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Imagine savoring pecan pie martinis, pecan-encrusted grouper, or a slice of White Russian pecan pie.
These are some of the pecan specialties you’ll find on the Pecan Trail, Florence, SC.
Originally known as a railroad hub, Florence is gaining fame as the home of the South Carolina Pecan Trail.
With a wide variety of local restaurants, stores, and markets featuring pecan-related products, this charming town is a culinary gem.
While exploring the food in South Carolina, we stopped in Florence for a nutty adventure.
Discover the unique SC pecan trail, participating restaurants, and scrumptious flavored pecan specialties in Florence.
Why Pecans Are Special to Florence and South Carolina
While pecans are not native to South Carolina, pecan trees thrive in the state.
We were surprised to learn that Florence was once home to the largest pecan shelling operation in the world.
Even though the facility moved, the retail operation remains in Florence, at Young Plantations, a fun stop on the South Carolina Pecan Trail.
In 2003, the SC Pecan Festival was created in Florence. Bringing together the local community and stimulating the economy, the festival has grown in popularity over the years.
With Florence South Carolina being only about 60 miles away from the ocean, the festival attracts locals and visitors from all over the region.
The pecan festival in Florence SC takes place on the first Saturday of November in the historic downtown area.
The multi-block event includes food and craft vendors, music and entertainment, and kids’ activities.
And Florence keeps the pecan tradition alive year-round with the SC Pecan Trail.
What Is The Pecan Trail And How To Join the South Carolina Pecan Trail
The Pecan Trail in Florence SC is a route of 18+ businesses offering pecan specialties that highlight the nut’s culinary culture.
To get started, pick up a SC Pecan Trail passport which will serve as your guide to participating stores and restaurants.
You can get one at any of the stops we’ve highlighted below or simply go to the Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau.
At each stop, get the passport stamped whenever you make a passport-approved purchase. It only takes four stamps to earn your first swag, a nutcracker. This tool comes in handy when you buy fresh pecans in their shells.
With eight stamps, you’re up for a stylish “pecan-colored” drawstring bag.
And if you’re determined to achieve a fully stamped passport, the South Carolina Pecan Trail t-shirt is the grand prize.
Simply return the stamped passports to the Florence visitors bureau in person or send it in by mail for your pecan swag.
What is the best time of year to visit the Pecan Trail? The trail is available year-round, though fall is a great time to visit for the pecan festival and blooming pecan trees.
Please note that the SC Pecan Trail restaurants change from time to time. Those listed below may no longer be on the official passport trail at the time of your visit.
Where To Stay On The Pecan Trail In Florence SC
While exploring the South Carolina pecan trail, we recommend to book your stay at Hotel Florence.
Located in downtown Florence, we found it conveniently walkable to many of the restaurants featured on the trail.
It is also a stop on the pecan trail with its cozy bar Victors.
This boutique hotel is filled with history and character. Converted from three historical buildings, the hotel offers a look into Florence’s past contrasted by chic modern furnishing and luxury amenities.
With luxurious rooms, a fitness center, a spa, complimentary Wi-Fi, and daily treats between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm, you’ll enjoy your home away from home.
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Best Stops On The South Carolina Pecan Trail
The number of participating restaurants on the pecan trail SC is quite impressive. When we looked at our passports, we were amazed to find 18+ local restaurants and establishments putting pecans in the spotlight.
Even though we didn’t have time to visit all the places featured on the pecan trail, we found new and delicious ways to try pecan nuts at the following stops.
Start With Pecan Pancakes At Venus Restaurant For Breakfast
With our pecan trail passport in hand, we started our day at Venus Restaurant, formerly known as Venus Pancake House.
Venus started out in 1977 as a small, 24-hour diner and has expanded over the years. Find a huge variety of meals from pancakes, omelets, sandwiches, burgers, soups, salads, and more.
On the menu, you’ll find pecan waffles and pancakes. To get our passport stamp, we chose the Southern Pecan pancakes.
The fluffy buttermilk pancakes with pecans mixed throughout were a delightful blend of sweet and crunchy.
For authentic Southern pecan pancakes and a comfortable, family atmosphere, don’t miss Venus.
Shop For Pecan Goods And More at Young Plantations
A great place to buy pecans on the pecan trail is Young Plantations, also known as Young’s Premium Foods.
Founded in the 1920s, this family-owned business was once the largest pecan sheller (where pecans are removed from their shells) in the world.
Now, Young’s Premium Foods operates as a retail space selling pecans, homemade desserts and snacks, and pecan-related products.
One of the best parts of Young Plantations is the free sample bar where you can taste test all the scrumptious flavored pecans your heart desires.
We sampled a range of flavors including chocolate-covered, jalapeno, buttered, roasted, and candied pecans.
Delicious bread and pie samples made with fresh pecans tempted us further. We loved the jalapeno-flavored pecans and the pecan pie muffins. Overall, we were impressed by the incredible selection and flavors.
Young’s is the perfect place to pick up a gift or souvenir. They offer all kinds of beautifully packaged pecan-related gift baskets and boxes.
The friendly staff is available to offer advice and, more importantly, can ship your gifts or pecan pies back home for you. Plan on spending at least an hour browsing, tasting, and shopping.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you love nuts are looking for a beautiful mix of nuts to give as gift or enjoy at home, consider this premium nut gift tower. From Harry & David, this exclusive premium nut gift tower features a variety of nuts including pecans. It includes 3-boxes of nuts, sweet and savory, and ships all across the country.
Try White Russian Pecan Pie At The Pee Dee State Farmers Market
While the Pee Dee State Farmers Market is not officially on the pecan trail, you don’t want to skip this unusual market.
The Pee Dee State Farmers Market is a massive drive-through market set on 55 acres. You can literally drive your car through the market, while stopping to shop at the various vendors.
This market is open year-round and showcases the freshest and finest produce in the state.
On the market grounds is Julia Belle’s, a restaurant on the pecan trail.
Julia Belle’s is a much sought-after lunch spot for Southern cooking and their famous White Russian Pecan Pie dessert.
The highly recommended White Russian pecan pie adds a unique twist to the classic Southern pecan pie.
With the addition of white chocolate chips and Kahlua Liqueur, this dessert is described as “heavenly.”
After shopping at Pee Dee Market, stop by Julia Belle’s restaurant and get your passport stamped as you indulge in this decadent dessert.
Lunch at Tubb’s Shrimp & Fish For A Hearty Southern Meal
One of the most popular lunch spots in town is Tubb’s Shrimp and Fish. Fortunately, it is also on the pecan trail and a stop we really enjoyed.
The restaurant is known for fish and seafood, prepared in a Southern and Lowcountry style. In this old refurbished gas station, we enjoyed delicious, incredibly fresh seafood.
The one thing you’ll absolutely want to do is leave room for dessert. We are glad we did.
Tubb’s sweet potato cheesecake topped with pecans is to die for. Sweet potatoes mixed with creamy cheesecake filling are loaded with flavors of the season. And the pecans with marshmallows makes it irresistible.
Go hungry and enjoy the rich flavors at Tubb’s Shrimp and Fish.
Taste “Pecans Gone Wild” Beer At Seminar Brewing
Seminar Brewing, located on the northern side of Florence, is a great stop to enjoy more than 15 beers served on tap.
There are many ways to taste Seminar’s beers, from flights of four or six beers, all the way to a full 64 oz. growler.
I was thrilled to order a simple 4oz glass, just enough to taste this unique pecan beer and leave room for dinner.
The “Pecans Gone Wild” beer is a wild smoked brown ale made with pecans. I found it tasty with a strong ale flavor and a nutty hint.
The place is bright and spacious, with a large counter to enjoy food and drink. In the back of the room are large tanks and small round tables where beer drinkers can sample the craft beer of their choice.
There is also room in the back with a playground set up for kids to play while the adults enjoy their beers.
Alternatively Enjoy Afternoon TeaTime at Top Hat Special-Teas
If you are not a beer drinker, you may want to check out Top Hat Special-Teas on the pecan trail.
This delightful gem in downtown Florence’s historic district offers a variety of eclectic tea offerings, a casual atmosphere, and some of the best lunchtime fare in Florence.
Here, you’ll want to order the Pecan Scone with Devonshire cream and lemon curd. They are baked to order – so be sure to get your order in as soon as you sit down at your table!
Top Hat Special Teas serves a variety of delicious sandwiches, or opt for their four or six-course afternoon tea, which requires a reservation at least 24 hours in advance.
Dine At Town Hall Restaurant in Downtown Florence, SC
With a menu that changes with the seasons, the Town Hall restaurant is farm-driven and Southern-inspired.
Using locally and responsibly raised meat, pork, and seafood, the menu features an amazing selection of starters and entrees with familiar and unexpected ingredients.
Modern and airy in design, the restaurant is welcoming and the staff is friendly and professional. With guidance from our waitress, we focused on Southern specialties from the starters menu.
One of the menu highlights was the deviled eggs, made with a twist. In a creative manner, the chef topped traditional deviled eggs with gulf oysters for a wonderful explosion of fresh flavors and textures.
Although we were stuffed, we wanted to earn our last stamp in our pecan trail passport. The chocolate pecan pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert was the perfect finish.
Sip On Pecan Pie Martinis at Victors
To earn a passport stamp, have the bartender whip you up a Pecan Pie martini. And, if want a non-alcoholic option, simply ask for a delicious pecan mocktail instead.
These intriguing pecan cocktails can start your evening in downtown Florence, or help you wind down after a day on the pecan trail.
On your travels to South Carolina, don’t miss the SC Pecan trail. Stay for a couple of days and take in all the fun things to do in Florence.
You’ll be charmed by this quaint, historic town and enjoy warm Southern hospitality.
When recounting our adventures on the pecan trail, we had a hard time choosing our favorite pecan-inspired flavor. The sweet and savory range of pecan flavors and unusual combinations only left us wanting more.
As we looked through our passports, we were surprised to see that we only visited five stops on the pecan trail.
You’ll be surprised on your visit by the dynamic pecan-centric scene on the pecan trail Florence SC.
Do you love pecans? Have you been the SC pecan trail Florence? Please tell us in the comments below.
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Disclosure: Our time in Florence, South Carolina was in partnership with Discover South Carolina Tourism All views and opinions expressed are our own. Full bellies and happy taste buds too!
Claire is co-founder of Authentic Food Quest and a lover of simple and exquisite cuisine. Since 2015, with her partner, Rosemary, she has been traveling the world as a digital nomad, creating content about local food experiences.
Her advice from visiting 45 countries and more than 240 food cities has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post. She has also co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
An ex-mechanical engineer, Claire is responsible for SEO, keeping the website running, and the fun food & travel videos on YouTube.
When Claire is not eating, she can be found running or cycling. Find out more about Authentic Food Quest