Last updated: 12:50 PM ET, Wed December 14 2022
Charleston, South Carolina, USA cityscape in the historic French Quarter at twilight. (photo via SeanPavonePhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

South Carolina

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There are endless opportunities for vacation fun in South Carolina, from wandering along a mountain trail through an ancient forest or strolling through the cobblestone streets of one of the nation's first Colonial cities, to walking along a white-sand beach that seems like it goes on forever. You can also tee off at one of the state’s 368 golf courses, bask in the beauty of 47 different state parks, and enjoy the excitement of more than 400 festivals.

South Carolina’s three coastal beach areas include Grand Strand/Myrtle Beach, Historic Charleston Beaches and Lowcountry Beaches. In Grand Strand/Myrtle Beach you can visit one of the Travel Channel’s “best beaches on the East Coast,” taste the flavors of “the seafood capital of South Carolina,” or find fishing, food, and entertainment on one of the highest-rated piers in South Carolina. At the Historic Charleston Beaches, you can discover 19th-century lighthouses, find romance on “one of the most romantic beaches in America” and even explore the coastline via horseback trail rides. The Lowcountry Beaches, featuring Edisto, Hilton Head, Fripp and Hunting Islands, offer everything from quiet family-friendly atmospheres to up-tempo surfing hot spots.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA Skyline
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina skyline. (photo via Sean Pavone / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Known as “The Golf Capital of the South,” South Carolina offers challenging play in spectacular settings such as the oceanside scenery of Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Hilton Head; the stunning mountain vistas and foothill terrain of the Upcountry Golf Trail; the rolling hills and meandering pine trees in Greenwood and Santee.

Charleston SC Plantation Live Oak Trees Spanish Moss Azalea Flowers Blooming Spring Blooms
Charleston SC Plantation Live Oak Trees Spanish Moss Azalea Flowers Blooming Spring Blooms

While South Carolina is perhaps most often associated with the Civil War, you’ll be amazed by the depth and breadth of the state’s history, the number of remarkable sites and the extensive role the state has played in shaping our nation. You can visit Charles Towne Landing, the first permanent English settlement founded in Colonial South Carolina; walk the English gardens of perfectly preserved colonial plantation homes or visit historic Charleston, a contemporary city with old-world charm, carriage rides and cobblestone streets. More than 1,200 historic sites in South Carolina are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and distinctive architecture throughout the state reflects the pride and history of European, Afro-centric and Caribbean influences.

Outdoor activities popular in the state include kayaking and canoeing black-water rivers, sleeping under the stars at pristine South Carolina campgrounds, hiking mountain wilderness trails, shooting class IV-VI white-water rapids, and boating on crystal clear lakes and ocean waters. With so many varied habitats, South Carolina is home to an amazing variety of plants and wildlife. Dolphin cruises, alligator swamp tours, safari-style jeep tours through a wildlife refuge, and birding and nature walks are just a few of the soft outdoor adventures you can enjoy in the Palmetto State.

South Carolina’s cuisine has been inspired by its unique cultural heritage, and includes European, Caribbean and American frontier influences. From South Carolina Barbecue and Charleston’s She-Crab soup to Gullah okra gumbo to fresh caught mountain trout, food is serious business here.

In the summer, South Carolina is hot and humid with daytime temperatures averaging near 90° across most of the state with overnight lows near 70°. Winter temperatures are much less uniform. Coastal areas of the state have very mild winters with high temperatures averaging near 60° and overnight lows near 38°. Further inland in the Piedmont area, temperatures average between 55° during the day and 34° at night.

Major gateway airports for South Carolina include Augusta Regional Airport, Charleston International Airport, Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, Hilton Head Island Airport, Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, Myrtle Beach International Airport and Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.