South of the BorderRoad Trip Stops . South Carolina . Washington DC
South of the Border
On our first trip to Washington DC, the ninth stop on our Roadtrippers itinerary was South of the Border in South Carolina.
This is a little shopping center located just south of the border of North Carolina and South Carolina.
We had stopped for the night after visiting the Chapel of Ease because I was pretty exhausted and we had been going for 12 hours with me being the only driver.
This was our first stop on day 2. It took a couple of hours of driving to get from our hotel to this area and it was about a third of the way to our next stop, so it was a great place to stop and stretch.
And stretch we did! This was actually one of the most memorable stops for my son and I this trip because it was the only place where we really just got goofy. He was still pretty young and into video games and arcades. So I let him play in the arcade for a few minutes and then we checked out the observation tower and a gift shop.
We had so much fun trying on silly hats and stuff looking for souvenirs. We actually bout a few souvenirs here, two of which would provide another real memorable moment later in the trip. There were some small pocket knives in the shape of old bullet shells. My son loves WWII era things and we bought one for him.
A few days later, in Washington DC, we were standing in line to get into the Smithsonian Museum of American History and I saw that they had metal detectors. Once I remembered the knife, we hopped out of line and decided to stop there again on another trip so that my son didn’t get his knife confiscated.
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About South of the Border
Much like any offspring of Route 66 and Las Vegas would be, South of the Border is a great roadside mixture of wacky attractions, tacky souvenir, and novelty architecture.
To some, it comes across as a run down tourist trap. It started in 1949 as South of the Border Beer Depot by a beer wholesaler looking to escape the unpleasant realities of the prohibition on booze sales just north in Robeson County, North Carolina.
After Alan Schafer erected a pink beer stand, it only took a few years for a small motel to be added. Alan was a Jewish man that wasn’t afraid to hire African-Americans back in a time when it was unpopular in that area. Then he brought back two new employees from a business trip to Mexico which led to the bandito-like mascot being born.
Within a decade, South of the Border grew to 300 acres and is like it’s own little town. Unfortunately, it lost it’s creator in 2001 but still hangs on to the roots that got it to where it is today.
South of the Border is an attraction located at 3346 US-301 in Hamer, just off of I-95, US Highway 301 and US 501 in Dillon County, South Carolina, just south of Rowland, North Carolina.
My only regret about this stop is that I didn’t plan enough time to really see it. I had no idea what it was all about, I thought it would just be an observation tower and gift shop, which was essentially all we saw.
We missed so much because I didn’t plan well. I would like to stop here again and spend a few more hours checking things out.
I highly recommend this stop. Have you been there? I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Please drop a few lines in the comments box below and let me know how your visit went.
In the meantime, safe travels!
Written by Kris M.
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