Known as the “Palmetto State”, South Carolina is indeed a most beautiful place of natural wonder, fascinating history, and delightful warm weather. Renowned for its hospitality and famed Southern charm, South Carolina offers everything from stunning coastal views of the Atlantic Ocean to tremendous vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains. These natural attractions are only rivalled by the splendid culture and history that are on full display in many of the State’s great small towns. Here some of the very best of South Carolina’s beauty can be found, where visits of discovery are ideal for families and solo travellers alike.
Home to a population of just 605 residents (according to 2020 census figures), the small town of McClellanville is indeed a most quaint and charming locale. Framed by the Francis Marion National Forest and right on the coast with the Atlantic Ocean, this town is full of tranquility and loads of natural beauty. Just an hour’s drive from the city of Charleston, McClellanville is a popular fishing destination that traces its history back to the 1860s.
Visitors can learn all about the town and region’s history by spending time at the local Historic District or by exploring the Village Museum. And of course with its vicinity to the ocean, a variety of great and tasty seafood restaurants can be found where specialties like oysters and shrimp can all be savoured. Meanwhile at the aforementioned Francis Marion National Forest, many alluring hiking and biking trails are on hand, creating a most beautiful and intimate encounter with the outdoors.
Founded in 1711, the town of Beaufort is the second oldest colonial settlement in South Carolina. Situated on the Atlantic Coast’s Port Royal Island, Beaufort is full of splendid Southern charm, scenic views, and fascinating 18th century history. Indeed history lovers will enjoy any time spent in Beaufort and its Historic District, where several pre Civil War buildings continue to engage visitors. Meanwhile for the nature lover, enjoying water activities like sailing and swimming is always an attractive and beautiful experience. And without a doubt even just a wonderful stroll at the charming boardwalk at the Sands in Port Royal will surely make any visitor totally embrace Beaufort.
With a modern day population of 7,446 inhabitants the historic town of Hartsville traces its history back to the 1760s, while Native American peoples had long lived in the area. Indeed with its mix of indigenous and colonial history, Hartsville is home to plethora of important historic sites. Including the Jacob Kelly Mansion and the Hartsville Depot Train Station, an up close encounter with centuries of history can be experienced here. Meanwhile for the nature lover, a stop at the Kalmia Gardens cannot be missed. Here some 30 acres of local plants and trails amaze all who visit in a most serene and stunning ambience.
And in the heart of the town’s downtown numerous tasty restaurants, charming boutique stores, galleries, museums and more can all be discovered. For anyone looking for a genuine sampling of Southern charm while in South Carolina, then a visit to Hartsville is a sure fire way to find it abundantly.
Despite its relatively large population of 90,000 inhabitants, Mount Pleasant still maintains a most unique and beautiful small town charm, full of Southern history and beauty. Indeed any visitor can experience first hand several centuries worth of historic sites, buildings and park from the 1700s to the mid 20th century.
Stop by the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum and see the amazing aircraft carrier the USS Yorktown, or spend time at the Mount Pleasant Historic District. Here architectural styles like Victorian, Georgian and Greek Revival can all be seen in a most serene and charming ambience. Meanwhile, being a coastal town means residents and tourists alike will always have easy access to the Atlantic where sailing and swimming are very popular throughout the year. Indeed for great fun in the sun and a fascinating dose of history, a stop in Mount Pleasant will certainly a most pleasurable one.
Established in the 1750s, York was an important battle site during the War of Independence, and two major campaigns were fought there. Known as the “White Rose City”, today a population of just over 8,000 call York home, and it remains a place of fascinating living history. Indeed in the York Historic District nearly every building has been included on the National Register of Historic Places. These include the Allison Plantation, the York County Courthouse, and the Hart House among others. And a special picture with the Old Town Clock should certainly not be missed. Meanwhile an assortment of tasty local restaurants, charming boutique shops, galleries, and other businesses round out this most beautiful town, where residents are always ready to show off their best hospitality.
Known as the “City of Trees”, and near the border with the State of Georgia, the town of Aiken is a splendid place where natural beauty and Southern charm come together. Take a stroll through the beautiful Hopeland Gardens, where an abundance of local flowers and hot sun make it an enjoyable afternoon for the whole family. Meanwhile at the Boyd Pond Park, stunning hiking and biking trails bring visitors up close with raw nature and local wildlife. And for the history lover visiting the Aiken Train Museum cannot be missed. Learn about the Eastern Railroad’s expansion and the rail industry in a most fun and interactive place.
South Carolina’s third oldest town, Georgetown was formally established by Spanish colonists in 1526 before becoming a prominent English colony. The State’s second largest seaport, this town of just over 8,000 residents is full of old world charm and offers visitors a most unique glimpse into the America of the 18th and 19th centuries. Once an indigo and rice production centre, cobblestone streets, historic buildings and homes, and other landmarks make up the Historic District for a most fascinating excursion. And of course as a seafront settlement, Georgetown offers great boat tours where delightful scenic views of the coastline will surely make for some of the best vacation memories.
Home to a population of nearly 3,500 residents, history lovers will adore the town of Pendleton. Well known for its historic district, visitors will be immersed into a veritable slice of 18th century America. View such landmarks like the Woodburn and Bonne-Douthit Plantations and discover how Pendleton transformed from a farming town to an industrial centre leading to the Civil War.
But beyond its historical allure, the town is also full of great Southern charm where warm hospitality and an assortment of services make any day memorable. Browse through several local shops and boutique stores, tasty restaurants, and an ever important atmosphere of genuine Americana.
Hilton Head Island
The resort town of Hilton Head Island is situated only 20 miles from the border with the State of Georgia, offering visitors and residents alike a most stunning and beautiful Atlantic Ocean beachfront. Featuring nearly 12 miles of coastline there is certainly never a shortage of exquisite panoramas and warm sun. Here opportunities for sailing, swimming, and sunbathing can all be enjoyed while a relaxing game of tennis or golf is always a delight for sports enthusiasts.
Stop by the Coligny Beach Park where great boardwalk vistas, fine dining options and an eclectic range of shopping outlets all round out the landscape. And with loads of live music and artists selling their craft, Hilton Head Island is without a doubt one of South Carolina’s most picturesque and charming locales.
South Carolina is indeed a most extraordinary place where history and nature are always hand in hand. From beautiful mountains, to delightful coastal ocean views, and loads of fascinating American history, the towns of the “Palmetto State” delight the senses. With their rustic beauty, unique histories, and healthy dose of always sought after Southern charm, these South Carolina towns are perfect destinations to discover America and its hidden gems.