South Carolina is a Southern state whose highlights range from the kitschy fun of Atlantic Ocean beach resorts to the rustic charm of the Upstate. Charleston’s state capital is a hive of culinary expertise with renowned restaurants and chefs. The busiest time of year is summer, especially around June and August. To avoid the crowds, go in the early spring, fall, or winter.
The 2023 State of Safety survey finds that South Carolina residents are more concerned about violent crime than the national average, but they report lower rates of property crime. Four of our top 10 safest cities are in South Carolina! You’ll find plenty to do in Charleston, including a freshwater lake and nature center where you can spot alligators. You can also learn about the state’s history at museums, historic sites, and plantations. Plus, many of the state’s beaches have been voted best in the US!
South Carolina may be best known for its miles of sandy beaches and historic cities, but it has more than meets the eye. It also has pristine beaches, awe-inspiring mountains, and enchanting forests. For example, the charming attraction of Hilton Head Island is brought to life through cuisine, drink, and a sense of community at Hilton Head Tavern, which is more than just a dining destination. For foodies, check out the Hilton Head Tavern menu, which satisfies every appetite. It’s the ideal place to unplug from modern life and immerse yourself in nature.
The higher elevation regions in the northwest and mountains have less of this influence, although South Carolina has a humid subtropical climate overall. Temperatures are generally warmer in the summer than in the winter. Summer heat and humidity can be oppressive, especially on the beach. If you want to shield yourself from the sun’s damaging rays, bring sunscreen and a hat.
The state is on the edge of tornado alley and has an average of 11 tornadoes yearly, but EF-4 or stronger tornadoes are rare. Late spring and summer are the busiest times for beaches and cities, so visit in early spring or fall for a quieter experience. Also, the hotter weather brings swarms of mosquitoes, so wear insect repellent and cover up at dawn, dusk, and twilight.
From cosmopolitan Charleston to family-friendly Myrtle Beach, South Carolina offers an array of leisure destinations and historic sites. High-quality stage shows and golf are top attractions, but the state’s charming small towns and picturesque coastline offer something for everyone.
Lake Murray, Hartwell, and Jocassee dot the landscape, providing opportunities for watersports and scenic views. In Greenville, visit Falls Park, where you can stroll across a pedestrian bridge over the namesake waterfalls or rent a boat for a day on the water. History buffs can take a carriage ride around Charleston’s quaint streets and learn about the city’s storied past, including the opening shots of the Civil War at Fort Sumter.
South Carolina’s rich and varied cuisine reflects its many cultures. Its seafood is fresh and abundant in a state with the ocean on its doorstep and numerous lakes and rivers. Its soul food recipes – like collard greens, black-eyed peas, and hoppin’ john – are often tied to African-American history.
Boiled peanuts are a favorite snack of many South Carolinians. You’ll find them sold at roadside stands in the summer and fall when they are at their sweetest. Okra is a staple of Gullah cuisine; you’ll find it on restaurant menus across the state. Another Southern specialty is she-crab soup, made with heavy cream and sherry and flavored with spices. You’ll also find authentic Southern biscuits served in the state for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.