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3.0
106 votes

South Of The Border

3346 U.S. 301, Hamer, South Carolina 29547 USA

$
$$$$
Budget
Open Now
Thu 12a-11:59p
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
    Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair
    Accessible
  • Public
    Restrooms

“the epitome of kitsch”

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.

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Reviewed by
Lisa-n-Pete-4-ever

  • 1 Review
  • 5 Helpful
March 06, 2016
Rated 5.0

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.

5 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Cathriin Tarr

  • 1 Review
  • 5 Helpful
September 28, 2015
Rated 1.0

Speechless... Don't understand why we even stopped! Not worth going at all, waste of time!

5 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Tatiana Danger

  • Road Warrior
  • 1,169 Reviews
  • 702 Helpful
April 09, 2016
Rated 3.0

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.

4 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
hogfanmimi

  • 7 Reviews
  • 9 Helpful
August 10, 2014
Rated 4.0

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

4 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
joje5653

  • 5 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
July 09, 2017
Rated 3.0

I was surprised to actually like this stop. Very kitschy and tacky but entertaining. A nice little break from a long drive but not worth going out of the way for.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
amym68

  • 1 Review
  • 2 Helpful
February 27, 2017
Rated 5.0

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!

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
amhroserda

  • 2 Reviews
  • 6 Helpful
June 20, 2014

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.

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
shannareyes

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
June 05, 2017
Rated 1.0

It's ok for a quick stop but nothing to write home about. It's a one of a kind experience but very overrated. The amusement park is closed due to lack of maintenance so this place is ok for shopping and dining.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
dpowell402

  • 2 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
July 23, 2014
Rated 4.0

Super kitschy and tacky but a great break for the kids!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
USMCgirl

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
June 13, 2018
Rated 5.0

I love South of the Border, but it's not for everyone. All the reviews, though they vary greatly, are mostly accurate, but I love it! I have stayed at the RV campground. Full hook-up sites are nice and affordable. Restrooms and showers are clean. I have stayed in the Motor Inn. While the rooms are basic, they are affordable, convenient, clean, and pet friendly and there is an indoor and outdoor pool, both of which were clean and open until late. The restaurant attached to the motel is not great, but it's not horrible either. The Sombrero steak house is pretty good. There are gas stations, restrooms, many options for food, treats, lots of shops, and there is a dog run. A 300ft ride up to the top of the giant Sombrero is fun, as is the Reptile Lagoon, where you can see a surprising collection of Alligators, Crocs, snakes, tortoise, and turtles. It's an old piece of Americana, not a world class destination, so if you don't inflate your expectations, it can be a really fun stop, especially if you enjoy a good trip down memory lane. Take a chance, you just might be pleasantly surprised.

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South Of The Border

3346 U.S. 301
Hamer, South Carolina
29547 USA

Hours

Open 24 hours today
  • Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm

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  • Independent
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • Outdoor Seating
  • No Wifi
  • Private Parking
  • RV Parking
  • Yes Parking

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