With its miles of beaches, mountains, rich history, and traditional Southern cuisine, it’s easy to see why South Carolina regularly tops the list for a family vacation. From historic Charleston to the Grand Strand beaches and the state capital of Columbia, there’s so much to see and do here that one South Carolina vacation simply won’t be enough.
Whether your idea of the perfect vacation is strolling around the historical attractions of Downtown Charleston or soaking up the sun on Myrtle Beach, there’s something to suit all tastes in South Carolina. The freshest seafood, Southern cuisine, and miles of stunning coastline ensure this is always a popular spot for family vacations and romantic getaways.
Folly Beach – This city on Folly Island, just south of Charleston, is the place to shop for surfing goods or souvenirs on Center Street. See the pelican rookery at Folly Beach Country Park, or you may even run into one of these big birds further along the coast. If you fancy surfing, kayaking, sailing or fishing, you’ll find it all here.
Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, Charleston – Naval and maritime history buffs will love this museum. Here you’ll find an impressive display of warfare including a reconstructed camp from the Vietnam era.
Huntington Beach State Park – In this coastal park you can spot alligator and sea turtles, take off on nature trails, or laze by the lagoon. Whether you’re into fishing, hiking or biking, there’s plenty of activities, or you could check out the Moorish-style 1930’s castle of Atalaya.
1. Columbia – When it comes to South Carolina destinations, you can’t miss the state capital of Columbia. Take the kids to Riverbanks Zoo (one of the top 10 US zoos), go urban kayaking on the Saluda River, or visit Siebel’s House and Garden.
2. Charleston – South Carolina’s oldest and second-largest city is known for its beautiful, historic houses, cobbled streets, and ‘suspended in time’ atmosphere. Take a carriage tour of historic Charleston, hop on a ferry ride to Fort Sumter, or shop for sweetgrass crafts (a Gullah specialty) at The Market. Charleston Harbor is the place to head for sophisticated cocktails and waterfront dining at sunset.
3. Greenville – One of the US’s fastest growing cities, Greenville is well worth a visit on vacations to South Carolina. While you’re here make sure you check out Falls Park, a 32-acre park in the historic West End of the city. Here you’ll find hiking and biking trails, public art and picnic areas.
4. Myrtle Beach – If 60 miles of white sandy beach sounds like your thing, head for Myrtle Beach. This is a popular, family-friendly spot, with vacation rentals, fantastic fresh seafood, shopping, and entertainment for all ages, all spread along the famous Myrtle Beach boardwalk.
5. Hilton Head Island – This top golf destination boasts some of the best golf courses around. Play at the Harbor Town Golf Links, where the Verizon Heritage golf tournament is held every April or tee off at the Hilton Head National.
6. Kiawah Island – This private beach resort 25 miles southwest of Charleston is truly exclusive, with award-winning golf courses and some of the finest seafood restaurants in the state.
By far the best time for South Carolina vacations is between March to May or September to November. During these months the weather is hot but not stifling, making it ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities. Summer temperatures peak at around 90°F while winters can drop to around 39°F, although snow is rare in most areas.
The best way to see the state is by renting a car, as public transport isn’t an option in more rural areas. I-95 is the main interstate road, located in the southern part of the state.
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