Most Popular Film Tourism Destinations in the US
We’ve all fallen in love with a TV show or movie at least once. Whether it’s Harry Potter, The Walking Dead, or Breaking Bad, there’s something about getting sucked into a good story that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. But—did you ever consider traveling to a place you saw on Netflix? If so, you aren’t alone. That’s because film tourism (also known as film-induced tourism, screen tourism, and set-jetting) has been all the rave lately, with more and more people planning vacations around their beloved shows and movies. PhotoAiD reached out to 1,000+ Americans to unpack their experiences with this phenomenon, their attitudes toward it, and much more.
To uncover the most desirable film tourism destinations in North America, PhotoAiD gave respondents a list of places famous because of a movie or TV show and asked them to indicate which one was their favorite or which they’d like to visit the most. They also answered other questions about their travel motives. Some key takeaways from PhotoAiD's research show that:
- 96% of Americans have visited places associated with their favorite television shows or movies at least once in their lifetime.
- 78% of travelers are likely or very likely to opt for TV- or movie-themed trips in 2023 and beyond.
- The most common reason to engage in film tourism (35%) is to enjoy an immersive experience that lets you live out shows’ or movies’ storylines and follow in the footsteps of famous characters.
- Lodging is the most frequently mentioned film tourism expense (60%), followed by transportation (53%) and sightseeing (50%).
- Globally, the UK and Ireland are the most desirable screen tourism destinations owing to the success of Harry Potter.
- 68% of Americans have a negative or very negative attitude toward fellow travelers striking irreverent poses or otherwise misbehaving when visiting the sites of actual tragic events depicted in shows or movies.
These stats show just how popular film tourism has become. It may be because we’re watching more TV than ever before, with the average person likely to stream 437 hours of content in 2023 (=18 full days). Over three-quarters also said they were "likely" or "very likely" (45% and 33%, respectively) to pick one of their next vacation destinations based on their favorite TV show or movie in the future.
Thus, it’s not surprising that companies like Airbnb and Netflix have already started to capitalize on the opportunity. The former has launched thematic accommodation options based on Scooby Doo, Moulin Rouge, and Queer Eye. In turn, Netflix partnered with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to “help destinations realize the potential benefits of screen tourism.”
The data shows that the most common reason to engage in film tourism (35%) is to enjoy an immersive experience that lets you live out your favorite shows’ or movies’ storylines and follow in the footsteps of famous characters. It’s closely followed by the desire “to experience the city’s scenery shown in the movie or TV show” at 34.9% and to visit depicted restaurants, as 34.4% of respondents indicated. These make sense, particularly if you consider TV shows. Their slow-paced plot progression, long runtime, and character development often foster a deep connection between the viewer and the story.
According to PhotoAiD's data, these shows and their locations are the 5 most desirable in America:
5. Big Little Lies (Monterey, California)
A quarter of respondents picked Monterey, California to visit thanks to Big Little Lies. Stop by the Monterey Bay Aquarium to see where Jane (Shailene Woodley) worked in Season 2; or, check out several stunning outdoor locales, such as Del Monte Beach and Lovers Point Park, that serve as a backdrop in the series. Don't forget to head to Highway 1 for an iconic drive from Bixby Bridge (featured in the opening credits) down along the coastline of Garrapata State Park, where many scenes were filmed.
4. Home Alone 2 (New York City)
Who wouldn't want to recreate Kevin's iconic holiday adventure from Home Alone 2? Of those surveyed, 27.9% picked this movie as a top reason to travel. After flying into LaGuardia Airport—on purpose, though, unlike Kevin—tourists will want to head straight to Manhattan to take in the biggest sites. The Plaza Hotel features most prominently in this classic flick, but if you can't quite budget a stay at this swanky spot, it's at least worth visiting before heading over for a walk through Central Park, The Pigeon Lady's domain. Don't miss Grand Army Plaza at 59th street, where Kevin bumps into Marv and Harry.
3. Joker (New York / New Jersey)
Joker came in third with 28.6% of respondents selecting the 2019 movie. On the Set of New York—an incredible online resource with details for all kinds of shows set in the city—gives great details on how visitors can follow in the movie's footsteps by listing key scenes and their addresses, such as Arthur's Apartment, Hudson County Courthouse, Loew's Jersey Theatre, and the Twin Donut Shop in the Bronx. Unlike Home Alone 2, following the sites from this movie will take tourists further out from the hustle and bustle of Midtown Manhattan and spots in Jersey City, Newark, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.
2. Friends (New York City)
Just behind the top spot, Friends was picked by 30.5% of respondents, making it the third NYC-based show in the top rankings. The great thing about NYC is so many shows and movies have iconic scenes and experiences in the Big Apple—you can theme an entire trip there just around movies and shows!
Friends fans in particular will want to head down to the West Village—specifically, 90 Bedford Street. While the apartment scenes were shot from inside a soundstage, the outside shots were taken from this actual apartment building. While in the area, don't forget to grab coffee at one of the many nearby favorites—Joe, Blackstone Coffee Roaster, Stumptown, or CoffeeRx. While Central Perk was filmed on a soundstage as well, these should be good local substitutes.
1. Jurassic Park (Hawaii)
Thanks to the Jurassic Park franchise, Hawaii was picked as the most desirable film tourism destination in the US, according to 30.6% of respondents. How does it translate into real numbers? Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom alone has given Hawaii’s economy a $31M boost and more than $6.9M in wages to 1,200+ Hawaii workers. So you could say the movie has had a T-Rex-sized impact on the islands.
Kualoa Ranch offers visitors an amazing 2.5-hour Jurassic Adventure Tour. It takes guests to famous film sites in all three valleys of Kualoa Ranch (Kualoa, Hakipu’u & Ka’a’awa Valleys). The guided tour visits film sets from Jurassic World, Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom, and even a visit to the iconic field from the original Jurassic Park Movie. Transportation is on a 16-passenger custom, open-air, Jurassic exploring vehicle. Enjoy breathtaking views of Kualoa's own Jurassic Valley and relive the authentic Jurassic Park experience!
— For more details on PhotoAiD's research and results, see the data here.
Top Things to Do This February
With the excitement (and chaos) of holiday travel behind us and spring break and summer still a ways off, February might not seem like the most exciting time to travel. However, this can be a great time of year to enjoy lower hotel and travel costs as well as smaller crowds. Here are five fun events and places to add to your February plans this year.Experience the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival in the Adirondacks Opening fireworks at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival - courtesy of saranaclakewintercarnival.com The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival began as an integral part of Saranac Lake's history as a renowned health resort. In order to break winter's chill and to promote outdoor sports and games, the Pontiac Club was formed in November 1896, and a few months later, they sponsored a one-day fancy dress winter carnival in 1897, which was expanded into the Pontiac Club Carnival in 1898. It is the longest-running event of its kind in the eastern US, and has grown into a 10-day festival that includes sports, performances, two parades and three sets of spectacular fireworks. This year's carnival takes place February 3rd through 12th, and includes two parades, multiple fireworks displays, and events such as arctic golf, snow rugby, an ice palace fun run, a woodsmen's exhibition, an icicle contest, and races in skiing, tubing, and snowshoeing. The centerpiece of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival is the Ice Palace, built by volunteers on the shore of Lake Flower's Pontiac Bay at the state boat launch. For more details on activities, see the schedule here and find out more on how to plan your visit. Spend Presidents' Day at Mount Rushmore Mount Rushmore - courtesy of nps.gov Weather permitting (that's certainly an important factor in western South Dakota) Mount Rushmore is open every day of February. Completed in 1941, Mount Rushmore is undoubtedly one of the most recognized memorials in South Dakota, and in the US. Each year, more than 3 million visitors come face-to-face with the likeness of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Explore magical Ice Castles across the US Ice Castles - courtesy of icecastles.com Each year, Ice Castles brings fairy tales to life for hundreds of thousands of families across North America. Currently, there are five locations across the US—in Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Utah, and Wisconsin. Squeeze through passageways just large enough for children and adults who are adventurous enough to crawl, or explore ice caverns and get lost in a frozen maze where wonder awaits around every corner. In Minnesota, enjoy the classic thrill of cruising down a tubing hill on a snow path groomed for safety, speed, and fun. Tubes provided free of charge! Surrounded by thousands of lights, your magical journey continues along our Lantern Passage after you exit the frozen wonderland.In New Hampshire, magic abounds in the Winter Fairy Forest. Along this short loop near the Mystic Forest Light Walk, you’ll be immersed in a fairy tale world where winter fairies live and play. Belly up to a frosty ice bar, the Polar Pub, and order a winter-themed alcoholic beverage that you can enjoy while you chill out in the coolest place in town.In Utah, meet real reindeer nestled away inside the Reindeer Room or squeal with delight as you race down one of our exhilarating ice slides designed for people of all ages. Several locations also feature sleigh rides, ice sculpture displays, and "Arctic Alcoves" available for booking special events like proposals. For tickets and more info, visit icecastles.com. Celebrate Mardi Gras at Panama City Beach Mardi Gras in Panama City Beach - courtesy of visitpanamacitybeach.com Visit Panama City Beach invites visitors and residents to celebrate Mardi Gras “Real.Fun.Beach” style at the annual Panama City Beach Mardi Gras and Music Festival, taking place February 3-4, 2023 at Pier Park. Combining the excitement of an authentic Mardi Gras celebration with spectacular views of sugar-white sand beaches and emerald-green waters, the fun-filled festival offers entertainment for the whole family. “The annual Mardi Gras and Music Festival in Panama City Beach is one of our most festive and exciting events,” says Visit Panama City Beach President and CEO Dan Rowe. “Each year, we look forward to welcoming locals and visitors for an unforgettable Mardi Gras celebration just steps away from our beautiful beaches.” In conjunction with the Krewe of Dominique Youx’s great Mardi Gras at the Beach parade, the two-day festival features a jam-packed schedule of entertainment for all ages, including live music, a kids fun zone and festival village, a 5k run, fireworks and more. Enjoy this year’s music headliner, Sawyer Brown, as well as other notable acts like Waylon Thibodeaux, dubbed “Louisiana’s Rockin’ Fiddler,” The Frontmen and Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band at the Celebration Stage in Pier Park. Besides the festival, what's better than a mid-winter beach escape? For more information about the Mardi Gras festival's schedule and events, click here. Sip hot cocoa and see wildlife at Chicago's Polar Adventure Days Huskies at Polar Adventure Days - courtesy of chicagoparkdistrict.com Visitors will come face-to-face with live animals and engage in fun winter activities during Chicago's annual Polar Adventure Days. This year, Polar Adventure Days will take place on January 21 and February 25 from noon to 3pm. The free winter series will treat visitors to a number of fun-filled activities that are both educational and fun for all ages. Participants will tour Northerly Island’s Natural Area, either on foot or in snowshoes depending on weather, and learn about winter animals including Siberian huskies, raptors, and birds of prey. Visitors will enjoy interacting with the incredibly creative Jabberwocky Marionettes (a local puppet theater producer), using their imaginative skills to carve recycled Christmas trees with our nature experts in the Nature Play Space, and listening to stories around the campfire with Al Eastman. Additionally, the Chicago Park District Naturalists will lead a winter craft activity in simple bird feeder making. “Polar Adventure Days has become a signature winter tradition for Chicagoans and visitors alike for almost two decades,” said Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Rosa Escareño. “Connecting with nature and wildlife in an urban setting is an experience unlike any other during the colder months in Chicago’s premiere downtown nature oasis.” Participants should dress warmly. Activities are subject to change based on weather.
The Cheapest NYC Trip Ever
New York is in the middle of its annual New York Hotel Week, where visitors can take advantage of a 23% discount on over 140 hotels in the city. Before you feel a tinge of disappointment at being too late, don’t worry – Hotel Week is actually over a month long, and you can grab the discounts until February 12th. There’s a wide range of hotels taking part, located in almost every area of the city, so make sure to shop around and find a unique property for your Big Apple adventure. InterContinental Times Square (Midtown West) InterContinental Times Square - courtesy of nycgo.com With a chic Manhattan residential feel encompassing natural elements, the 36-story InterContinental Times Square features 607 guest rooms, including 29 suites and a 2,700-square-foot duplex penthouse. Get inspired and celebrate in 14,000 square feet of flexible event and banquet space, including the elegant Gotham Ballroom. The Stinger is currently open daily for breakfast. The Hoxton (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) The Hoxton, Williamsburg, Brooklyn - courtesy of nycgo.com The Hoxton Williamsburg is located in Brooklyn with 175 bedrooms spread across four categories: Cosy, Cosy with a Brooklyn View, Cosy with a Manhattan View, and Roomy. Each room features a king-sized bed with bed linens by local Brooklyn designer, Dusen Dusen, walk-in shower, and desk, along with the usual Hox perks: free coffee, tea and water, WiFi, one hour of free calls and a mini-fridge to stock with items from the Hox Shop. Guests enjoy vibrant public spaces, a coffee bar, and a brand-new rooftop restaurant—chef Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook's Laser Wolf. ModernHaus (Soho) Set against the backdrop of Soho’s iconic cast-iron buildings and cobblestone streets, ModernHaus is a gathering place for urban travelers—and a thoughtfully designed extension of the neighborhood’s creative and dynamic spirit. Artworks from some of the most influential figures of the past century, such as George Condo, Harland Miller, Jean Dubuffet and KAWS, grace the walls. It’s ModernHaus’ homage to the neighborhood’s artistic past and an inspiring canvas for a thoroughly modern stay. Hotel Belleclaire (Upper West Side) Hotel Belleclaire - courtesy of nycgo.com Located on Manhattan's Upper West Side near Central Park, the Beacon Theatre, Lincoln Center and the American Museum of Natural History, Hotel Belleclaire boasts a blend of classic charm and modern comfort. All 240 guestrooms and suites are tastefully designed and feature luxurious Frette linen, deluxe C.O. Bigelow bath amenities and complimentary WiFi. The hotel is outfitted with a 24-hour fitness center, complimentary media lounge, meeting room and a French café, Mille-Feuille, located in the hotel lobby. The W (Union Square) Revel in the rhythm of the W - Union Square, located in the 1911 beaux arts-style Guardian Life building, with 270 guest rooms and suites, this is a contemporary spot to see and be seen. Have cocktails at Lilium, a seductive subterranean lounge, or grab a bite at Todd English’s restaurant, Olives. With glamorous shopping, electric music venues, and a dynamic art culture, here, the city is at your fingertips. And the savings don't stop with hotels... Dinner at Baar Baar - courtesy of nycgo.com Hotel Week is not the only way to save on a winter NYC trip. New York Restaurant Week, Broadway Week, and Must-See Week are also running until February 12th (together, they all make up the NYC Winter Outing). Restaurant Week sees some of the city’s best restaurants offering fixed-price menus for the duration of the event. Some of the establishments involved can typically have some eye-watering price tags, so it’s a rare opportunity to sample some world-class food without breaking the bank. Baar Baar (East Village) sets the bar high when it comes to modern Indian cuisine. Chef Sujan Sarkar’s deep-fried chicken nuggets come bathed in masala sauce and bordered by a tuft of lemony foam. The elevated street food on hte menu pairs well with a New Delhi sour cocktail made with bourbon, aromatic rose hip shrub, egg white and bitters. Other great small plates include Kashmiri lamb and tandoori octopus. The dark, roomy lounge and dining area is enhanced by a compelling fresco of an elaborately bejeweled woman. In Queens, a Forest Hills gastropub and barbecue joint, Queens Bully, pays homage to flavors around its home borough. Sandwiches reference the Greek food of Astoria, the Latin flavor of Corona and the Indian influence from Jackson Heights. The barbecue—pulled pork, brisket, even jackfruit—is all smoked in-house. Bar at Carmine's, Upper West Side - courtesy of nycgo.com For those looking for old-school Italian, the legendary family-style Southern Italian Carmine’s delivers everything but the red-checkered tablecloth. Sopranos fans will feel comfortable in both the Times Square and Upper West Side locations, where the portions are absurdly generous, bottles of Chianti abound and the river flows with red sauce. For a quintessential New York-diner experience, there's East Village Ukrainian eatery Veselka Restaurant. In business since 1954, it offers neighbors and visitors 24-hour comfort food in a diner-type atmosphere. The kids love the pierogis and potato pancakes; the adults love the borscht and sweet cheese blintzes. On the way out it’s hard to pass up the pastry counter with its pies, cupcakes, cookies and homemade muffins. Of course, plenty more options can found in just about every part of the city, with cuisine that will fit just about anyone's style. Broadway Shows, Museums, & More The Metropolitan Opera auditorium - courtesy of nycgo.com Broadway Week offers a simple buy-one-get-one offer on most Broadway shows and reduced-rate upgraded tickets. All put together, there’s no better time to visit New York. Just be prepared for the crowds! But the entertainment doesn't stop with Broadway—there's plenty to do with Must-See Week, which includes discounts for everything from attractions and tours, to museums and performing arts across all the five boroughs. Get iconic views of the Big Apple with a trip to the Empire State Building Observatory See a performance at The Metropolitan OperaVisit the Kings County Distillery for whiskey tours and tastingsEnjoy contemporary art at the Lower East Side's New Museum Get ready to plan your cheapest NYC trip ever with more ideas here!
Let Romance Flourish in these Magical Parts of South Dakota
Celebrating romance in the Rushmore state has never been easier thanks to the love-filled itinerary created by Travel South Dakota. With Valentine’s Day a month away, now is the perfect time to begin planning a romantic getaway. Highlighting the top places for couples to travel across the state, the list has something for every couple to enjoy: Go ice skating at Main Street Square in Downtown Rapid City Ice skating in Rapid City - courtesy of travelsouthdakota.com It may be chilly, but when you and your date glide hand-in-hand across the ice at Main Street Square things are sure to heat up. Here you can ice-skate under the twinkling lights of downtown Rapid City, then grab dinner or drinks just steps away from the rink at one of the many unique venues downtown. The rink is open throughout the month of December until February 25th. Stroll through the South Dakota Art Museum South Dakota Art Museum - courtesy of travelsouthdakota.com "Art isn't paint; it's love." The words of Philip Hicken are never truer than when art is shared with your beloved. Spend a sweet afternoon with the rotating exhibits of the South Dakota Art Museum. Free admission and parking means more coin to drop after on dinner, whether you're going for a down-home classic at Nick's Hamburger Shop or fine dining at the Pheasant Restaurant & Lounge. Get pampered at Akela Spa of Deadwood Akela Spa - courtesy of travelsouthdakota.com Unwind together for a day of uninterrupted serenity at Akela Spa of Deadwood. With treatments influenced by the Lakota tribe and Indigenous practices of the region, the Black Hills’ only destination day spa offers a truly unique experience that will leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated. Couples can customize their treatments or opt for pre-arranged packages featuring 90-minute Dakota Bliss Massages and Duet Suite Soaking Tub Bath for two. Complete this stay with a cozy cabin booked through Black Hills Adventure Lodging! Relax in Aberdeen For a relaxing, hands-on date, visit Revive Salon and Day Spa in Aberdeen. Here, the healing touch of a highly trained masseuse will soothe your mind and relieve tension in your body– while the spa’s calming ambience sparks a romance that would put Cupid’s arrows to shame. Later in the evening, enjoy dinner at Roma Ristorante Italiano, where authentic Italian cuisine meets old world charm. Here, you’ll toast to a romantic evening with a bottle of fine vino and indulge in delicacies from northern and southern Italy, including veal, chicken, pasta and much more. Then make your way to the Aberdeen Community Theatre for a live performance or movie screening. Visit the theater’s website for tickets and showtimes. Cruise through Spearfish Canyon Spearfish Falls - courtesy of travelsouthdakota.com Just outside of Spearfish, you’ll find a perfect date destination: Spearfish Canyon State and National Forest Service Scenic Byway. The 19-mile cruise takes you through an ancient mountain range dotted with trees clinging to the hillsides. Follow the flow of Spearfish Creek, and pull over for nature areas, including the (maybe perfect) Bridal Veil Falls. Stay for the weekend at Spearfish Canyon Lodge. The surrounding area is home to two of the highest peaks east of the Rockies, with more than 300 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and ski slopes. Plus, with the lodge’s Romantic Rendezvous Package – available year-round – you can unwind at the end of your action-packed day with dinner for two. Attend a concert at The Goss The Goss - courtesy of travelsouthdakota.com More than a century after Charles Goss first built it, a $5 million restoration has ensured that generations will continue to find romance The Goss Opera House in Watertown. Take your special someone to a concert, a classic movie, and more in a place of class and comfort. Indulge at CH Patisserie CH Patisserie - courtesy of travelsouthdakota.com If your sweetheart has a sweet tooth, a trip to CH Patisserie will surely hit the spot. Owned and operated by Top Chef winner Chris Hanmer, this Sioux Falls staple has been called one of the best bakeries in the nation by Thrillist and the Daily Meal. Plus, with extended hours on Valentine’s Day, it’ll be the icing on the cake after dinner downtown. Stargaze in the Black Hills Roll the car windows down and enjoy a scenic drive in Custer State Park. End the day with dinner at Skogen Kitchen and a stay at EO Bungalow in Custer. Spend a night under the stars in Keystone's Under Canvas clamping experience featuring on-site dining and a nature walk through the wooded Black Hills. An experienced coordinator is ready to help you plan your romantic adventure. Under Canvas opens May 4th making now a great time to plan for a romantic early summer trip. For an extended trip, relax together with a spa day at Moccasin Springs, located 50 minutes south of Mount Rushmore in the Southern Black Hills, followed by a lovely dinner at Buffalo Dreamer. Enjoy the Winemaker's Valentine Dinner at Valiant Vineyards Valiant Vineyards - courtesy of travelsouthdakota.com Let your love soar with a date that will delight your tastebuds. Once every Valentine's Day weekend, you can take your special someone to the Winemaker's Valentines Dinner on the edge of Vermillion. Enjoy a full meal with award-winning Valiant Vineyards wine and spirits in the cozy setting of South Dakota's first and oldest winery. All meals come with one magnificent view. Stay for the weekend in one of their rental suites which include wine tasting and a homemade breakfast.
Master Your Golf Game in Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina
Every second week in April, in a reverent homage to their sport and a certain televised tournament, avid golfers make reservations far ahead to play the courses near Augusta National. For them, watching the game isn’t enough, and many prefer the golf in nearby Thoroughbred Country, South Carolina where several courses boast their own pedigree and prestige. Situated along I-20 between Atlanta and Charleston, just east of Augusta, Georgia, the rolling topography and mild climate make for fun, challenging and year-round play. In the late 19th century, as the railroads pushed farther south, Aiken became the home of the famed Winter Colony where Vanderbilts, Astors and other Golden Age notables vacationed in elegant resorts and “cottages.” Golf, croquet, polo and other equestrian pursuits became pastimes that are still treasured today. Here are notes on some of the courses favored by locals, pros and duffers. Expect higher greens fees during the week-long event. Check the clubs’ websites or call for details and availability. While tee times are much easier to obtain than badges for the hallowed course, they do book quickly. Whether during golf’s greatest tournament or any other time of year, Thoroughbred Country is top of mind for golfers and their families who are looking for plenty of additional attractions. The Aiken Golf Club The Aiken Golf Club - courtesy of travelmediapressroom.com Designed by Donald Ross and originally built in 1912, this historic course has many ties to golf’s greats, including early ladies’ professionals. Extensive renovation has led to accolades: it’s rated in the "Top Three Courses to Play during Masters Week" by Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive," one of the "Best Courses to Play Near Augusta National" by "Golfweek"; and “Best Kept Secret” and “Most Charming” by other critics. Just 20 miles east of Augusta National, this course tips its hat to Pinehurst as well as Scottish tradition. Fees are elevated during the championship, but it’s still considered a deal. Reservations required. The Aiken Golf Club, 555 Highland Park Drive, Aiken, South Carolina; 803-649-6029. 18 holes. Par 70. Walk/cart. Cedar Creek Golf Club Cedar Creek Golf Club - courtesy of cedarcreekgolfclub.net Designed by Arthur Hills, Cedar Creek has been garnering awards almost since its opening in 1991. The course features long, par 4 holes and sloping fairways that can send shots into the rough and elevated, undulating Bermuda greens. Cedar Creek Golf Club, 2475 Club Drive, Aiken, South Carolina; 803-648-4206. 18 holes. Par 72. Walk/cart. Midland Valley Country Club Designed by Ellis Maples and built in 1961, Midland Valley features towering pines, significant terrain changes and large, undulating Bermuda greens with plenty of up, down and side hill lies. Midland Valley Country Club, 151 Midland Drive, Graniteville, South Carolina; 803-663-7332. 18 holes. Par 71. Walk/cart. Mount Vintage Golf Club Golf course architect Tom Jackson designed the 27 holes to fit perfectly into a diverse topography. The three nines provide a variety of shot values and distinguishing features, yet blend together to leave the golfer with vivid memories of an enjoyable experience. Mount Vintage Golf Club, 375 Mount Vintage Plantation Drive, North Augusta, South Carolina; 803-279-5422. 27 holes. Par 72. River Birch Golf Course River Birch Golf Club - courtesy of riverbirchgc.com Built in 1981 and operated previously as the Paw Paw Country Club and the Bamberg Golf and Sports Club, River Birch was renovated in 2021 and is under new, experienced golf course and restaurant management. The par 72, 6,683-yard golf course was designed by Russell Breeden, who designed a number of golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area. River Birch Golf Course, 128 Paw Paw Road, Bamberg, South Carolina; 803-245-8432. Sweetwater Country Club Designed by Russell Breeden. Bermuda greens. This design is relatively benign in terms of elevation and length, but more than makes up for that with its water, sand and elevated greens. Sweetwater Country Club, 571 Clubhouse Lane, Barnwell, South Carolina; 803-259-5004. 18 holes. Par 71. Walk/cart. The Inn at Houndslake/Country Club Houndslake Country Club - courtesy of houndslakecc.com This course was designed to offer versatility for both weekend golfers and professionals and hosts many tournaments. A pet-friendly, unique 30-room lodge is located on the grounds. Guests may use any of the Club’s facilities. The Inn at Houndslake/Country Club, 897 Houndslake Drive, Aiken, South Carolina; 803-648-9535. 27 holes. Par 36 for each 9. The River Golf Club Designed by Jim Fazio. Bent grass greens. Cart. Built as a Hilton Head-style links course with mostly flat fairways and water on 11 holes. The River Golf Club, 307 Riverside Boulevard, North Augusta, South Carolina; 803-202-0110. 18 holes. Par 71. For those who favor nine-hole courses, try Williston Country Club at 15 Fairway Drive, Williston, South Carolina; 803-266-7616. 9 holes. Par 36. Bermuda greens. Walk/cart. For a fun, family event, South on Whiskey Mini Golf brings on a quirky challenge, along with batting cages and an event space for rental. 3197 Whiskey Road, Aiken, South Carolina; 803-643-1715. Wed-Sun. If you go... Thoroughbred Country meanders through charming small towns with unique shopping, history and delicious Southern cuisine, creating the perfect road trip getaway with plenty to do for equestrian and active outdoor enthusiasts. Multiple disc golf locations throughout the region provide ample opportunity to try the sport from a slightly different angle. Take time to meander North Augusta’s 9.2-mile Greeneway Trail. Don’t miss the hidden gems: a drive-in movie theater, the Aiken County Historical Museum, the Savannah River Site Museum, Hopelands Gardens and the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum. Explore the city via the Aiken Trolley Tour or, if it is not a Saturday, contact Tailored Tours of Aiken. Nearby, the Silver Bluff Audubon Center & Sanctuary offers opportunities to engage with nature up-close while Blackville’s God’s Acre Healing Springs is a popular site for visitors seeking out the storied waters. Visit the Veterans Memorial Trail in Bamberg and the Battle of Rivers Bridge State Historic Site in Ehrhardt to gain insight into the area’s history. For details, delightful and unique accommodations, dining and more, go to www.TBredCountry.org.