Subtropical beaches, sea islands shrouded in early morning mist and stately historic mansions await you in genteel South Carolina. Discover over 200 miles of sunny beaches, a quaint, small-town America vibe, the soaring Appalachian Mountains and a fascinating history that dates back to the 17th century.
Don't forget to bring the golf clubs! South Carolina is home to 360 courses and attracts enthusiasts from around the world. The stunning landscapes and mild weather provide the ideal environment for a game and here, it’s golf season all year long.
Food lover? Get a taste of what makes South Carolina a top culinary destination. From the freshly caught shrimp to the locally sourced grits, South Carolina’s shrimp and grits are a notch above the rest. And nothing makes for a more perfect Southern meal than Lowcountry boil, a mouthwatering meal of shrimp, corn on the cob, potatoes and sausage. As far as seafood goes, South Carolina oysters can hold their own against the world’s best, thanks to a favourable climate and geography. South Carolina is known as “The Birthplace of Barbecue,” so be sure to try some of our world-famous pulled pork. We've included recommendations in each location for places to dine, if you need further choices just let us know.
Distance: 28 miles
You're in BBQ country now so you may wish to check out one of the eateries on the South Carolina BBQ trail. We love The Dixie Pig, a homely diner with a friendly atmosphere and the most mouth-watering BBQ food! Do try their mac 'n' cheese, it was voted no.2 in the state!
Distance: 103 miles
Head towards the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains to hip and trendy Greenville. This affluent South Carolina city is crammed with eateries and boasts a thriving craft brewery scene. Sample this golden nectar at the Swap Rabbit or Birds Fly South Brewery before heading off to enjoy one of the many outdoor events that take place during the summer months from Moonlight Movies in Falls Park to talented local musicians performing in NOMA Square. Don't miss the SanSource Reedy River Concerts, where you're encouraged to bring your own picnic and listen to sounds that range from rock to reggae.
Keen to work off all that food? Paris Mountain is minutes from downtown and offers hiking and mountain biking trails, along with plenty of picnic space to laze the day away under the trees. Of course, the other option is to jump in the car and head north into the heart of the mountains and the incredibly scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. On this route you will enjoy a slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands.
Recommended places to dine: Willy Taco and The Lazy Goat
Distance: 259 miles
Journey through the rolling countryside of South Carolina today, stopping in quintessentially, small southern towns on the way like Pendleton. At this ex-Cherokee Nation Settlement you can step back in time with a visit to Ashtabula or Woodburn Plantation Homes which date back to 1825. If you're a horse-lover you may want to consider a stop in Aiken. Dating back to 1835, this town has an interesting downtown historic district and is the home of the famous Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum.
Hilton Head Island is described as South Carolina's coastal playground and provides the perfect contrast to Greenville. With a large choice of luxury resort hotels, miles of cycling paths, superb golf courses, delicious coastal cuisine and miles of uncrowded, wide, sandy beaches to stroll on, it's the perfect place to relax, unwind and enjoy the fresh sea air.
Recommended places to dine: One Hot Mama’s and The Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant
Distance: 103 miles
It's a short drive today from Hilton Head Island to charming Charleston. Be sure to stop in Beaufort. Founded in 1711 by the British, the city's downtown historic district is a joy to explore. Take a guided tour through streets lined by moss-draped oaks and explore the fine historic homes from the Civil War era.
Named 'Best Small City in the U.S' for seven years in a row by readers of Conde Nast, you're guaranteed to fall in love with genteel Charleston. You've three nights to explore this southern city soaked in history and offering some of the best food, drink and shopping in the South. From its cobbled streets to its waterside battery there is plenty to discover and enjoy.
Just a short drive from Charleston and you'll experience life moving at a slower pace on some of South Carolina's most peaceful and beautiful sea islands such as Kiawah, Folly and Seabrook. Head to these barrier islands to witness sea turtles nesting, dolphins playing in the surf and bald eagles soaring through blue skies.
Recommended places to dine: Blues Cajun Kitchen, Drawing Room and Charleston Grill.
Distance: 60 miles
Located on Winyah Bay on the South Carolina coast, this small town has a large, lively seaport. It is believed that in 1526, the Spanish explorer, Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón, founded a colony of European settlers and African slaves. When the Spanish colony failed, English settlers came to the region in the 1730s and the old town, now the historic district, was formed. Follow in the footsteps of some American greats like George Washington or James Monroe.
Be sure to hop on one of Georgetown's sailing charters, or fishing trips, or delve into history at the Hopsewee or Hampton House plantation homes. You'll find the powerful story of African slaves brought to this region of South Carolina an enlightening learning experience at the Gullah Museum, located in the downtown historic district.
In the evenings take a stroll along the popular Georgetown Harbour Walk and dine on mouth-watering southern cuisine. Or head to nearby Pawley's Island for anything from pub grub and blues on the beach to fine southern dining.
Recommended place to dine: Bistro 217
Distance: 126 miles
Be sure to visit Columbia, South Carolina's modern thriving capital en route to your overnight stay in Camden.
South Carolina’s oldest inland city was named in honour of Lord Camden, a British champion of colonial rights in the late 1700s. It’s both architecturally and militarily significant as it was the centre of activity in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Listed in the National Register of Historic places in 1971, today you can delight in viewing more than 60 historic sites pre-dating 1865. From cosy cottages to magnificent mansions, its historic district is a reflection of Camden’s rich past. Choose to explore this area by a horse-drawn carriage tour, or on a self-guided driving tour.
In Camden you’ll also find The National Steeplechase Museum. Situated on the grounds of historic Springdale Race Course, it's the only museum in the United States dedicated solely to steeplechasing -from its beginnings in the British Isles to its evolution in America.
Car enthusiasts will want to check out the nearby Carolina Motorsports Park. Built on the site of an old World War II training facility, this is now home to a 2.3 mile race course where you can take a trip out on the track with a professional instructor.
Distance: 94 miles
With a late afternoon check-in for your flight home from Charlotte to the UK, you've got time to experience some more small town southern hospitality in the town of York.
The area was home to the Catawba Indians when Scotch-Irish settlers arrived here in the mid-1700s to establish farms. By 1780 two Revolutionary War battles were fought in this area, Williamson's Plantation and Kings Mountain. Head to Congress Street for a wide choice of restaurants and some last minute souvenir shopping.
Want to extend your time in South Carolina? Perhaps time in the mountains? Beach time on one of the sea islands? All Bon Voyage holidays are tailor-made, please call our team of experts to discuss your ideal trip.
To order your free map and guide on South Carolina - click here