South Carolina’s charming landscapes and vibrant culture make it a fun place to visit, but there’s much more to this state than picturesque mountain views and sunny beaches. Whether you want to indulge in mouthwatering BBQ and grits, learn about the American Civil War at historic attractions, or spend a day building sandcastles with the kids on the beach, this top US state has something for everyone. Read on for our guide to the best things to do in South Carolina!
Explore the antebellum South in Charleston, where more than 1400 historic houses, churches, and other buildings line the streets. Take a carriage ride to get a glimpse at the most beautiful and interesting houses, or join a walking tour to learn about the city’s history and see the most iconic landmarks.
A visit to the Citadel is one of the most popular things to do in Charleston for its stunning architectural style and fascinating history. This public senior military college has been a part of the community since 1842, and its historic buildings are as striking now as they were then. Its spiral staircases on each side and turrets give it a fairytale-like quality.
The Charleston Museum is another top attraction to add to your South Carolina bucket list, as it contains a variety of historic artifacts including early weaponry and George Washington’s christening cup. It’s a great place to learn about the history of the United States and the broader world.
Nature lovers will love Congaree National Park, which protects the largest remaining area of virgin bottomland forest in the United States. The park is home to more than 100 species of wildlife, and there are hiking trails, kayaking trips, and campsites for outdoor adventures.
For a more relaxed trip to the state, head to Hilton Head Island for a day of golf and sunbathing. This family-friendly destination has over 24 world-class courses, and its temperate winter climate means you can play year round.
If you’re looking for more cultural activities, check out the Performing Arts Center in Columbia, which hosts high-quality stage shows. It also features an art gallery and an observatory with telescopes and a 4D theater.
If you’re interested in naval and maritime history, you’ll love a stop at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. This South Carolina attraction is home to three different museum ships and has tours that teach you about the army and sea vessels. Afterward, visit Campbells Covered Bridge for an idyllic view in the fall, and then head to Strawberry Hill USA to try some fresh, local produce at this massive farm. You could also spend the day at Middleton Place, where you can take a tour of a well-preserved 1738 house and learn about African American history, decorative arts, and more. The estate has one of America’s oldest and most impressive gardens, featuring camellias, magnolias, and azaleas.