South Carolina; the perfect mix of buzzing cultural cities and otherworldly nature. Add to that beaches of serene seclusion, a whole world of water sports, and food that marries the best of America’s northern and southern cuisine, and we know South Carolina is going to be a new big hit with the travel wise. Take a peek at our top five South Carolina tips, and be one of the first to discover the unique unknown that is South Carolina.
This city is a cultural gem with hundreds of years of colonial history to explore. The former plantations retain their old world magnificence and we recommend you catch up on your history by winding your way through the striking architecture of the grand buildings. Having caught up on your culture, turn to another of Charleston’s great catches with some of the South’s best fishing and angling to be had along Charleston’s stretch of coastline. Wade in, cast your line and wait for the bass, bluefish, mackerel, grouper and snapper to come your way (and many, many more). Charleston is even an old haunt for the pirates who stalked this stretch of coastline and legend has it, there’s treasure buried all along the coast…if only we knew exactly where.
Whist South Carolina’s coastline is a treasure trove of pirate plunder and white, sandy beaches, work your way south to start an island hop tour, starting with Edisto Island, famous for its breath-taking nature. Secluded and serene, Edisto boasts spectacular views along its ethereal salt marshes. Next, hop along to Hunting Island and find a lagoon that is the epitome of tranquillity. Take it slow surrounded by awe-inspiring wildlife -Hunting Island is home to a huge population of nesting loggerhead turtles – and settle in to some fishing as you cast your line for anything from crabs to catfish. Just south is Fripp Island, with its 3.5 miles of uninterrupted, uncrowded beach. And furthest south is Hilton Head Island, the most populated and happening of the four. But still very much loyal to its relaxed island vibes, you’ll discover sleepy beachside bliss and a seafood speciality here. Hilton Head’s Wine and Food Festival also has some of the most delicious and rare wines the other side of the pond, as well more than enough fresh food to have you licking your lips with glee – we certainly were.
South Carolina is criss-crossed by rivers and dotted with lakes that are a sailing aficionado’s dream. The three biggest lakes; Murray, Marion and Moultrie make for the best sailing in this boat-loving state. LakeMurray, near Columbia, is the perfect spot for catching the wind in your sails, and even if you’re no Columbus, there are great opportunities for kayaking here. Close together, LakeMarion and LakeMoultrie offer sailing with views of lush green hills, passing through reed and flower covered swamps. As you drift along, try to catch catfish, and largemouth and striped bass – the biggest largemouth ever was caught at Lake Moultrie. There’s even the chance to glimpse turtles paddling in the waters around you. And if you’re looking for a high-octane adventure, we can rent you a private power boat to explore the beauty of these lakes at speed.
Wine and dine Soca style
We’ve found South Carolina to be the perfect blend of America’s northern delicate finesse and explosive southern flavours and we want to show you the best and tastiest of this unique culinary experience. Farmers’ markets abound, the biggest to be found in Columbia, with the freshest produce, bakery and BBQ meats ready to be sampled. Open every day, there’s even an exhibition kitchen here so you can see – and taste, of course – the region’s best dishes created by South Carolina’s home-grown chefs. Food festivals are also a regional speciality – the Low Country Oyster Festival in Charleston being our personal favourite, with its oysters plucked fresh from the sea, it just doesn’t get any better. The local wines here are also an undiscovered treasure; South Carolina has wineries open for tastings and tours, with specialties in Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and even micro breweries for those who prefer wine’s frothy cousin.
National Parks and natural wonders
This is America’s heartland and there are enough National Parks in South Carolina to fill a lifetime’s exploring and adventure. Dip into this region’s plethora of parks and natural sites, filled with ethereal swamps, rushing rivers, and truly ancient trees (some of the oldest and biggest trees in the world). Wander through lush forest and into the clearing and you’ll find deserted beaches, thundering waterfalls, colourful wildflowers and a world of wildlife. Look to the skies to see the majestic southern bald eagle whilst in the clear waters you may even glimpse South Carolina’s resident loggerhead turtles. So whether you’re hiking, kayaking, cycling or climbing, South Carolina has the all the ingredients to make your trip a true wonder.