12 hours in Camden

Goodale State Park | Photo courtesy City of Camden

…without even seeing a horse

Suzi Sale is tourism/economic development director for the City of Camden and she promises that if you’ve only visited Camden during the Cup, the quick drive from Cola is well worth another visit. Find out more about how to Eat, Shop, Stay, Play Camden on Instagram and Facebook.

When you think about Camden, you probably immediately think of Carolina Cup or hunting or Boykin Spaniels or antebellum homes. And while all of these things are crown jewels of this place, Camden’s significant history + unique architecture – mixed with interesting restaurants, locally-owned shops + a full calendar of annual events – make a ~25-min drive #DayTrip to this town a #MustDo.

First, some background info (for all our fellow history nerds)

Camden was established as a settlement by King George II in the early 1700s + an outpost for the British during the Revolutionary War. By the 1800s, Camden had twice as many homes as Columbia.

Northerners soon began frequenting Camden and bringing their horses with them, which is where the town’s rich equestrian history began.  

Sites like the National Steeplechase Museum, the Little Theater, the battlefields still marked in central areas of town (and the city’s Revolutionary War Field Days every fall), plus beautiful, historic homes are all must-sees when you’re in Camden – but if you want to look a little deeper into what Camden has to offer, see our ideal Saturday in Camden. 👇

Mulberry Market Bake Shop | 536 E Dekalb St.

Make your first stop at Mulberry Market Bake Shop. Though it’s been around for 25 years, their pastries + breads are better than ever.

#ProTip: Order the fresh bran muffin or chocolate croissants for breakfast.

Owners of Mulberry Market Bake Shop | Photo courtesy City of Camden

Colonial District | See map

If you’re only in town for the day, tour the Colonial District, ft. sites like the Revolutionary War Redoubts, the iconic Robert Mills Courthouse + the Kershaw Cornwallis House. Get a guided history lesson while you’re there with a free online walking tour curated by the Camden Museum and Archives (accessible via your smartphone).

#ProTip: If you’re interested in checking out some of Camden’s beautiful antebellum homes or learning even more about Revolutionary War battlefields, listen to these audio tours.

Little reenactor | Photo courtesy City of Camden

Salud Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar | 1011 Broad St.

If you love COA Agaveria Y Cocina in the Vista, this is your lunch spot in Camden (both restaurants are owned by the same folks).

From ceviche to tacos + hearty burritos to small plateseverything here is fresh + delicious. And let’s not forget about their cocktails, many of which are made with their huge selection of tequilas.

African American Cultural Center | 517 York St.

Earlier this year, the Camden Archives and Museum opened its African American Cultural Center in a two-room house – with a collection of artifacts + documents highlighting the rich history of Camden’s African American community.

This summer, it’ll feature an exhibit on Larry Doby, Camden-native, Baseball Hall of Famer + the first African American to play baseball for the American League.

African American Cultural Center | Photo courtesy City of Camden

Goodale State Park | 650 Park Rd.

Want to beat the summer heat? Try kayaking at Goodale State Park (a ~10-min. drive from central Camden). This three-mile out + back water trail takes you through a forest of bald cypress trees and a pond and creek lush with water lilies and green lily pads.

Learn more about this water trail and 100+ other hiking, paddling and cycling adventures in the online guide to Outdoor Life in Kershaw County.

Goodale State Park | Photo courtesy City of Camden

Books on Broad | 944 Broad St.

We all should be so lucky as to have an independent bookstore nearby. Grab a cup of coffee at this locally-owned shop + peruse their collection of rare books and plenty of new titles, too. If you’re an e-reader, one visit here will remind you of the thrill of thumbing through and purchasing a new (physical) book.

Book on Broads | Photo courtesy City of Camden

Pink Stable | 1032 Broad St.

Time for a little retail therapy. Pink Stable fis filled with trendy women’s clothing.

#ProTip: This is the perfect place to buy your horse race outfit.

Pink Stable | Photo courtesy City of Camden

Martha & Ash | 533 Rutledge St.  

This home store is owned by a mother-daughter-duo (who’ve appeared in national design magazines) and is filled with impeccable, ready-made drapes, funky print pillows with fun trims + more.

Camden Antiques Market | 830 South Broad St.

Time to hunt for finds – because there’s no shortage of antique + vintage shopping in Camden. Camden Antiques Market specializes in 18th, 19th + early 20th century furniture and decorative art, and it’s in the heart of the town’s antiques district. Plus, it’s open seven days a week.          

Sam Kendall’s | 1043 Broad St.

Sam Kendall’s is one of Camden’s finest dining spots, known for its lobster pots, steaks + seafood. We’ll toast to that.

Gorget Distilling Co. | 1974A Whiting Wy.

A stop at this craft distillery is a must on your way home – because, technically, it’s in Lugoff. They produce rum, vodka, whiskey + bourbon (all in small batches) and give tours of the distillery. All of the grains for their spirits come from Midlands farms and the corn for their bourbon is crushed at Boykin Mill.

Fun fact: Gorget’s name references armor worn in the Revolutionary War. (Remember our moon vs. gorget discussion about the S.C. state flag last week?)

Another fun fact: Camden just opened the state’s largest outdoor Pickleball facility (a paddle sport that’s a little bit badminton, a little bit tennis + a little bit ping pong). A try at that sport may call for a trip all in its own.

What are your favorite things to do in Camden? Let us know so we can build out a whole weekend guide.

Sam