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Places to go: Off-campus activities for incoming freshmen

Mercedes Dubberly
The Dikes at sunset

As an incoming freshman, you’ll find that, at times, you feel constrained to the bubble of campus. This is not necessarily the case, as seeing all that the Upstate has to offer is an integral part of the Clemson student experience. Below are just a few things you can get up to outside of Tigertown.

For the dog mom or dad:
The Clemson Dikes are off campus, but barely. This spot on the shores of local Lake Hartwell is the perfect place to take four-legged friends on a walk or even to picnic. For an extra treat, catch a beautiful (and sometimes Clemson-colored) sunset here.

For the night owl:
Every Tuesday in historic Landmark Hall, Upstate Swing hosts a night of swing dancing.

Located just off the beaten path and south of Clemson in Taylors, South Carolina, guests are immersed into another world once they step through the door. Members and visitors alike are surrounded by couples doing all different variations of the classic swing dance as music roars and a disco ball spins above.

All skill levels are welcome, and there is a lesson provided at 7 p.m. before the social dance, which runs from 8-11 p.m.

For the explorer:
Clemson is lucky enough to be set at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, one of South Carolina’s most beautiful gifts, meaning that Table Rock State Park is under an hour’s drive from campus.

Table Rock offers a variety of trails of all difficulty levels, as well as fishing and boating access and kayak and paddle board rentals to cater to every type of outdoor adventurer. There are also campsites and cabins for overnight stays.

For the weekender:
Take a weekend or day trip to one of the best cities in the nation’s Southeast: Greenville, South Carolina.

Greenville is just under an hour’s drive from campus and has something for everyone. You can find everything you’re looking for in this metropolis, from an art museum (free admission!) and a scenic riverwalk to boutique shopping and artisanal coffee shops.

Make sure to stay for dinner and check out some of Greenville’s best restaurants, from Southern fare at Tupelo Honey to hearty Belgian meals at the Trappe Door.

For the vintage lover:
Clemson and the surrounding area boast a few options for vintage, antique and thrift stores.

If you’re willing to drive and hunt for a good find, the Goodwill bins store in Greenville is the place you’re looking for!

For those looking for a more curated or boutique experience, take a trip to Vintage Now Modern in the heart of downtown Greenville.

For the Instagram-ready friend or the photographer:
If you’re looking to add a pop of color or florals to your feed, the South Carolina Botanical Gardens are the perfect place to stop by.

While this spot is on campus, you feel miles away. The garden boasts nearly 300 acres of flora and fauna, walking trails, a duck pond and a small waterfall. It is the perfect place to surround yourself with nature while grabbing some gorgeous photos.

The garden, like Clemson, is truly in season every season, and even during some of the less flourishing months, it is worth a visit for its nature-based sculpture exhibit, museum or arboretum.

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Mercedes Dubberly
Mercedes Dubberly, Associate Editor
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