Pedro’s South of the Border: A Fun I-95 Tourist Stop

Traveling to Florida from the Northern states? If so, there is a unique family-friendly tourist attraction you shouldn’t miss. On the border between North and South Carolina you will find South of the Border, a Mexican paradise where you can unwind on your way to the Sunshine State. South of the Border is many things to many people; some find it touristy, but others ignore this technicality to have fun and relax. South of the Border actually offers many different activities depending on your family’s interests.

As a Florida-lover who has visited South of the Border numerous times, I can honestly say that even if you don’t enjoy the atmosphere, you’ll love the chance to stop and stretch your legs before you continue on your journey. The import stores are a bit on the expensive side, but digging deep can reveal treasures, such as in the Africa Shop. This place has lodging, dining, shopping, and family-oriented attractions in the large space that makes up the complex.

A bite to eat: For a change of scenery from the everyday fast food joints, you can choose a Mexican restaurant or “plainer” foods such as ice cream and sandwiches. There are many comfort foods available here. The quaintly-named Sombrero Restaurant should satisfy your spicy cravings and transport you to the real “South of the border.” I was on my way to Spanish St. Augustine, Florida when I ate here, and nothing prepares you for the Spanish culture more than downing a spicy enchilada!

Shopping: If you want South of the Border-themed shirts, magnets, hats, and things like that, check out the huge “t-shirt shop.” For fancier souvenirs with an African theme, try Africa Shop. I purchased a religious collectible here that made a very nice gift, and the price was to my liking. You just have to hunt around a little. I have to admit that it’s fun to buy a South of the Border t-shirt to flaunt your visit to this roadside stop-off, whether or not it’s the most fashionable article of clothing in the world.

Some shops include Mexico Shop, Rodeo Drive Boutique, Leather Shop, and Myrtle Beach Shop. I bought a beautiful Chinese brocade blank book in the t-shirt shop, a little gem among the plainer offerings. It’s one of my favorite books now. They didn’t carry the item the last few times I visited, but I see now that it’s good not to judge a whole store by the first few things you see. Another nice item I bought here was a butterfly hair barret with sparkles. Far from being a cheap item, it has stayed in good condition for four years with no signs of breaking.

Lodging: South of the Border’s lodging is one aspect of the complex that should not be considered a tourist trap. If you can’t drive any further than South Carolina in one day, consider stopping here for the hotel if not for eating or shopping. You have the option of staying in a motel or bringing your camper to the campground nearby. At the motel you will find pools and other simple but high-in-demand amenities. At Pedroland, South of the Border’s website, you can call for rates and room descriptions.

Attractions: Mini-golf is available here, as well as a park with rides like a carousel and ferris wheel, among many others. It’s a great way to keep the kids from being bored after a long day of travel, and who says adults can’t have fun, too? From fast rides like Wild Sombrero to the Carolina and Upper Mexico Railroad (which will hopefully be more soothing to weary parents) you have a fairly good selection.

Location, etc.: Technically, South of the Border is located near Dillon, South Carolina. You really can’t miss it because you will see signs *long* before reaching the place. These colorful, whimsical signs are great with helping you pass the time as the miles go by. When you get close, you should see a huge sombrero at the top of a wrought-iron tower. If you can’t see it, I suggest you check out El Drug Store and see if it’s time to renew your glasses prescription! This tower is huge and dominates the complex. You can even take an elevator up inside the sombrero and survey the entire area.

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