10 Best Places to Visit in South Carolina

If you’re planning a trip to South Carolina, prepare to be awed by its natural beauty, vibrant cities, and rich culture. This southern state has something for everyone, from adventurous hikers to history buffs and beach lovers. In this section, we will introduce you to the 10 Best Places to Visit in South Carolina – destinations that are essential to any South Carolina itinerary. These South Carolina travel destinations offer stunning landscapes, fascinating history, and unforgettable experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. So pack your bags and get ready to explore the best of South Carolina!

Charleston: A Historic Gem

Charleston, also known as Chucktown, is revered as one of the top attractions in South Carolina. Its well-preserved architecture and Southern charm make it a must-visit destination. Explore the historic district, which showcases beautiful antebellum homes, colorful Rainbow Row, and historic cobblestone streets.

Top attractions in South Carolina

Don’t miss Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Take a boat tour to get there and enjoy stunning views along the way.

Charleston is dotted with gorgeous plantations that offer a glimpse into the city’s rich past. Visit Middleton Place, an 18th-century plantation with breathtaking gardens, or Drayton Hall, known for its pristine preservation.

“Charleston is not just a place, it’s a feeling.” – Anonymous

Charleston Table

The Historic DistrictBeautiful antebellum homes, colorful Rainbow Row, and historic cobblestone streets that make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time.
Fort SumterThe site of the first shots of the Civil War. Take a boat tour to get there and enjoy stunning views along the way.
PlantationsVisit Middleton Place, an 18th-century plantation with breathtaking gardens, or Drayton Hall, known for its pristine preservation.

Myrtle Beach: Sun, Sand, and Fun

Myrtle Beach is a popular vacation spot known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and family-friendly attractions.

When you visit, make sure to check out the amusement parks and water sports that Myrtle Beach offers. The lively boardwalk is also a hotspot, boasting family-friendly attractions such as Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and the SkyWheel.

Experience the abundance of restaurants on offer featuring fresh seafood and southern-style cuisine. With more than 1,700 eateries on the Grand Strand, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your taste buds.

Additionally, visitors can enjoy shopping at a variety of boutiques, souvenir shops, and malls. From beachfront souvenir shops to high-end shopping centers, Myrtle Beach has it all.

South Carolina Tourist Spots

Don’t miss out on the vibrant nightlife, with clubs and bars ranging from beachside dives to upscale lounges. Nightlife options like House of Blues and The Bowery provide a great time for those looking to experience a night out.

Greenville: Urban Delights and Natural Beauty

Experience the perfect blend of city living and outdoor adventures in Greenville. A popular spot for South Carolina trip ideas, the city is overflowing with South Carolina points of interest that cater to all tastes and preferences.

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Downtown Greenville

Begin your exploration of Greenville by visiting its lively downtown area. The streets are lined with quaint shops, restaurants, and cafes, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a delicious meal. The Village of West Greenville is a hub for emerging artists and fashion designers, with a range of art galleries and studios to discover.

South Carolina trip ideas

Falls Park on the Reedy

A must-visit when in Greenville, Falls Park on the Reedy is a picturesque natural attraction located right in the city center. The 32-acre park is home to a stunning waterfall, walking paths, gardens, and scenic bridges. Marvel at the beauty of the park and snap some pictures to keep your memories alive.

Blue Ridge Mountains

Escape the city and head to the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains to experience breathtaking natural beauty. The mountains offer hiking trails, waterfalls, and stunning vistas that are sure to take your breath away. Take a drive down the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and immerse yourself in the beauty of South Carolina’s countryside.

“Greenville’s food scene is really amazing. I tried some of the best southern-style cuisine in the city, and the flavors were unparalleled.” – Sarah, Chicago

Table Rock State Park

If you’re looking for South Carolina trip ideas that involve nature, then Table Rock State Park is a perfect choice. Just a short drive from Greenville, this park offers hiking trails, fishing opportunities, and scenic views of Table Rock Mountain. Experience the magic of South Carolina’s natural beauty with a visit to this state park.

Greenville Zoo

For those traveling with kids, a visit to the Greenville Zoo is a must. The zoo is home to a variety of animals from around the world, including giraffes, lions, and zebras. Children will love the interactive exhibits and experiences, which offer a fun and educational glimpse into the animal kingdom.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a foodie, or a culture enthusiast, Greenville has something for everyone. Plan your visit today and explore the South Carolina points of interest that make this city a true gem.

Hilton Head Island: A Beach Paradise

As you head towards the coast of South Carolina, you’ll discover Hilton Head Island, one of the state’s most sought-after vacation destinations. This island resort boasts stunning sandy beaches, top-rated golf courses, and luxurious resorts that make it a stunning beach paradise for tourists.

Hilton with its Robinson Crusoe-like beaches and lush vegetation invites tourists from around the world to enjoy the natural beauty. The island is home to some award-winning golf courses such as the Harbour Town Golf Links which hosts the PGA Tour’s annual RBC Heritage tournament.

The south end of the island is a designated nature reserve that is home to a variety of native bird species like the great blue heron, white ibis, and American oystercatcher. Nature lovers would appreciate the numerous biking and walking trails or the kayaking and fishing options.

Hilton Head Island

During your visit, you can head over to the beach for a fun-filled day of sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing. End your day by chilling on the beach and indulging in fresh seafood at one of the many fine restaurants. Whether you’re here for a family vacation or a romantic getaway, Hilton Head Island is undoubtedly the perfect setting for South Carolina sightseeing.

Columbia: Capital City Rich in History

As the capital of South Carolina, Columbia offers a plethora of historic sites for you to explore, making it one of the best South Carolina sights to visit. Start your journey at the iconic State House, where you can take a guided tour to learn about the state’s legislative process and see the stunning architecture.

South Carolina points of interest

Another must-visit attraction in Columbia is the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, which is home to over 2,000 animals and features stunning botanical gardens. Walkthrough the lush gardens, and take in views of exotic animals like kangaroos, lions, and giraffes.

If you’re interested in South Carolina’s rich history, then you’ll want to visit the various museums and historical sites throughout the city. The South Carolina State Museum, housed in the old Columbia Mills Building, showcases the state’s art, culture, and history. And at the Lexington County Museum, you can step back in time to experience what life was like in the 1800s.

Top Tourist Attractions in Columbia

State HouseSeat of the South Carolina legislature since 1786.
Riverbanks Zoo and GardenA zoo and botanical garden which is home to over 2,000 animals.
South Carolina State MuseumA museum that showcases the state’s art, culture, and history.
Lexington County MuseumA museum that allows visitors to step back in time and experience life in the 1800s.
Finlay ParkA beautiful park that offers stunning views of the skyline.

With so many attractions to explore, Columbia is an excellent destination for those looking for South Carolina points of interest. Plan your visit today, and discover all that this capital city has to offer.

Beaufort: Quaint Southern Charm

Beaufort is a charming Southern town that exudes antebellum architecture and tree-lined streets. It’s the place you can immerse yourself in South Carolina’s rich heritage and feel transported to a different era.

Take a stroll through the historic district and admire the stunning mansions that showcase the town’s history and charm. Hop on a scenic boat tour for a unique perspective of Beaufort’s natural beauty and waterways.

Aside from that, Beaufort has plenty of attractions for you to explore. Take a trip to Hunting Island State Park and enjoy bird watching, fishing, and sunbathing on the beach. Discover the local art scene at Beaufort Art Association Gallery and the LyBensons Gallery.

And if you’re a fan of movies, you’ll be interested to know that Beaufort has been the filming location for several popular movies such as Forrest Gump, The Big Chill, and The Prince of Tides.

Beaufort attractions

“Beaufort is full of Southern charm, natural beauty, and history. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone exploring South Carolina travel destinations.”

Charleston Plantations: Step Into the Past

Charleston is a city rich in history, and the historic plantations around it are a great place to step back in time. These plantations offer a glimpse into the region’s past and showcase the opulent lifestyles of the Southern elite.

Magnolia Plantation, one of the oldest of its kind in the country, features beautiful gardens, a petting zoo, and a slave cabin exhibit that provides insight into the lives of enslaved people in the South. The plantation is also home to Drayton Hall, an untouched and preserved Carolina Plantation House that dates back to 1738.

Boone Hall Plantation, located just outside of Charleston, preserves the history of the African American community amid the backdrop of the Gullah culture on the Lowcountry coast. The plantation also features a butterfly garden and a renowned live oak alley, which is one of the most photographed areas in the region.

The Middleton Place plantation was built in 1755 and is a National Historic Landmark. The house is said to be one of the grandest colonial houses in America, and its state rooms display some of the best museum-quality colonial furniture and decorative arts in the country. The extensive grounds also feature a plantation stableyard, a preserved slave hut, and landscaped gardens.

Charleston Plantations

Visit one of these historic plantations on your trip to South Carolina for a fascinating glimpse into the past, and enjoy the beautiful gardens, Gullah culture, and museum-quality furniture on display.

Pawleys Island: A Tranquil Retreat

Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and head to Pawleys Island. The charming island is one of the best South Carolina sightseeing destinations known for its tranquil setting, pristine beaches, mesmerizing sunsets, and delightful atmosphere.

If you’re looking to unwind and relax, Pawleys Island is the perfect spot. The pristine beaches offer a peaceful setting for a stroll and a chance to soak up the sun. In addition to sunbathing, take a nature walk and explore the salt marshes. Don’t miss out on the fresh seafood at the charming waterfront restaurants that add to the island’s ambiance.

With so many attractions and activities to choose from, there’s always something to do in this little paradise.

“Pawleys Island has that laid-back feeling, the one you get — or hope you will get — from a family vacation at the beach.” – The New York Times

Pawleys Island attractions

Pawleys Island Attractions

Pawleys Island BeachA beautiful and unspoiled beach that offers peacefulness and secluded areas for relaxation.
Hammock Shops VillageA collection of specialty shops where you can find souvenirs, handmade jewelry and clothing, and other unique items.
Brookgreen GardensA unique outdoor sculpture museum exhibiting over 2000 works of art, a zoo, and botanical gardens with thousands of plant species.
The Reserve Golf ClubFeaturing a beautifully designed golf course surrounded by natural wetlands and the Waccamaw River.

In addition, the island also boasts several historical sites, kayaking tours, and fishing trips that cater to a wide range of interests.

Plan your trip to Pawleys Island today and experience the magic of this tranquil retreat!

Kiawah Island: Golf and Nature Haven

Kiawah Island is a perfect vacation spot in South Carolina, where you can enjoy a harmonious blend of the picturesque landscape and the lush green golf courses. Set amidst the eclectic natural beauty, the island is a haven for both avid golfers and nature enthusiasts.

You can indulge in a world-class golfing experience at any of the five public courses on the island, including the famous Ocean Course, known for hosting major golf championships. The courses offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, marshes, and Maritime forests, making the golfing experience all the more memorable.

Besides golf, the island is also home to a variety of animal and plant species, providing a rich wildlife experience. You can explore the island’s nature reserves, teeming with wildlife such as loggerhead turtles, alligators, and white-tailed deer. For bird-watching enthusiasts, the island is a paradise with over 200 species of birds, including bald eagles and ospreys.

Finally, don’t forget to take a leisurely stroll on one of the island’s many pristine and peaceful beaches, perfect for relaxation and soaking up the sun.

Kiawah Island attractions

Visit Kiawah Island to experience the perfect blend of golf and nature in a stunning setting. It is an excellent choice for your South Carolina vacation spots list.

Aiken: Equestrian Delights

South Carolina is known for its equestrian culture, and Aiken is a prime example of this. Located in the western part of the state, Aiken boasts a charming downtown area and a rich equestrian history that comes alive through various events and attractions.

A must-visit attraction in Aiken is the Hitchcock Woods, a 2,000-acre forest that is perfect for horseback riding, hiking, and nature walks. This natural beauty is also home to several species of wildlife and plants, making it a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts.

If you are a fan of horse racing, the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum is a must-visit attraction. Learn about the history of horse racing in Aiken and the contributions of this charming town to the equestrian world.

Aiken attractions

Other noteworthy attractions in Aiken include the Aiken Center for the Arts, which showcases impressive works by local and regional artists, and the Aiken County Historical Museum, which tells the story of this region’s history through exhibits and artifacts.

Congaree National Park: A Natural Wonder

Experience nature at its finest at Congaree National Park, a South Carolina point of interest that boasts the largest intact expanse of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the United States.

Hike the trails and admire the towering trees dripping with vines, navigate the wilderness by canoeing through the Congaree River, or join a ranger-led program to learn more about the park’s unique ecosystem and wildlife.

“The Congaree wilderness is a place where nature presents herself in prodigious depth and abundance, challenging human senses and ingenuity.” – Tom Poland

Make sure to bring your camera to capture shots of stunning natural beauty, or simply sit back and bask in the peaceful atmosphere of this incredible natural wonder.

Congaree National Park attractions

Folly Beach: Surf and Relaxation

If you’re looking for a destination that combines surfing, relaxation, and sandy beaches, Folly Beach is a must-visit. Located just minutes from Charleston, this coastal gem offers plenty of activities for all ages. Catch some waves, relax on the sandy beach, or explore the Folly Beach Fishing Pier for a memorable seaside experience.

Surfing is a popular activity at Folly Beach, with consistent waves throughout the year. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, the waves at Folly Beach will not disappoint. If you’re new to surfing, consider taking a lesson with one of the many surf schools in the area.

For those looking to simply relax, Folly Beach offers miles of beautiful sandy beaches perfect for lounging in the sun or taking a refreshing swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

Folly Beach attractions

One of the top attractions at Folly Beach is the Folly Beach Fishing Pier. Measuring over 1,000 feet long, this pier offers stunning views of the beach and plenty of opportunities for fishing. The pier also features a restaurant, gift shop, and a covered pavilion, making it the perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon.

Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Folly Beach is a top destination in South Carolina that should not be missed.


South Carolina is a state with a rich history, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant cities. Exploring the top 10 destinations in South Carolina will create unforgettable memories for you and your loved ones.

Charleston’s well-preserved architecture and Southern charm will take you back in time, while Myrtle Beach offers a perfect beach vacation. Greenville is for city lovers and nature enthusiasts alike, whereas Hilton Head Island is a beach paradise with pristine shores.

Columbia, the capital city, offers a glimpse of South Carolina’s past, and Beaufort exudes Southern charm with its historic district. The stunning Charleston plantations offer a faraway feel, while Pawleys Island and Kiawah Island are perfect for a tranquil retreat.

Aiken is renowned for its equestrian culture and picturesque downtown, and Congaree National Park is home to the largest expanse of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the United States. Lastly, Folly Beach is perfect for surfers and beach lovers.

South Carolina’s top destinations offer something for every traveler. Plan your visit to explore this beautiful state and create memories of a lifetime.

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