Camden is a historical gems and with true Southern charm and hospitality. As the oldest inland city in South Carolina, it was established in 1732 and has roots in Colonialism and the Revolutionary War in the USA. Today the town combines the historic past with the legendary Equus Film Festival and the Carolina Cup, along with other nightlife and culinary attractions.
Here are the best attractions and insider tips for things to do in Camden, South Carolina.
Visit the historical parks and green spaces
Looking for a little exercise? ANYWHERE IN CAMDEN IS PERFECT. 17 parks and counting! Each park offer’s a unique outdoor experience with a little history to go along with it.
- In Camden, outdoor lovers will want to hike N.R. Goodale State Park. Here you’ll find an old mill pond with breathtaking scenery.
- The best place to walk the dog is Monument Square Park.
- You can also check out the 107-acre historical park called Historic Camden. This is the site of the town’s original colonial settlement. Come the first weekend of November and experience Revolutionary War Field Days.
- If this is a romantic trip, I recommend Kendall Lake Park for kissing with a view. It over-looks spring-fed Kendall Lake located in Camden’s Kendall Mill Historic District.
Indulge in Southern comfort food
- If you are looking for typical Camden cuisine, I recommend the down home cooking at Debruel’s Café on Market Street.
- The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Books on Broad and Coffee. For delicious baked goods, you MUST visit Camden’s iconic Mulberry Bakery.
- Looking for cheap food in Camden, go to the BSL or the Little Midget. For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to Sam Kendall’s.
- If you have time for a private party, personally prepared for you and your guests, arrange a table with Jack Brantley at Aberdeen.
Check out the Antebellum historic homes
Holly Hedge a popular Antebellum home © Nancy D. Brown
Seeing a lot of old architecture? Camden is well known for antebellum homes and neighborhoods – the most antebellum homes in South Carolina.
The Village of Kirkwood in particular is filled with magnificent antebellum homes founded by early planters who tucked their estates along a common area overlooking a spring-fed lake. Holly Hedge featured above is the former home of famed steeplechase racing doyenne Marion DuPont Scott. If you appreciate a little history, you are able to stay overnight in the Airbnb at Holly Hedge/ The Johnson House.
Also when you come to Camden, get your picture taken at the Joseph Kershaw/Cornwallis House at Historic Camden.
Come to Camden the first weekend of December and experience the Candlelight Tour of Homes. This is the only time some of the city’s historic private homes are open for tours.
Experience the horse-racing culture
As the Steeplechase Capital of the world, horse-racing is in the blood of Camden’s identity.
- The grand stands at Springdale Race Course offer great views and are the best place to watch and experience the Carolina Cup Steeplechase Races.
- You can tell a lot about Camden from visiting and watching the Carolina Cup. In the spring you should attend the Carolina Cup Races or the Boykin Spaniel National Spring Trials.
- If you want to learn about the history of the horseracing, you’ll want to visit the Steeplechase Museum, too.
- The Equus horse-themed film festival makes several stops, including Camden, South Carolina.
Other things to do in Camden, SC
If you’re looking for a day trip from Camden, there are several neighboring sites that are worth visiting. Just outside of Camden is the village of Boykin where you can visit the mill – one of the oldest grist working mills in South Carolina. Have lunch at the Boykin Mill Store and dinner at the Boykin Mill Pond Steak House.
- After a day of adventure, Roxie Hart Salon & Spa is the best place to go for a spa treatment.
- If you are a museum lover, the Camden Archives & Museum is the best in the region.
- Looking for exciting night life? Go dancing at Steeplechase Bar & Grill or The Venue on Thursday night for South Carolina “shaggin.”
- In the fall you should attend the Carolina Downhome Blues Festival.
Disclaimer: article, photography and YouTube video by travel writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Camden Kershaw County Tourism, however all opinions are my own.