Family-Friendly Guide to Greenville, South Carolina


Living in Knoxville, we have access to so many great places to visit! Whether it’s in the mountains in our backyard or traveling to North Carolina or South Carolina, we have so many choices just a short drive away. Today, we want to share the gem that is Greenville, South Carolina. Greenville is about a three-hour drive from Knoxville, and it’s the perfect family place to visit!

Family-Friendly Guide to Greenville, South Carolina

Family-Friendly Guide to Greenville, South CarolinaPlaces to See:

Liberty Bridge at Falls Park on the Reedy

The Liberty Bridge — 345 ft long, 12 ft wide and with a concrete reinforced deck supported by a single suspension cable — is like nothing else in the US. Spanning the Reedy River in Greenville, this structure overlooks the local waterfall and the gardens at Falls Park.

Walks off Main: Gateways to History

Just beyond the white-light district (but still downtown) lies a treasure trove of discoveries. It’s easy to fall in love with Greenville. Main Street will quickly cast its spell as you stroll along the wide, tree-shaded sidewalks lining both sides of the two-lane street. Storefront after storefront invite you in to discover what unique merchandise, services, artwork, or great food awaits inside. Though there’s plenty to keep you occupied along the city’s main artery, make no mistake: there are all kinds of surprises waiting just a short walk away.

Greenville History Tours

Founded in the late 1700s, Greenville was a small cotton town that transformed into one of the world’s leading textile centers. You might even know that baseball’s Shoeless Joe Jackson grew up there. But if you want to really get to know Greenville’s past, these terrific tours will show you how Greenville became THAT Greenville.

Poinsett Bridge Greenville SC
Poinsett Bridge

Food & Beverage Tours

With folks like USA TODAY, Zagat, EsquireSouthern Living, Yahoo!, and TripAdvisor all singing Greenville’s food- and drink-connoisseur praises, it only makes sense that they’d have some pretty cool culinary experiences to share with you! These tours are as different as night and day, but each delivers more than a taste of what makes Greenville a great place to dine, drink, and indulge!

Heritage Green

Nestled in the heart of downtown Greenville, South Carolina, Heritage Green is an urban arts and cultural campus. Heritage Green is located on College Street, just past Academy Street, three blocks from the Hyatt Regency.

Heritage Green includes:

Roper Mountain Science Center

As a unique facility of Greenville County Schools, Roper Mountain is visited by 500-600 different students daily for hands-on science programs. In addition, the Center provides various public programs throughout the year.

BMW Zentrum

The BMW Zentrum is a 28,000-square-foot visitor’s center which showcases the company’s heritage of engineering, innovation and commitment to social responsibility. Fascinating exhibits will take you through BMW’s rich history in aircraft, motorcycles and automobiles; plus a unique look “inside” the automobile manufacturing process with a “virtual factory tour” – watch a BMW being made from the car’s perspective. Come experience the ultimate roadside attraction.

Greenville Zoo

At the 14-acre Greenville Zoo, you can visit wildlife from around the world any day of the week. Open throughout the whole year, except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day, the zoo offers special rates for children and free admission for members. Group rates are also available.

Curious orangutans, cuddly red pandas, majestic lions, and many more call this 14-acre zoo their home. Every visitor has their favorite animal, but the giraffe exhibit is special to locals. Stop by and say hello to the newest calf, Kellan, whose name is an African word meaning “powerful.” Born July 1, 2019, this knobbly legged little guy enjoys nuzzling with his mama, Autumn.

The Greenville Zoo cares about wildlife. The zoo is among only 10% of US exhibitors to be AZA-accredited, meaning they display steady commitment to animal welfare. The attentive staff are also dedicated to promoting conservation through youth education programs throughout the summer and school year.

Mice on Main: The Scavenger Hunt

In a lot of cities, the last thing you want to see is a mouse. This isn’t the case in Greenville, where nine bronze mice have taken up permanent residence along celebrated Main Street. Conceived as part of Jim Ryan’s high school senior project (back in 2000) and inspired by the children’s book Goodnight Moon, the mice were brought to life by local sculptor and illustrator Zan Wells. Author Linda Kelly joined the team and “Mice on Main” has become a beloved Greenville institution—from the scavenger hunt to the children’s book, board game, and T-shirts. Using the clues to hunt for each mouse makes a stroll along Main Street extra fun for kids of all ages.

Greenville’s bronze mice are spaced out on one side of Main Street or the other, from the Hyatt Regency to the Westin Poinsett. Use the clues to find all nine mice! Download the free Mice on Main scavenger hunt printable here.

Cedar Falls Park

This 90-acre park is the perfect place for a nature outing! The park has 2.2 miles of paved and nature trails for walking and mountain biking. It also has a playground area with two play structures, a swingset, and plenty of benches. The park even has a sand volleyball court. And don’t forget about the falls themselves! Cedar Falls is an over 200-foot wide waterfall where the Reedy River tumbles peacefully down a series of rocks and boulders, creating a beautiful natural vista. The riverbanks around the falls are spacious and inviting and offer a great view of the placid waters.

Prism Health Swamp Rabbit Trail

The Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail is a 22-mile multi-use trail system that runs along the Reedy River connecting Greenville County with schools, parks, and local businesses. The Swamp Rabbit will continue to grow throughout the county offering fun, non-motorized recreation and transportation opportunities wherever it goes.

7th Inning Splash Waterpark

What’s better than jumping into a pool on a hot summer day? Plunging into a pool after sliding around and around a jumbo funnel slide! Hit a home run with the kids by taking them to this Greenville County waterpark for a cool (and wet) break from the heat!


Frankie’s covers over 14 acres of fun with Go-Kart tracks, Miniature Golf courses, Bumper Boats, Batting Cages, Laser Tag, over 100 Arcade Games and much more.

Herdklotz Park

This beautiful park has a higher elevation and offers lovely views of both the downtown Greenville skyline to the south and the peak of Paris Mountain to the north.

With two multi-purpose athletic fields, Herdklotz Park has plenty of green space for most every sport. The two play structures are a favorite among Greenville youngsters, and have been listed among the County’s top playgrounds by Kidding Around Greenville. Nearby the playground area is a volleyball court, two horseshoe courts, and a walking trail. There is even a small shelter for parties of 12 guests and a large shelter for groups of up to 80.

Places to Hike:

Paris Mountain State ParkParis Mountain State Park (9 Trails See Below)


Length: 2.4 mile loop

Type: Hiking and Mountain Biking Trail


Description: From the kiosk near the parking area, begin this steep, strenuous, rocky, rooted, mostly-easy-to-follow, yellow-blazed, foot-traffic-only, loop trail that winds along beautiful hills in the South Carolina upstate. At the top of the first steep slope, branch right at the fork with the Sulphur Springs trail. You will pass through oak and pine woods on the ridges, and Mountain Laurel along the creek areas. After you cross the paved park road, you will climb another steep slope back toward the parking area. You may see deer, squirrels, birds, snakes, and a variety of other wildlife.


Length: 2.0 miles

Type: Hiking and Mountain Biking Trail


Description: To reach this trail you will need to walk or ride a section of the Sulphur Springs-Fire Tower or Brissy Ridge trails. Connections to the Fire Tower, Brissy Ridge, and North Lake trails provide opportunities to vary the length of your walk or ride.  You may see deer, squirrels, birds, snakes, and a variety of other wildlife.


Length: 0.75 mile loop

Type: Hiking Trail

Difficulty: Easy

Description: From the picnic shelter, begin this easy-walking, mostly-level, nature-trail loop along the shores of Lake Placid. At the far end of the lake, you will descend and ascend the steep slopes below the dam. You may see squirrels, birds, turtles, snakes and a variety of other wildlife as you walk amid tall trees in the natural habitat. You will circle the lake, cross a boardwalk foot bridge, and pass the swimming area, before you return to the picnic shelter where you began.


Length: 1.3 miles

Type: Hiking and Mountain Biking Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Description: From Picnic Shelter 4, you can go either direction on this moderately difficult dirt trail. If you go to the right you will connect to the Lake Placid Trail, which encircles Lake Placid. You can ride to the lake, but not all the way around it. If you go left you will pass the amphitheater and continue to a junction with the Sulphur Springs Trail. You can follow a section of the Sulphur Springs trail, but only to Mountain Lake.


Length: 1.2 mile loop

Type: Hiking and Mountain Biking Trail


Description: You will need to walk or ride on the Kanuga or Pipsissewa trails to get to North Lake. Once you are there you can enjoy the view as you circle the lake and then return the way you came, or vary your walk or ride by returning on the other trail.  You may see deer, squirrels, birds, snakes, and a variety of other wildlife.


Length: 0.4 miles

Type: Hiking and Mountain Biking Trail

Description:  From the kiosk near the parking area, begin your hike or ride on the Sulphur Springs Trail. Once you reach the junction, this steep, easy-to-follow, mostly-straight, old road bed, treats you to some great scenic views of the surrounding mountains. You will climb 400 feet in elevation as you pass through poplar, maple, oak, and pine woods intermingled with open areas grown up with wild berries and tall grasses.  At the top, bikers must return the way they came. You may see deer, squirrels, birds, snakes, and a variety of other wildlife.


Length: 1.0 miles

Type: Hiking and Mountain Biking Trail

Description: From the parking area at the Buckhorn Gate, you will need to walk or ride approximately 0.9 mile on the Brissy Ridge Trail to the junction of the out and back Pipsissewa. Once you reach the junction of the North Lake Trail, you can return or circle the lake. You may see deer, squirrels, birds, snakes, and a variety of other wildlife.


Length: 3.6 miles

Type: Hiking Trail

Difficulty: Strenuous

Description:  From Picnic Area 6, you can start in either direction on this narrow, steep, strenuous, rocky, rugged, white-blazed loop trail. If you cross the park road and begin at the trail sign, you will climb up and down wooded slopes until you reach the parking area at Buckhorn Gate. At the trail kiosk keep right, continue up another steep slope, and bear left at the fork with the Brissey Ridge trail. You will walk through mixed pine and hardwood forest atop a mountain ridge and pass the Old Firetower Trail on the left, before you begin to climb up and down along deep ravines and running streams lined with mountain laurel and rhododendron. As you pass through these diverse habitats, you may see a variety of birds, snakes, deer, and other wildlife. The trail levels out near the shores of Mountain Lake where you will pass a large dam and follow one of several trail branches that return to the parking area where you began.


Length: 0.5 miles

Type: Hiking and Mountain Biking Trail

Difficulty: Easy

Description: This short out and back trail connects the campsite to Lake Placid and the Lake Placid Trail. As you  follow the banks of the creek, you may see deer, squirrels, birds, snakes, and a variety of other wildlife.

Lake Conestee Nature Preserve

Lake Conestee Trail Maps and Information

Lake Conestee Printable Trail Map

Family-Friendly Guide to Greenville, South Carolina

You may need more than a few days to hit up all these adventures OR plan a second trip!

Check out more family trips:

Family-Friendly Guide to Asheville, NC

Family Daytrips from Knoxville

Winter Day Trips from Knoxville

20+ Nearest Beaches to Knoxville 

Knoxville’s Favorite Vacation Hotspots


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