South Carolina is an outdoor lover’s dream come true. With its beautiful beaches, stunning mountains, and rich history, there is something for everyone in South Carolina.
One overlooked aspect of the state is the many attractions are perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway. Here are some of the attractions in South Carolina that you cannot miss!
21 Best Attractions in South Carolina in 2023
South Carolina is full of hidden gems and new experiences, and with the year-round weather, it’s perfect for any type of getaway.
From the historic plantations to the well-known Middleton Place, there are a ton of different options for day trips or weekend getaways that are close to home.
Not to mention, South Carolina has low crime rates and is consistently ranked as one of the safest states in America, making it the perfect place to relax and feel at ease on your vacation.
Even if you live in South Carolina, there are probably some places that you haven’t been to yet. Check out our list of the best attractions in South Carolina so that you can start planning your next adventure!
1. Middleton Place
Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark that was once home to the largest enslaved population in North America.
The plantation is now a museum and working farm that showcases what life was like on a plantation during the 18th and 19th centuries. Visitors can tour the grounds, the house, and the gardens and learn about the history of the plantation and the people who lived and worked there.
It’s evolved into a beautiful place for modern-day African Americans to come and learn about their history, and it’s also a popular spot for weddings and other special events.
The plantation is located just outside Charleston, SC, and is a must-visit for anyone interested in American history or architecture.
2. Brookgreen Garden, Murrells Inlet
Brookgreen Gardens is located in Murrells Inlet, SC, and is open to the public. The gardens have a wide variety of sculptures, and visitors can also see alligators, birds, and other wildlife.
The sculpture garden and zoo is home to the most extensive collection of American figurative sculptures in the world. The gardens span over 9,000 acres and contain thousands of beautiful flowers, plants, and trees.
There are also streams and several ponds perfect for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. The zoo is home to over 1,400 animals, and visitors can learn about the different species through educational programs and exhibits.
Brookgreen Gardens is the most incredible place to spend a day if you’re looking for a mix of art, nature, and history.
Brookgreen Gardens is a great place to go for a walk. The gardens are well-maintained, and the staff is very friendly. Brookgreen Gardens is a great place to visit for new visual experiences.
4. Huntington Beach State Park
Huntington Beach State Park is a popular beach in South Carolina. The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including alligators, turtles, and birds.
Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, picnicking, and swimming. Then there is a boardwalk that runs along the beach, providing stunning views of the ocean.
The park is located just outside of Myrtle Beach, SC, and is a great place to spend a day if you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
5. Fort Sumter National Monument
Fort Sumter National Monument is a Civil War fort that was the site of the first shots of the war. The fort is now a museum, and visitors can take a tour of the grounds, the barracks, and the cemetery.
The monument is located in Charleston, SC, and is a must-visit for anyone interested in American history. There are so many rare artifacts and stories to be told at this historic site.
Not to mention, you can even adopt a cannon! Some of the cannons were created in the early 1800s and need restoration.
When you adopt a cannon, you play an essential part in the conservation efforts of these artifacts. It pays homage to those who fought in the Civil War and ensures that their story will be told for generations to come.
6. South Carolina State House
The seat of the state government, also known as the South Carolina State House is the seat of the South Carolina General Assembly. The building is located in Columbia, SC, and is open to the public for tours.
Visitors get the opportunity to learn about the history of the statehouse and see the chambers where the legislature meets.
There are also several exhibits on South Carolina history and culture. The statehouse is a beautiful building, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in Columbia, SC.
7. Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club
If you’re looking for an exciting place to play golf, Pelican Pointe Golf and Country Club is the perfect spot. The course is located in Myrtle Beach, SC, and offers stunning views of the ocean.
Visitors can also enjoy a meal at the clubhouse, which has an outdoor patio that overlooks the golf course. Pelican Pointe is a great place to spend a day if you’re looking for a mix of relaxation and recreation.
You can go swimming, play pickleball, or tennis. The country club is a well-known, beautiful place where people plan their weddings and anniversaries.
Believe it or not, Pelican Point is the focal point of entertainment and fun for the community with its wetlands, golf courses, and live oaks.
8. Boone Hall Plantation
Boone Hall Plantation is a popular tourist destination in South Carolina. The plantation was built in the early 1700s and is one of the oldest working plantations in the country.
Visitors can tour the grounds, plantation house, and the slave quarters. It holds the recognition of the number one plantation in the Charleston Area by USA Today. Boone Hall is also known as one of America’s most haunted places.
There have been reports of ghost sightings, strange noises, and orbs.
The plantation is located in Mount Pleasant, SC, and is a great place to learn about the history of slavery in America. Boone Hall Plantation is also a working farm, and visitors can purchase fresh produce from the on-site market.
9. Hyman Vineyards
Hyman Vineyards is a family-owned and operated vineyard in Charleston, SC. The vineyard offers tours, tastings, and special events. Visitors get to enjoy learning how wine gets made as well as the history of the vineyard.
Hyman Vineyards is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a unique experience. The vineyard sits in a beautiful setting, and the staff is very knowledgeable about the wine-making process.
Couples plan their weddings here all the time because of its unique and charming location.
10. Charleston’s Historic District
Charleston’s historic district is a must-see for any visitor to the city. The district is home to many of the city’s most popular attractions, including the Charleston Museum, the Confederate Museum, and the Charleston Visitor Center.
The district houses more than 1400 historic buildings, and visitors can take a walking tour to see them all. There are many shops and restaurants in the historic district as well, so you can spend a whole day exploring the area.
There’s no better place to learn about Charleston’s history and culture than in the historic district. You can also take a horse-drawn carriage tour or a boat tour of the city.
11. Drayton Hall
Drayton Hall is a historic plantation house built in the early 1700s. The plantation is located in Charleston, SC, and is open to the public for tours.
Drayton Hall is one of the most well-preserved plantation houses in America, and it’s a great place to learn about the history of slavery in the United States. The landmark hasn’t undergone any restoration, so it’s still in its original state.
Visitors can see the plantation house, the slave quarters, and the grounds. Drayton Hall Visitors can tour the home and grounds to see how the plantation operates.
12. Aiken-Rhett House
The Aiken-Rhett House is a historic house museum built-in 1820. The house is located in Charleston, SC, and is open to the public for tours.
The Aiken-Rhett House is a great place to learn about the history of Charleston. The completely intact antebellum urban complex still has signature historical interiors. Some received minimal altering to maintain their stability.
The outside of the house is mostly original, including the brickwork.
Inside, you can see how the family who lived there at the time liked to spend their days. The house has two decks on the front and back, which were used for relaxation and socializing.
13. Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach is a popular vacation destination for people all over the world. The beach is located in Horry County, SC, and is open to the public.
Myrtle Beach is a great place to relax and enjoy the sun. The beach has a wide variety of activities, including swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and boating. You can also find many restaurants and shops in the area.
Myrtle Beach is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a fun and relaxing vacation. The beach is beautiful, and there’s something for everyone to do.
14. South Carolina Aquarium
The South Carolina Aquarium is located in Charleston, SC, and is open to the public. The aquarium has lots of exhibits, including a giant ocean tank, a river otter exhibit, and a shark exhibit.
The aquarium has more than 5,000 animals, including the cownose ray, crocodiles, and the Eastern indigo snake. The Eastern Indigo snake is considered the longest snake native to the United States at 8 feet.
The South Carolina Aquarium is an awesome place to learn about the ocean and the creatures that live there.
The aquarium has many interactive exhibits, so you can get up close and personal with the animals. Visitors can partake in a behind-the-scenes tour to see how the aquarium operates.
15. Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head Island is a wonderful place for the family to enjoy a beach vacation. The island is located in Hilton Head, SC, and is open to the public. Hilton Head Island has many activities for the whole family, including biking, golfing, tennis, and fishing.
You can also find great restaurants to enjoy with your family in the area. Hilton Head Island is a one-stop shop for awesome parks, restaurants, and of course, the beach!
The island has 12 miles of beaches that have something for everyone. You can find many different types of shells on the beaches, and the island is also a great place for bird watching.
16. Parris Island Museum
The Parris Island Museum is located in Beaufort, SC, and is open to the public.
The museum has many exhibits, including an artifact of the role that Port royal’s military played in the American Revolution and a timeline of the history of Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island.
The Parris Island Museum measures in at 10,000 square feet and is a great place to learn about the history of the Marine Corps. The museum has many interactive exhibits, so you can get up close and personal with the history.
17. Hunter-Gatherer Brewery and Meadery
The Hunter-Gatherer Brewery and Meadery is located in Columbia, SC, and is open to the public. The brewery is full of different beers, meads, and ciders.
It sits in the historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar and serves its customers delicious snacks and hand-tossed pizzas alongside its award-winning drinks.
The Hunter-Gatherer Brewery and Meadery is a great place to try something new, and you’re sure to find a beer or mead that you love. Their meat lovers’ pizza comes with bacon, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and parmesan.
It mixes the classic flavors that everyone knows and loves with a few new ingredients to create a delicious pizza that is sure to please. The Hunter-Gatherer Brewery and Meadery is a great place to go out with friends and family for a night out.
18. Palmetto Dunes OceanFront Resort
We wanted to add the Palmetto Dunes OceanFront resort to our list of attractions. It ranks the number one for the best family resort in the United States in Travel + Leisure Family magazine.
It’s located on Hilton Head Island and provides the perfect place to stay for those who want to experience all that the island has to offer.
The resort has tennis courts, three championship golf courses, more than 3 miles of beaches, and even bike rentals and surf camps. Families looking for an all-inclusive vacation will find that Palmetto Dunes has everything they need and more.
If you want to stay in the area, look no further than the aforementioned Palmetto Dunes OceanFront Resort. It is definitely a South Carolina Attraction to experience.
19. USS Yorktown and Patriots Point, Mount Pleasant
The USS Yorktown is the aircraft carrier used in World War II. It now remains docked at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, SC. The Yorktown is open to the public for tours, and visitors can also see other ships and aircraft at Patriots Point.
The USS Yorktown is a must-see for any history buff or anyone interested in the military. The ship is enormous, and it’s amazing to see how it operated during wartime.
The staff is also very knowledgeable and can answer any questions you have about the ship or its history.
Patriots Point is a great place to spend a day, and the USS Yorktown is the highlight. There are also many other ships and aircraft to see, and the views from the dock are amazing.
20. Congaree National Park, Hopkins
Congaree National Park sits in Hopkins, SC. Visitors can go kayaking or canoeing. The park has a wide variety of trails, and visitors can also see alligators, deer, and birds.
The most amazing thing about the park is that it is the largest bottomland hardwood forest that remains intact in the southeastern United States. The waters are the glue that holds the ecosystem together.
Congaree National Park is a great place to go for a hike, and you’re sure to see some amazing wildlife. The trails are well-marked, and there is something for everyone.
21. Charleston Tea Plantation, Wadmalaw Island
The Charleston Tea Plantation sits on Wadmalaw Island. The plantation offers tours, and visitors can also purchase tea products. The Charleston Tea Plantation is a fantastic place to learn about the history of tea and the creation process.
The tours are very informative, and you can even purchase tea products to take home with you. The Charleston Tea Plantation is an unforgettable place to visit, and you’re sure to learn something new.
Things to Consider When Choosing an Attraction
As with anything, there are some considerations when choosing an attraction. Let’s examine them below:
- Personal Preference. Everyone has different preferences. For example, if you love flowers and nature, you might want to visit Brookgreen Gardens. If you are more interested in learning about history, the Charleston Tea Plantation or the USS Yorktown would be a better fit.
- Available Time. Some attractions require more time than others. For example, if you only have a few hours, then Congaree National Park might not be the best choice since it requires a bit of time to hike the trails. The Charleston Tea Plantation is a good choice for those short on time since it offers relatively quick tours.
- Budget. Some attractions, such as Brookgreen Gardens, have admission fees, while others, such as Congaree National Park, are free. Be sure to consider your budget when choosing an attraction. There are many great attractions in South Carolina, so consider all your options before deciding which one to visit. With proper planning, you’re sure to find the perfect attraction for you.
- Indoor or Outdoor Adventure. Considering that the weather in South Carolina can be very hot and or rainy, you might want to visit an attraction that is indoors, such as the Charleston Tea Plantation. If you choose to visit an outdoor attraction, wear sunscreen and thinner clothes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common questions about South Carolina’s attractions:
What is the number 1 attraction in South Carolina?
Middleton Place is the number 1 attraction in South Carolina. The former plantation is a force to be reckoned with. It features 65 acres of land with pristine gardens, a plantation house museum, and even a working farm.
Is there anything fun to do in SC?
Yes! There are many fun things to do in South Carolina. Some popular attractions include Congaree National Park, Brookgreen Gardens, and the Charleston Tea Plantation. They give visitors the opportunity to have fun and gain new experiences with a significant part of the history and culture of South Carolina.
Is South Carolina worth visiting?
Yes! South Carolina is a great place to visit. It has a rich history, beautiful scenery, and many fun things to do. Whether you’re looking for an exciting adventure outdoors or want to learn about the state’s culture, you’ll find what you’re looking for in South Carolina.
What is beautiful about South Carolina?
Many things make South Carolina beautiful. The state is home to stunning beaches, majestic mountains, and lush forests. In addition, the state’s history and culture add to its beauty. For example, colored buildings, Charleston Tea Plantation, and Brookgreen Gardens are all popular attractions in South Carolina.
Where should I go in South Carolina in the fall?
There are many great places to visit in South Carolina in the fall. One popular destination is Congaree National Park. The park is home to various trees that change color in the fall, making it a beautiful place to visit. Just be prepared for milder weather by bringing an umbrella and a light jacket.
Best South Carolina Attractions: A Summary
No matter what type of attractions you want to experience, you’re sure to find something to fit your interests in South Carolina.
From maintained and restored plantations to historical landmarks and beautiful gardens, there’s something for everyone in South Carolina. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!