South Of The Border

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South of the Border, SC

How, oh how, have I never been here before?  Apparently everyone else in the country is so familiar with this place that it’s general weirdness has totally worn off.  All I want to do is make knowing eye contact with someone about how completely bizarre it is that a place like this exists in the world, and how we are all pretending it’s normal.  It’s located at the border (or just south of) North and South Carolina, I suppose I’ve just never driven that far north.

I’m no prude, but the whole things seems pretty racially insensitive.  Let’s start with this charming origin story.

History of South of the Border

I’ll save you some time and zoom in on the best bit.

History of South of the Border

So it seems that in the mid-fifties, this Schafer fellow partook in some borderline human trafficking then no one could be bothered to learn their actual names.  They resorted to just calling them by two stereotypical Mexican names, but that proved too much so it was whittled down to one.

Of course, vaguely racists as it may be I’m pretty glad things worked out the way they did.  Just look at this place.

South Of The Border, SC

South Of The Border, SC

South Of The Border, SC

South Of The Border, SC

South Of The Border, SC

South of the Border, or SOB as they’ve taken to calling themselves on lewd bumper stickers, is a large roadside tourist hub, minus the tourist.  I’ve only been the once, but was really no one there, especially considering the advertising.  Anyone that’s driven anywhere near North or South Carolina on I-95 has no doubt seen the informative, funny, and down right odd billboards every few feet for 100 miles in either direction.  “Unused Bagels” was my personal favorite, though “you never ‘sausage’ a place” is a solid second.

Once inside, South of the Border is a complex of restaurants, carnival rides, oddly themed shops, and a motor hotel inexplicably referred to as “Pedro’s Pleasure Dome.”

South Of The Border, SC

There are 6 restaurants on the property.  Of course I couldn’t try them all, but I did go to the Sombrero Restaurant, as that was the most ridiculous.  The food is just okay, but then again it is a roadside attraction.

Sombrero Restaurant at South Of The Border, SC

Sombrero Restaurant at South Of The Border, SC

There are several stores, such as “Hats of the World”, and a weird store that sold expensive world antiquities.  There is of course also a general gift shop for all of your South of the Border needs… like y2k champagne flutes.

South Of The Border, SC

Of course, the most impressive and perhaps only reason to stop at South of The Border is the amazing photo ops.  Large unsupervised fiberglass animals in sombreros as far as the eye can see.  It allows for a freedom that harkens back to the days when playgrounds could have jagged metal structures and no guard rails.

South Of The Border, SC

South Of The Border, SC

South Of The Border, SC

South Of The Border, SC

South Of The Border, SC

So as outdated and silly as it is, it’s definitely a must stop if you’re in the area.   In fact, it’s pretty much the only thing in the area and the road signs are pretty insistent so if you’re in the area you’re likely to end up here whether you want to or not, so just embrace it.

27 thoughts on “South Of The Border

  1. Now that is…… I’m not really sure how to….. What to say! I wonder….. I’ll just leave it alone. Thanks for sharing this though.
    Arnie recently posted…eBags TLS Mother Lode Mini 21 inch Wheeled Duffel Review: A Great Roll AboardMy Profile

    • Mags

      My sentiments exactly Arnie!

  2. Looks like a fun stop to break up the boredom of a long car trip. It would definitely keep my kids entertained for a while!
    Jamie recently posted…Funny Quote for ParentsMy Profile

    • Mags

      It was certainly cheesy, but I won’t lie, it was also pretty entertaining!

  3. I’ve driven past it a zillion times and only stopped once lol. Interesting for sure
    Megan recently posted…Top 10 Most Epic Pinterest FailsMy Profile

    • Mags

      Once is probably enough lol. I just couldn’t resist the billboards!

  4. Oh my goodness, this brought me back a few years. I used to drive that route at least a handful of times each spring and always wondered what that place was really like.
    Heather @ TravelingSaurus recently posted…Don’t Let TripAdvisor Overwhelm You: Five Easy Tips to Sift Through ReviewsMy Profile

    • Mags

      Certainly worth a stop next time you’re near by!

  5. I’m proud or embarrassed to say that I have been there many times before. We had a condo at Murrells Inlet and used to stop there with our kids nearly every time we traveled through. True, it is a great place to get out and unwind, certainly don’t see this kind of thing just anywhere. We loved taking our girls pictures with those big colorful animals, glad you enjoyed that, too. 😉
    Melody Pittman recently posted…West Virginia’s Midas Touched State CapitolMy Profile

    • Mags

      You should be proud! There’s no shame in selfies with fiberglass animals!

  6. Oh my goodness – how does this place still exist? And how lucky are you to have stumbled upon it, in all its fiberglass glory?!? Such a hilarious adventure – thanks for the morning giggle. Love the giant red wiener dog!

    • Mags

      Right! Every so often I see things that just seem like they couldn’t possibly be open in 2015! It was definitely a trip back in time.

  7. Your post made me laugh a bit. O love your comment at the end “you’re likely to end up here whether you want to or not, so just embrace it”. If I’m ever in the area i’ll just have to do so.
    Sabastian Laurent recently posted…How to Make a Home While TravelingMy Profile

    • Mags

      You can’t miss it 😉

  8. Seems to be a really peculiar and fun place, I have never seen anything similar to this in my life:)
    Gabor Kovacs recently posted…Visit Valencia for the Las Fallas FestivalMy Profile

    • Mags

      haha, me either! I think it might be the only one in the world!

  9. My first reaction was – how gaudy, my second reaction was – well… it has its own particular charm. I think humour is a great tactic to get customers, and you certainly enjoyed yourself with all those statues. I think this is very specific to the US, and is part of that entire fabric of over-the-top showmanship in the context of capitalism – I love it!

    • Mags

      It was certainly over the top… and it worked like a charm to lure me in!

  10. Ha ha this place is quirky and pretty much my cup of tea. If for some reason I ever end up here, I’ll keep this place in mind.

    • Mags

      There’s not really enough there to make it worth a trip on it’s own IMO, but if you’re near by it’s definitely worth a stop.

  11. Ummm… ok, that’s bizarre. The Pleasure Dome? LOL… “God Bless America” is all I can say 🙂
    Francesca (@WorkMomTravels) recently posted…Introducing The Saucy Mom’s TravelsMy Profile

    • Mags

      USA #1 !!!!!!!

  12. Oh my gosh, I love this. We drove by this last year during a road trip from Virginia to Florida but didn’t have time to stop, I was so bummed. Love the pics!
    Katy recently posted…One Month Europe ItineraryMy Profile

  13. This place is TOTALLY on my bucket list — I want to go here somethin’ fierce! Fiberglass animals….cheesy gift shop junk…I LOVE IT!! I love that they had Y2K glasses — omg! LOL!
    Melissa recently posted…Point Reyes Shipwreck: Inverness, CAMy Profile

    • Mags

      It is absolutely worth it. I promise you that!

  14. […] me on some of my other adventures, you may already be familiar with my penchant for photos ops with giant fiberglass animals.  This place is […]

  15. Looks really interesting for a stop? I mean why now right? Just for the fun of it. I think this would look great for a photo shoot. I’ll stop when the opportunity comes, hope their food tastes great. 🙂

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