8 Most Charming River Towns in South Carolina

South Carolina is a well-loved destination for its subtropical beaches and sea islands located in the southeastern coastal region of the United States. It is also filled to the brim with history, documenting Old South plantations and defining moments in the Civil War. The breathtaking pastel-colored houses, beautiful waterfront views, and enchanting ghost tours of Charleston are fantastic. But if you have already been to the popular cities of this state, it is time to give some of the most charming river towns in South Carolina a chance!

Beaufort

Beaufort, South Carolina
Aerial view of the river town of Beaufort in South Carolina.

Chartered in 1711, Beaufort is the second-oldest town in South Carolina. Oak trees that are thousands of years old surround the quiet streets, while the downtown area is full of buildings created in the antebellum architectural style. These unique features earned the location a spot on the National Historic Landmark list in 1973. The town sits along the Broad River, and there are many beaches that are worth visiting. Guests also have access to nature trails, camping opportunities, kayak and boat rentals, not to mention unique restaurants, food festivals, concerts, and live music. 

Conway

Conway, South carolina
The old Horry County Courthouse in Conway, South Carolina. Editorial credit: Chris Perello / Shutterstock.com

Another historic river town, Conway, boasts a picturesque downtown district. You will also enjoy the Conway Riverwalk, which is set along the Waccamaw River. The beaches are one of the most popular spots for visitors, though there is plenty to do after a long day spent sunbathing, swimming, and playing outside with family and friends. 

The town is home to the Horry County Museum, which documents the area's culture and natural history, and even houses an aquarium. Remember to peruse through the downtown area, where you'll enjoy unique boutiques and shops, plenty of restaurants, and various art forms. Depending on the time of year, you might be in time for Riverfest or the Conway Ghost Walk. 

Georgetown

Georgetown, south carolina
Aerial view of the marine in Georgetown.

Georgetown is a waterfront community chock full of beautiful historical homes, plenty of Southern charm, and a stunning harborfront view. There are also plenty of events, such as the wooden boat show, to attend no matter what time of year you visit. The harborwalk is lined with unique restaurants and shops, perfect for strolling through after a long day on the water. 

There are also five museums located in the downtown area, which is ideal for anyone interested in the past. Plus, the town is only 45 minutes from Myrtle Beach, meaning you can enjoy the beauty and comfort of the small town and then pay a visit to the bustling beach. 

York

York, South Carolina
North Congress Street in York, South Carolina. Editorial credit: Nolichuckyjake / Shutterstock.com

Sitting between Broad River and the Catawba RiverYork, also known as the "White Rose City," is steeped in history and small-town charm. It earned its nickname from the War of the Roses in the 1400s, which you can learn about in one of the town's museums. The town houses many local businesses, each offering unique, handmade, and giftable items. 

When it comes to dining, there are a variety of cafes and pubs to choose from, perfect for beginning or ending your busy days. The Windy Hill Orchard & Cidery is located nearby if you're interested in apple picking or trying a few drinks, while Black's Peaches farm is a great spot to stop for fresh produce. 

Bluffton

bluffton, south carolina
The May River in Bluffton.

Set along the banks of the May River, Bluffton is known for its historic churches and buildings, unique art galleries, and exciting dining scene. There is also plenty to do if you love the great outdoors, including hiking, biking, and fishing. The town is a short ride from Hilton Head, one of the county's most beautiful islands, so that you can enjoy the coastal waterfront and a beach trip in one weekend. 

Cheraw

Cheraw, South Carolina
Wooden boardwalk in Cheraw State Park,South Carolina.

Bordering North Carolina, Cheraw sits along the Pee Dee River and began as a small trading town, though it has since earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. The town boasts access to the beautiful Cheraw State Park, which is a great place to walk and enjoy the views of the picturesque Lake Juniper. The park also offers various activities, ranging from golf to camping and picnicking. If you're interested in a unique stay, pay a visit to the charming and quaint Spears Guest House or the Inn Cheraw. 

Edisto Beach

Edisto Beach
Waves washing the coastline at Edisto Beach.

Edisto Beach is situated on Edisto Island on the eastern coastline of South Carolina. It sits along the Edisto River, one of North America's longest blackwater rivers. It is the perfect place to get away from the busy life of the city and spend your days relaxing on the shore, enjoying sunrises and sunsets, and exploring the woods. Visitors can choose to camp or stay in one of the cabins nestled in the forest. 

Little River

Little River, South Carolina
The picturesque town of Little River in South Carolina.

Named after the Little River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean, the town of Little River is a popular fishing community that is most well known for its laid-back and relaxing atmosphere. There are a number of fishing and party boat cruises you can embark on, though the late-night casino boat is an adventure to be had. 

You'll find fresh seafood and delicious meals in the restaurants, great for filling you up after a day well spent on the water. There are also plenty of events surrounding the local delicacy, including the Blue Crab Festival and the Shrimp Festival. If you want to extend your stay, consider one of the nearby beach rentals.

Traverse Through These Towns

Whether you are a lover of quiet, romantic towns, family fun in the water or a girls' weekend getaway with plenty to do, one of these river towns in South Carolina is the perfect place to be. They each capture Southern California's inviting, charming, and exciting nature, though you will also find something unique and enchanting about each town.

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