South Carolina has deep roots in the rich history of the south and a visit to the state is a chance to explore some of the countries earliest buildings and cities. South Carolina has some of the country’s oldest and most well preserved homes, plantations, and historic properties.
The city of Charleston is one of the most visited locations in the state with lively culture and historical districts that are among the oldest in the nation. For those interested in exploring the great outdoors and enjoying South Carolina’s warm climate, a visit to the state’s national park or popular beaches is a great way to get outside and enjoy the sun.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
The Magnolia Plantation is one of the oldest plantation homes in the South, dating to 1676, and it is a National Historic Place. Visitors to the plantation can view the restored plantation house which was built in the late 19th century and five cabins, four of which were built during the time of slavery. An interpretive program at the plantation allows visitors to learn about the history of the home and slavery in America. Favorite activities at the Magnolia Plantation include touring the gardens and visiting the petting zoo.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach is an 87,000 square-foot aquarium experience, located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It is South Carolina’s most visited attraction, where guests are entertained by some of the world’s most beautiful, fascinating and dangerous aquatic life. Guests are surrounded on all sides by giant sharks as they travel through Dangerous Reef, a 750,000 gallon tank, on a 330-foot moving glide path. The aquarium offers kid-friendly exhibits, dive tours, plus live shows and a gift shop.
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden are a 170-acre zoo and garden located in Columbia, South Carolina. Riverbanks Zoo houses more than 2,000 animals in natural habitat exhibits. Each area of the Zoo offers a combination of animal exhibits, graphics, enrichment programs and special feedings to make your visit enjoyable and informative. Riverbanks Botanical Garden is 70 acres devoted to woodlands, gardens, historic ruins, plant collections and a visitor facility.
Fort Sumter National Monument
In the American Civil War, Fort Sumter was the site of the first shots fired in the war and the location of a momentous battle. Today, visitors can tour Fort Sumter in its location at Liberty Square in Charleston. The visitor center offers informative exhibits and many choose to go on a boat tour to view the fort from its position at the edge of Charleston Harbor.
Brookgreen Gardens is a sculpture garden and wildlife preserve located just south of Murrells Inlet in South Carolina. The 9,100-acre property includes several themed gardens with American figurative sculptures placed in them. Among the nine-thousand lush acres of South Carolina history and Low country, landscapes you will find the most significant collection of outdoor figurative sculpture by American artists in the world.
Top Things to Do in South Carolina
Falls Park on the Reedy
Falls Park on the Reedy is a park adjacent to downtown Greenville, South Carolina in the historic West End district. The park’s best feature is a unique pedestrian bridge that curves around a waterfall on the Reedy River. Named the Liberty Bridge at Falls Park on the Reedy, the 355-foot long suspension bridge is supported by cables on only one side, giving an unobstructed view of the falls.
Myrtle Beach Skywheel
South Carolina’s warm subtropical climate has made Myrtle Beach one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire country. Myrtle Beach is a relatively small town in a larger metropolitan area, known as a popular year-round destination. The city is home to many annual festivals and events, as well as having endless entertainment and dining options. The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk has the famous Sky Wheel a 187-foot tall Ferris wheel.
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, at the mouth of the Cooper River on the Charleston Harbor, across from Charleston. Patriots Point Museum displays aircraft starting from WWII to present. Patriots Point is one of the top sites in the country for naval aviation enthusiasts. Patriots Point is the only aircraft carrier museum in the nation to have all of the top ten most significant aircraft in U.S. carrier aviation history.
Boone Hall Plantation
Boone Hall Plantation is one of America’s oldest working plantations, continually growing crops for over 320 years. The plantation includes a large Colonial Revival plantation house a number of slave cabins or cottages several flower gardens. Boone Hall Plantation today spans 738 acres that includes seasonal crop fields, naturally preserved wetlands, creeks, and ponds.
The most notable natural feature of the grounds is the grand Avenue of Oaks that consists of 88 live oak trees and one magnolia, that are evenly spaced, and run 3/4 of a mile from the entrance of the plantation to a pair of brick gateposts.
Congaree National Park
The United States’ largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forests is located in Congaree National Park, near the city of Columbia. Visitors to the park can enjoy walking beneath the branches of some of the Eastern U.S.’s tallest trees and viewing the Congaree River. As it is home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, the National Park is also considered a Wilderness Area, an International Biosphere Reserve, a Globally Important Bird Area, and a National Natural Landmark. Popular activities in the park include camping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and bird watching.
Things to Do in South Carolina
South Carolina is a state that is rich with history, culture, and alluring warm sunny spaces. If you want to experience time travel, walk down any street in some South Carolina cities and you’ll be transported back in time to the days of the antebellum South as you explore some of the nation’s oldest buildings. But for those looking for a fun time or a romantic weekend, popular Myrtle Beach or any number of small quaint towns offer the perfect setting for a perfect vacation.