If you’ve visited Clemson, South Carolina, you know this cozy college town holds one of the most beautiful backdrops in the south. Mountains, lakes, and rivers all surround Clemson offering the perfect mix of outdoor adventure, southern charm, and history. 

Overlooking Lake Hartwell and surrounded by mountains and over 40 waterfalls equipped with plenty of hiking and walking trails, Clemson and Pickens County can be considered an adventuring hotspot. The Clemson Experimental Forest offers 17,500 acres of lakes, waterfalls, and hiking, walking, biking, and equestrian trails. Lake Issaquena, within the Clemson Experimental Forrest, could be considered the perfect escape for travelers looking for a peaceful getaway. Clemson is also home to the South Carolina Botanical Gardens, a 295-acre garden and natural area perfect for both relaxation and exploration. The garden is free to the public 365 days a year. Table Rock State Park, Sassafras Mountain, and Twin Falls are just a few examples of hiking destinations within Pickens County that are just a short trip from Clemson. 

Victoria Valley Vineyard

Stop by Victoria Valley Vineyard to relax, have a glass of wine, and enjoy gorgeous mountain views. After a day of exploring, wind down at the Clemson Wine Bar in Patrick Square, a local spot for friends and strangers to chat over premium wines. Continue strolling around the square to find Rick Erwin’s which offers a fine dining experience like no other. Rick Erwin’s offers fresh seafood, prime steak, and a lengthy wine selection. Other Patrick Square favorites are Sunny Side Café, a popular breakfast spot for locals, and Joe’s New York Pizza which features a stunning outdoor patio.


Autumn in a magical time in Clemson. On Saturdays, expect to see the streets of Downtown Clemson packed with fans boasting their most prideful orange and purple wardrobes, ready to cheer on the Clemson Tigers Football Team. These Saturdays could be considered a spiritual event for some fans; many fans travel from all over the country to return to their favorite place for a weekend of celebrating with old friends. There’s an unspoken agreement in the area that if you’re wearing your Clemson orange, you’re family. Be sure to stop by the Esso Club for classic southern cuisine, meat – and – three style.

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This delicious dive was even ranked the #4 bar in the South by Southern Living. Continue walking around Downtown Clemson to find many more dining and shopping establishments along its historic strip that at night turns into a lively bar scene. On any given night you’ll find college students, locals, and Clemson University sports fanatics chatting with friends and eager to talk with newcomers about their love for this city.

Lake Hartwell

If you plan to visit Clemson in the fall to watch football with some of the best fans in the world, expect to stay the rest of the week. If the view of untouched, multicolored treetops surrounding Lake Hartwell (visible from the Clemson Tigers Football Stadium) doesn’t intrigue you, nothing will. Spend your week paddling, boating, or kayaking on the three lakes in the area, each one more beautiful as you get closer to the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Named the “Best Place to Escape to in South Carolina” by Expedia, this place is a hidden treasure. Surrounded by lakes, mountains, and waterfalls and full of southern charm, this place is the perfect destination for travelers. Adventurers, foodies, football fans, and anyone looking for a getaway will find a haven within this small southern town.