOTS of cotton field, swamps, and large industrial buildings/businesses.
Attraction: Darlington International Raceway
First stop was Darlington County and the Darlington International Raceway for a 5k. Bryan and I have actually attended a couple NASCAR races in previous years at the raceway prior to having the girls. We drove up to Darlington on Friday night in order to participate in the Terrence Carraway Memorial 5K. Terrence Carraway was a Florence officer who was killed while on duty last year. The Darlington Raceway, known as the track “Too tough to tame” is the original paved superspeedway in NASCAR. I ran the race, while the girls and Bryan cheered me on! It was rather cool to experience the bright lights shining down at night while running around the track that cars usually speed around. While I was running, the girls were able to walk halfway around the track and experience the steep incline in the turns. This was the first time I have run in a race in about 5 years and I was surprised to have come in first in my age division!! This also motivated Avery and Leslie to enter a future race, so the training has begun for them!
Attraction: McArthur Farms
We got up on Saturday morning and headed to Marlboro County. As with much of the counties we have visited, we drove through a number of cotton fields to get there, both sides of the road lined with white. I had no idea how many cotton fields were in South Carolina. Our stop in Marlboro was McArthur Farms, a roadside farmers market, cornmaze, and kids play zone. McArthur Farms is over 180 acres of farmland that grows various crops including strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. In 2018, it was voted the Pee Dee’s best attraction. The 12 acre corn maze was slightly beat up since it is at the end of the season. The girls were much more interested in all the fun farm games. There were tractors to crawl on, slides going down a hill, tunnels, pedal go carts, and plenty of hay bales to climb all over. The favorite attraction was the corn pit that was just like a sandbox, but with corn. The girls enjoyed rolling and digging in the corn. We also took a wagon ride around the farm and the girls took a ride on the cow train. It was a great place to get lots of energy out!
Attraction: South of the Border
Up next, was the famous roadside attraction, South of the Border in Dillon County. Up and down Interstate 95 around the border between North and South Carolina billboards line the highway advertising all the “fun” at South of the Border. We lost count of how many billboards we saw! We explained to the girls that this is what is known as a tourist trap and to beware not to get trapped. They took us literally and were on the look out throughout our time at this stop for anything that would trap them and did not ask to buy anything!!
This silly stop is home to “Pedro” and lots of other colorful animals that we walked around and took pictures with. Also there is various shops that sell all types of gimmicky items. The motels and other attractions all looked pretty abandoned and we decided to head on down the highway for lunch.
Part 2 of our exciting Pee Dee weekend includes Florence, Marion, and Williamsburg!