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McCormick, SC, is more than just a friendly Southern town. As home to one of SC's two state park golf courses and miles of stunning lakefront views, McCormick also draws visitors to its parks and resorts. Whether your pack is passing through or settling down, McCormick has all you need for happy pups.
Main Street’s brick-fronted shopping district evokes an America of days gone by. Stretch your paws while window shopping from the sidewalks, then detour into the pocket park tucked between Main Street and the Courthouse on Mine Ave. A short path cuts through the park (and you can run the amphitheater stairs like Rocky if you want). Michelle’s Pizza on Main Street is a self-proclaimed “hole in the wall,” but regulars love their food and dog-friendly outdoor seating.
The Savannah Valley Railroad Trail runs for over 9 miles in McCormick County, and when completed, it will connect the city with three nearby state parks and the community of Calhoun Falls. For now, you can catch the trail from parking spots on the well-named Barksdale Ferry Rd. This converted railway cuts through dense forest, occasionally syncing up with roadways before crossing a trestle over a creek. A side trail leads down to historic Badwell Cemetery.
If your buddy overdoes it, the closest vet is in Lincolnton, GA, across the lake. Several other vet practices are located in nearby Greenwood, SC.
The 1,300-acre Baker Creek State Park offers access not just to the creek but also to 71,000-acre Lake Thurmond via two public boat ramps. Whether your dogs like it wet or dry, Baker Creek has plenty to bark about. Both the 1-mile Wild Mint Nature Trail and the 10 miles of more rugged hiking/biking trails welcome on-leash dogs. The trails form interconnecting loops, making it easy to customize your journey to different lengths. Scores of campsites dot the Lake Thurmond shoreline; it’s easy to settle in for a weekend, and your pups can ruff it with you at the pet-friendly campground. Still energetic? Head across the lake and continue your adventure in Georgia’s Elijah Clark State Park, with another 3.75 miles of trails and a new view of your home across the lake.
Just north of Savannah Lakes Village, Hickory Knob State Park is known primarily for its outstanding golf course. Pups can’t play, but they’ll still enjoy the beautiful lakeside scenery at Hickory Knob. With campsites where your pooch can partake in lake views and three hiking trails to explore, golf clubs are entirely optional. The 2.5-mile Beaver Run Trail is a great spot for Spot to spot some wildlife. The out-and-back trail ends near the skeet shooting range, so turn back early if your pups are sensitive to loud noises. The 7.2-mile Lakeview Loop Trail lives up to its name — both the views and the loop — and you might actually spot some wild turkeys from the 1.9-mile rugged Turkey Run Trail. For a milder setting, the affluent community of Savannah Lakes Village lacks sidewalks, but the light traffic and wide shoulders on most streets offer another good walk.
Although Hamilton Branch State Park and Recreation Area is technically in Plum Branch, it occupies its own peninsula into Lake Thurmond about 14 miles from McCormick, just north of Modoc. The State Park is a pawpular destination for dog-friendly camping on the waterfront, and swimming is allowed throughout the park if your pups want to cool off. You can try your hand at fishing even if you forgot your gear: rods and reels are available to borrow at the park office. The 1.5-mile Paleo Hiking Trail is an easy walk in the woods, and you might spot the bald eagle that nests along the trail. The short Hamilton Branch Connector trail leads to the 7-mile moderate Stevens Creek Trail, which leads south to Modoc or northwest into deep forest.
Greenwood is McCormick’s nearest retail hub, 25 miles away. With multiple pet supply stores and your closest off-leash dog park, Greenwood will be a regular stop for your fur-family. First, work off energy at Grace Street Park, with three fenced enclosures — complete with water, shade, and fire hydrant — for a leash-free frolic with new friends. The trail around the lake offers a quieter way to unwind, too. Then head deeper Uptown (Greenwood’s answer to Downtown) for canine-friendly entertainment. Window shop at the art galleries and boutiques while sniffing out the many restaurants that welcome pups at outdoor tables. The pimento cheese at Howard’s on Main can’t be beat, and the tables out front are great for people-and dog-watching. Down the street, the funky vibe, local brews, and brick-oven pizza at the Mill House draw crowds of local college kids. You can stop into Flynn’s to browse beer and wine with your pup, at least if he gets along with the gentle-giant shop dog, Milo.
About 25 miles from McCormick, the town of Edgefield is worth a visit just for the beautiful and historic downtown. Take a walk down Main Street; Courthouse Square has served as a community space since the 1780s. The 1839 courthouse building, the Victorian Greek Revival homes, and the brick-front shops make it obvious why this area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s doggone lucky that Edgefield is also home to the Ten Governors Trail, where you can bone up on your South Carolina history while Spot gets his exercise. With a trailhead on Main Street, this mile-long converted railway features historical markers with information about each of the 10 SC governors who called Edgefield home.
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