South of the Border! Rest Stop & Road Side Attraction
For anyone who have driven down Interstate 95 between North Carolina and South Carolina you have seen the signs for South of the Border (SOB). We came from the North and signs advertising SOB started at least 300 miles before we got there. Signs are everywhere, with one after the other about every couple miles on I95 until you finally reach this Mexican inspired rest stop and road side attraction. It is quite a sight when you finally pull in – with Mexican hats everywhere and brightly colored animal statues at every turn. I’m sure this was quite a place to visit in its prime. While a bit run down it still had its charm and can be a great overnight spot for RV’ers. There is also a diesel truck stop and gas station on the property allowing for just about any size rig to fill up if you are just passing through.
Campground(s) We Stayed
Within SOB is a campground called Pedro’s Campgrounds or ‘Camp Pedro’ as the locals call it. The campground has 100 full hook-up site with 30 and 50 amp options. There are BBQ grills located throughout the campground along with playgrounds, and a shower/laundry facility. The roads are decent and the front desk gave us good directions on how to pull in our big rig. There were a few tight turns for our 45 footer but we were able to get into our site just fine. We only stayed for the night but had no problems booking a reservation just an hour before stopping. There are no dumpsters, but rather trash cans located throughout the property which was a bit of a change from what we normally see.
Things To Do
There are a number of attractions at South of the Border including; rides, shops, arcades, and restaurants. The places we checked out during our one-night stay are listed below.
Hats Around the World – This is a very interesting souvenir shop; it carries every kind of hat you can think of. We had to go in and check it out, and of course try on a bunch of different hats to take pictures. I suggest having a few drinks first and then going in… it will make the experience so much more fun. Here I am with the giant camel statue in the middle of the store. Nice hat!
Sombrero Tower – A 200 foot tall lookout tower in the shape of a Sombrero. For $4 ($2 per person) we took the glass elevator to the top were you can get an amazing 360-degree view of the park and of the North and South Carolina country side. We loved being able to see our RV in the parking lot. It looked so small from on top of the tower which isn’t the case when were driving her down the road.
Reptile Lagoon – Claimed to be the largest indoor reptile exhibit in the US, the Reptile Lagoon was very interesting. The Lagoon has a large collection of turtles, alligators, crocodiles and snakes. It’s open 7 days a week and we paid ~$12 per person to see the attraction. The attraction was clean and the animals seemed well kept (although some of the cages were small). Several of their crocodiles are on the endangered specialist list, so a portion of every admission goes to the Crocodile Conservation Institute which we thought was pretty cool. If you aren’t squeamish of these type of reptiles we suggest checking this place out, and if you are lucky like we were you might just arrive at snake lunch time. We watched a king cobra eat a mouse; it wasn’t a fast process but it was definitely an experience I won’t forget. The photo below is actually not of a snake, its a legless lizard!
Places We Ate
Del Sol Mexican Restaurant – To stay in the Mexican spirt we decided to take a drive into the town of Dillon, South Carolina and try out Del Sol Mexican Restaurant. It had good reviews on TripAdvisor (there isn’t much around here) and we both were in the mood for some Margaritas and Fajitas. Del Sol didn’t disappoint – the food was good and the service was quick. Some Fajitas and a Margarita later we were ready to head back to SOB for a little exploring and a good night sleep at Pedro’s campground.
Pedro’s Hot Tamale – This a pretty basic place to grab a quick bite to eat. They have sandwiches, fries, fountain drinks and tamale’s, of course. It is within walking distance from the campground. We walked over and grabbed two grilled chicken sandwiches before we hit the road again, nothing special but again there isn’t much around so we were glad to have a spot where we could grab a quick bite.
We were looking for a unique, safe place to stay for the night on our drive down to Florida, and South of the Border was perfect for just that. You can tell that SOB has weathered over the years but it was still an experience to be had. If nothing else stop and get a photo or two.
Would We Recommend?
We would recommend stopping at South of the Border if it is on your way and you need/want a fun place to stay for the night.