Exploring the Best Bike-Friendly Cities in South Carolina

South Carolina is quickly becoming a paradise for cycling and outdoor activities, with cities like Greenville and Charleston at the forefront. Greenville has recently undergone a major renovation of its downtown area, making it a major tourist destination with art, beautiful landscapes, and an impressive culinary scene. The city has also made a conscious effort to improve its cycling infrastructure and actively attract cyclists as tourists and potential citizens. Charleston is another bike-friendly city in the United States.

It offers multi-day tour packages with different themes, such as the plantations and picturesque villages of Charleston or a family bike tour. If you prefer to ride solo, try the Swamp Fox Trail, one of the oldest bike trails in the area. With more than 64 kilometers, the Swamp Fox unpaved trail is a unique way to learn about the local wildlife and enjoy the wonderful landscape. The Spanish Moss Trail offers 10 miles of picturesque, paved trails in the heart of northern Beaufort County, South Carolina.

Paris Mountain State Park is home to 15 miles of bike trails that attract mountain bikers from all over the country. Just 7 miles north of bustling downtown Greenville, you can escape to this beautiful slice of nature for long climbs that give way to stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The park offers a variety of trails for cyclists of all levels of experience, with lots of wildlife to see along the way. For a short and easy ride back and forth, try the 1-mile Pipsissewa Trail.

Or, if you're up for a challenge, check out the grueling 3.6-mile Sulphur Springs Trail, which features a narrow, steep and rugged route that's not for the faint of heart. The University of South Carolina in Columbia has earned bragging rights when it comes to biking after joining a select group of campuses across the country to be recognized as a bicycle-friendly university. The co-founder of Holy City Bike Co-op and president of the city's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee says that in recent resurfacing projects underway in South Carolina, they have begun to “voluntarily add bicycle lanes” (strips of paint) to roads during resurfacing where there is enough width to do so. Four other cities in South Carolina (Greenville, Spartanburg, Columbia and Charleston) have won the bronze award for providing safe accommodations for biking and encouraging cycling as a means of transportation and recreation. According to Rachael Bronson of the Palmetto Cycling Coalition, Greenville is currently the only city in South Carolina with staff positions dedicated to bicycle and pedestrian issues and infrastructure. If your idea of adventure includes biking on mountainous single-track trails, you'll find what you're looking for all over South Carolina. On a section of this South Carolina river along the border with Georgia, you can practice class IV and V whitewater rafting.

Protected from development as a “wild and picturesque” river, the Chattooga River is definitely the place to go in South Carolina for whitewater rafting. South Carolina is quickly becoming one of the best places for cyclists in America. With cities like Greenville and Charleston leading the way in terms of bike-friendly infrastructure and amenities, there are plenty of opportunities for cyclists to explore this beautiful state.

Carol Toefield
Carol Toefield

Award-winning pop culture expert. Infuriatingly humble pop culture ninja. Total web expert. Award-winning pop culture lover. Evil music maven. Extreme beer maven.