Topiary gardens with “Alice in Wonderland” vibes? A welcome center for extraterrestrial visitors? You’ll find these crazy sites in South Carolina. This beautiful southern state features plenty of bizarre attractions that hold their own against some of the weirdest sites on earth. Here are 15 of the most unusual attractions in the state.
Pedro welcomes you! South of the Border is a family friendly mini resort complete with amusement rides, a restaurant, and lodging. Located just south of the North Carolina/South Carolina border off I-95, visitors can marvel at the looming Sombrero Tower, take a spin on the whirly rides at Pedroland, or take a peek at the largest indoor reptile exhibit in the U.S. Pedro, its mascot of sorts, can be found up and down surrounding highways on brightly colored billboards. Yes, it is as weird as it sounds.
Pearl Fryar’s Topiary Garden produces such whimsy and wonder you’d think it came straight out of Alice in Wonderland. Fryar has spent the past three decades cultivating unique, intricate topiaries, many of which were salvaged from the junk piles at local nurseries. There are currently over 300 plants in the garden, carefully crafted and sculpted by Pearl himself. It’s truly a unique sight to behold.
If you’re cruising I-85 between exits 90 and 92, there’s no way you can miss the giant peach water tower. As the south’s largest producer of peaches, it’s only fitting that South Carolina pay homage to one of their bustling industries with the most unique water tower in the state. It’s even got an official name—The Peachoid.
If an alien invasion ever happens, it will probably start at the official UFO Welcome Center in Bowman. Built by Jody Pendarvis, this flying saucer-shaped dwelling is fully loaded with bed, TV, and a fully functioning bathroom to let exhausted extraterrestrials recuperate from their long trek through space. Even if you’re not of intergalactic heritage, Pendarvis will still let you take a tour inside.
Yep, it’s just what it sounds like—an island inhabited by goats. This small island near the renowned Marsh Walk plays home to a herd of goats during the warmer months. They belong to the owners of Drunken Jack’s restaurant, who also own the small island.
A true Clemson icon, Howard’s Rock is a large piece of white flint perched on a pedestal that thousands of Clemson University students and fans have laid hands to. It’s a solid Clemson tradition for the football players to touch the rock as they run down the hill and onto the field. Situated in Death Valley Stadium, it’s been the site for engagements, weddings, and other special events.
A stain on the city’s otherwise family-friendly environment, Dick’s Last Resort refers to itself as the “shame of Myrtle Beach.” Actually, it’s the shame of 12 other cities nationwide. Famous for its purposefully obnoxious wait staff and unorthodox atmosphere, getting your grub on at Dick’s must really be a last resort.
Typically, tunnels provide useful shortcuts from Point A to Point B, and are comprised of a few basic parts: The entrance, the passageway, and the exit. But leave it to South Carolina to reinvent the wheel. At Stumphouse Tunnel, there’s only one way in and out, and it leads you nowhere. Stumphouse Tunnel was supposed to serve as a connector from Charleston to Knoxville during the Civil War, but funds ran short and it never made it to completion. Instead, it forever stands as a unique piece of South Carolina history.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit high above on an Adirondack throne made for a giant? No? Well, someone must have, because otherwise there would be absolutely no point to Anderson’s Adirondack chair of epic proportions. The cool part is that the chair is not a stand-alone attraction. It’s actually part of the popular Denver Downs Farm, where there’s always plenty of family friendly activities.
Ghost towns don’t only exist in the old wild west. South Carolina’s very own Dorchester was once a thriving epicenter settled in 1696. But the Revolutionary War left it cold and abandoned after the British captured the fort and set the town ablaze. Today, only the old church tower, a graveyard, and the walls of the fort remain in an offbeat part of a state park in Summerville.
As if the mere thought of nuclear weapons wasn’t terrifying enough, try having one dropped in your backyard by mistake. That’s exactly what happened to Walter Gregg in 1958. The bomb luckily didn’t injure anyone, but it did cause some damage, along with a 75-foot wide crater that remains one of South Carolina’s unusual gems for locals and tourists alike.
If you spent any decent amount of time in Columbia, you can’t help but encounter some of Blue Sky’s artistic branding. The creative, formerly known as Warren Edward Johnson, has left his mark all around Columbia in the form of unique sculptures, like the Neverbust chain sculpture, and murals, like Tunnelvision.
This age-old noise maker and enemy of parents everywhere has a lot more engineering behind it that you might think. But you can see the magic for yourself on the official Kazoo Factory tour. While you’re there, take a look inside the history of the kazoo, including vintage versions of the instrument and other related items. Be sure to buy the kiddos their very own factory-fresh kazoo for the car trip home!
Humans and dogs from all over will marvel at this giant fire hydrant in downtown Columbia. Its majestic form rising in the midst of the city’s hustle and bustle puts unexpected smiles on the faces of its visitors, and often leaves the viewer simply wondering “Why?” Side note: this is not a functioning piece of municipal equipment.