Things to Do in South Carolina: Unmissable Attractions

Visit historic Charleston, explore Myrtle Beach, and tour Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Enjoy outdoor activities at Congaree National Park and Hilton Head Island.


South Carolina beckons travelers with its rich blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the charming cobblestone streets of Charleston to the family-friendly attractions of Myrtle Beach, the state offers an array of experiences. Delve into America’s past at Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, or take a leisurely stroll through the verdant landscapes of Congaree National Park, home to some of the tallest trees in the East Coast.


For beach lovers, Hilton Head Island serves up sun, surf, and scenic golf courses. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply in search of relaxation, South Carolina offers a diverse set of destinations to create lasting memories.


Exploring South Carolina’s Charm

South Carolina teems with sites steeped in history, offering a glimpse into the past that shaped the nation. Among these, Ft. Sumter National Monument stands out, a sea fort known for its pivotal role in igniting the American Civil War. History buffs must also venture to Charleston’s Historic District, which encapsulates centuries of history with its cobblestone streets and antebellum architecture.

For a touch of Revolutionary War history, the Cowpens National Battlefield deserves a spot on any itinerary. It was here where a significant patriot victory occurred. Not to be overlooked is the Boone Hall Plantation, offering insight into plantation life and the history of slavery in the South through preserved buildings and educational tours.

Beaches And Coastal Attractions

South Carolina’s coastline is adorned with pristine beaches perfect for family outings. One can bask under the sunny skies at Myrtle Beach, known for its golden sands and friendly atmosphere. Folly Beach, another gem, offers a tranquil retreat for families looking to unwind. Not only do these locations provide a relaxing escape, but they also feature amenities such as playgrounds and picnic areas for a complete day of enjoyment.

For those seeking thrills on the water, South Carolina delivers an array of exciting water sports. Engage in jet skiing, wakeboarding, or kite surfing for an adrenaline rush. Charleston’s waterfronts are particularly famed for stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) and kayaking, inviting adventurers to explore the state’s stunning marine landscape.

South Carolina’s Natural Wonders

South Carolina’s natural beauty is best experienced by traversing its array of picturesque state parks. Enthusiasts of the great outdoors will find solace hiking through the verdant trails that are often adorned with the awe-inspiring panoramas of majestic waterfalls and the serene beauty of the mountainous terrain. A visit to these parks is a must for anyone willing to explore the essence of South Carolina’s splendor.

The state’s renowned parks, such as the Caesars Head State Park, offer not only sprawling trails but also breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, making it a perfect destination for both novice and experienced hikers. Furthermore, the Table Rock State Park beckons with its scenic pathways leading to exquisite waterfalls – an idyllic backdrop for both adventure seekers and nature lovers. Each trail rewards hikers with unique vistas, boasting the rich biodiversity that South Carolina prides itself on.

Adventure Beyond The Shores

Experience the rugged beauty of South Carolina’s wilderness by setting up camp at Huntington Beach State Park or feel the thrill of reeling in a big catch at Lake Marion. The diversity of camping grounds, from Table Rock State Park with its panoramic mountain views to the serene coastal sites of Edisto Beach State Park, caters to all outdoor aficionados. Fishing enthusiasts revel in the abundance of freshwater and saltwater opportunities, with Lake Jocassee and Winyah Bay known for their bounty.

Embark on a journey through the pristine environments of South Carolina and immerse yourself in the habitat of its rich wildlife. The Congaree National Park offers a sanctuary for diverse species, from majestic birds of prey to elusive deer. Equally compelling, the Ace Basin National Wildlife Refuge presents an opportunity to observe alligators, turtles, and an array of birdlife amidst its lush marshlands. Wildlife watchers and nature enthusiasts will find these reserves to be unparalleled in the opportunities they offer for close encounters with the state’s natural inhabitants.

Culinary Delights In South Carolina

South Carolina’s culinary scene is a feast for the senses. If you’re eager to sample local flavors, don’t miss the famous dishes known to enchant food lovers. Savor the state’s cherished shrimp and grits at Charleston’s revered eateries, or experience the unique taste of lowcountry boil, a delightful mix of seafood, sausage, corn, and potatoes, available at coastal joints.

For those with a sweet tooth, the peach cobbler stands out as a must-try dessert, especially in the peach orchards near Gaffney. Barbecue aficionados will revel in the distinct mustard-based sauce on tender pork at legendary BBQ spots in Columbia. The she-crab soup, brimming with rich flavors, is a Charleston specialty not to be overlooked.

Breweries Vineyards
Palmetto Brewing Co., Charleston Irwinton Vineyards, Leesville
Westbrook Brewing Co., Mount Pleasant Deep Water Vineyard, Wadmalaw Island
Thomas Creek Brewery, Greenville Carter’s Mountain Vineyards, York

Beer enthusiasts and wine lovers will find an abundance of local breweries and vineyards throughout South Carolina. Craft beer seekers should explore Greenville’s innovative breweries, while those partial to a fine vintage can tour the sprawling vineyards nestled in the picturesque countryside. Each establishment offers unique blends and flavors, showcasing the rich agricultural heritage of the Palmetto State.

A Taste Of Local Culture

Exploring South Carolina’s vibrant cultural scene is a must-do, and what better way than to participate in its annual festivals and events? Take part in the Charleston Wine + Food Festival if your visit aligns with the spring season, where the marriage of Southern flavors and traditions creates an unforgettable gastronomic experience. Alternatively, don your best attire for the Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival in the fall, celebrating local seafood and showcasing regional artists.

Visitors with a love for unique finds should not miss out on the authentic art and craft markets that dot various towns. The markets, such as the Folly Beach Sea & Sand Festival or the Myrtle Beach Art in the Park, are perfect avenues to immerse oneself in local creativity, purchase one-of-a-kind handcrafted items, and engage with artisans. Boasting handmade jewelry, pottery, textiles, and more, these markets truly capture the spirit of South Carolina’s rich artistic heritage.

A Journey Through History

Embarking on guided tours of historical plantations in South Carolina is akin to stepping back in time. Visitors gain a unique perspective of the state’s antebellum past as they explore well-preserved estates that have stood the test of time. Many of these plantations offer interactive experiences, providing a vivid recounting of the region’s history through reenactments and storytelling by knowledgeable guides.

For those seeking to delve deeper into the cultural legacy of South Carolina, significant museums dotting the landscape serve as custodians of heritage. These institutions display artifacts and exhibits that chronicle the rich history of the state from the colonial era to the present day. Art enthusiasts and history buffs alike will find a treasure trove of information and inspiration within the walls of these venerable repositories.



Uncovering Hidden Gems

South Carolina is brimming with unique small towns and hidden spots ripe for exploration. Dive into the charming allure of Beaufort, where antebellum architecture punctuates the oak-lined streets, or wander through McClellanville, a time capsule of coastal heritage.

Abbeville’s Victorian charm is equally enchanting, offering a backdrop to its rich history dating back to the Civil War. For a dose of undeniable tranquility, the quiet streets of Edgefield beckon, boasting pottery studios steeped in local craft.

For history enthusiasts, the off-the-beaten-path historical landmarks offer a treasure trove of discoveries. St. Helena Island is home to the Penn Center, one of the first schools for freed slaves, and the island’s Gullah culture remains pervasive. Meanwhile, Walhalla coddles its German heritage, and the ancient ruins at St. Phillips Island whisper tales of yore amidst the natural beauty of South Carolina’s coastal ecosystem.

Things To Do In South Carolina For Families

South Carolina boasts a plethora of kid-friendly activities and attractions that meld education with entertainment. Families will discover that the state offers a rich tapestry of learning opportunities infused with fun.

  • Explore the mesmerizing Charleston Aquarium, where children can marvel at colorful marine life and participate in interactive exhibits.
  • Visit the Children’s Museum of the Upstate in Greenville for hands-on educational exhibits that engage young minds in science, art, and humanities.
  • Experience living history at the Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens with a variety of tours that offer insights into America’s past.
  • Hop aboard the South Carolina Railroad Museum’s scenic train rides, which provide a unique perspective on the state’s geography and history.

Each of these destinations is designed to stimulate curiosity and encourage learning, ensuring that every family outing is both memorable and meaningful.

Thrills For Every Adventurer

South Carolina offers a vast array of thrills for every adventurer, whether you’re seeking family fun or solo excitement. Theme parks and entertainment centers abound, with Carowinds being a prime choice. This amusement park boasts a variety of rides, from heart-pounding roller coasters to gentler options for younger guests.

For those craving more natural adventures, South Carolina’s outdoor activities won’t disappoint. You can explore the thrills of white-water rafting on the Chattooga River or indulge in zip-lining through lush forests. Offering hiking trails with breathtaking views and abundant wildlife, the state’s numerous parks and reserves are a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Embrace The South Carolina Lifestyle

South Carolina’s rich cultural heritage offers an array of traditional crafts to learn. Visitors can immerse themselves in hands-on workshops where they can master the art of sweetgrass basket weaving, a skill passed down for generations. Pottery enthusiasts will have the opportunity to sculpt their own pieces, while those interested in textiles can try their hand at quilting or indigo dyeing.

The state’s music and dance scene is vibrant and diverse, with live performances that showcase everything from bluegrass to jazz. The famous Carolina shag dance, born in Myrtle Beach, continues to be a popular activity among locals and visitors alike. For an unforgettable experience, one can attend a barn dance or a live concert at the many historic venues across the state.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Things To Do In South Carolina


What Are South Carolina’s Top Attractions?


South Carolina is famed for its historical sites like Fort Sumter, beautiful plantations such as Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, and the stunning Myrtle Beach. Exploring the charming city of Charleston and Hilton Head Island’s beaches are also must-dos.


Can You Experience Wildlife In South Carolina?


Yes, South Carolina offers diverse wildlife experiences at places such as Congaree National Park and the South Carolina Aquarium. Spotting American alligators at Huntington Beach State Park is a unique opportunity for visitors.


Where To Find The Best Food In South Carolina?


South Carolina’s culinary scene shines with Lowcountry cuisine. Cities like Charleston and Greenville boast top-notch restaurants featuring local favorites like shrimp and grits, barbecue, and fresh seafood.


Are There Family-Friendly Activities In South Carolina?


Absolutely, from the beaches of Myrtle Beach to the interactive EdVenture Children’s Museum in Columbia, South Carolina has plenty of family-friendly options. Water parks, the Riverbanks Zoo, and educational historic sites cater to all ages.




Embarking on a South Carolina adventure promises an array of unforgettable experiences. From the historic charm of Charleston to the sun-soaked shores of Myrtle Beach, your trip will be packed with diversity. Remember to savor the local cuisine and enjoy the southern hospitality.


South Carolina awaits to make your next journey truly remarkable. Safe travels!

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Elsie S. Pilla is an acclaimed travel writer, whose work has been published in numerous print and digital publications. With a passion for exploring new destinations and immersing herself in different cultures, Elsie has traveled extensively across the globe, from the beaches of Bali to the mountains of Peru. Her writing is known for its vivid descriptions, insightful commentary, and practical advice, making her a sought-after contributor to top travel publications. Through her work on, Elsie continues to share her love of travel with a wide audience, inspiring others to embark on their own adventures.

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