You don’t have to drive to the coast to stroll a city that shows off its authentic colonial past: Camden is less than two hours from Charlotte. It’s the oldest existing inland town in South Carolina (1732), and the Battle of Camden was fought near here in August 1780 – it was a disaster for the Americans.
A 105-acre chunk of old Camden is today Historic Camden ( www.historic-camden.net), an outdoor museum complex affiliated with the National Park Service. Buildings include the restored and furnished 1785 John Craven House, the 1830 Cunningham House, the partly restored McCaa House (1795), a pair of log cabins and the reconstructed/furnished Kershaw mansion, which served as headquarters for Lord Cornwallis during British occupation.
You’ll also find a blacksmith exhibit, some reconstructed military fortifications, the 1758 Quaker Cemetery and walking trails.
Special programs are held throughout the year; they range from lectures and exhibits to weekend events that showcase military re-enactors.
Admission is free. Pick up a site map for a self-guided tour. Guided tours ($5; $3 for kids) are offered twice daily.
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