Sub-tropical beaches. Pastel-colored homes. The best peaches around. Welcome to the Palmetto State, known for its rich history, 60 miles of beaches, and southern hospitality. South Carolina has long been a popular beach destination for families—and for good reason. Charleston offers a firsthand encounter with rich American history; see Fort Sumter and then explore the museums along the King Street Historic District. Meanwhile, the Grand Strand offers dozens of world-class beaches to enjoy, including Surfside Beach and Myrtle Beach— the Golf Capital of the World. Hilton Head Island offers more golf courses and an entryway to the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Not sure where to start? Check out the best destinations in the state for golfers, history buffs, and families—there’s something for everyone in South Carolina.
- Soak in American history in Charleston. Located along the coast of South Carolina, Charleston is home to Civil War battleground Fort Sumter—where the first shots of the Civil War were fired—as well as a handful of museums and art galleries in the King Street Historic District. Don’t forget to visit City Market, home to vendors selling clothing, jewelry, crafts, food, and more.Take a tour of one of Charleston’s plantations and get lost walking through their lush gardens and rich history. When you’re done taking in the history, head to Charleston’s family-friendly Folly Beach, just 15 minutes from downtown.
- Explore the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. Just half a mile away from Hilton Head, Pinckney Island is a free destination perfect for folks looking to fish, hunt, see wildlife, and hike around its 14 miles of trails. While you’re in the area, shop and eat at Hilton Head’s Shelter Cove Towne Center and golf at one of the island’s 20-plus courses. Don’t forget to check out Coligny Beach Park, the island’s largest and most popular beach.
- Go golfing in the “Golf Capital of the World.” Myrtle Beach is home to over 100 golf courses, including the Grand Dunes and Whispering Pines courses. Additionally, Myrtle Beach welcomes 14 million visitors annually, who head to the Grand Strand for warm water and sandy beaches. It’s also home to Myrtle Waves—one of the largest waterparks on the east coast—and shopping at the Coastal Grand Mall, Myrtle Beach Mall, and Broadway at the Beach Mall.
- Plan the perfect family getaway at Surfside Beach. Aptly nicknamed “the Family Beach,” Surfside Beach is located on the Grand Strand and acclaimed for its plethora of family-friendly activities and beaches. Take a walk down the Surfside Beach Pier or slip and slide at the 16-acre Wild Water & Wheels waterpark, which features 33 rides and a lazy river. While at the waterpark, be sure to take the kids to a Myrtle Beach Mermaids class, where they get to slide on a mermaid tail and swim around.