Florence is the largest city in and the county seat of Florence County, South Carolina, United States. Known as the Florence Metropolitan Statistical Area, Florence adjoins Darlington to form the core of "Pee Dee" region of South Carolina, an area that includes the eight counties of northeastern South Carolina along with sections in southeastern North Carolina. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population was 37,056 at the 2010 census. This 1997 All-America City finalist was founded as a railroad hub city; it became the junction of three major railroad systems: the Wilmington and Manchester, the Northeastern, and the Cheraw and Darlington. Today the city retains its status as a major hub, both for industry and infrastructure. In recent years the city has become a regional center for business, medicine, culture and finance.
The public school system (Florence Public Schools) is run by the Florence School District One as the governing body of the school district with Larry Jackson as the last superintendent, with Dr. Allie E Brooks as the current. As of the 2009–2010, the system has an active enrollment of 14,500 students, attending a total of 17 schools: including 12 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 3 high schools serving the City of Florence, Effingham and Quinby areas. The school system also supports an alternative school for middle and/or high school students, a vocational career center, and an adult learning center. The district and its schools have been recognized as being among the state's best with numerous awards, including the Palmetto's Finest Award.
Francis Marion University, a public university of approximately 4,000 students founded in 1970, is located about seven miles (11 km) east of Florence. Florence-Darlington Technical College was established in 1963 and presently serves nearly 6,000 curriculum students (as of the Fall 2011 Semester) and more than 25,000 regional residents through its continuing education division. The college operates satellite campuses in Hartsville, Lake City and Mullins. In addition, a site in Darlington County houses the cosmetology center and downtown Florence is home to the Health Sciences Campus. The Southeastern Institute for Manufacturing and Technology (SIMT) opened 2007 on a 146-acre (0.59 km2) tract behind FDTC's main campus.
The Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority (PDRTA), is the principal agency responsible for operating mass transit in greater Florencea area including Darlington, Marion, Chesterfield, Dillon, and the Lake City area, PDRTA also operates routes to Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Sumter. PDRTA operates express shuttles, and bus service serving Florence and its immediate surrounds areas. The authority was established in June1974 which is South Carolina’s Oldest and Largest RTA. PDRTA began operations serving the six-county Pee Dee region of Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Marion, and Marlboro Counties. The PDRTA has provided transportation for more than 15 million passengers and daily PDRTA transports approximately 2,457 people. PDRTA operates services with 165 vehicles ranging in size from transit, intercity buses, and trolleys to lift-equipped vans and goshens.
The city and its surroundings are served by Florence Regional Airport (IATA:FLO; ICAO:KFLO), which is located 2 miles (3.2 km) east of downtown Florence on US 76. The airport itself is serviced by US Airways Express and is the second busiest airport in the region behind Myrtle Beach International Airport.It Is located an hour West of Myrtle Beach
Amtrak's The Palmetto trains 89, 90 and the Silver Meteor trains 97, 98 connect Florence with the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami.
Greyhound Lines and Southeastern Stages operates a station on Irby Street, in the southern part of downtown, providing Florence with intercity bus transportation.
The Florence Civic Center …the largest convention, entertainment & exhibition facility in northeast South Carolina with over 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) of multipurpose space. this includes the 10,000 seat arena, the 14,500-square-foot (1,350 m2) exhibit hall and the well-appointed Pee Dee, Waccamaw and Santee meeting rooms. The SMG managed facility is the hub for entertainment and civic events for the Florence area. A six-time recipient of the Prime Site Award from Facilities magazine, voted as one of the top venues in North America, the center has the advantage of a prime location on a spacious complex at the intersection of I-95 and I-20, just a few miles from the regional airport. The center is close to dozens of national chain hotels, several of which are within walking distance. It is located just across the street from a premier shopping mall and close to a variety of award winning restaurants.
- Florence Visitor Center
- Florence Public Library
- Florence Museum of Art, Science and History
- Florence National Cemetery
- Florence Stockade
- Florence Trail System
- Timrod Park
- War Between the States Museum
- Florence Regional Airport
- Pee Dee Farmers Market
- Darlington Raceway
- Florence Little Theatre
- Florence Flea Market
- Florence Veteran's Park