Best Way to Spend an Afternoon Exploring Rock Hill, South Carolina

Want to spend a little extra time exploring the area around beautiful Lake Wylie — but not quite sure where to start? Playing a significant part in South Carolina’s rich textile manufacturing industry and history, Rock Hill has recently reinvented itself to be a must-visit destination for people of all ages and stages of life.

Located just sixteen miles north of Lake Wylie, Rock Hill was nicknamed “Boom Town” by the New York Times, as the area has experienced explosive growth in recent years. 

With an array of tantalizing restaurants, breweries, and wineries to satisfy every palate, and a spectrum of sports activities, including national cycling events and recreational opportunities, Rock Hill guarantees an unforgettable adventure. 

And for those seeking a tranquil retreat, don’t miss the chance to explore Morningstar Marinas’ McLean Premier Marina Location, a gateway to Gaston County offering unrivalled boating experiences on Lake Wylie.

Join us in discovering the charm and diversity that define Rock Hill, where every corner tells a story waiting to be explored. Here are a few things to think about adding to your must-see itinerary for the perfect afternoon exploring Rock Hill, South Carolina. 

Explore the Hidden Gems

Rock Hill is home to a burgeoning art scene, with tons of cultural and artistic spaces to explore all across the area — inside and out. 

Remember those famous Rice Krispie’s characters, Snap, Crackle, and Pop? The famous late New York illustrator Vernon Grant once called Rock Hill home, and maintains a presence in the area to this day. In Old Town Rock Hill you’ll stumble across his illustrations in storefronts up and down Main Street. 

Visit the Hardin Family Garden on Winthrop University’s campus, and appreciate the garden’s fountain wall and various artistic and geometric designs. 

Not ready to head back indoors just yet? Check out Glencairn Gardens, which first started as a backyard garden in 1928 but has evolved into an 11-acre oasis, winding through old residential neighborhoods and connecting the downtown via other small parks and greenways within the community.

Head back towards historic downtown Rock Hill’s Cultural District, where the York County Center for the Arts is housed within two restored, 121-year-old buildings.  

Take a Tour with the Family

There are tons of different family-friendly museums and historical monuments to visit around York County, including:

  • Historic Brattonsville: An 800-acre historic site of more than 30 historic structures from the 1760s through the late-19th century.  
  • McCelvey Center: Houses the Historical Center of York County, the Southern Revolutionary War Institute, and the Lowry Family Theater. 
  • Museum of York County: Visit the award-winning exhibitions and programs at the Naturalist Center, Settlemyre Planetarium, and Tot Town. 
  • Main Street Children’s Museum: Inspired by Vernon Grant’s work, this imagination space allows kids to let their creative juices flow. 
  • Catawba Cultural Center: Tasked with protecting, preserving, promoting and maintaining the rich cultural history of the area, the cultural center is housed in the historic Catawba School House. 
  • White Home: Learn all about the history of Rock Hill during a guided tour of the White family’s generational home. 

Shopping Selections

Ready to shop until you drop? Downtown Rock Hill is home to a ton of unique stores — take our word for it. Here are just a few eclectic and unique gift shops and boutiques to sample from! 

Tasty Treats & Eats

Come hungry, and leave more than satisfied thanks to all of these incredible cuisine choices! Here are some delectable restaurants and tasty beverage stores to consider adding to the list.

Restaurants & Eateries:

Breweries & Wineries:

Sports for Everyone

Regardless of your athleticism, this historic town draws in tons of sports tourism as the host of multiple national cycling events at the Rock Hill Velodrome Sports Complex, BMX Supercross Track, and the paved cycling track known as the Criterium Course

Additionally, the Rock Hill Sports & Event Center indoor sports complex features a massive championship court, eight basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts, and a walking track. 

Looking for more of a recreational opportunity? Stop by the Rock Hill Outdoor Center to paddle out on the Catawba River, walk or bike along the 2.5-mile paved trail on the river’s edge, or explore the woods on your mountain bike. 

Visit Morningstar Marinas’ Mclean Premier Marina Location

Situated at the gateway to Gaston County, between North and South Carolina, along N.C. 279 at the Seven Oaks Bridge, Morningstar Marinas McLean offers a convenient and peaceful retreat and is home to some of the area’s best fishing, watersports, and recreational boating opportunities. It’s a quick, half-hour trip into Rock Hill to explore the area for the day! 

The marina itself is home to 300 dry slips, 35 wet slips, and a fully stocked ship store with all the necessary standard boating supplies one might need. It also includes a waterfront event lawn and an on-site chophouse, Drift on Lake Wylie. Rent a boat to spend a day on the water, or park it to head over to nearby Rock Hill, Tega Cay, or Fort Mill to explore the area even further.

Rental boats at Morningstar Marinas at McLean


At Morningstar Marinas, we pride ourselves on the community of boaters we’ve created across the Southeast’s top boating destinations. Our facilities and services paired with our friendly and knowledgeable team members will help you quickly and efficiently get out there on the water, so you can start having fun! Morningstar Marinas is more than just a place to store your boat — we’re here to offer you an unforgettable boating experience, every time.