Best 30 Places To Visit In South Carolina - Updated 2023

| 13 min read

Beautiful mansions, rolling mountains, palm-studded beaches, grand cities, and thriving cultures, South Carolina boasts all these and more. This state has over 180 miles (285 km) of stunning coastline, sleepy old towns, and gorgeous islands, all with a rich, fascinating history. With its classic Southern charm and almost year-round sunshine, there are a lot of reasons why you should plan a trip here. From the historic and elegant Charleston to the stunning coastlines along Myrtle Beach, the quaint city of Greenville and the fashionable resorts in Hilton Head, South Carolina is a fascinating destination. You can visit Civil War memorials, take relaxing walks through nature, swim in the sea, dine in world-class restaurants, listen to the music of the Gullah, and experience an all-around unique adventure. Here is a list of the most amazing places to visit in South Carolina, USA.

1. Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is one of the best cities to visit in this state. This place is a hub of fun-filled activities with over 60 miles (95 km) of gorgeous, wide beaches. Myrtle Beach offers a variety of natural areas where you can relax, along with several entertainment spots, a rich history, and exquisite dining locations for visitors to enjoy. Head down to the fantastic beach for a tremendous sea-front experience, then visit the restaurants at oceanfront Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, before visiting the beautiful sculptures at Brookgreen Gardens. Cap off your visit by exploring the area’s numerous art and history museums.

Myrtle Beach

Website: Myrtle Beach

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2. Hilton Head Island

best places to visit in south carolina | hilton head island
Source: instagram

Located north of the state is the picturesque Hilton Head Island. Although the island is only 12 miles (19 km) long, it is still a famous destination for people looking for gorgeous beaches, warm weather, lush golf courses, and exceptional tennis facilities. The Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center is located here, and it is regarded as one of the best in the world. There is also fishing, biking, boating, shopping, and horseback riding to enjoy, and everything is built to be in sync with nature. Hilton Head Island is a perfect island destination for all travelers.

Hilton Head Island

Website: Hilton Head Island

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3. Spartanburg

Since its establishment in 1753, Spartanburg has been a place to be reckoned with. This city is filled with historical attractions and a bevy of cultural and outdoor activities. You can visit the town and take a walking tour with other visitors, or try a self-guided driving tour of the city. The Spartanburg Art Museum and Chapman Cultural Center are a must-see for art lovers. The city also has a lot of hiking, biking, and walking trails for you to enjoy, as well as arboretums and nature preserves.


Website: Spartanburg

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4. Charleston (from USD 32.0)

Charleston is a city rich in history and culture. Registered as a National Historic Landmark, these quaint city streets feature well-kept cultural and historical sites, classical architecture, and magnificent scenery. The best way to tour the city is to start from Charleston Visitor Center. From there, see the Historic District filled with period buildings and large wrought-iron gates. Include a visit to Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired, and see one of the nation’s oldest public markets: City Market. Charleston is also famous for the stunning plants and flowers at the Charleston Garden.

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Charleston City Sightseeing Tour by Minibus (Small-Group Tour)

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

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5. Spring Island

A coastal Sea Island made up of dense forests of live oak, beautiful waterfront homes, and natural reserves, Spring Island is a charming place to visit when you’re in South Carolina. A trip to this 7413.2-hectare (3,000-acre) island offers you the chance to enjoy a range of luxury amenities, such as world-class restaurants, luxurious golf courses, two clubhouses, an equestrian center, several hiking trails, a sports complex and so much more. The island is also home to a lot of exotic animals, all found at Chechessee Nature Preserves. This is a dream location for nature lovers.

Spring Island

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6. Florence

Posted by Gretchen Huggins on Saturday, 21 September 2019

Florence was established as a railway hub in South Carolina with the Florence Railroad company. This county played an important role during the Civil War, and now it’s a perfect destination for history lovers. Tourists can learn more about the city’s involvement in the war by visiting the War Between the States Museum, the Florence Stockade, National Cemetery, and Veterans Park. Florence County Museum is open for art lovers, and there are plenty of hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts. All these attractions, plus a city market, the annual Oktoberfest, and the Pecan Festival, show that there is something for everyone in the city of Florence.


Website: Florence

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7. Columbia

Columbia is the state capital and also the largest city in South Carolina. This city has two main attractions – the iconic army base Fort Jackson, and the large and impressive University of South Carolina. Aside from these two landmarks, the city also boasts several other attractions, museums, restaurants, and hotels. You can check out the beautiful and original antique furnishings at Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens, which was built in 1818, and shop for souvenirs in the many fantastic stores and shopping outlets at the popular Five Points area.


Website: Columbia

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8. Waties Island

Waties Island is one of the last undeveloped barrier islands on the state’s coast. This island is entirely unmarred by the actions of man, offering an untouched area of land on the eastern seaboard. Coastal Carolina University mainly uses the island for research purposes, but this doesn’t affect the beauty of this island. Here you’ll find the strange artifacts, ceramics, and burial mounds left behind by the original inhabitants. If you want to enjoy the very best of nature in a purer state, then you should head to Waties Island.

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9. John's Island

Angel Oak, Johns Island, South Carolina
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user MadeYourReadThis used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The largest island in the state, John’s Island is a beautiful place to visit. This barrier island is located off the coast of Charleston County and surrounded by other islands. See the famous and ancient Angel Oak Tree, rumored to be 500 years old, and relax in the small park around it which boasts a remarkable visitors’ center. The name of this island came from the first settlers, who named it after the Saint John Parish in Barbados.

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10. Wadmalaw Island

Encircled by John’s Island, Wadmalaw Island spans over 10 miles (15 km) of beautiful land. It is connected to the mainland by a bridge over Church Creek. The island is quiet, beautiful, and unpopulated. It is a place where visitors can enjoy the goodness of nature without any distractions. Wadmalaw Island is famous for being the original location of the Lipton tea company’s experimental tea farm. You can explore the tea plantation, visit the Irvin House Vineyard, an 18.2-hectare (48-acre) vineyard, go to the spectacular Firefly Distillery, or stroll along this stunning island’s many walking trails.

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11. Greenville

Falls Park On The Reedy....

Posted by J. Harp Images on Thursday, 14 September 2017

When you think of a place to visit for a fun-filled weekend getaway with family, consider going to Greenville. This city offers an exciting combination of art attractions, engaging outdoor activities, and fantastic educational facilities. Visit the city’s bubbling downtown area to shop at one of the fabulous shopping centers or enjoy a delicious meal at a five-star restaurant. The city also boasts art museums, performance theaters, and a science center for the kids to explore. One place you definitely must visit here is the stunning waterfall right in the heart of Fall Park.


Website: Greenville

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12. Goose Creek

Posted by R. Russell Smith IV on Friday, 12 May 2017

Goose Creek, located in the heart of the state’s Lowcountry, is a charming and historic town. This small town offers the Southern charm you would expect from the area, along with a variety of attractions and activities. The sites this city offers include the historic St. James Church, a series of beautiful municipal parks, and an exciting 17 mile (26 km) long looping bike trail. Characterized by pine forests, swamplands, grassy wetlands, and moss-covered live oaks, this is a great place to visit for a scenic vacation.

Goose Creek

Website: Goose Creek

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13. Rock Hill

#goodmorning #riverwalk #piedmontmedicaltrail in #rockhillsc | part of #carolinathreadtrail

Posted by Carolina Thread Trail on Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Take a relaxing stroll in the beautiful Glencairn Garden, enjoy a picnic at Fountain Park, or go on an energetic hike along the Piedmont Medical Center Trail and the Carolina Thread Trail. Rock Hill is blessed with great year-round weather and attracts many visitors every year. Check out the Rock Hill Outdoor Center, or go kayaking in Catawba River. But to experience the real adrenaline rush, head to Camp Canaan for a high adventure course. The city also boasts many cultural and heritage sites to keep you thoroughly entertained.

Rock Hill

Website: Rock Hill

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14. Lady's Island

Pier on Lady's Island - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mark Cowell used under CC BY 3.0

Lady’s Island is located north of Port Royal and Beaufort. This is one of the state’s Sea Islands, offering beautiful views of the ocean. There are two impressive bridges connected to the mainland, where you can also enjoy a spectacular view of the entire island. This location is easily accessible by boat ramps. Many of the homes here are built on large pieces of converted plantation land, with equestrian farms and maritime forests. Lady’s Island offers a range of excellent restaurants and many comfortable vacation rentals and cabins.

Lady's Island

Website: Lady's Island

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15. Anderson

Anderson is one of the most charming cities in the state. This small city is blessed with scenic landscapes, beautiful state parks, museums, and a picturesque lake. The whole city has several attractions and features, but the most exciting places to check out include Anderson Memorial Stadium, Anderson Sports & Entertainment Center, Lake Hartwell, and Anderson County Museum. Don’t forget to take your family to Anderson Mall and browse through more than 76 specialty stores. This is an excellent place for all your vacation shopping.


Website: Anderson

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16. Saint Helena Island

best places to visit in south carolina | saint helena island
Source: instagram

Saint Helena Island is a peaceful island sitting majestically on the state’s coastline. This place is relaxing and known for its rich Gullah culture and history. It’s also home to Penn Center, one of the first schools in America for freed slaves. Saint Helena Island offers a lot of other historical attractions, including the cottage where Martin Luther King Jr. stayed when he wrote the famous “I Have a Dream” speech. With many other things to see, Saint Helena Island is a lovely getaway destination.

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17. Port Royal Island

The Mcteer Bridge connecting Port Royal to Lady's Island was built in the early 1980s and an identical second span was...

Posted by Eat Stay Play Beaufort on Monday, 7 November 2016

Port Royal Island is a Lowcountry area with plenty to see and do. Sitting just outside of Beaufort, this town has a community beach and a boardwalk, an observation tower, and a network of walking trails. The natural and peaceful environment makes it a favorite destination among tourists. It also offers an excellent location for boat rides, long walks, and bird watching. For a good dose of excursions under the sun and some pure Southern hospitality, this is a town you should definitely visit.

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18. Sumter

Swan Lake Iris Gardens in Sumter is a spectacular place to visit this weekend! See more breathtaking photos...

Posted by South Carolina by on Friday, 13 March 2015

Sumter sits majestically between beaches and mountains. This quiet city has a serene atmosphere and is surrounded by lush landscapes. The most popular place to visit is the stunning, well-kept Swan Lake Iris Gardens. If you’re looking for a place to spend a few days immersed in nature without getting bored, then Sumter is perfect for you. Tour the opera house and the many art galleries, or try your hand at fishing and golf, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the surrounding countryside and its lakeside views.


Website: Sumter

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19. Beaufort

John Mark Verdier House Museum, c.1804 (Beaufort, SC). Read more about this house here:

Posted by US 17 Coastal Highway on Monday, 9 September 2013

The coastal town of Beaufort is one with an exciting history. The city dates as far back as the early 16th century, with many stunning architectural buildings to show for it. There are several places to visit where you can experience the town’s Southern charms. Start by exploring the Beaufort History Museum, before going on a tour of the John Mark Verdier House, where you can see what an Antebellum mansion looks like. Finally, unwind with a glass of sweet tea at one of the charming cafes downtown.


Website: Beaufort

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20. Mount Pleasant

USS Yorktown

Posted by Lisa Topolosky on Friday, 30 March 2018

Famous for its green marshes, Mount Pleasant lives up to its name by being a pleasant place to visit. This suburban town is home to many parks that offer loads of natural beauty. There are several picture-worthy 18th-century buildings to see, and you can also tour USS Yorktown, a World War II carrier in Patriots Point, and the city’s naval and maritime museum. Mount Pleasant boasts a plethora of other amazing sights to enjoy, with many restaurants and bars to keep you thoroughly entertained during your visit.

Mount Pleasant

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21. North Myrtle Beach

North Myrtle Beach, SC
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user JefferyGoldman used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Founded in 1968, North Myrtle Beach is a nine-mile (14 km) extended beach community. This beautiful coastline city is a fantastic destination for people looking for a place to sunbathe, shop, play golf, dance, or relax in nature. While you’re here, you can visit the Go Ape Treetop Adventure for a day of family fun. There is also a wide variety of restaurants, family-friendly entertainment, and shopping options here.

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22. Simpsonville

Heritage Park Train

Posted by James M Vereen on Saturday, 1 June 2013

Situated in Greenville County, just south of the city of Greenville, Simpsonville is a place of adventure and enjoyment. This area offers a mix of big-city sensibility, small-town charm, and striking natural beauty. Enjoying many restaurants, picturesque parks, and an open-hearted attitude, Simpsonville is one of the fastest-growing cities in the entire state. Have a relaxing spa treatment at Soulace Day Spa, play with your family in Heritage Park, see a few historical churches, and do a walking tour to see the best of this charming town.


Website: Simpsonville

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23. Aiken

Posted by Aiken County Historical Museum on Saturday, 10 March 2018

A city that’s best known for its equestrian culture and the large number of thoroughbred champions it has produced, Aiken is one of South Carolina’s top places to visit. This city is also home to the largest urban forest in the country. You can learn about the city’s past at the Aiken County Historical Museum, explore its vibrant art scene by visiting the art galleries downtown, and enjoy playing ball or hiking along the trails at Citizens Park. This is a beautiful place to visit, especially for horseback riding enthusiasts.

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24. Lexington

Breaking ground on a great new home on beautiful Lake Murray. This one's going to be Awesome!

Posted by Callaway Construction Co. on Monday, 31 July 2017

Lexington, a place that looks like a city but feels like a town, is located just minutes away from the state’s capital. Lexington has all the features of a cosmopolitan area, without the stress that comes with city life. Come experience a weekend of fishing at Lake Murray, watch a football game at the University of South Carolina, and savor a casual dining experience in one of the restaurants. This unique place offers many fun activities for the entire family.


Website: Lexington

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25. Fort Mill

The Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill is the perfect place to spend a Saturday afternoon! See more photos at the...

Posted by South Carolina by on Saturday, 28 February 2015

Located just over the state line, Fort Mill is one of the fastest-growing communities in the state. This bustling town in the city of Charlotte offers a variety of things to do and see. With its small-town atmosphere, Fort Mill is a great place to escape and enjoy authentic Southern hospitality. The town is also home to numerous attractions, with a historic downtown district with plenty of shops and local restaurants. Don’t miss seeing the town’s peach orchards and the expansive Anne Springs Close Greenway, a protected natural area consisting of lakes, forests, and pastures with trails for hiking and horseback riding.

Fort Mill

Website: Fort Mill

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26. Easley

Posted by Robert K Schanze on Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Easley is a place of outdoor fun and adventure. Located near several waterfalls, lakes and hiking trails, this city is a paradise for outdoor lovers. Shop for unique items in the friendly downtown district, savor delicious intercontinental and American dishes from various restaurants, and enjoy the many water parks. You can even watch a Big League World Series baseball tournament live. With diverse businesses and excellent health care facilities, Easley is known for being one of the best places to visit in the state.


Website: Easley

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27. Seneca

Courtenay Mill also known as Newry Mill near Seneca South Carolina Here's a link to the video

Posted by Tony Purvis on Monday, 20 May 2019

Discover hidden gems in the charming city of Seneca. Small and beautiful, this rustic area is located within Oconee County. Despite its small size and equally small population, there are tons of exciting attractions to see and visit. There are nearby lakes and ponds where both visitors and locals can fish. The city also features a couple of interesting museums, as well as an exciting historical district for you to visit. Other unique places to visit include the Oconee Nuclear Station and Newry Mill. You can come and experience the charm this city has been offering since its founding in 1873.


Website: Seneca

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28. Clemson

A town filled with historic homesteads, artistic displays, and areas to enjoy the beauty of nature, this place is one you should not miss. Sitting on the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Clemson is home to several parks, rivers, waterfalls, and lakes. Visitors can marvel at the historic homesteads, such as the Hanover House from 1716, and the Hunt Cabin from 1825. If you love art, check out the exhibits at The Arts Center of Clemson. This city is perfect for a romantic getaway in South Carolina.


Website: Clemson

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29. North Charleston

North Charleston Coliseum Aug2010
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Chris Pruitt used under CC BY-SA 3.0

North Charleston offers its visitors a combination of unique museums and several historic attractions, boasting a thriving cultural and artistic setting. You can view a recovered submarine from 1864 and learn about it at the impressive H.L. Hunley Museum. Have fun with your kids at the North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum and Education Center. See the Greater Charleston Naval Base Memorial in River Park. The city offers several other amazing sights, places to dine, and more than enough accommodations for a comfortable and enjoyable visit.

North Charleston

Website: North Charleston

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30. Greer

Posted by Ed Bracey on Friday, 6 September 2019

Greer is an attractive upstate city, offering beautiful landscape views as well as numerous places for retail shopping, dining and all-round entertainment. This city has the ambiance of a small town, but it also gives you something unique to South Carolina. It is home to the only BMW manufacturing facility in the entire country. Aside from its stunning parks, busy flea markets, and lovely orchards, a trip to this city offers you the opportunity to visit the Zentrum Museum, or experience getting behind the wheel of a BMW at the BMW Performance Center.


Website: Greer

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Experience authentic Southern charm and beauty in South Carolina

When it comes to natural beauty and Southern hospitality, South Carolina doesn’t disappoint. The tropical green trails in Hilton Head Island, the stunning sands of Myrtle Beach, the incredible golf courses in Lady’s Island, and the historic districts in Fort Mill are just some of what this great state offers. With several places to visit, there is always a plethora of amazing things to see and do. Wherever you choose to visit, you’re sure to enjoy your vacation in South Carolina.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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James Kure is an ardent writer from a very humble background. He loves writing about the world’s top travel destinations, especially the Scandinavian and Japanese regions. When not writing, James...Read more

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