Edgefield is a quintessential small town, with a historic square, boasts being home to 10 governors, and has a wild story of newspapers, elections, and murder. There are a ton of things to do in Edgefield, South Carolina. Find out more about the town in this post.
For help planning your trip, check out all of our travel posts.
I like to vacation in small towns. That’s not for everyone.
Many people, when they go away, they want to go to Nashville for music or Paris for the Eiffel Tower. And I get that, I do. Those places are on my bucket list. And I’ll get to them eventually.
But when I’m planning a short trip, a weekend away, somewhere I can drive to and experience for an escape from our every day life, I like to go to small towns and live someone else’s life for a little while. I find the local restaurants, I hike the local parts, for a little while, I pretend I’m a local.
And you can do that in places like Edgefield, South Carolina because most people there are local, born and raised. You can’t do that in Los Angeles, where almost everyone is a transplant.
So, with that in mind, this post will take you through 24 hours in Edgefield, a full day’s worth of activities before you leave town and head to the next stop on your journey.
24 Hours In Edgefield, South Carolina
As with all of our “24 Hours In … ” posts, we’re taking you through a full day. We’re starting our day in the late morning, so eat a good breakfast and start driving.
You’re going to want to start at the National Wild Turkey Federation & Winchester Museum (770 Augusta Rd) — because you might not get a chance to next time you’re in town. See, the Winchester Museum is the only museum in the entire world that’s dedicated to wild turkey, restoration management, and hunting.
But, it’s moving.
In September 2022, the NWTF announced the museum is moving. The where is known (Johnny Morris Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri) but the when is still up in the air.
For now, though, the museum is Edgefield is still open — albeit it minimally: Tuesday through Thursday from 9:30 am to 4 pm, and closed for lunch at noon.
The Wild Turkey Center has lots of automated mannequins, turkey calls, and lots of information about turkey conservation. And, the museum is actually a big part of the conservation effort for wild turkeys, which is ironic (to me, anyway) because the Palmetto Shooting Complex is located behind the museum.
You can actually spend the afternoon walking the trails of the complex, which we thought about doing, but the trails were actually closed when we there because of active shooting.
Don’t worry. There’s a sign at the entrance of the trails that tells you this, so you don’t have to worry about getting Dick Cheney’d.
Drive the handful of minutes and find a great parking spot in the square because it’s time for lunch. And, much of the rest of the afternoon will be spent in this area, so you do want to park close.
Head straight to Edgefield Pool Room (125 Courthouse Square), which boasts to be “Home of the Best Burgers in the South”. The restaurant has been open since 1961 and boats selling affordable , although it is under new management. That new management swapped two of the pool room’s three pool tables out for more seating, so it’s less of a pool hall and more of a space for locals to meet.
This place was packed the entire time we were inside — and outside. When we originally walked by, there were a group of Romeos outside who had just finished eating and were using the sidewalk to finish their conversation. One of the men told us we had to have the burger for lunch. He said 80% of what’s ordered.
So of course, we asked him if he had a burger for lunch. But he told us no, he ordered a hot dog. We looked at him confused. “I felt like a change,” he said.
We took his advice and went in, ordering a hamburger and a hot dog (topped with chili and coleslaw). The hamburger is made from fresh ground meat from Ole Edgefield Butcher Shop (715 Augusta Rd), which is a locally owned butcher shop and grocery store in town.
You can definitely tell that the burger was fresh ground. It was really good, on par with the fancy burgers that were all the rage a couple years ago.
We got onion rings too, which were tasty but frozen. Our waitress told us all the sides were frozen, so don’t waste your calories on those.
Instead, after lunch, walk across the square to TLC Confections (109 Courthouse Square).
That shop has the most incredible desserts. We had the most delicious lemon blueberry cookie there. It was so good that we regretting not having lunch there because we just know it would have been amazing. Next time we’re passing through, we’re stopping for lunch. And a dozen cookies.
After your sweet treat, you’re gonna want to walk off those calories.
There are a bunch of trails in Edgefield, but the most convenient to where you are is the Ten Governor’s Rail Trail. It’s actually very cool.
At the start, there’s a trailhead of George McDuffie, South Carolina’s governor from 1834 to 1836. You get a little bit more info about him and what he did during his time served.
Then, you walk .1 of a mile to another governor. They’re each .1 or a mile apart and the trail itself, which passes by a wooden bridge, ball field, fishing dock, and more is just under a mile along Slade Lake. The trail starts in town, in a parking lot for Piedmont Technical College. And from that spot, you have no idea what beauty awaits you on that trail. Trust me. It’s a great surprise.
You can stop at each marker, take a break from walking, and enjoy the scenery and history of Edgefield.
If you want to learn more, there are two other museums in the area. They’re both the classic Southern house museums, as I refer to them. Old, often Antebellum homes turned museums.
The first is Discovery Center (405 Main Street). It’s in the former home of Captain James Miller, the once captain of the Edgefield militia. When it was Captain Miller’s, there was a second floor ballroom on the home. It was moved seven miles south, within walking distance of downtown Edgefield, when it became the museum. Parts of the home were reconstruction, and that reconstruction included removing the ballroom and remodeling to better fit a museum.
The museum contains items from the area, plus items that belonged to Strom Thurmond, the last of those famous 10 governors. And, I’d guess, the most popular. There’s a huge statue of him in the center of town square. And his name pops up around the area. A lot.
If you need more history, you can also check out the Magnolia Dale house museum (320 Norris St). Fun fact: Captain Miller’s home was once known as Magnolia Grove.
The current home that’s there was once home to Mamie Norris, who became the future wife to James Hammond Tillman, who became Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina (but isn’t one of the 10 governors).
Quick little side note: James Hammond Tillman’s story is one that’s ripe for a true crime podcast. James Hammond Tillman murdered journalist and newspaper founder Narciso Gener Gonzales, in front of witnesses, in broad daylight, probably because Narciso Gener Gonzales’ non-flattering editorials about James Hammond Tillman caused the politician to lose his bid for governor.
James Hammond Tillman was acquitted because of vigilante justice (really because the jury believed his justice was justified).
I would watch a 10-episode season about that on Netflix. Somebody call Lin-Manuel Miranda.
If you’d rather shop than learn, I don’t blame you. You’re on vacation. You need souvenirs.
So take yourself over to August & House (102 Courthouse Square). It’s a really cute boutique and gift shop on the square. You can find Edgefield-branded items, like hats and tea towels, beautiful Christmas ornaments, and a prayer wall, which makes it such a unique place. Because honestly, sometimes, you just need someone to pray for you.
You can also get ice cream cones. Which I encourage you to take outside and eat while you look for turkeys. Not real turkeys. Plaster ones.
Turkey statues are scattered throughout town. Some are near businesses and others just seem to be placed at random. The turkeys are painted by (or for) the businesses. Many reflect the businesses themselves. The one near Edgefield Pool Hall is painted with billiard balls and burgers.
Other are representative of businesses. The one that the NWTF painted in 2023 is completely gold, a nod to the federation’s golden jubilee, celebrated this year.
While you’re doing that, check out the murals in the area. There are a ton painted on historic buildings.
Art is a big deal in the Edgefield, which is known for stoneware. Edgefield didn’t invent the artform, but it’s credited with being the first area in the southern United States to produce it successfully. You can learn about the pottery in detail here.
Edgefield is home to the Old Edgefield Pottery Studio (230 Simpkins St), where you can view and purchase this stoneware. The studio is temporarily closed for renovations (and has been for a while). So, don’t go out of your way for it, but definitely walk by it when you’re in town and see if it has reopened.
Also maybe but maybe not open is the Edgefield Village Blacksmith (206 Jeter St). It should be open twice a week so you can watch traditional blacksmithing in action. However, when we were in the area (and it was supposed to be open), it was closed.
But, next to it is the History Wall, a brick wall filled with a ton of history about Edgefield, a family feud that resulted in a shootout in 1878, and the claim that there’s blood on every inch of town square. Someone. Call. Lin-Manuel. Miranda. This is season two.
But, on the way there, stop into Carolina Moon Distillery (116 Courthouse Square) and grab a bottle of local(-ish) made spirits and put it in your car. We’ll get to why in a little bit.
But, for now, pop in and grab either Betty Cotton’s Gin (bottled in Edgefield and named after Edgefield’s Devil in Petticoats, Betty Cotton (nee Kennedy) who murdered at least one but probably two of her husbands). Or Rabbit Spit Moonshine (which has a very fancy looking bottle … that’s bottled in nearby Augusta, GA).
For a local favorite, head to The Old Edgefield Grille (202 Penn St). It’s located in a Victorian home that was built in 1906 (and is the type of home that my dreams are made of). It became a restaurant over 30 years ago and has been under the current ownership since 1999.
It’s known for its Southern food, like Deep Fried Pimento Cheese and Shrimp and Grits, but non-Southern menu items like Steamed Asian Dumplings and Chicken Alfredo.
If you want to try somewhere with a little less history, but with a lot of roots in the area, go with Christine’s Farm to Fork (206 Main Street).
The family that owns the restaurant lives on a farm in Johnston (also in Edgefield County). The restaurant is, as the name implies, farm to table, sourcing as many ingredients as possible from the local community.
The twists on classics are really interesting, like the Fried Green Tomato Napoleon, which is a stack with tomato sauce and goat cheese. The entrees run the gamut, with everything from Korean Barbeque Beef to a Gyro Platter to Shrimp and Grits.
It’s not the most frugal restaurant in town (just for full disclosure), but remember what you’re paying for.
I’m gonna be honest. There’s not really a nightlife to speak of in Edgefield. Carolina Moon Distillery, which has a bar inside, closes at 5 pm. Edgefield Pool Room closes at 7 pm or 9 pm, depending on the night.
So, if you want a nightcap, your best bet is to buy a bottle of something fun (if you’re 21+) and bring it back to your hotel room. Which is going to be at the Quality Inn & Suites (702 Augusta Rd) if you want to stay in Edgefield proper because it’s, literally, the only hotel in town.
There are a couple of Airbnb locations in the area, if you’d rather stay at one of those.
One of my biggest budget travel suggestions is booking a hotel with a complementary breakfast. That way, you don’t have to pay for breakfast somewhere and can use that money for other fun things on your trip.
The Quality Inn & Suites does offer a complementary breakfast, so definitely eat there.
Now that your stomach is full, you have a couple options. If you’re adventurous, the Turkey Creek MX track (188 Morgan Bussey Rd) is open for practice on the weekends. So grab your bike and head over to the motocross trail for some loops.
I don’t know of any pedal biking trails there. I know you can bike within the Forks Area Trail System (which is technically outside Edgefield County in McCormick County), but there aren’t any in Edgefield proper that I’m aware of.
If the only adventure you’re looking for is more food in your belly, stop at Sara’s Farm (5150 Edgefield Rd, Trenton) on the way out of town. It’s in Edgefield County, not Edgefield proper, but you’d be remiss to not stop.
The farmstand, an extension of Titan Farms, sells the best peaches I’ve ever had in my entire life. I’m not kidding. We bought them heading into Edgefield (which is why I can tell you it’s convenient to stop on the way out). Because we had a ton of traveling in our future, we only bought a quarter of a peck. And let me tell you, we regretted that decision almost instantly. We should have bought a half or full peck.
The peaches were so sweet and so juicy, I couldn’t eat them when driving. I actually had to wait until I pulled into the Wild Turkey Center’s parking lot to eat it because of how much juice just poured out of it with every bite.
My mom and I used them to make Peach Hand Pies when we were in town, then brought some home for my dad and Pete. I warned Pete that he should eat the peach in the open air with tons of napkins. This was days later, after the peaches had been in the fridge. And yup, he got home and said he tried to eat one in the work truck but couldn’t because it was so juicy.
So, whatever you do, wherever you’re going next on your adventure, stop at Sara’s.
More Things To Do In The Old 96 District:
Edgefield is the eponymous town of Edgefield County, one of the towns in South Carolina’s Old 96 District. There are also McCormick, Abbeville, Greenwood, and Laurens Countries. If you want help planning a weekend getaway in those counties, we have a few posts that can help.
There’s our Things To Do In Abbeville, SC post. Abbeville is actually super haunted, so if you’re into the paranormal, you need to check out our Haunted Places in Abbeville, SC post, which featured locations like Abbeville Opera House and The Belmont Inn — where my mom was actually haunted. Abbeville is also home to the Hogs & Hens BBQ Festival, so you can plan your trip around that festival. If you’re not going the festival weekend and are looking for food, check out our Places To Eat In Abbeville, SC post.
There’s also our Things To Do In Greenwood, SC post. Greenwood is home to Lake Greenwood State Park, which is a great place to hike and get some fresh air. Greenwood hosts two large summer festivals: SC Festival of Flowers and SC Festival of Discovery.
Which of these things to do in Edgefield, SC is on your to do list? Let us know in the comments.