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Tales of the South

No matter where you go in the state, South Carolina is steeped in U.S. history. It was at Fort Sumter near Charleston where the first shots of the American Civil War rang out in April of 1861. Four years later, Confederate President Jefferson Davis conceded defeat at the Burt-Stark Mansion in Abbeville. History buffs will love exploring picturesque Charleston, founded in 1670 – voted the #1 City in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure for five years running and the #1 City in the World in 2016. Also along the coast, learn the history and culture of the Gullah, descendants of African slaves who have historically inhabited the Lowcountry and developed a distinct culture and language still preserved today.


Food, Glorious Food

You can’t visit South Carolina without an appetite. Enjoy just-caught seafood at a waterfront restaurant, which are plentiful in a state with the ocean at its doorstep along with dozens of lakes and rivers. Join the locals at a classic Lowcountry boil, consisting of a generous mix of shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn boiled to perfection and served in a heap right on the table. Help yourself! Don’t forget about the barbecue: There are four different types of sauces to try – vinegar and pepper, mustard, light tomato and heavy tomato – at more than 200 barbecue restaurants throughout the state.


Golf and Beaches for Days

Bring your best clubs, because South Carolina is a year-round golf destination and home to more than 350 courses. You’re sure to find a course no matter when and where you visit, but the state’s top-ranked greens are generally concentrated along the coast. Notably, the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is one of only four courses in the country to have hosted every major PGA event and is consistently rated one of the top courses in the world.

If your idea of a perfect vacation is less “sand trap” and more “sand castle,” South Carolina offers 301 kilometers of picture-perfect coastline. Families tend to congregate in Hilton Head Island, with a plethora of bike trails and relaxing white-sand beaches, and Myrtle Beach, complete with affordable beachfront resorts and boardwalk amusements. More low-key beach goers can check out Isle of Palms, Folly Beach and Kiawah Island.

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Fun Fact

Golf course in Hilton Head Island
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South Carolina has more golf holes per capita than any other state in the USA.

A sampling of tasty South Carolina barbecue
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Considered the Birthplace of Barbecue, South Carolina claims four “official” styles of barbecue sauce and more than 200 barbecue restaurants.

Signage at Charleston Tea Garden on Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina
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Historic Wadmalaw Island is home to Charleston’s only winery (Deep Water Vineyard) and the only large-scale tea garden in North America (Charleston Tea Garden).

Must see places

Harvesting tea leaves at the Charleston Tea Garden in South Carolina

Charleston Tea Garden

Take a trolley tour through the lush tea bushes at the USA’s only large-scale tea garden and then a factory tour to see how the fragrant leaves are harvested. When you’re done tasting the tea, South Carolina’s Satisfy Your Thirst Tour continues on to breweries, distilleries, dairy farms and wineries across the state.

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South Carolina's Magnolia Plantation, along the Ashley River Road National Scenic Byway

Ashley River Road National Scenic Byway

Just outside of Charleston, this stretch of Highway 61 winds for 18 kilometers through the iconic South Carolina landscape and features three of the most lauded old plantation homes: Magnolia Plantation, Drayton Hall and Middleton Place. Set off from the Ashley River Historic District and find yourself driving through a landscape of hickory oak, Spanish moss and palmettos.  

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Beach view from one of South Carolina's Sea Islands

Sea Islands

A variety of tour operators take you into the heart of Gullah country, a community that has been thriving on the Sea Islands and maintaining their West African legacy for more than 100 years. Encounter the spirituality, music, food and language of this welcoming culture with local guides.

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USS Yorktown and Patriots Point in South Carolina

USS Yorktown and Patriots Point

This naval and maritime museum may have the USS Yorktown, a historic WWII aircraft carrier, at its center, but there’s lots more to see and do. If you’re feeling brave, take a ghost tour of the carrier or a helicopter tour to take in the whole gaggle of submarines, destroyers and other crafts collected here. Stop in to the Medal of Honor Museum to learn about the heroes who commanded these vessels.

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Kayaking in Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

The Congaree wilderness is made up of an old growth forest and water systems that sweep the backcountry where the park is located. To best see it all, canoe or kayak the 24-kilometer Cedar Creek trail, where you can see deer, river otter and wading birds, or hike a 40-kilometer trail, which includes a boardwalk to take you over the waterways. 

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View of Table Rock Mountain from Caesars Head State Park in South Carolina

Caesars Head State Park

From the platform at the top of this park, the highest point in South Carolina, you can see Table Rock Mountain and the valleys below. From September through November, the park is on “hawk watch,” where many gather to view the raptors on their annual migration to Central and South America. 

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Aerial view of Fort Sumter National Monument in South Carolina

Fort Sumter National Monument

Cross Charleston Harbor by boat to this historic fort, site of the 1861 attack by the Confederates that incited the American Civil War. Tour the massive barracks and learn how historical events unfolded through a series of exhibits within the fort. 

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Exterior view of the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia

South Carolina State Museum

Set on the Congaree River and housed in an old mill, this museum offers visitors four floors of collections and exhibits that cover arts and culture, science and technology, human history and natural history. The museum is also known for its collection of items that reflect regional and Civil War history.

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The Harbour Town Lighthouse in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Harbour Town Lighthouse

That this lighthouse is sometimes referred to as the Hilton Head Island Lighthouse shows how iconic its image has become along South Carolina’s coast. Its bold red and white stripes stand out at the Harbour Town Marina yacht basin as a friendly beacon to visitors and locals alike. Climb 114 steps to the top of the 28-meter structure for panoramic views of the island, coast and marshlands, then visit the on-site museum and gift shop.

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View of Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk

Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk

One of two popular boardwalks in the Myrtle Beach area, Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk is a dining and entertainment center tucked into a historic fishing village. Stroll along the rustic boardwalk, and keep an eye out for native birds such as herons and pelicans. Try your pick of restaurants serving classic low-country cuisine, fresh seafood and brick-oven pizza. Nightly live music provides the perfect soundtrack for taking in views of the surrounding palmetto trees and marshland.

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Explore South Carolina destinations

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club
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Explore South Carolina destinations
Strolling the beach near the Myrtle Beach Pier
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Experience South Carolina