Visitors come to South Carolina looking for history, and the state has plenty to share. Towns showcase streets still paved with cobbles. Plantations house Southern traditions dozing under spreading oaks. Horses compete with local belles and barbecue for attention at steeplechases. It can all be found in South Carolina.
Alongside all the history, visitors will find the largest concentration of golf courses in America. Mile after mile of clean beaches delight families. Blackwater rivers are ready for exploration via kayak.
Charleston, one of the earliest – and richest – of the American colonies, maintains its charm to this day. Guests of the city can step back in time. Ride over cobblestone streets in horse-drawn carriages. Pass pastel mansions angled to catch every breeze. Browse the City Market for sweetgrass baskets. Dine on local rice and fresh-caught seafood amid flickering gas lamps.
The Civil War began here, and a boat ride out to Fort Sumter gives perspective to this terrible struggle that pitted brother against brother.
In the pre-Civil War era, South Carolina was a land of low-country plantations and up-country towns where the gentry went to escape the heat and diseases of the coast.
Many of the plantations, especially along Charleston’s River Road, are open for touring, with magnificent gardens and towering live oaks creating atmospheric landscapes.
The majority of visitors stick close to the South Carolina coast. Myrtle Beach, an enormous beach destination, has something for everyone and is especially recommended for avid golfers and families with kids. Head for North Myrtle Beach to learn the shag, a dance version of swing that is South Carolina’s state dance.
Georgetown and the lowcountry towns of Beaufort and Hilton Head are farther south. Each has a special charm. History is strong in Beaufort and Georgetown, while Hilton Head offers a modern beach getaway with world-class golf and tennis. The unique Gullah culture, based on the traditions of enslaved people brought to work the rice plantations, remains strong in the Lowcountry.
Towns such as Aiken and Camden, inland getaways, are known as horse capitals. They host steeplechase events each year that attract the country’s top jumping thoroughbreds. Big-hatted belles accompany these and might compete to serve the most elegant tailgate spreads.
Sherman burned Columbia, the state capital, in 1865, during the American Civil War. The city now makes up for its lack of a historic district with fine museums of history and art. Also, the wonderful Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens showcases one of the loveliest zoos in the country.
Meanwhile, Greenville and Spartanburg are neighboring cities in South Carolina’s Upstate. Here find a dynamic urban vibe with burgeoning dining and entertainment scenes.
Whatever destination you choose within this state, South Carolina and its residents are sure to roll out the Southern hospitality and extend a warm welcome.
Big thanks to Renee Wright who got us started with this introduction while we search for the perfect destination specialist (if that’s you, please contact us).