People often have the misconception that small cities have nothing going on, but that’s not the case for Hartsville. The number of events and activities we host make our city a premiere destination in the region. Tourism is booming. Downtown is bustling, and there is always something going on.

A few weeks ago, the City of Hartsville held a special drive-in movie night at Byerly Park. The event attracted a big crowd and brought visitors from as far as Florence, Lake City, Lumberton, and Laurinburg. At the City, we enjoy planning and having events like this; fun ways to build and support community while enticing people outside of Hartsville to come and stay. We like giving residents occasions to look forward to while encouraging broader interest in Hartsville.

The growing number of visitors to our city has led to greater investment in the community, improving the quality of life for locals. There has been a consistent increase in Hospitality Tax funds and Accommodations Tax funds. Vendors within the city limits collect these monies from sales on hotel/motel charges and sales of prepared foods and beverages. The funds are then forwarded to the City and distributed for a variety of purposes like revitalization efforts and advertising—look for Hartsville tourism billboards along highway 151 with more to come on other major roadways and interstates.

Money earned from tourism plays a vital role in making our community a place for people to live, work, and play. Local Hospitality Tax Grants are awarded to applicants that promote tourism, civic activities, and arts and cultural events. Eligible applicants include public and private nonprofit organizations. Black Creek Arts Council, the Center Theater, and the Hartsville YMCA have all been recipients of these grant funds. This allows for a wider variety of community activities and attractions. These organizations among others strive to make Hartsville a blooming and active city. It all has made a visible difference. There is more traffic on Fifth Street and Carolina Avenue. You can see more visitors in our local businesses; more new faces among the familiar. This means greater economic development.

The City of Hartsville’s Tourism Department further acts as a resource and provides services to our city’s residents and visitors. The department is housed at The Key to Your Hartsville, located at 106 E. Carolina Avenue, right next door to City Hall.  The Key’s staff is available during business hours to provide information about notable tourism attractions, community events, and happenings. The Key is open Monday through Friday from 11 am to 5pm, and Saturdays, 11am to 3pm. We have also launched This tourism website lists accommodations, attractions, and features a blog with fun insights into our area. It also houses the online store for The Key’s gift shop featuring local artisan products and logo wear for the City of Hartsville, Coker College, the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, Hartsville High School, and the Darlington Raceway.

Hartsville continues to capture the attention of those throughout the region and state. We even earned the title of All-America City for the second time. It’s a cycle of growth leading to more events and new accommodations that will encourage greater incentives for people to visit and stay. We’ve seen an increase in beautiful hot spots for entertainment and recreation, and a rise in wonderful shopping and dining locations. Our city continues to evolve as a thriving tourism center. We are immensely proud of our development and will keep expanding our efforts to make Hartsville a place that encourages visitors, and residents, to stay.

Jordan Braddock is the Marketing and Events Coordinator for the City of Hartsville.

For more information, call The Key at 843.917.0602 or email