The Palmetto State, as called by the locals, offers you a wide variety of attractions to see. Whether you just want to relax at the beach, explore the museums for your dose of history, or wander through the zoo, this is perfect for you. Check out the most beautiful places to see in South Carolina!
1. Charleston’s Historic District
This quaint town of Charleston is home to over 1400 historic buildings, churches, and traditions. Blending history and architecture, Charleston is one of the most beautiful places to see in South Carolina.
Two of the most visited homes here are the 1808 Nathaniel Russell House and the Aiken-Rhett House. They both feature timeless collections of artworks and decorative items. Other attractions that you may visit are the Old Exchange Building and the Old Slave Mart Museum, for a glimpse of the city’s long history.
The Charleston City Market is also a site you shouldn’t miss. While you’re here, make sure to watch “basket ladies” as they weave sweetgrass baskets, one of Charleston’s cherished traditions. Tours are offered to tourists who would like to explore the town. You may also choose from the walking guided tours or the carriage ride if you feel like embracing the vibe of the old town.
2. Myrtle Beach
Give yourself a break and enjoy the miles of flawless sands on the coast of Myrtle Beach! This popular summer place is known for its many traditional pleasures to choose from. There’s the Broadway at the Beach, which is the biggest entertainment and shopping hub in the state of South Carolina. It features a mini-golf course, the Ripley’s Aquarium, rides, movie theaters, specialty shops, and exquisite restaurants.
Adding to the list is The Carolina Opry, which produces musicals. Don’t miss the Myrtle Beach Skywheel- a 10-minute ride that takes the visitors above the beach and boardwalk. This pedestrian-only area around Lake Broadway also includes water parks and hotels that families truly enjoy.
3. South Carolina Plantations
Charleston is not only a place of historic homes and monuments. It’s also teeming with equally outstanding gardens. Scattered around the state is South Carolina’s over 2,000 plantations. Some of which have been there for millennia and special local departments are tasked to preserve them.
Some of the examples of these luscious plains are the Magnolia Plantation- the last grand Romantic-styled garden that first opened in the 1870s. The Drayton Hall showcases 18th-century craftsmanship. Middleton Place has kept its original style since it was built in 1755. Located near Mt. Pleasant is one of the nation’s oldest plantations. The Boone Hall still operates as a farm and has kept its reputation to have a picturesque Avenue of Oaks.
4. Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor
The federal fort guarding the Charleston Harbor suffered an attack from the Confederate forces on April 12, 1861. This was the triggering event for the American Civil War. Now, the National Park Rangers sets the stage for people to experience the history of the Civil War.
There are quite a few options to get to the well-preserved ruins of the fort. One is by boat from the Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square. The other is the 90-minute sightseeing tour that takes you along the Cooper River until the Fort Sumter National Monument.
Both tours are guided so you won’t have to worry about not knowing the background of a particular site. The fort also gives you access to spectacular views of the Civil War prison at Pinckney Castle, the Ravenel Bridge, and the USS Yorktown.
5. South Carolina State Museum
The largest in the state, the South Carolina State Museum covers four floors. Each one features the state’s history, arts, and culture, science and technology. Schools often hold their educational tours here because they are very hands-on with their exhibits. Every section encourages students to learn more about South Carolina and its history.
The South Carolina State Museum also features a digital dome planetarium, a 4D interactive science theater, and special exhibits all year round.
The State Museum focuses on the four disciplines that reflect the vast and rich South Carolina history. These four areas of discipline are the following: South Carolina Art, Natural History, Science and Technology, and lastly, Cultural History.
6. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
Located along the Saluda River is this massive piece of land called Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. This over 170-acre of lush Greenland is home to a variety of fascinating species. It also features scenic river views, dynamic natural habitat exhibits, historic landmarks, and valley overlooks.
Each area of the vast lands exhibits their individually unique characteristics. One of which is the Ndoki Forest area, a sanctuary for:
- Siberian tigers
- Komodo dragons
- Grizzly bears
- California sea lions
The Africa Plains, meanwhile, features an African savanna where African lions, giraffes, zebras, baboons, and ostriches thrive in their own habitats.
Since it was opened in 1974, the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has become one of the nation’s most beautiful and diverse gardens. Groups of people, families, and individuals flock this place to learn about the world’s wildlife. It has also been awarded the Governor’s Cup for South Carolina’s Most Outstanding Tourist Attraction twice.
7. Hilton Head Island
If you’re up to a laid-back beach trip, then Hilton Head Island is perfect for you. It may not have the spunky attractions of Myrtle Beach, but this boot-shaped island offers unlimited activities to enjoy.
Biking and hiking trails, golf courses, and water sports are just some of the things you can do here. Moreover, you may also spot rare species up- close at the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. So whether you’re here for a quick refresher or a romantic getaway, Hilton Head Island will never disappoint.
South Carolina is bursting with natural beauty, history, and culture. One visit is not enough to get your fill of this state. Begin your trip by visiting the most beautiful places to see in South Carolina. Afterward, make your way down our list of the 10 Best Things to Do in South Carolina, and fall in love again and again with the state.
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