South Of The Border is one of those tourist traps that's so delightfully kitschy and campy (and dare I say, tacky?) that it's actually iconic. What started out in 1949 as a beer stand opened by Alan Schafer, conveniently located south of the border between North Carolina's Robeson County, a dry county at the time, and South Carolina, a veritable Promised Land of booze, where the liquor flowed like rivers. Anyways, it proved to be so popular that he was able to open a small motel and start selling cheesy little trinkets-- all Mexican-themed, going along with the "South of the Border" theme.
From there, Schafer was able to expand his little beer stand and shop to include restaurants, gas stations, a motel, bars, a small amusement park, an adult entertainment establishment, and more. At its peak, the tourist attraction took up over more than a full square mile and had its own own infrastructure, and had its own fire department and police force.
The centerpiece of the town is, of course, the 165 ft. tall Sombrero Tower. South of the Border was fortunate in that it's on the main routes to Myrtle Beach and parts of Florida-- the money earned from tourists on their way to a fun beach vacation allowed them to grow into the massive tourist trap it became at the height of its popularity. -Roadtrippers
South of the Border is a rest stop and roadside attraction on Interstate 95 and US Highway 301/501 between Dillon, South Carolina, and Rowland, North Carolina. It is so named because it is just south of the border between North Carolina and South Carolina. The rest area contains restaurants, gas stations, and a motel, as well as a small amusement park, shopping and fireworks. Its mascot is Pedro, an arguably racist caricature of a Mexican bandido. South of the Border has long served as a rest stop for vacationers and tourists traveling from the Northeast United States to Florida.Historic backgroundSouth of the Border was developed by Alan Schafer in 1950. He had founded a beer stand at the location in 1949 and had chosen because of its location adjacent to Robeson County which was at one time, one of many dry North Carolina counties. Business was steadily expanded with Mexican trinkets and numerous kitsch items imported from Mexico. He had a great deal of success turning South of the Border into a tourist mecca. South of the Border grew to over a square mile, required its own infrastructure, and had its own fire and police departments. Assisting in this growth was the fact that the new Interstate 95 and the existing US 301 intersect at the site of the South of the Border complex.
“the epitome of kitsch”
If you're on I-95, you're going to start seeing some peculiar and kitschy billboards advertising a place called "South Of The Border" in South Carolina. This place is every bit as quirky and cheesy as the billboards suggest. But, kids seem to enjoy it, and it's right off the highway so it's pretty easy to hop off and check it out.
Awesome. Such a great one of a kind experience that has no parallel, and the billboards are laugh-out-loud hysterical - they start 180 miles south, and are placed every few miles on 95 till u get there - after I saw one I literally couldn't wait to see the next one.
Speechless... Don't understand why we even stopped! Not worth going at all, waste of time!
Great time. Stopped here in the early evening and booked a campsite for $31. Walked down the road to get food and margaritas. It was a simple and nice stop.
If you need to get out to stretch & stay entertained w/ plenty of things to see this is the place. Lots of great photo ops
Super kitschy and tacky but a great break for the kids!
So kitchy that it's wonderful! I love these kind of places.... tacky tourist traps. I remember when South of the Border was only a gas station, a hotel, a restaurant and a little souvenir shop. Now, it's several of each of those, with mini golf added. This place is the Wall Drug of I-95. If you love tacky souvenirs, stop and get yourself a $3 mug!
Great place, very convenient to stop at if you are on I-95
I'm sorry that the article's author had to interject some of the PC attitude, ""Its mascot is Pedro, an arguably racist caricature of a Mexican bandido."" But,,, on the other hand, it is someplace everyone should stop at, at least once just for the experience of it all!
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