Fun things to do while visiting South Carolina!
Hiking - Hundreds of trails wind their way through the state, providing a variety of landscape and terrain for both the novice or beginning hiker. South Carolina State Parks offer natural and recreational destinations throughout more than 80,000 acres; explore the Midland lakes and the edge of the Blue Ridge, or the tidal creeks and sand dunes of the Atlantic coastline. The Palmetto Trail offers hikers an opportunity to walk from the mountains to the sea, traversing the state of South Carolina with more than 425 miles, moving through towns, passing lakes, and crossing mountain ridges.
Three counties in the upcountry feature spectacular waterfalls, which you can hike to, ranging from moderate to difficult trails.
Beaches - The South Carolina coast is blessed with miles of unspoiled shoreline, allowing visitors to spend lazy days in the sun, hunting for unique shells, sun bathing on the beach, surfing, or frolicking in the waves. Myrtle Beach offers a busy beach scene with the Pavilion Amusement Park featuring rides, games, and food when you tire of the beach. The Grand Strand has some of the best beaches in the state, while the islands are the real stars. South Carolina has more than ten islands, ranging from isolated, "shabby" islands like Pawley's Island to the resort islands near Charleston. Explore their marshlands, sand dunes, and wildlife refuges. Discover the haunting beauty of the lowcountry with its lonely lighthouses and moss-draped palms. While you amble down the beaches, you may want to bring a metal detector to find forgotten pirate's treasure.
Paddling - South Carolina has several scenic and inviting rivers which offer the most varied paddling experiences on the eastern U.S., not to mention the numerous lakes and coastal waters, adding up to 11,000 miles of waterways. Whether you choose a kayak, canoe, or raft the waterways range from rushing whitewater and black rivers to peaceful swamps and salt marshes. Some well-known, diverse rivers include the Chattooga, Chauga, Catawba, and the Edisto.
Wildlife and Birding - South Carolina is home to more than 375 species of birds, including migratory coastal birds and the Southern bald eagle. From the 3,500 foot mountain peaks to the barrier islands at sea level, the varied habitats allow a diverse bird population, including the wood stork, Bachman's sparrow, warblers, swallow-tailed kites, red-cockaded woodpeckers, and the painted bunting. With the convenience of automobiles and highways, it is possible to drive from the mountains to the sea in one day, allowing visitors to experience the complete range of habitats and species. Some popular spots include Table Rock State Park, Lake Jocassee, Sumter National Forest, Hitchcock Woods and Aiken State Natural Area, and the South Carolina Botanical Gardens. While some of the very best spots are along the coast, the Blue Ridge Mountains serve as a breeding ground for ruffed grouse, ravens, and the chestnut-sided and Black-throated blue warblers.
DID YOU KNOW . . . The combined cascades of the Upper and Lower Whitewater Falls near the North Carolina/South Carolina border creates one of the highest series of waterfalls in the eastern United States!
Pictures courtesy of North and South Carolina's Departments of Tourism.