Low taxes, excellent schools, beautiful new homes, and booming businesses. The beautiful and serene Lake Wylie sits to its northwest; one of the largest and fastest-growing cities in the United States sits to its northeast, and both are just minutes away. Welcome to Fort Mill, South Carolina.
Fort Mill has the distinct pleasure of being both a town in South Carolina and one of Charlotte, North Carolina’s most popular suburbs. The town has one of the best school districts in the area, and it is becoming a hub for big business, but not everything about Fort Mill is fast-paced. The pride of this historic town is its beautiful downtown area, much of which was built during the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as the annual South Carolina Strawberry Festival that takes place here each year. There is also plenty of green space all around, providing a peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle of daily life right in your own backyard. No wonder both Bloomberg and Family Circle consider the well-rounded town one of the best places to raise children.
Long before it became a town, the Catawba Indians occupied the land now known as Fort Mill. By the mid-1700s, Scotch-Irish settlers began arriving in the area, after a man named Thomas “Kanawha” Sprat and his wife, Elizabeth, were invited to live there by the Catawba. After the Civil War, in 1873, Fort Mill incorporated into a town and continued to become a popular destination for newcomers. Named for an old British fort and grist mill, the town’s popularity had something to do with its central geographic location. It was easily accessed by both railroad and river, and still today, by major highways and interstates. In 1887, the Fort Mill Manufacturing Company helped establish the town as a hub for the textiles business. Though the Fort Mill Manufacturing Company has changed names and owners throughout the years, it still has a corporate presence in the town under the name Springs Global. The Fort Mill area remains an attractive spot for a variety of businesses.
- Population: 19,850 inside the town limits; 36,000 in the surrounding Fort Mill Township
- Students living in Fort Mill will attend schools in the Fort Mill School District. It is often considered one of the best school systems in the entire state of South Carolina.
- Several large companies have headquarters or major offices in Fort Mill, including Black and Decker, Continental AG, Domtar, Comporium, Red Ventures, Daimler Trucks North America, Muzak, URS, and LPL.
- Fort Mill is often considered one of the best places to live in the Charlotte area, as well as one of the top places to live in South Carolina. In 2015 alone, it was named one of the “Best Places to Live Near Charlotte for Young Couples,” “Best Places to Live Near Charlotte for Young Professionals,” and “Best Places for South Carolina Millennial Job Seekers.” It was also considered one of the safest places to live in South Carolina in 2014, as well as one of the best places for home ownership.
- Many notable people are from Fort Mill, including author and industrialist Elliot White Springs, NFL star Vance Walker, the late NASCAR reporter Steve Byrnes, and Medal of Honor recipient James E. Williams.
- When Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Cabinet fled Richmond, the members stopped in Fort Mill, and it became the location of the last Confederate Government Cabinet meeting.
- Each year, during the first weekend in May, Fort Mill hosts the South Carolina Strawberry Festival. The award-winning, family-friendly festival includes eating contests, a pageant, a golf tournament, a car show, rides, and so much more.
Fort Mill is just about 20 miles from Charlotte and all of its wonderful attractions, but residents do not have to travel that far to have a good time. From shopping and dining to fun in the great outdoors, there is much to see and do here.
- Local Dish – After a stroll down Main Street, stop in at the intimate eatery Local Dish for fresh, locally grown food at great prices. You will find plenty of Southern favorites on the menu, such as fried green tomatoes, braised pork belly, chicken ‘n waffles, and a grilled pimento cheese sandwich.
- The Flipside Café – Located on Highway 21, the Flipside Café may be small, but its menu is packed with plenty of local favorites. Enjoy breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner dishes like Carolina Grits with pimento cheese and bacon jam. The lobster omelet is another favorite, as are the shrimp tacos and roasted salmon.
- 521 BBQ & Grill – Good barbecue joints are a staple in the Carolinas, which is why 521 BBQ & Grill on Charlotte Highway is such a popular place with the locals. It offers takeout, catering, and dine-in options, and the menu includes staples like ribs, pulled pork, grilled chicken, and wings.
- Fish Market – When Fort Mill craves seafood, it heads to the Fish Market on Market Street in Baxter Village. The restaurant serves fresh seafood, such as live Maine lobsters, crab cakes, shrimp and grits, and scallops, along with a selection of juicy steaks and decadent desserts.
- The Pump House –Located between Fort Mill and Rock Hill, The Pump House is the areas hottest new restaurant. The multi-level, riverfront restaurant features a rooftop bar with a view of the Catawba River. Try the filet, lamb shank or the shrimp & grits. Come on Sunday and sip bottomless mimosas over brunch. Try the southern inspired Cheerwine chocolate cake and let us know what you think.
- The Cupcrazed Cakery – Speaking of desserts, anyone in Fort Mill who has a sweet tooth knows all about the Cupcrazed Cakery. Twice featured on the Food Network program Cupcake Wars, the bakery opened in 2010 and has been serving up fresh cookies, cakepops, and, of course, cupcakes ever since. Try the sweet tea cupcake with lemon icing for a treat that is perfectly Southern or stop in for $2 Tuesday for great deals on treats.
- Airports– Fort Mill is located just about 21 miles south of Charlotte Douglas International Airport, one of the 5 largest airports in the United States that services nearly 200 domestic and international destinations.
- Interstate 77 – Interstate 77 runs through the western side of Fort Mill, providing residents and commuters with a quick drive into Charlotte. The entire 613-mile interstate runs from Columbia, South Carolina to Cleveland, Ohio.
- Baxter Village – Baxter Village is an award-winning live, work, play community that is home to several shops and restaurants, and several stores are located around the Village, as well. Some of these include CVS, Kroger, Harris Teeter, Grapevine, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Fish Market, Six Pence Pub, and more.
- Carolina Place – Fort Mill is about 8 miles from the Carolina Place Mall in Pineville, which is home to dozens of shops and restaurants, such as Dillard’s, Belk, Dicks Sporting Goods, REI, Barnes & Noble, JCPenney, Build-a-Bear, and Victoria’s Secret. It also has a children’s play area.
- Kingsley – Visit the newest mixed-use community in Fort Mill. Built around old textile mills, Kingsley is a close-knit, heirloom community that encourages you to relax and enjoy dining and shopping around a 10-acre lake. From dining to shopping, medical and business professionals, to apartment living, you can find it all in Kingsley.
- Downtown Fort Mill – The historic Downtown Fort Mill area is one of the town’s most popular attractions. Shops and restaurants there include Hanauer Bow Ties, Art Junk & Funk, Crossings, Kimbrell’s, Local Dish, Amor Artis Brewing, and Puckerbutt Pepper Company.
- The Peach Stand – If you love to shop local, stop by The Peach Stand, which has served Fort Mill since 1980. The store sells locally grown produce, eggs, grass-fed beef, and all sorts of groceries. It also has a butcher, bakery, restaurant, and deli.
- NarroWay Productions – NarroWay Productions considers itself the “Broadway of Christian Theater.” It offers dinner along with elaborate musical productions of classic Christian stories. The family-friendly shows feature talented actors and live animals.
Things To Do
- Anne Springs Close Greenway – In Fort Mill you will find 2,100 protected acres of forests, lakes, and pastures with hiking, biking, and horseback-riding trails nestled throughout. The area, known as Anne Springs Close Greenway, also hosts summer concerts, and it is the perfect place for kayaking, picnics, and camping.
- Carowinds – The Carolinas’ favorite amusement park sits along the North and South Carolina border, and part of the 400-acre park is in Fort Mill. Carowinds features thrill rides, including the Dale Earnhardt-inspired Intimidator roller coaster; water rides; a Peanuts-inspired section called “Planet Snoopy;” a waterpark, and an outdoor amphitheater.
- Lake Wylie – Fort Mill is just a few miles from Lake Wylie, a 13,400-acre manmade lake that sits in both North and South Carolina. Residents of Fort Mill love to get away to the lake for a weekend of fishing, boating, and outdoor fun.
- Springfield Golf Club – Fort Mill golfers flock to the Springfield Golf Club, which is considered to be one of the most challenging courses in the Charlotte area. Though it opened in 2001, it feels like an old-time course from the 1920s, and 13 of its holes sit along the creeks and streams that feed into the Catawba River.
Real Estate Information
Fort Mill has a reputation for being home to some of the most affordable homes in the Metropolitan Charlotte area. Because of the rate at which the area is growing, new construction is plentiful. There are many traditional two-story floor plans that have features like three and four-side brick, large fenced-in backyards, and extra storage space. There are also many established neighborhoods with styles ranging from ranch to craftsman. The average home value as of summer 2019 is around $292,500
- Baxter Village
- Trinity Ridge
- Dominion Bridge
- Sun City at Carolina Lakes
- Doby’s Bridge Elementary School
- Fort Mill Elementary School
- Gold Hill Elementary School
- Orchard Park Elementary School
- Pleasant Knoll Elementary School
- Riverview Elementary School
- Springfield Elementary School
- Sugar Creek Elementary School
- Tega Cay Elementary School
- Banks Trail Middle School
- Fort Mill Middle School
- Gold Hill Middle School
- Pleasant Knoll Middle School
- Springfield Middle School