Prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey through the picturesque wonders of South Carolina! Picture yourself basking in the golden sands of Huntington Beach State Park, strolling along the vibrant Myrtle Beach boardwalk, or perfecting your swing on the renowned golf courses (and whimsical mini golf courses) that dot the region. Get ready to delve into the best-kept secrets of South Carolina's small towns, where a world of exciting possibilities awaits. Brace yourself for a thrilling escapade filled with unique perspectives and endless fun that will leave you enchanted and craving more.
Often affectionately known as TR, Travelers Rest is a small town that is one of the most bike-friendly in the state. There's no better place to bike than Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail, a long name for a 22-mile multi-use path that goes throughout the town and on to Greenville. After that, stop at Chicora Alley Firehouse Restaurant or Community Tap for a meal or a local craft brew.
York, founded in 1785, allows you to step back in time by walking and touring 180 properties on 364 acres of land listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Top locations include McCelvey Center, an all-female college, and Historic Brattonsville, a living history site interpreting the Revolutionary War. This is one of the only sites that tells the story of the war from an African-American point of view.
Another of the best small towns to visit in South Carolina is Anderson, the perfect place for fishing if you're a serious contender. Lake Hartwell is among the most famous, but you can also enjoy fishing on Lake Russell and Broadway Lake. Serious anglers know a small sailboat is ideal in these waters. If you want other things to do, check out the Anderson City Fire Department Museum or the Arts Center Warehouse.
Charm, personality, and blue waters make Georgetown a great place to enjoy boating and fishing. Rent a pontoon boat or book one of the waterfront tours. Visit the Kaminski House Museum, which dates to 1769, and the South Carolina Maritime Museum, which includes the North Island lighthouse, to get a historical take on the city. Grab a drink at Georgetown Corner Tavern or visit Root, a highly recommended low-country eatery on the water.
Edisto Island provides an unspoiled area ideal for campers. This family-friendly location sits between a salt marsh and a beach, creating a unique shoreline and vibrant ecosystem. Edisto Beach State Park features 33 campsites along the marsh and 64 on the ocean. While here, enjoy golfing at the Plantation Course at Edisto and stop in for a Gullah-inspired meal and jazz at one of the area's restaurants. Ella & Ollie's or The Old Post Office Restaurant are good choices.
It's easy to catch the local baseball, softball, or soccer sports teams playing a game in Hartsville. Kalmia Gardens is a 35-acre public botanical garden with walking trails in a densely wooded area. It's also home to Thomas E. Hart House, which dates to the early 1800s. Take advantage of the area's activities, including live performances at Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Performing Arts Center, or catch a show at Center Theater, which dates to 1936.
Abbeville is historically charming and is noted for its European-style architecture and older buildings. This small town is noted for its vibrant community of local artisans. The downtown area has a central park that is home to farmer's markets as well as the Opera House, which opened in 1904. Stop into JP's Food and Spirits for local cuisine and live entertainment on most nights.
For one of the most impressive golf courses in the region, visit Kiawah Island. The dunes are challenging, but the natural element here is fantastic. You can also bike, play a few rounds of tennis, take a nature tour, or spend the day fishing here. With 10 miles of beach and a range of water sport rental options, adventure is easy to find here.
Clemson feels like a big city when it's game day at Bowman Field or Clemson Memorial Stadium, which are part of the local university. The South Carolina Botanical Garden is also an exceptional place to visit. With 295 acres of land, you can hike and check out the local ecosystem. It's an excellent way to spend an early morning (even before the big game). Fort Hill Plantation is also an excellent place to learn about the area's history.
Landrum is a quintessential American town, founded in 1760 and updated slowly to maintain its charm. There are eateries here, but the area is noted for its small shops, which are perfect for those looking for mid-century antiques. If you want something more adventurous to do, check out Chestnut Ridge Heritage Preserve. Pack a lunch and hike the area before dusk to catch the sunset over the wooded landscape.
While Beaufort is noted for its golf course with waterfront views, it's also ideal for kayaking or paddleboarding. The tidal waters are a bit of a challenge for inexperienced kayakers, but for those with some skill, kayaking here is a physical challenge worthy of taking on. You can also head to Hunting Island State Park for an uncrowded day on the beach or bike the Spanish Moss Trail, a 10-mile ride along the salt marshes.
Step away from a hectic lifestyle to McClellanville, a small town once nothing more than a fishing village. Today, it's home to the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, which is located along one of the most pristine estuaries on the coast. It's common to see dolphins, sea turtles, and birds here. While visiting, tour the Hampton Plantation State Historic Site, with buildings dating to 1730.
Tucked between the Intracoastal Waterway and the ocean, Isle of Palms is a beautiful beach noted for its volleyball competitions, clean sand, and surfing-quality waves. The upscale town is full of bed and breakfast locations and private resorts. It's also home to a marina for those who want to get out onto the water. You can also book a parasailing excursion here.
A growing tourism destination, Aiken remains a small town with charm. Many come for public art displays and historic trolley ride tours. It also has numerous walking, biking, and horseback riding trails. Be sure to tour the Aiken Arboretum Trail to see dozens of gardens and stop at the Aiken Center for the Arts for the latest musical performance.
Mount Pleasant and other nearby areas have long been valuable naval positions. To learn about this, visit the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum to tour the USS Yorktown. The nearby Shem Creek waterfront district is a place to walk along the marshes or eat at one of the waterfront restaurants. Be sure to visit Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Pavilion and Boone Hall Plantation to see this area's culture and history.