- South Carolina
South Carolina is charming and quaint Southern state, but it also is an ideal place for outdoor-sports enthusiasts.
There are so many ways to engage your adventurous spirit here. Sample from a myriad of thrilling water sports, exciting biking opportunities and challenging mountain trails.
South Carolina has 12 major lakes that are perfect for inland water sports. One of them is Lake Murray, where you can go sailing, boating and waterskiing. The lake also hosts nationally sponsored fishing tournaments and is especially known for four types of fish – striped bass, large-mouth bass, bream and crappie. With roughly 800 kilometers of shoreline, the activities are nearly endless.
Rafting is another favorite pastime in the state. Protected from development as a “Wild and Scenic River,” the Chattooga River is definitely the place to go in South Carolina for whitewater rafting. A section of this river in South Carolina along the Georgia border has class IV and V whitewater rafting. This means you are in for an exciting ride if you are an experienced paddler. The Savannah River is another option that includes Class I-V rapids to enjoy.
Wake up the sleeping race car driver inside you. South Carolina is home to three racetracks. The Myrtle Beach Speedway is along the coast. Inland, the Darlington Raceway, hosts the NASCAR Southern 500 on a course known as “too tough to tame.” In the upcountry in Greer, you can test drive all BMWs on off-road, wet and speed tracks as part of the BMW Performance Driving School. Your adrenaline will be pumping and unforgettable memories created.
Biking the Trails
If your idea of adventure includes cycling on single-track mountain trails, you’ll find what you seek throughout South Carolina. The Upcountry region in the northwest region is home to the best mountain biking in the state. In Greenville, Paris Mountain State Park has about 24 kilometers of biking trails of varying difficulty. Croft State Park in Spartanburg also has a 24-kilometer trail perfect for biking.
Along the coast, discover the beauty of Hilton Head Island on a bike tour. An award-winning biking paradise, the island has over 160 kilometers of paved biking trails. Explore old plantations, beautiful cypress forests and marshland, all the way along to the dreamy beaches in Coligny Beach Park. If you don’t want to ride alone, there are biking clubs on the island that meet for scheduled rides.
Popular Myrtle Beach also offers wonderful biking trails. Huntington Beach State Park has more than 40 kilometers of accessible bike trails that meander along the beach and by Atalaya Castle, a National Historic Landmark home. Meanwhile, the Horry County Bike and Run Park is noticeably more challenging. Nicknamed “The Hulk“ for its resemblance to a roller coaster in Orlando, Florida, this trail begins with a nearly 9-meter climb and continues with tight twists and turns that will have your leg muscles burning. This difficult trail is the closest experience you will find to mountain biking in Myrtle Beach.
When it’s complete, the Palmetto Trail will span more than 675 kilometers across the state, from Oconee State Park upstate to North of Charleston on the central coast. Currently, 21 counties have more than 482 kilometers of trails open. Extreme bikers can ride across mountaintops on challenging trails, while others can simply enjoy paved trails in urban areas.
Beautiful Charleston is known as one of the top bike-friendly cities in the United States. Charleston Bicycle Tours offers multi-day tour packages with different themes, such as Charleston’s Plantations and Quaint Towns or a family bike tour, among other great options. If you prefer to bike alone, try the Swamp Fox trail, one of the oldest bike trails in the area. At more than 64 kilometers, the Swamp Fox unpaved trail is a unique way to encounter the area’s local wildlife and take in the wonderful scenery.
And in the charming uplands city of Greenville, the Swamp Rabbit Trail is a 28-kilometer, beginner-friendly, multi-use greenway trail that runs along the Reedy River connecting schools, parks and businesses. Bring your own bike, or rent from one of the various companies along the trail.
In addition to biking, look out for other outdoor adventures in the state, such as zip lining, challenging hiking, horse riding, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and paragliding. Thrilling sports and outdoors activities abound in South Carolina.