Discovering South Carolina – Everyone Should Visit at Least Once!
I admit I’m probably a little biased since I live here. I didn’t grow up here but came to South Carolina at 50 years old. Why? Having grown up and raised my family in the North East, I wanted a warmer climate. I didn’t want to ever see snow again. I didn’t want to ever shovel snow again. So I packed up everything we owned and moved to South Carolina.
Mountains in the west and the ocean in the east – South Carolina offers something for everyone. Mostly a mild climate (except for a very short time in January and early February) the state is full of beautiful destinations, untouched land, beaches and more.
No matter where you visit in South Carolina, the state is full of history. It was at Fort Sumter near Charleston where the first shots of the American Civil War rang out in April of 1861. Four years later, Confederate President Jefferson Davis conceded defeat at the Burt-Stark Mansion in Abbeville. Anyone that loves history will be in all their glory walking around Charleston for a day. A trip between Charleston and Myrtle Beach will surprise you as you learn all about the history and culture of the Gullah, descendants of African slaves who have historically inhabited this Low Country area and developed a distinct culture and language still preserved today.
South Carolina Food
Be sure to bring your appetite. Fresh, just off the boat seafood is on the menu of every local waterfront restaurant. A locals favorite, Low Country boil, consists of shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn boiled to perfection and served in a heap right on the table. And then there’s the barbecue! Barbecue tends to be regional and depends on where you are in the state. There are four different types of sauces to try on your barbecue in South Carolina – vinegar and pepper, mustard, light tomato and heavy tomato – some restaurants serve them all – others have their own specialty. One thing for sure, with over 200 barbecue restaurants throughout the state, you will definitely be able to try lots and decide which one you like best. Shrimp and grits – in many different styles are also a staple on many restaurant menus.
Golf and Beaches
South Carolina is a year-round golf destination and home to hundreds of golf courses. No matter what part of the state or time of you year you visit, you’ll be sure to find a course. The top ranked courses are along the coast and often host major PGA events throughout the year.
South Carolina has miles upon miles of coastline and beaches. Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach and Kiawah Island are all well known but there are many less known and low-key beach areas for a quiet get-away. In the Charleston area you can explore the beaches of Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island and Seabrook Island. Heading north to Myrtle Beach there is also Huntington Beach State Park and the beaches of Pawley’s Island.
Myrtle Beach is a lively vacation spot that is full of amusements, boardwalks, entertainment and beaches. After a day on the beach you can head to the north end to Barefoot Landing full of restaurants and shops, the House of Blue or the Alabama Theater. The south end is home to the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk with a long line of restaurants to choose from. In between stop at Broadway at the Beach packed full of entertainment for everyone.
Eclectic and upscale Pawleys Island, on the south end offers beautiful beaches and attractions both on and off the water. Historic inns and great food are worth the stop. On your way to Pawleys Island, along Highway 17, beautiful Brookgreen Gardens is a stop to make. The gardens are a national landmark that will have you awe-struck as you roam through the acres and acres of gardens and sculptures.
Further south is the port city of Charleston. Full of Southern hospitality, cobblestone streets, historic sites, the City Market and nearby beaches. It’s no wonder the city has seen a boom in filming as movie-makers try to capture all that charm and natural beauty on land and by the sea. “Notebook” stars Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling shot several scenes inside old Charleston-area plantations, such as the Boone Hall Plantation and the Calhoun Mansion. Stroll along The Battery, a landmark defensive seawall and promenade, to walk in the same steps as actors and actresses. Explore America’s oldest landscaped gardens at Middleton Place, which also served as the backdrop for scenes in “The Patriot.”
If the beach isn’t the way you want to spend some time, take your trip to new heights to the mountain region of South Carolina. With spectacular hiking trails, scenic waterfalls and sweeping views, the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.
Family-friendly hikes up the Blue Ridge Mountains and whitewater rafting down the Chattooga River, are great ways to spend some time. The western part of South Carolina is also full of small towns that offer small town culture, great local food and hidden gems to make a stay in the area perfect. Towns like Abbeville, McCormick and Calhoun Falls offer visitors a slice of small-town culture with plenty of shopping, dining and recreational options for a fun family vacation. A drive on the Savannah River National Scenic Byway will take you through these small Southern towns, on back roads lined with century-old clapboard houses and historic churches, rolling farmland and scenic lakes. Along the way you’ll have the chance to swim, kayak, camp and bike or just kick back and enjoy life in the slow lane!
Whether you like the beach, want to play golf or want to hike your way through your next vacation, South Carolina is the place to visit!