Best Places to Visit in South Carolina
There are several things that South Carolina is known for, like the regional cuisine, its role in the American Civil War, its slave trade. But when it comes to tourism, South Carolina is among the best travel destinations in the USA. Situated in the Southeastern region of the US, South Carolina enjoys a long coastline of the Atlantic Ocean, and if you go inwards, then there are lush green forests, spectacular mountains with lots of waterfalls, lakes, and wildlife. You can easily make a week-long trip to South Carolina tourist attractions. To help you with your travel itinerary, here goes a list of top things to do and best places to visit in South Carolina.
When on Myrtle Beach, you can plan just about every activity you can think of…. beach walks, building sandcastles, water sports. But wait… this is just the beginning of the long list of acuities to come. You can see musical shows and shop at Broadway at the Beach, explore the aquatic wildlife at Ripley’s Aquarium, experience the thrill of Myrtle Beach SkyWheel. You can play some golf, see movies, dine in style, stay in hotels, shop around, and do more things than you could have imagined. If you are searching for some of the fun things to do in Myrtle Beach South Carolina then water sports is the best option.
Charleston’s Historic District
You will feel like being transported to the past when you visit Charleston’s Historic District. Horse-drawn carriages, walking tours will take you through colonial houses and their antebellum architecture. There are several museums where you can have a peek into the turbulent past of this historic city. A visit to Charleston City Market is a must here, and there are art galleries too, where you can see decorative arts of bygone times. Old Exchange Building, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 1808 Nathaniel Russell House are some buildings you must visit.
Caesars Head State Park
Hit the hiking trails at Caesars Head State Park and you can have several hikes through the mountainous region, close to the border with North Carolina. The rock formation in this park is something wonderful to behold. You can watch the migration of hawks during fall, and you can also spot falcons and black bears. You can hike to see the Raven Cliff Falls, where water cascades down from a height of 420 ft. You can do fishing, view panoramic landscapes from atop Caesar’s Head, camping, and there are several hotels and resorts here to stay for a day. If you are searching for some of the top places to visit in South Carolina with kids then this one is an ideal travel destination.
Silvery stretches of sand will greet you at Pawley’s Island. This barrier island is famous for its dunes, and there are spectacular golf courses here. You will have to cross a causeway to reach Pawley’s Island. You can explore gardens, and spot wild animals bask in the open environs of Pawley’s Island. Restaurants are serving local dishes, and if you like to shop for wicker chairs, hammocks, then you can shop them here at Pawley’s Island. You can explore the swamps, or walk the Apache Pier and watch the waves beneath kiss the sandy shore.
Congaree National Park
Prepare to enter a world of hardwood trees, swamps, and pristine wilderness here in Congaree National Park. Congaree Indians once lived in this region, and this park is named after them. There are several ways you can explore Congaree National Park. Hiking trails, ranging from the short 2.4 miles Boardwalk Loop Trail to the longer 7 miles long Oakridge Trail, exist, where you might spot a bobcat or a river otter. You can take the Cedar Creek Canoe Trail or take the Congaree River Blue Trail. The visual highlight of this park is the fireflies that illuminate the dark forest.
Hilton Head Island
You will see the cleanest beaches on Hilton Head Island, and that’s 12 miles of white soft sands we are talking about here. Apply a suntan and lie there on the beach bed, or just take a stroll through the waves. If you have a bike there are some of the best biking trails on this island, and there are activities like kayaking, fishing, horse riding, that will allure you on this island. You can try your hand at golf, or spot dolphins play in the waters. You can visit the Coastal Discovery Museum or the historic Stoney-Baynard Plantation archaeological site.
Huntington Beach State Park
If you are an avid birder, then you must visit Huntington Beach, State Park. You might spot waterfowl, eagles, hawks, and other birds. There are hiking trails like the Sandpiper Pond Trail, where you walk through cedar forests, ponds, beaches, at different stages. If you love arts, then don’t miss the Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival, where you can enjoy music, food, art in equal measure. Camping sites are also there and families can set up picnics. There are boardwalks in the park, marshes, freshwater lakes where you might want to go fishing.
Fort Sumter National Monument
The historic Fort Sumter was the site where American Civil War started. While the actual fort still has stone caverns and the cannons which fired the first shots at the fort, the Visitor Education Center will provide more details about the fort. A ferry ride is necessary to reach Fort Sumter and while onboard, you will have to keep a watch for dolphins. No wonder, it is listed amongst one of the top 10 historic places to visit in South Carolina all around the year.
Bathed in greenery and history, Middleton Place is the oldest landscaped garden in the US. The gardens are spread over an area of 65 acres and have terraced lawns, ornamental lakes, walking pathways, and flowering trees, and trimmed plants. The museum inside has art collections and portrait paintings, and you can see vintage old style Plantation Stableyards where you can see skilled artisans at work and special bred cattle breeds. A guided tour is best to explore the plantation life that existed in the 18th and 19th century US.
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
Among fun things to do in Charleston, South Carolina is a visit to the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. This is where you will see decommissioned aircraft carriers like USS Yorktown, the submarine USS Clamagore, and USS Laffey. They played a major role in World War II. You can take a walk through each of these ships, and there are other interactive displays, besides two helicopters and cannons.
A sculpture garden that is among the finest places to see in South Carolina, Brookgreen Gardens has almost 1400 sculptures dotting the garden at various places. These sculptures are the works of famous American artists and are situated amid themed gardens and ponds. Visitors can walk on the pathways and see the sculptures from close, or they can take a boat tour or on a tour vehicle and see the visual splendor of these gardens. A visit to Lowcountry Zoo inside Brookgreen Gardens will provide an opportunity to watch alligators, foxes, otters, bald eagles, and many other creatures.
Falls Park on the Reedy
It’s greenery right in the middle of a sprawling urban Greenville, one of the best cities in South Carolina. One of the best attractions of Falls Park on the Reedy is the architectural brilliant Liberty Bridge, with a viewing deck for scenic views of the waterfall, Reedy River, and surrounding Greenville. There are hiking trails, stone sculptures, ponds, and many small gardens lending a green environment. There are restaurants inside, and the Upstate Shakespeare Festival provides entertainment in the form of dramas, stage shows, art performances.
South Carolina State Museum
Natural History, art, technology, culture, science… there is so much to see and learn at the South Carolina State Museum, one of the biggest museums in South Carolina. Four floors hold galleries, each exhibiting several displays. The ones to watch out for are the megalodon shark sculpture and the first locomotive entirely built in the US. The museum hosts temporary exhibits, and you’ll love the 4D theatre having vibrating seats, air blasts, leg ticklers. Multimedia displays are providing an interactive experience to visitors.
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
Kids will love the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, which is one of the best places to visit in South Carolina. There are almost 2000 animal and bird species here from every part of the globe and 4200 plant species. You will be able to see animals like koalas, zebras, sea lions, Siberian tigers, baboons, and several other animals. You can take the zipline tour and see the animals from a distance. There is an animal feeding area, climbing wall, kids play area, a carousel, and other attractions in the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.
Out of the top tourist attractions of South Carolina, the DuPont Planetarium is certainly unique. You must visit this incredible planetarium and see the cosmic wonders before your very eyes. Situated on the campus grounds of the University of South Carolina, the DuPont Planetarium has a theater room, where themed shows about space and stars are held. The night sky is shown on the dome, and viewers can see the universe and its enigmatic beauty. The observatory has a telescope where visitors can see stars, planets, and other space objects with their naked eyes.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
You’ll be surprised to know that many flowers and plants here in Magnolia Plantation and Gardens date back to the start of the American Civil War. Flowers here bloom throughout the year, so you will be able to spot incredibly colorful flowers at any time of the year. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is one of the oldest public gardens in the US and is a feast for the eyes with its superb romantic-style surroundings. You might spot an otter somewhere, perhaps an alligator also, and if you are watchful there are colorful waterfowls too. So go there with a pair of binoculars.
Charleston Tea Plantation
Surround yourself with the exhilarating smell of tea in Charleston Tea Plantation that offers lot of exposure to enjoy top things to do in South Carolina . This is the only tea plantation in the US, and visitors can have a stroll inside the plantation, and be able to take home some tea flavors like Plantation Peach, Governer’s Gray, etc. There are more than 300 varieties of tea that are cultivated here and you can see how tea is made in the tea factory. You can have a trolley tour and explore the tea plantation and the owner of the plantation will himself tell you about the history of this Charleston Tea Factory.
The Peace Center
If you are interested in performing arts, then The Peace Center is the best place to visit in South Carolina. It is situated in Greenville and is a cultural place where you will be able to enjoy concerts, stage shows, political events, musicals, and a lot of others. You can hear classical concerts by Greenville Symphony Orchestra, and South Carolina Children’s Theater is a place for kids to showcase their talents. There is an amphitheater, seating facilities, and a variety of entertainment running throughout the year.
It is estimated to be 500 years old, and it is one of the most unique tourist attractions of South Carolina. Angels Oak is an oak tree situated in John’s Island in a wooded area. It rises to a height of 65 feet, its branches are spread over an area of 17100 square feet of ground, and it has a circumference of 28 feet. Angels Oak Tree is believed to be one of the oldest trees in the US, and it is so strong, that no storm or floods have been able to shake it from its roots.
This is one of the unique tourist attractions in South Carolina where you can enjoy some of the unique things to do in the state. Alligator Adventure is where you can see countless alligators bask in the sun. There are different sections inside where you can watch other creatures like rare tropical birds, lizards, snakes, and other reptiles. There are boardwalks allowing people to walk across the park, and there are live shows where alligators are fed and visitors are educated on different facts about the alligator. Petting alligator babies is also a fun section in Alligator Adventure and kids like this section more than adults. Holding snakes too is a scary, but thrilling experience here.
What’s next waiting for you?
The above travel guide on South Carolina covers everything from fun things to do and top places to visit in South Carolina. Now you know where to go and what to do in South Carolina, you can create the final itinerary very well. If you are planning to explore some unique places to visit near South Carolina then don’t forget to check our USA travel guide.