Hit the Road: a 30-mile getaway to Camden

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Over 70,000 people attend the Carolina Cup steeplechase horse race each year. | Photo by COLAtoday

Last month, we kicked off our summer road trip series, Hit the Road, with an outdoor adventure to city/town/area. If you checked it out, we’d love to hear about it.

This month, we’re continuing the series with a 30-mile trip to Camden for a quick getaway. From iSalud! Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Lounge to the National Steeplechase Museum, Camden offers a little bit of everything — making it the perfect end-of-summer vacay.

Before you start packing your bags, here’s everything you need to know about the area + our insider recommendations.

Drive time: ~38 minutes from downtown

Est. population: 7,185

Avg. high in July: 84°

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Camden’s historic downtown offers multiple restaurants and shops to visit. | Photo by COLAtoday

🎟️ Things to do

Books on Broad and Coffee

Located in the historic downtown area, Books on Broad is a must-stop location to grab a coffee and browse for used books and more.

Camden Battlefield & Longleaf Pine Preserve

Located just eight miles north of downtown, the Camden Battlefield is over 450 acres and was the site of the Battle of Camden, where British troops defeated the Americans in the Revolutionary War.

Davis & Sons Guitar Shop

Owned by Rusty Davis, father of country singer Patrick Davis who’s written this popular Gamecock-themed song, the guitar shop sells a variety of instruments and is a great spot to stop in and chat about the SC music community.

Fine Arts Center of Kershaw

The Kershaw Fine Arts Center offers camps for kids, pottery classes for adults, and an array of events to keep you in touch culturally. Stay up to date with its event calendar.

National Steeplechase Museum

If most of what you know about Camden comes from attending the Carolina Cup, an annual horse race attended by over 70,000 people, your venture to town should include a visit of the National Steeplechase Museum to learn more about the area’s connection to the sport.

Pink Stable

If you’re looking to do some shopping on your visit, stop by the Pink Stable boutique to see the colorful selection of women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories for your next trip to the Carolina Cup.

🍔 Grub to eat

iSalud! Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Lounge

Located downtown, Salud serves modern Mexican + cocktails with food inspired by the Oaxaca and Jalisco areas of Mexico. Cola folks might be familiar with the flavors, Coa Agaveria y Cocina located in the Aloft Hotel in the Vista is the sibling restaurant of the Camden location.

Swett Lili’s Desserts

Sweet Lili’s cupcakes are not just a dessert, they’re works of art. Owner Liliana Carmainas mastered her baking craft both here in Columbia and Mexico City.

Mill Pond Steakhouse

Located just outside of Camden in Boykin, Mill Pond Steakhouse has long been a destination for Soda Citizens looking for a serene dining experience just a short country drive from Cola.

Sam Kendall’s

Located in a historic (circa 1875) building, Sam Kendall’s has been serving cold drinks and sophisticated food to the Camden area since 2007.

The Loopy Lemon Cafe

Described as a “quant cafe with delicious food,” The Loopy Lemon Cafe is the perfect lunch spot to grab a bite before you explore the town.

Camden Lake Getaway

Stay just miles from downtown Camden on Lake Wateree | Photo by VRBO

🏨 Overnight accommodations

If you get a wild hair and decide to turn this quick day trip into an overnighter, here are some spots to stay.

Four Oaks Inn

Built in the 1860s, Four Oaks Inn captures to the historic feel of Camden and was listed as one of the top 10 romantic inns of 2022.

Home on Lake Wateree

Camden is located just minutes from Lake Wateree, so if you’re looking for a weekend getaway on the lake, look no further than this home. Here you can enjoy an afternoon on the lake and an evening in the historic downtown area.

Old McCaskill’s

Staying on the McCaskill’s farm offers more than just a place to lay your head and enjoy a great meal like the Friday Farm-to-Table Lunch. The farm also offers the opportunity to learn about canning techniques and feed the animals as guests are welcome to roam the farm.

The Camden Cottage

This cottage is located on a pond, so if you’re looking to do a little fishing on your trip this catch-and-release water feature will be perfect for you. It’s also located just minutes north of downtown, so you’re close enough to enjoy all the perks of the area.

Ready for more of everything Camden has to offer? Head to the link below for seven additional activities, restaurants, and accommodations. Plus, stay tuned for the August installment of our Hit the Road series. We’ll be highlighting a road trip for the foodies.

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