Living

Get away on 1 tank or less

With local gas prices averaging $3.79 per gallon, many folks are planning to save money by vacationing closer to home this summer. What's there to do? Here are some cool day-trip destinations you can drive to on a tank of gas or less.

Reed Gold Mine

Pan for gold at the first documented U.S. gold find site. Tours of the restored underground tunnels are offered each hour; tours of a restored operational stamp mill are available several times each day.

Admission and tours are free. Gold panning is $2 per pan. A group rate of $1.50 per pan is available.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; the site is closed Sunday and Monday.

Directions: Take N.C. 51 North to N.C. 24. Left onto Reed Mine Road. The site is at 9621 Reed Mine Road, Midland, N.C.

For details, visit www.reedmine.com or call (704) 721-4653.

Estimated travel time: One hour and four minutes.

Distance: 56 miles.

Linville Caverns

North Carolina's only true cavern system is open to the public. The caverns lead under Humpback Mountain, below the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Guided tours of the caverns depart from the gift shop every 10 to 15 minutes and last 30 to 40 minutes.

Admission is $6 adults; $4 ages 5 to 12; $4.50 ages 62 and older; and free for children younger than 5.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Labor Day.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to U.S. 321 North to I-40 West to N.C. 226 to U.S. 221. The site is at 19929 U.S. 221 North, Marion, N.C.

For details, visit www.linvillecaverns.com or call 1-800-419-0540.

Estimated travel time: Two hours and 27 minutes.

Distance: 135 miles.

Biltmore House and Gardens

Built by George Vanderbilt in 1895, the 250-room mansion contains restored original furnishings and original work from artists such as Renoir and others collected by Vanderbilt during his world travels. Tours of the house, gardens and winery are available with admission.

Gate admission, Sunday through Friday, is $47 adults, ages 17 and older, and free through Sept. 5 for children younger than 17, with a paying adult. Saturday cost is $51 for adults ages 17 and older and free through Sept. 5 for children younger than 17. Tickets may be purchased online at a discount.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to U.S. 321 North to I-40 West and take exit 50B. The site is at 1 Approach Road, Asheville, N.C.

For details, visit www.biltmore.com or call (877) 245-8667.

Estimated travel time: Two hours and 21 minutes.

Distance: 128 miles.

Prime Outlets

Shop until you drop in more than 80 brand-name stores.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; on Sunday shops are open 1:30 to 7 p.m. and Sunday food court hours are noon to 7 p.m.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to exit 90. The site is at 1 Factory Shops Blvd., Gaffney.

For details, call (888) 902-0096.

Estimated travel time: One hour.

Distance: 46 miles.

Hot Air Balloon Rides

Set up and inflate your own hot air balloon and take a ride over York County. On a clear day, Charlotte and Kings Mountain are visable. Launch and landing sites are based on the wind patterns for the day.

Private balloon ride for two is $500. Individual balloon ride is $300.

The rides are offered by Eagles Wings, Rock Hill. To book a flight, call 329-2715 or (803) 230-1178 or visit www.eagleswingshotairballoons.com.

Congaree River Canoe Trip

Guided canoe and kayak tours on the Congaree River are offered every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The trip lasts two to three hours and is suitable for all skill levels, young families and groups.

Cost is $25 per person for a canoe trip and $30 for a kayak trip, which includes equipment and transportation.

Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to S.C. 277 South, turn right onto U.S. 76 West to U.S. 176, right on Blossom Street and left on State Street. The site is at 1107 State St., Cayce.

For details, visit www.adventurecarolina.com.

Estimated travel time: One hour and 16 minutes.

Distance: 71 miles.

Carolina Adventure World Motorcross facility

The 2,600-acre family park offers 100 miles of trails that wind through woods, valleys and streams. The facility features a championship course, a vintage course, junior motorcross track, mini moto and permanent enduro course.

Admission is $25 day pass for adults and $17 for ages 17 and younger.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to S.C. 20, turn right onto Arrowhead Road. The site is at 1713 Arrowhead Road, Winnsboro.

For details, visit www.carolinaadventureworld.com or call (803) 482-3534.

Estimated travel time: 43 minutes.

Distance: 40 miles.

Fort Jackson Museum

Fort Jackson is the largest Army training facility in the country. Museum exhibits recount the history of training the American soldier from 1917 to present. Military equipment from past wars is displayed outside the museum. Tours are self-guided.

Admission is free.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to Strom Thurmond Boulevard, right onto Jackson Boulevard. The museum is at 4442 Jackson Blvd., Fort Jackson.

For details, visit www.jackson.army.mil or call (803) 751-7419.

Estimated driving time: One hour and eight minutes.

Distance: 66 miles.

Whitewater rafting on the Chattooga River

Guided rafting trips are available on the Chattooga River. Half-day, full-day and two-day trips are available.

Cost varies according to trip selected. Trips run March through November.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to S.C. 24 to 76 West, turn right onto Academy Road. The site is at 1251 Academy Road, Long Creek.

For details, visit www.wildwaterrafting.com or call (864) 647-9587.

Estimated driving time: Three hours and eight minutes.

Distance: 158 miles.

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

More than 2,000 animals are on display in the 170-acre facility featuring natural habitats, river views, valley overlooks and historic landmarks.

Admission is $9.75 adults; $7.25 ages 3 to 12; and $8.50 military.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to S.C. 277 South to 76 West, turn left onto Greystone Boulevard, left onto Rivermont Drive, right onto Wildlife Parkway. The zoo is at 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia.

For details, visit www.riverbanks.org.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 14 minutes.

Distance: 70 miles.

Fryar's Topiary Garden

Three acres of sculpted plants which include arches, spirals, geometric and fantasies by Pearl Fryar. The garden has been featured on local and national televisions shows. Tours are available.

Donations are accepted for admission.

Hours are daily from dawn to dusk.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to I-20 toward Florence to U.S. 15 North, left on Broad Acres Road. The garden is at 145 Broad Acres Road, Bishopville.

For details, visit www.fryarstopiaries.com.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 42 minutes.

Distance: 104 miles.

Abbeville Opera House

The opera house is a restored turn-of-the-century facility featuring a 7,800-square-foot stage. The June show is Southern Hospitality, the final play in the Futrelle Family Texas trilogy.

Admission and hours vary based on performances. The opera house is open for self-guided tours from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Directions: Take S.C. 72 South to S.C. 72 West, turn right onto S.C. 72 Bypass Northeast, S.C. 72 Bypass becomes S.C. 72 West, turn right onto South Main Street.

For show list, visit www.theabbevilleoperahouse. org or call (864) 366-2157.

Estimated driving time: Two hours and 17 minutes.

Distance: 107 miles.

Museum and gallery at Bob Jones University

The museum and gallery contain 30 galleries filled with art, tapestries, furniture, sculpture and architectural motifs from the 14th through 19th centuries. It includes works by major artists such as Rubens, Van dyck, Tintoretto, Veronese, Cranach, Gerard David, Ribera, Murillo, Honthort and Dore.

Admission is $5 adults; $4 seniors; $3 students; and free for ages 6 to 12.

Hours are 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to S.C. 291 North, continue to Wade Hampton Blvd., U.S. 29 South. The site is at 1700 Wade Hampton Blvd., Greenville.

For details, visit www.bjumg.org or call (864) 770-1331.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 46 minutes.

Distance: 91 miles.

Falls Park on the Reedy River

The park, in downtown Greenville in the historic West End, features a one-of-a-kind curved suspension footbridge with scenic overlooks, outdoor amphitheaters, public art, nature trails, picnic areas, excavated mill ruins, garden areas and Reedy River with its impressive series of falls. The park has a self-guided walking tour with historic markers.

Admission is free.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to I-385 North, turn left onto Church Street, go right into Camperdown Way. The park is at 601 S. Main St., Greenville.

For details, visit www.fallspark.com or call (864) 467-4350.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 48 minutes.

Distance: 93 miles.

With local gas prices averaging $3.79 per gallon, many folks are planning to save money by vacationing closer to home this summer. What's there to do? Here are some cool day-trip destinations you can drive to on a tank of gas or less.

Reed Gold Mine

Pan for gold at the first documented U.S. gold find site. Tours of the restored underground tunnels are offered each hour; tours of a restored operational stamp mill are available several times each day.

Admission and tours are free. Gold panning is $2 per pan. A group rate of $1.50 per pan is available.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; the site is closed Sunday and Monday.

Directions: Take N.C. 51 North to N.C. 24. Left onto Reed Mine Road. The site is at 9621 Reed Mine Road, Midland, N.C.

For details, visit www.reedmine.com or call (704) 721-4653.

Estimated travel time: One hour and four minutes.

Distance: 56 miles.

Linville Caverns

North Carolina's only true cavern system is open to the public. The caverns lead under Humpback Mountain, below the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Guided tours of the caverns depart from the gift shop every 10 to 15 minutes and last 30 to 40 minutes.

Admission is $6 adults; $4 ages 5 to 12; $4.50 ages 62 and older; and free for children younger than 5.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Labor Day.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to U.S. 321 North to I-40 West to N.C. 226 to U.S. 221. The site is at 19929 U.S. 221 North, Marion, N.C.

For details, visit www.linvillecaverns.com or call 1-800-419-0540.

Estimated travel time: Two hours and 27 minutes.

Distance: 135 miles.

Biltmore House and Gardens

Built by George Vanderbilt in 1895, the 250-room mansion contains restored original furnishings and original work from artists such as Renoir and others collected by Vanderbilt during his world travels. Tours of the house, gardens and winery are available with admission.

Gate admission, Sunday through Friday, is $47 adults, ages 17 and older, and free through Sept. 5 for children younger than 17, with a paying adult. Saturday cost is $51 for adults ages 17 and older and free through Sept. 5 for children younger than 17. Tickets may be purchased online at a discount.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to U.S. 321 North to I-40 West and take exit 50B. The site is at 1 Approach Road, Asheville, N.C.

For details, visit www.biltmore.com or call (877) 245-8667.

Estimated travel time: Two hours and 21 minutes.

Distance: 128 miles.

Prime Outlets

Shop until you drop in more than 80 brand-name stores.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; on Sunday shops are open 1:30 to 7 p.m. and Sunday food court hours are noon to 7 p.m.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to exit 90. The site is at 1 Factory Shops Blvd., Gaffney.

For details, call (888) 902-0096.

Estimated travel time: One hour.

Distance: 46 miles.

Hot Air Balloon Rides

Set up and inflate your own hot air balloon and take a ride over York County. On a clear day, Charlotte and Kings Mountain are visable. Launch and landing sites are based on the wind patterns for the day.

Private balloon ride for two is $500. Individual balloon ride is $300.

The rides are offered by Eagles Wings, Rock Hill. To book a flight, call 329-2715 or (803) 230-1178 or visit www.eagleswingshotairballoons.com.

Congaree River Canoe Trip

Guided canoe and kayak tours on the Congaree River are offered every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The trip lasts two to three hours and is suitable for all skill levels, young families and groups.

Cost is $25 per person for a canoe trip and $30 for a kayak trip, which includes equipment and transportation.

Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to S.C. 277 South, turn right onto U.S. 76 West to U.S. 176, right on Blossom Street and left on State Street. The site is at 1107 State St., Cayce.

For details, visit www.adventurecarolina.com.

Estimated travel time: One hour and 16 minutes.

Distance: 71 miles.

Carolina Adventure World Motorcross facility

The 2,600-acre family park offers 100 miles of trails that wind through woods, valleys and streams. The facility features a championship course, a vintage course, junior motorcross track, mini moto and permanent enduro course.

Admission is $25 day pass for adults and $17 for ages 17 and younger.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to S.C. 20, turn right onto Arrowhead Road. The site is at 1713 Arrowhead Road, Winnsboro.

For details, visit www.carolinaadventureworld.com or call (803) 482-3534.

Estimated travel time: 43 minutes.

Distance: 40 miles.

Fort Jackson Museum

Fort Jackson is the largest Army training facility in the country. Museum exhibits recount the history of training the American soldier from 1917 to present. Military equipment from past wars is displayed outside the museum. Tours are self-guided.

Admission is free.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to Strom Thurmond Boulevard, right onto Jackson Boulevard. The museum is at 4442 Jackson Blvd., Fort Jackson.

For details, visit www.jackson.army.mil or call (803) 751-7419.

Estimated driving time: One hour and eight minutes.

Distance: 66 miles.

Whitewater rafting on the Chattooga River

Guided rafting trips are available on the Chattooga River. Half-day, full-day and two-day trips are available.

Cost varies according to trip selected. Trips run March through November.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to S.C. 24 to 76 West, turn right onto Academy Road. The site is at 1251 Academy Road, Long Creek.

For details, visit www.wildwaterrafting.com or call (864) 647-9587.

Estimated driving time: Three hours and eight minutes.

Distance: 158 miles.

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

More than 2,000 animals are on display in the 170-acre facility featuring natural habitats, river views, valley overlooks and historic landmarks.

Admission is $9.75 adults; $7.25 ages 3 to 12; and $8.50 military.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to S.C. 277 South to 76 West, turn left onto Greystone Boulevard, left onto Rivermont Drive, right onto Wildlife Parkway. The zoo is at 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia.

For details, visit www.riverbanks.org.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 14 minutes.

Distance: 70 miles.

Fryar's Topiary Garden

Three acres of sculpted plants which include arches, spirals, geometric and fantasies by Pearl Fryar. The garden has been featured on local and national televisions shows. Tours are available.

Donations are accepted for admission.

Hours are daily from dawn to dusk.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to I-20 toward Florence to U.S. 15 North, left on Broad Acres Road. The garden is at 145 Broad Acres Road, Bishopville.

For details, visit www.fryarstopiaries.com.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 42 minutes.

Distance: 104 miles.

Abbeville Opera House

The opera house is a restored turn-of-the-century facility featuring a 7,800-square-foot stage. The June show is Southern Hospitality, the final play in the Futrelle Family Texas trilogy.

Admission and hours vary based on performances. The opera house is open for self-guided tours from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Directions: Take S.C. 72 South to S.C. 72 West, turn right onto S.C. 72 Bypass Northeast, S.C. 72 Bypass becomes S.C. 72 West, turn right onto South Main Street.

For show list, visit www.theabbevilleoperahouse. org or call (864) 366-2157.

Estimated driving time: Two hours and 17 minutes.

Distance: 107 miles.

Museum and gallery at Bob Jones University

The museum and gallery contain 30 galleries filled with art, tapestries, furniture, sculpture and architectural motifs from the 14th through 19th centuries. It includes works by major artists such as Rubens, Van dyck, Tintoretto, Veronese, Cranach, Gerard David, Ribera, Murillo, Honthort and Dore.

Admission is $5 adults; $4 seniors; $3 students; and free for ages 6 to 12.

Hours are 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to S.C. 291 North, continue to Wade Hampton Blvd., U.S. 29 South. The site is at 1700 Wade Hampton Blvd., Greenville.

For details, visit www.bjumg.org or call (864) 770-1331.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 46 minutes.

Distance: 91 miles.

Falls Park on the Reedy River

The park, in downtown Greenville in the historic West End, features a one-of-a-kind curved suspension footbridge with scenic overlooks, outdoor amphitheaters, public art, nature trails, picnic areas, excavated mill ruins, garden areas and Reedy River with its impressive series of falls. The park has a self-guided walking tour with historic markers.

Admission is free.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to I-385 North, turn left onto Church Street, go right into Camperdown Way. The park is at 601 S. Main St., Greenville.

For details, visit www.fallspark.com or call (864) 467-4350.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 48 minutes.

Distance: 93 miles.

With local gas prices averaging $3.79 per gallon, many folks are planning to save money by vacationing closer to home this summer. What's there to do? Here are some cool day-trip destinations you can drive to on a tank of gas or less.

Reed Gold Mine

Pan for gold at the first documented U.S. gold find site. Tours of the restored underground tunnels are offered each hour; tours of a restored operational stamp mill are available several times each day.

Admission and tours are free. Gold panning is $2 per pan. A group rate of $1.50 per pan is available.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; the site is closed Sunday and Monday.

Directions: Take N.C. 51 North to N.C. 24. Left onto Reed Mine Road. The site is at 9621 Reed Mine Road, Midland, N.C.

For details, visit www.reedmine.com or call (704) 721-4653.

Estimated travel time: One hour and four minutes.

Distance: 56 miles.

Linville Caverns

North Carolina's only true cavern system is open to the public. The caverns lead under Humpback Mountain, below the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Guided tours of the caverns depart from the gift shop every 10 to 15 minutes and last 30 to 40 minutes.

Admission is $6 adults; $4 ages 5 to 12; $4.50 ages 62 and older; and free for children younger than 5.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Labor Day.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to U.S. 321 North to I-40 West to N.C. 226 to U.S. 221. The site is at 19929 U.S. 221 North, Marion, N.C.

For details, visit www.linvillecaverns.com or call 1-800-419-0540.

Estimated travel time: Two hours and 27 minutes.

Distance: 135 miles.

Biltmore House and Gardens

Built by George Vanderbilt in 1895, the 250-room mansion contains restored original furnishings and original work from artists such as Renoir and others collected by Vanderbilt during his world travels. Tours of the house, gardens and winery are available with admission.

Gate admission, Sunday through Friday, is $47 adults, ages 17 and older, and free through Sept. 5 for children younger than 17, with a paying adult. Saturday cost is $51 for adults ages 17 and older and free through Sept. 5 for children younger than 17. Tickets may be purchased online at a discount.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to U.S. 321 North to I-40 West and take exit 50B. The site is at 1 Approach Road, Asheville, N.C.

For details, visit www.biltmore.com or call (877) 245-8667.

Estimated travel time: Two hours and 21 minutes.

Distance: 128 miles.

Prime Outlets

Shop until you drop in more than 80 brand-name stores.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; on Sunday shops are open 1:30 to 7 p.m. and Sunday food court hours are noon to 7 p.m.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to exit 90. The site is at 1 Factory Shops Blvd., Gaffney.

For details, call (888) 902-0096.

Estimated travel time: One hour.

Distance: 46 miles.

Hot Air Balloon Rides

Set up and inflate your own hot air balloon and take a ride over York County. On a clear day, Charlotte and Kings Mountain are visable. Launch and landing sites are based on the wind patterns for the day.

Private balloon ride for two is $500. Individual balloon ride is $300.

The rides are offered by Eagles Wings, Rock Hill. To book a flight, call 329-2715 or (803) 230-1178 or visit www.eagleswingshotairballoons.com.

Congaree River Canoe Trip

Guided canoe and kayak tours on the Congaree River are offered every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The trip lasts two to three hours and is suitable for all skill levels, young families and groups.

Cost is $25 per person for a canoe trip and $30 for a kayak trip, which includes equipment and transportation.

Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to S.C. 277 South, turn right onto U.S. 76 West to U.S. 176, right on Blossom Street and left on State Street. The site is at 1107 State St., Cayce.

For details, visit www.adventurecarolina.com.

Estimated travel time: One hour and 16 minutes.

Distance: 71 miles.

Carolina Adventure World Motorcross facility

The 2,600-acre family park offers 100 miles of trails that wind through woods, valleys and streams. The facility features a championship course, a vintage course, junior motorcross track, mini moto and permanent enduro course.

Admission is $25 day pass for adults and $17 for ages 17 and younger.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to S.C. 20, turn right onto Arrowhead Road. The site is at 1713 Arrowhead Road, Winnsboro.

For details, visit www.carolinaadventureworld.com or call (803) 482-3534.

Estimated travel time: 43 minutes.

Distance: 40 miles.

Fort Jackson Museum

Fort Jackson is the largest Army training facility in the country. Museum exhibits recount the history of training the American soldier from 1917 to present. Military equipment from past wars is displayed outside the museum. Tours are self-guided.

Admission is free.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to Strom Thurmond Boulevard, right onto Jackson Boulevard. The museum is at 4442 Jackson Blvd., Fort Jackson.

For details, visit www.jackson.army.mil or call (803) 751-7419.

Estimated driving time: One hour and eight minutes.

Distance: 66 miles.

Whitewater rafting on the Chattooga River

Guided rafting trips are available on the Chattooga River. Half-day, full-day and two-day trips are available.

Cost varies according to trip selected. Trips run March through November.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to S.C. 24 to 76 West, turn right onto Academy Road. The site is at 1251 Academy Road, Long Creek.

For details, visit www.wildwaterrafting.com or call (864) 647-9587.

Estimated driving time: Three hours and eight minutes.

Distance: 158 miles.

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

More than 2,000 animals are on display in the 170-acre facility featuring natural habitats, river views, valley overlooks and historic landmarks.

Admission is $9.75 adults; $7.25 ages 3 to 12; and $8.50 military.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to S.C. 277 South to 76 West, turn left onto Greystone Boulevard, left onto Rivermont Drive, right onto Wildlife Parkway. The zoo is at 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia.

For details, visit www.riverbanks.org.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 14 minutes.

Distance: 70 miles.

Fryar's Topiary Garden

Three acres of sculpted plants which include arches, spirals, geometric and fantasies by Pearl Fryar. The garden has been featured on local and national televisions shows. Tours are available.

Donations are accepted for admission.

Hours are daily from dawn to dusk.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to I-20 toward Florence to U.S. 15 North, left on Broad Acres Road. The garden is at 145 Broad Acres Road, Bishopville.

For details, visit www.fryarstopiaries.com.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 42 minutes.

Distance: 104 miles.

Abbeville Opera House

The opera house is a restored turn-of-the-century facility featuring a 7,800-square-foot stage. The June show is Southern Hospitality, the final play in the Futrelle Family Texas trilogy.

FOR MORE TRIPS, TURN TO PAGE 7C

Admission and hours vary based on performances. The opera house is open for self-guided tours from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Directions: Take S.C. 72 South to S.C. 72 West, turn right onto S.C. 72 Bypass Northeast, S.C. 72 Bypass becomes S.C. 72 West, turn right onto South Main Street.

For show list, visit www.theabbevilleoperahouse. org or call (864) 366-2157.

Estimated driving time: Two hours and 17 minutes.

Distance: 107 miles.

Museum and gallery at Bob Jones University

The museum and gallery contain 30 galleries filled with art, tapestries, furniture, sculpture and architectural motifs from the 14th through 19th centuries. It includes works by major artists such as Rubens, Van dyck, Tintoretto, Veronese, Cranach, Gerard David, Ribera, Murillo, Honthort and Dore.

Admission is $5 adults; $4 seniors; $3 students; and free for ages 6 to 12.

Hours are 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to S.C. 291 North, continue to Wade Hampton Blvd., U.S. 29 South. The site is at 1700 Wade Hampton Blvd., Greenville.

For details, visit www.bjumg.org or call (864) 770-1331.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 46 minutes.

Distance: 91 miles.

Falls Park on the Reedy River

The park, in downtown Greenville in the historic West End, features a one-of-a-kind curved suspension footbridge with scenic overlooks, outdoor amphitheaters, public art, nature trails, picnic areas, excavated mill ruins, garden areas and Reedy River with its impressive series of falls. The park has a self-guided walking tour with historic markers.

Admission is free.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to I-385 North, turn left onto Church Street, go right into Camperdown Way. The park is at 601 S. Main St., Greenville.

For details, visit www.fallspark.com or call (864) 467-4350.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 48 minutes.

Distance: 93 miles.

With local gas prices averaging $3.79 per gallon, many folks are planning to save money by vacationing closer to home this summer. What's there to do? Here are some cool day-trip destinations you can drive to on a tank of gas or less.

Reed Gold Mine

Pan for gold at the first documented U.S. gold find site. Tours of the restored underground tunnels are offered each hour; tours of a restored operational stamp mill are available several times each day.

Admission and tours are free. Gold panning is $2 per pan. A group rate of $1.50 per pan is available.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; the site is closed Sunday and Monday.

Directions: Take N.C. 51 North to N.C. 24. Left onto Reed Mine Road. The site is at 9621 Reed Mine Road, Midland, N.C.

For details, visit www.reedmine.com or call (704) 721-4653.

Estimated travel time: One hour and four minutes.

Distance: 56 miles.

Linville Caverns

North Carolina's only true cavern system is open to the public. The caverns lead under Humpback Mountain, below the Blue Ridge Escarpment. Guided tours of the caverns depart from the gift shop every 10 to 15 minutes and last 30 to 40 minutes.

Admission is $6 adults; $4 ages 5 to 12; $4.50 ages 62 and older; and free for children younger than 5.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Labor Day.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to U.S. 321 North to I-40 West to N.C. 226 to U.S. 221. The site is at 19929 U.S. 221 North, Marion, N.C.

For details, visit www.linvillecaverns.com or call 1-800-419-0540.

Estimated travel time: Two hours and 27 minutes.

Distance: 135 miles.

Biltmore House and Gardens

Built by George Vanderbilt in 1895, the 250-room mansion contains restored original furnishings and original work from artists such as Renoir and others collected by Vanderbilt during his world travels. Tours of the house, gardens and winery are available with admission.

Gate admission, Sunday through Friday, is $47 adults, ages 17 and older, and free through Sept. 5 for children younger than 17, with a paying adult. Saturday cost is $51 for adults ages 17 and older and free through Sept. 5 for children younger than 17. Tickets may be purchased online at a discount.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to U.S. 321 North to I-40 West and take exit 50B. The site is at 1 Approach Road, Asheville, N.C.

For details, visit www.biltmore.com or call (877) 245-8667.

Estimated travel time: Two hours and 21 minutes.

Distance: 128 miles.

Prime Outlets

Shop until you drop in more than 80 brand-name stores.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; on Sunday shops are open 1:30 to 7 p.m. and Sunday food court hours are noon to 7 p.m.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to exit 90. The site is at 1 Factory Shops Blvd., Gaffney.

For details, call (888) 902-0096.

Estimated travel time: One hour.

Distance: 46 miles.

Hot Air Balloon Rides

Set up and inflate your own hot air balloon and take a ride over York County. On a clear day, Charlotte and Kings Mountain are visable. Launch and landing sites are based on the wind patterns for the day.

Private balloon ride for two is $500. Individual balloon ride is $300.

The rides are offered by Eagles Wings, Rock Hill. To book a flight, call 329-2715 or (803) 230-1178 or visit www.eagleswingshotairballoons.com.

Congaree River Canoe Trip

Guided canoe and kayak tours on the Congaree River are offered every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The trip lasts two to three hours and is suitable for all skill levels, young families and groups.

Cost is $25 per person for a canoe trip and $30 for a kayak trip, which includes equipment and transportation.

Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to S.C. 277 South, turn right onto U.S. 76 West to U.S. 176, right on Blossom Street and left on State Street. The site is at 1107 State St., Cayce.

For details, visit www.adventurecarolina.com.

Estimated travel time: One hour and 16 minutes.

Distance: 71 miles.

Carolina Adventure World Motorcross facility

The 2,600-acre family park offers 100 miles of trails that wind through woods, valleys and streams. The facility features a championship course, a vintage course, junior motorcross track, mini moto and permanent enduro course.

Admission is $25 day pass for adults and $17 for ages 17 and younger.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to S.C. 20, turn right onto Arrowhead Road. The site is at 1713 Arrowhead Road, Winnsboro.

For details, visit www.carolinaadventureworld.com or call (803) 482-3534.

Estimated travel time: 43 minutes.

Distance: 40 miles.

Fort Jackson Museum

Fort Jackson is the largest Army training facility in the country. Museum exhibits recount the history of training the American soldier from 1917 to present. Military equipment from past wars is displayed outside the museum. Tours are self-guided.

Admission is free.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to Strom Thurmond Boulevard, right onto Jackson Boulevard. The museum is at 4442 Jackson Blvd., Fort Jackson.

For details, visit www.jackson.army.mil or call (803) 751-7419.

Estimated driving time: One hour and eight minutes.

Distance: 66 miles.

Whitewater rafting on the Chattooga River

Guided rafting trips are available on the Chattooga River. Half-day, full-day and two-day trips are available.

Cost varies according to trip selected. Trips run March through November.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to S.C. 24 to 76 West, turn right onto Academy Road. The site is at 1251 Academy Road, Long Creek.

For details, visit www.wildwaterrafting.com or call (864) 647-9587.

Estimated driving time: Three hours and eight minutes.

Distance: 158 miles.

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

More than 2,000 animals are on display in the 170-acre facility featuring natural habitats, river views, valley overlooks and historic landmarks.

Admission is $9.75 adults; $7.25 ages 3 to 12; and $8.50 military.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to S.C. 277 South to 76 West, turn left onto Greystone Boulevard, left onto Rivermont Drive, right onto Wildlife Parkway. The zoo is at 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia.

For details, visit www.riverbanks.org.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 14 minutes.

Distance: 70 miles.

Fryar's Topiary Garden

Three acres of sculpted plants which include arches, spirals, geometric and fantasies by Pearl Fryar. The garden has been featured on local and national televisions shows. Tours are available.

Donations are accepted for admission.

Hours are daily from dawn to dusk.

Directions: Take Interstate 77 South to I-20 toward Florence to U.S. 15 North, left on Broad Acres Road. The garden is at 145 Broad Acres Road, Bishopville.

For details, visit www.fryarstopiaries.com.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 42 minutes.

Distance: 104 miles.

Abbeville Opera House

The opera house is a restored turn-of-the-century facility featuring a 7,800-square-foot stage. The June show is Southern Hospitality, the final play in the Futrelle Family Texas trilogy.

Admission and hours vary based on performances. The opera house is open for self-guided tours from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Directions: Take S.C. 72 South to S.C. 72 West, turn right onto S.C. 72 Bypass Northeast, S.C. 72 Bypass becomes S.C. 72 West, turn right onto South Main Street.

For show list, visit www.theabbevilleoperahouse. org or call (864) 366-2157.

Estimated driving time: Two hours and 17 minutes.

Distance: 107 miles.

Museum and gallery at Bob Jones University

The museum and gallery contain 30 galleries filled with art, tapestries, furniture, sculpture and architectural motifs from the 14th through 19th centuries. It includes works by major artists such as Rubens, Van dyck, Tintoretto, Veronese, Cranach, Gerard David, Ribera, Murillo, Honthort and Dore.

Admission is $5 adults; $4 seniors; $3 students; and free for ages 6 to 12.

Hours are 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to S.C. 291 North, continue to Wade Hampton Blvd., U.S. 29 South. The site is at 1700 Wade Hampton Blvd., Greenville.

For details, visit www.bjumg.org or call (864) 770-1331.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 46 minutes.

Distance: 91 miles.

Falls Park on the Reedy River

The park, in downtown Greenville in the historic West End, features a one-of-a-kind curved suspension footbridge with scenic overlooks, outdoor amphitheaters, public art, nature trails, picnic areas, excavated mill ruins, garden areas and Reedy River with its impressive series of falls. The park has a self-guided walking tour with historic markers.

Admission is free.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Directions: Take Interstate 85 South to I-385 North, turn left onto Church Street, go right into Camperdown Way. The park is at 601 S. Main St., Greenville.

For details, visit www.fallspark.com or call (864) 467-4350.

Estimated driving time: One hour and 48 minutes.

Distance: 93 miles.

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