Clearly, fall is made to spend in Clemson. Even the leaves turn orange! And while the town is small, when the students are at the university, and it’s still warm enough to be outside, the streets, lakes, ball fields and hiking trails are bustling with happy people ready to give you a smile or shout a friendly “Go Tigers!” as you walk by.
Some come to walk the two blocks of downtown (yes, there are only two, but they’re packed with good bars and places to eat), take a boat out on the lake, or join us for some of my favorite Clemson fall activities.
1. Tailgating (and football)
Clemson’s most popular fall activity is tailgating at Clemson University Football Games. If you like hanging out with 120,000+ excited fans wearing orange, sharing food and drink and hanging around outside all day long, than this is the activity for you (oh, there’s some football too, but that’s only a small part of the entire experience). In truth, if you’ve never witnessed a Saturday Game Day in Clemson, you need to come be a part of it at least once (when a town of 30,000 more than triples in size for a day, exciting things happen). So wear orange, put on some comfortable shoes, bring drinks to share, and plan for traffic and crowds. I promise – it’s worth it.
When: Home games are Sept. 2, Sept. 9, Sept. 23, Oct. 7 (Homecoming – come see the giant non-moving floats!), Oct. 28, Nov. 11 and Nov. 18.
2. The Eclipse
The full, complete solar eclipse can be seen over only a thin stretch of the United States, and Clemson is smack dab in the middle of it. The university is expecting giant crowds to come witness the rare event, so they’ve schedule a day of activities, which will include access to equipment and lessons from university scientists. Parking will be at a premium and the crowds will be dense (even on the lake), but it promises to be an unforgettable few minutes of darkness. Learn more at www.clemson.edu/eclipse.
When: Monday, Aug. 21, 1:07 - 4:02 p.m. (totality at 2:37 p.m.)
3. South Carolina Botanical Garden Fall Concert Series
The South Carolina Botanical Garden is a hidden gem in Clemson – which is surprising, considering it’s almost 300 acres. This is not a formal garden, but rather an expansive series of walking trails, an arboretum, two historic houses, a great geology museum, a duck pond, demonstration gardens, and so much more. It’s the perfect place for a long walk with the dogs or a picnic with the family. In fall, the Garden hosts free outdoor concerts on Fridays at 7 p.m. in the amphitheater, which makes for a lovely night under the stars.
When: Fridays at 7 p.m., beginning Sept. 15 with the band Left Lane.
4. Pendleton Fall Harvest Festival
Pendleton is a quaint, historic town just a few minutes down the road from Clemson. They regularly hold events on the town’s center square, and the Fall Festival is always a popular one. Come for homemade crafts, food trucks, entertainment and old-fashioned games. They also involve all the local merchants in a contest to create scarecrows, so the center of town is fully decorated in amusing and elaborate scarecrows. Learn more on Facebook.
When: Saturday, October 14
OK, so this really isn’t an event, but you can’t come to Clemson without spending a little time outside, especially as the heat and humidity of summer fade away. Hit the Clemson Experimental Forest for some of the Upstate’s best mountain biking (or horseback riding, or walking – whatever you like, there’s a trail for you). Rent a kayak or SUP from Elkmont Trading Company and cruise around Lake Hartwell, which is right in the middle of Clemson, then return it to the store and head downstairs for refreshment from the tasty Elkmont Tap & Cellar. Trek out on one of the nearby waterfall trails, like Todd’s Creek or Waldrop Stone, or drive out 30-45 minutes for many of the other area waterfall hikes.
Yes, Clemson is a small town. But in fall, it’s full of things to do and reasons to get out and explore. I hope to see you here!