If you’re looking for a vacation destination that has got it all, South Carolina is the perfect solution for you. The Palmetto State is well-known for its beautiful beaches along the coast, stunning nature reserves and parks, family-friendly resorts, and golf. With a subtropical climate, you can take advantage of long days of red hot sunshine in the summer, yet the winter is still mild enough to enjoy a stroll on the beach—just remember to pack a warm jacket for the drop in temperature in the evenings. Visitors venturing into this warm state for the first time will understand the meaning of southern hospitality. South Carolina is filled with interesting historical landmarks, rich culture, comforting cuisine, and friendly locals on every corner. Here is an in-depth guide to South Carolina to help you plan a memorable trip to the Deep South.
South Carolina at a Glance
South Carolina is a relatively small state on the East Coast. North Carolina borders this state from the north, Georgia from the south and west, and the Atlantic Ocean from the east. This diverse state can be divided into three distinct regions; the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the midlands, and the mountains in the northwest. When it comes to tourism, the coastal region is where you will find South Carolina’s most popular destination, Myrtle Beach. In this region, you can also visit the diverse city of Charleston for some old-world charm. Greenville is a hidden gem that can be found in the Blue Ridge Mountains, while Columbia, the capital of the state, is situated in the heart of South Carolina.
Enjoy a Beach Town Vacation at Myrtle Beach
As mentioned above, Myrtle Beach is a top destination in the Deep South, and for a good reason. There are plenty of things to do in Myrtle Beach, and this area attracts around 20 million visitors every year. There is family-friendly entertainment on the boardwalk. Take your pick from amusement park rides, a 187-foot SkyWheel, and a large array of notable golf courses. Myrtle Beach is also home to renowned festivals, such as the Myrtle Beach Bike Week, the Carolina Country Music Fest, and the World Famous Blue Crab Festival. Broadway at the Beach is South Carolina’s largest entertainment and shopping venue, while the Carolina Opry is a popular venue to watch musical shows. Take a walk down Apache Pier to try your hand at catching some fresh fish. Alternatively, sample some locally caught shrimp or a grouper sandwich from the seafood restaurant on the pier.
Why is South Carolina Known as the Palmetto State?
During your visit to South Carolina, you might notice a re-occurring image. Lovingly known as the Palmetto State, in honor of the state tree, you will find interpretations of the Sabal Palmetto tree on flags adorning homes and businesses, in art, and even on clothes, jewelry, and bumper stickers. Besides the aesthetic appeal, this palm actually plays a significant role in the history of South Carolina. During the Revolutionary War, these trees were used to help protect the state against an attack from the British fleet and actually helped absorb the impact of cannonballs in 1776. The palmetto tree can be found on the South Carolina state seal, the state flag, and it is even mentioned in the state pledge to the flag. It is a proud symbol for many South Carolinians, and it reflects safety and liberty in the Palmetto State.
Soak in Some History in Charleston
Charleston is another popular spot in the coastal region of the Palmetto State, and it is the city to visit if you want to get a feel for real southern charm. Explore the cobbled streets of the antebellum south and take in the 18th and 19th-century architecture. You can visit charming, old homes in the Historic District, such as the 1808 Nathaniel Russell House and the Aiken-Rhett House. Here, you can explore the area on foot or enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride. A visit to the Old Slave Mart Museum and the Old Exchange Building will give you a stark insight into the city’s history, as will the many military attractions. Notable military sites include Fort Moultrie, the Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, and the Fort Sumter National Monument. For those looking for magnificent outdoor spaces, you can find stunning plantations and gardens just outside the city. The Magnolia Plantation & Gardens is an old rice plantation that was founded in 1676, and it is considered to be one of the most beautiful gardens in the United States.
Schedule in a Short Stop to the Capital
The capital of the Palmetto State can be found in the midlands, and it is a common stopover destination for visitors traveling between the coast and the mountains. When visiting Columbia, make sure you visit the South Carolina State House. The Greek Revival-style landmark is a sight to behold, and it holds a significant place in the American Civil War. The Columbia Museum of Art and the South Carolina State Museum are both worth a visit too if you fancy getting cultural. You can enjoy the natural beauty of Congaree National Park, which is just a 30-minute drive from the center. This low-country national forest covers over 26,000 acres, and it is a UNESCO designated biosphere reserve. While visiting this national park, you can try to spot one of the many endangered animals, such as the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker. Besides wildlife spotting, it is a great place to hike, canoe, or simply to get away from city life.
Be Amazed by the Majestic Blue Ridge Mountains
Go further north, and you will find yourself in the mountain region of South Carolina. This area is fantastic for outdoor enthusiasts and is filled with diverse hiking trails, stunning waterfalls, and enchanting vistas. The highest point in the Palmetto State is the summit of Sassafras Mountain. There are several hiking trails on the mountain, but those with a car can drive directly to the observation tower for a jaw-dropping, panoramic view of three different states; South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia.
Discover the Hidden Gem of South Carolina
Greenville is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it is an upcoming destination in the Palmetto State. It is the perfect place for visitors who enjoy the comforts of a city but love being close to nature. This picturesque city has lots of green spaces to explore, trendy eateries, and brewpubs to quench your thirst.