South Carolina road trip destinations are enthralling. This part USA has no shortage of stunning landscapes, cultural facets, amazing tropical shorelines, and mountains.
It is known as the ‘Palmetto State’ because it adopted Sabal Palm as its official tree. The tree stands for the defeat of the British against the American army in a battle fought at Fort Moultrie. This fort was built of Palmetto logs and it led the American military to victory.
If you’re planning to visit South Carolina to experience the amazing charm and raw beauty then this article is a must-read before you visit there. In this article, we will explore the road trip destinations of the state, so let’s hit the road!
Top South Carolina Road Trip Destinations
Here is the comprehensive list of top road trip destinations in South Carolina
Capital City & Neighboring Places
Columbia is the capital of South Carolina, it is the place where we begin our list of South Carolina Road Trip Destinations. It was one of the first cities to be discovered and named after Christopher Columbus.
Our first set of road trips covers the destinations around this city including some attractions of the city itself. Columbia is known for its nightlife, a multitude of golf courses, and stand-up events.
People even enjoy drinking whiskey at Bourbon, but the city has a lot more to offer. One of the must-go places in the city is the Riverbanks Zoo known for the prettiest birds on the planet. The resplendent Malayan Peacock is a beauty.
The zoo hosts nearly 200 animals including 350 species, many birds, and marine life varieties including a dedicated flamingo beach and Koi ponds. There are several botanical gardens in the zoo that display beautiful hues of a variety of flora.
It also hosts a 55,000-gallon aquarium with reptiles, fish, and amphibians, and also beautiful coral displays. Children and adults both can enjoy this place alike and it should definitely be one of the stops on the trip.
The next stop on the South Carolina road trip should be the Edventure Children’s Museum. Unlike those boring museums, where your child is not allowed to touch the exhibits, there are 350 activities they will enjoy getting their hands on.
There is a 40ft statue of Eddie right at the entrance, which greets each and every person as they enter. There is a world of work, where your child can experience what it is like to be a scientist or a builder by actually taking up fun tasks in these occupations. There are many attractions and you can spend a good 3 to 4 hours here.
A 30-minute drive towards the South-east can take you to Congaree National Park, which is spread over close to 27,000 acres and presents to the visitors’ astonishing biodiversity. You may take a hike through the Park trails leading yourself to the bottomland hardwood forest full of Cyprus and Tupelo trees.
You may take the Weston Loop Trail which takes you to Cedar Creek. Here you will find Otters and Wading birds. Or if you are a history buff, you can take the Bates Ferry Trail to find the remains of the ferries from colonial times.
You may reserve an overnight camping experience in one of the 3 campgrounds here and enjoy nature or go canoeing or kayaking in Cedar Creek for close to 15 miles. It is a rich experience that takes you away from city life and puts you amid the serene wilderness.
This was a short road trip that can take you around 2 to 3 days and can be completed during a long weekend. However, you may even take a 3-hour long road trip towards the north-west of Columbia covering several attractions en route.
Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens, situated close to 100 miles away from Columbia, could be your first stop on this road trip. It will take you close to 1.5 hours to reach here. It has a history of 320 years of continuous plantation, one of the oldest in the US, and covers close to 800 acres. The farms produce a variety of seasonal foods such as thousands of pounds of strawberries, watermelons, corn, tomatoes, and more!
Apart from food, the place is rich in flora too and is known for its beautiful pink and white Magnolia plantations among others. There are many garden tours for different seasons showcasing beautiful hues of the season.
Further, there is a butterfly hall displaying the entire life-cycle of the creature and hosts many different colorful butterflies. At the time of Christmas, the entire place is decorated and lit up and looks adorable and breathtaking. This is a thoroughly brilliant experience and calls for spending at least a whole day.
Another 1.5-hour road trip from Boone Hall will take you to Caesar’s Head State Park and the Rainbow Falls which covers an area of approximately 11,000 acres in the mountain bridge wilderness area.
As the name suggests, it is situated at an altitude that gives a picturesque bird’s eye view of the brilliant greenery surrounding the state park and forest area. Bald eagles, falcons, and turkeys are common sights here and you can camp amidst them.
The park is also known for its fishing areas, hiking trails, and water activities including kayaking. Rainbow Falls is a 100 ft high free-falling waterfall situated close to the state park and can only be accessed by a steep trail involving a 2.5-mile hike which can take an elevation of up to 1200 ft and therefore a difficult hike that gives you a feeling of accomplishment when completed successfully.
This completes most of the South Carolina road trips possible within the state, the next few destinations are lined up near the eastern shoreline of the state along the North Atlantic Ocean.
South Carolina Road Trip Destinations include a picturesque coastline. The topmost attraction is Myrtle Beach, a 60-mile shoreline lined with multiple sandy beaches. The beachfront is full of attractions such as arcades and souvenir stands.
Apart from all the beaches, sports, and attractions, the area has a lot more to offer. You can have a thrilling experience of Go-karting at the Broadway Grand Prix or take a cruise on the Calabash Fishing Fleet or a scenic cruise to observe the lovable dolphins.
Broadway At The Beach is the place to be if you love shopping or want to have the best meal of your life! You can even witness the fireworks every Tuesday and Friday all year long and have a happy vacation.
Just 30 minutes by road you will reach the Huntington Beach State Park and the Brookgreen Gardens. As the state park is situated on the coast, you can find sea turtles, alligators, and migratory birds here.
You may participate in the coastal exploration programs or witness the most beautiful sunrise you have ever seen. Apart from these specific attractions, the park offers everything a state park does such as hiking trails, camping, fishing, and nature strolls.
Brookgreen Gardens is not just any normal garden, along with the botanical gardens, it is also a garden of sculptures and a wildlife preservation area. The collection of sculptures here is the largest in the entire US, displaying 2,000 pieces by close to 400 artists.
There are sculptures of the Tortoise Fountain, The Wood Nymph, Dionysus, and others. It is spread across 9,100 acres and offers one of the most scenic views of South Carolina. which makes it a must-go place.
While you are on this route, you may even take a 20-minute drive from the gardens to Pawleys Island and enjoy a bite of the farm-fresh mouth-watering seafood or buy a hammock or two and lie down peacefully basking in the bright sun.
These places can take up to 3 to 4 days of your total South Carolina vacation if you really want to enjoy them thoroughly. And if you want a longer vacation, you may take another 2-hour road trip from Pawleys Island to reach Mount Pleasant.
Mount Pleasant, unlike the name suggests, is not a mountain but a suburban city. You may enjoy visiting the farmer’s market here and enjoying the fresh fruits and veggies or even the music and entertainment held here. It is like a carnival out here.
You can go golfing at the Charleston National Golf Park or enjoy the mini-golf course at the Charleston Fun Park. And while you are at it, how about a gulp of freshly brewed beer at the Two Blokes Brewery?
You may take a water taxi to Patriot’s Point and have a glimpse at the wartime ships or visit the museum and a replica of the Naval support base camp from the time of the Vietnam War. There are many guided tours to tell you stories of those times and history buffs can have a fun time listening to these.
Nearby is Fort Sumter situated amid water and therefore only accessible by boat. This is where one of the most ferocious wars was fought during the Civil War period. You may even see multiple war-time cannons on display here. It is an enriching experience of its kind.
After spending 2 to 3 hours here, you can head towards Middleton Place which is essentially a rice plantation designed in the 18th-century style. You can have a look at the historic furniture and art of that era or take a horse-driven carriage tour around the place and stop at a restaurant to enjoy some shrimp.
If you love flowers, and well who doesn’t, then you may even stop at the Magnolia Plantation and Garden on your way to Middleton Place. It is one of the most romantic places with gardens full of Magnolia and other beautiful flowers that will quench your thirst for natural beauty.
Here we bid adieu to the beautiful state of South Carolina, hope you have a wonderful time road-tripping around the state! Check out the best vacation rentals on Riverbanks Zoo. We hope that these South Carolina road trip destinations suggestions will be helpful, for any more information, fill out our web form or give us a call.