Before starting ‘Trips of the Week’ I still had a habit of making the most of each weekend I went out of town. This particular weekend, Columbia, South Carolina. Home to sweet tea and my alma mater, the University of South Carolina. The Fighting Gamecocks. I make it a point to get to as many football games as possible. There are a few other times worth visiting Columbia, SC outside of SEC football.

IMG_6111Getting into town on a Friday night our first stop is Carolina Stadium on USC’s campus. An 8,000 seat baseball park. Taking my obvious bias out of the picture– it’s quite possibly the nicest in all of college baseball. The Gamecocks won the NCAA College World Series back to back in 2010 and 2011. Their first (and second) national championship in any sport. Friday night under the lights against border rival UGA. Carolina Stadium is notorious for sellout crowds. It’s a great family experience and even better talent on the field.

After a disappointing loss we headed out to five points for a few too many beers at Salty Nut Café and college student favorite Pavlovs. Don’t wear your favorite shoes if you plan on heading this way for the evening.

Scalping tickets from car to car.

A 20-minute drive from campus in Camden, SC there’s a prestigious horse race held every spring. Up bright and WAY too early, ready for the 80th racing of the Carolina Cup. Sun dresses, big hats, mint julips and pretty women. A mini version of the Kentucky Derby without the ability to place a bet down on lucky number seven but every bit as fun.

You’ll want to head out around 8 or 9AM. It’ll all be over by 2PM. And remember unlike the horses, it’s a marathon not a sprint.  If you happen to see some horses in the midst of preparing exotic beverages, kudos to you. This was my third time attending and the first time seeing horses. We had a tailgate spot up against the rail so it was almost impossible to miss. General admission tickets are cheap (around $30 in advance) and the parking spot will run you $200 if you want to have a view.

IMG_6121Whether it’s for an hour or five, you have to walk around the fraternity lots. Giant parties under enormous tents. Provided you bring your own booze and don’t try to fraternize with their significant others they’ll be happy to host you and your friends. Offer a shot and maybe some beer snacks and you’re welcome to hang out with the rambunctious crowd blaring whatever Drake and Two Chainz just put out.

Editors note: Be sure to designate a driver. The town of Camden cleans house that day from the stubborn folks who are determined to make it home on their own. Uber it back if you have to. It isn’t worth it.

After a safe ride home we made a stop at Zaxby’s (a local chicken chain) and rested up for the evening entertainment. Kenny Chesney was playing down the road on campus at Colonial Life Arena. Since it was sold out we didn’t have tickets but that didn’t stop us from scalping a few. There were 5 of us — we did not have high expectations with the concert. It was every man for themselves.

Good news for us is I like to believe good things happen to good people. Or something like that. Two of us got tickets in the upper level IMG_6141for $40 while three others got theirs in the lowers for $50. Low and behold, there were three empty seats right next to them and we headed on down with the cool crowd. Ten rows away for a top five country concert experience. Kenny puts on a great show and played all the classics.

Total costs:

  • Baseball ticket: $12
  • Carolina Cup: $30
  • Kenny Chesney: $40

Not a bad weekend for $82. Make sure you head on down to Columbia, SC sometime. Williams-Brice Stadium in the fall or Carolina baseball in the spring. If you’re really lucky, you can head an hour southwest and catch a round at the Masters in Augusta. Held the first full week of April around the Carolina Cup.  Happy traveling!


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