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25 Things to Do in South Carolina

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Whether you’re interested in history, enjoy relaxing at the beach, or seek fun things to do with your family, South Carolina’s many intriguing tourist attractions have something for you. Choose from high-quality theaters, golf, and water parks in Myrtle Beach, or unwind at the beach.

A scenic view of a rocky cliff at sunset with text overlay: "25 Things to Do in South Carolina" and "read more" on a yellow ribbon at the bottom.

You can take a romantic carriage ride through Charleston’s atmospheric streets or visit some of the South’s most exquisite plantation estates nearby.

Visit the fort at Charleston Harbor, where the Civil War began, or enjoy the stunning views and tranquil trails of Caesars Head State Park.

Bike the Hilton Head Island paths, go deep-sea fishing, or take the kids to a zoo.

Live a bit, have some fun, and cross off the items on the list until you’ve completed the top 25 things to do in South Carolina! 

25 Best Things To Do in South Carolina 

Suppose your South Carolina travel plan includes the same old tourist traps. In that case, it’s time to expand your South Carolina bucket list with additional off-the-beaten-path sites and offbeat activities.

Immerse yourself in the culture and lifestyle of the people by doing what they do. And if you’re a local, follow the tourists’ lead.

You’d be astonished at how much you’ve been missing.

Whatever your interests are, you’ll find the top 25 things to do in SC below. 

#1. Charleston’s Historic District 

In Charleston, where over 1400 historic mansions, churches, and other buildings line the streets, you may immerse yourself in the gracious ambiance of the antebellum South.

A carriage ride will provide you with an overview and some history, or you can take a walking tour with a peep inside some of them.

A guided tour of numerous historic residences, including the Aiken-Rhett House and the 1808 Nathaniel Russell House, is also available.

Both houses have invaluable collections of fine and decorative arts. 

Exhibits at the Old Exchange Building and the Old Slave Mart Museum provide additional insight into the city’s extensive history.

It’s also worth going to the Charleston City Market to see the “basket ladies” construct sweetgrass baskets, a long-held Charleston custom. 

#2. Attend a race at Darlington Raceway 

Crowd watches from a grandstand overlooking a racetrack in South Carolina, where cars are lined up, preparing for a race. The scene is vibrant with spectators and racing activity on a clear day, making it one of the exciting things to do in South Carolina.

Darlington is South Carolina’s answer to Daytona. Darlington Raceway is NASCAR’s first racetrack.

Racing lovers can enjoy the thrill of witnessing badass-looking vehicles vie for speed dominance on one of the most challenging tracks in the sport.

After all, it’s not dubbed “Too Tough to Tame” for nothing.

Darlington Raceway will satisfy your thirst for speed, even if you’re a seasoner fan, a big-ticket fan, or an old-timer.

If you want the ideal Darlington Raceway experience, contact your Darlington NASCAR Race Tours and Travel Packages agency.

Upgrade your tickets, meet the drivers, hire scanners, and get pit passes.

With scanners activated, you can hear the strategy, decisions, and uninhibited chatter.

You’ll get to experience racing the right way. 

#3. Myrtle Beach 

Promenade in Myrtle Beach, USA

One of the most popular summer activities in South Carolina is visiting Myrtle Beach, where miles of immaculate sands lie along the shore.

The typical seaside pleasures available here are as enticing as the beaches.

The Carolina Opry hosts musical performances, while the Myrtle Ocean SkyWheel offers 10-minute rides above the beach and boardwalk. 

Broadway at the Beach is the state’s most extensive entertainment and shopping center.

It features rides, mini-golf, Ripley’s Aquarium, movies, specialty shops, eating, and other activities in a pedestrian-only area around Lake Broadway.

The slides, splash rides, swimming pools at water parks, and significant hotels are popular with families.

Whether you enjoy fishing or not, Apache Pier should be on your list of sites to see in Myrtle Beach.

The East Coast’s largest wooden pier, measuring about 1,200 feet long, is a favorite fishing destination.

For those who wish to stroll the entire length, enjoy a fresh fish sandwich from Croakers and take in the breathtaking vistas of Myrtle Beach. 

#4. Hike Table Rock 

A scenic view of a rocky cliff overlooking a green valley with trees, under a sky with dramatic clouds and a setting sun—one of the many breathtaking sights among the things to do in South Carolina.

South Carolina has a plethora of parks and outdoor spaces for adventurous visitors.

If you want to get out and play, hiking in Table Rock State Park should be part of your adventure schedule.

Table Rock State Park is a 3,000-acre park with a beautiful mountain as a backdrop for your adrenaline-pumping outdoor pursuits.

There’s a lot to do at Table Rock. Still, the magnificent hiking routes will take you past breathtaking waterfalls and mountain streams before reaching the summit. 

Visitors wishing for a longer stay can stay in campgrounds or cabins.

The Civilian Conservation Corps erected the houses and park structures.

They are deemed historical sites that should be preserved.

The Lakeside Trail lets you discover the area’s natural beauty and history.

You can swim in the park’s old-fashioned swimming hole on one of the lakes. Fishing is permitted in the lakes to catch a catfish, bream, or bass.

The park also hosts a monthly “Music on the Mountain” bluegrass event where visitors can jam with local musicians.

Music and drinks are free, but donations are accepted.

#5. South Carolina Plantation Gardens 

A collage of four different historical plantation houses with columns, large lawns, and distinctive architectural styles under partly cloudy skies showcases some of the top things to do in South Carolina.

Many of the state’s 2,000-plus plantations are open to the public, and those around Charleston are particularly notable for their magnificent gardens. Magnolia Plantation is one of America’s oldest publicly accessible gardens, dating back to the early 1700s and initially welcoming tourists in 1870.

They are notable for being America’s last big Romantic-style garden. Middleton Place is located atop America’s oldest planted gardens and is fully furnished in the original style. 

Boone Hall Plantation in adjacent Mt. Pleasant is one of the country’s oldest plantations, and it is still in operation as a working farm.

It’s best renowned for its three-quarter-mile Avenue of Oaks.

The ornate elements inside Drayton Hall, America’s oldest unrestored plantation house open for visits, provide a unique sight of original 18th-century craftsmanship. 

#6. See a movie at the Big Mo drive-in theater 

Watching a movie at a drive-in cinema usually brings back fond memories of when outdoor movie viewing was a joyful family activity.

Although demand for drive-in theaters has declined somewhat over the years, areas have retained this American tradition.

South Carolina is one of them with Big Mo. The Monetta Drive-In Theater debuted in 1951 as a single-screen cinema.

The drive-in was shuttered in 1985 but reopened in 1999. With drive-ins reviving, Big Mo added two extra screens, offering double features on weekends in March and November. 

It’s a fantastic opportunity for the younger generation to see movies the old-fashioned way.

What’s impressive is that the double feature is frequently not disclosed, so you never know what movies you’ll get.

Don’t blame Big Mo; the movie companies determine which two films will be included in the double feature.

But, hey, who can complain about two movies for $10 ($5 per child) under 3 are free? We aren’t.

You can bring your pets to Big Mo if they are on a leash, and you are welcome to bring your food.

To support Big Mo, visit the concession stand, which serves hot dogs, pizza, hamburgers, nachos, fries, sandwiches, and drinks. 

#7. Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor 

A brick fort with an American flag on a pole stands by the water under a clear blue sky—one of the many fascinating things to do in South Carolina.

On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter, the government fort commanding Charleston Harbor.

The great interpretations of National Park Rangers bring those events to life and create the foundation for a better understanding of Civil War history.

You can take a boat from the Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square or Patriots Point to the island and the well-preserved remnants of the fort.

A 90-minute tour on a tourist boat along the Cooper River to Fort Sumter National Monument also provides beautiful views of the fort.

The tour is fully narrated to provide historical context for Charleston’s participation in the Civil War and subsequent times.

Other forts, such as the Civil War prison at Pinckney Castle, the USS Yorktown, and the Ravenel Bridge, are visible here. 

#8. Explore Daufuskie Island 

Daufuskie Island is the perfect getaway destination if you want to go off-grid in South Carolina.

It’s like the island that time forgot because the lifestyle there is practically unchanged.

Folks on the island make their living from fishing and oystering.

Traditional as that may sound, the island offers various rentals, from simple cottages to historic homes to large villas. 

Daufuskie Island is only accessible by boat and between Savannah and Hilton Head.

Your island adventure begins as soon as you board the ferry from Hilton Head.

The ferry voyage presents you with the island’s natural beauty and calm.

There’s no shortage of things to do once you’re on dry land.

Golf carts carry visitors on self-guided excursions. Kayaking, historic horseback trail excursions, and seaside rides are alternative ways to explore the island.

The Bloody Point Lighthouse & Museum tour can help you brush up on your history. 

Go on the Wild Daufuskie Island Eco-Tour to reconnect with nature.

Get up close and personal with Daufuskie Island’s birds, alligators, plants, and marine life.

You may not want to leave the island once you arrive. 

#9. Deep-Sea Fishing 

South Carolina is a popular location for deep-sea fishing enthusiasts who, from April through November, look for sailfish, amberjack, cobia, gigantic blue marlin, barracuda, and other game species.

The numerous artificial reefs, more than 40 of which are found off the state’s 3,000 miles of tidal shoreline, are distinctive to the state’s seas.

The underwater constructions are scrap metal, including disused equipment, barges, concrete bridges, and military vehicles.

They serve as a habitat for diverse aquatic creatures. 

Three coastal regions are perfect for fishing.

The sea near Myrtle Beach has 18 artificial reefs and eight fishing piers, including Apache Pier, the East Coast’s longest wooden fishing pier.

Charleston is the best departure point for the central coast waters, with 13 artificial reefs that provide habitat for several species, including blue marlin.

Beaufort and Hilton Head Island are convenient departure points for the southern coastal waters.

These regions have plenty of charter companies, equipment rentals, and launch sites for private boats; if you plan to use charter services, book early.

South Carolina’s potential for deep-sea fishing adventures is well known.

#10. Tour the South Carolina State House 

A white neoclassical building with tall columns, surrounded by palm trees and greenery, with a concrete path leading up to its entrance. An American flag hangs above the front door, making it one of the notable things to do in South Carolina.

South Carolina is rich in historical sites, architectural structures, and government buildings to explore.

A tour of the South Carolina State House should not be missed.

The South Carolina State House, located in the middle of downtown Columbia, is the seat of power available to the public. 

Admire the architectural details of the well-preserved state house and discover how laws are produced.

Guided and self-directed tours allow you to enjoy your time at your speed.

Explore the State House grounds, which contain over 25 historical monuments and memorials. Each has an exciting story to tell.

The South Carolina State House tour is highly recommended for history enthusiasts, legal students, architectural students, and anyone interested in South Carolina’s illustrious history. 

#11. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Columbia 

As if kangaroo and koala joeys weren’t enough, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is home to over 2,000 additional animals from over 350 different species.

The two-acre African Plains exhibit recreates an African savanna, with giraffes, ostriches, zebras, African lions, and baboons in their natural habitats.

The Ndoki Forest region is a refuge for gorillas, elephants, and meerkats.

Asia is represented by Siberian tigers and Komodo dragons, among other species.

On the other hand, North American species include grizzly bears and California sea lions.

A botanical garden and ziplines are part of the zoo. 

#12. Ride Fury 325 at Carowinds 

Fury 325 at Carowinds is not for the faint-hearted. Fury 325 is the tallest, fastest, and longest steel roller coaster in North America, standing 325 feet tall, reaching 95 mph, and lasting 3 minutes and 25 seconds.

Not everyone has the heart and stomach for this epic Giga coaster ride.

Feel the sting if you don’t mind experiencing weightlessness, quick side-to-side movements, an 81-degree drop, a 190-foot-tall barrel turn, and a mind-spinning high-speed S-curve.

When your tensions have settled and your heartbeat has returned to normal, enjoy the other less stressful rides at Carowinds or the food from the many dining options. 

#13. Caesars Head State Park 

Caesars Head State Park near Cleveland encompasses the Blue Ridge Escarpment and has plenty of photo opportunities.

The most magnificent view is from The Overlook, which offers a panoramic vista of Table Rock.

The Raven Cliff Falls Trail takes you to South Carolina’s tallest waterfall, while the Jones Gap Trail takes you to a series of swimming holes.

Hawks use the escarpment as a migration route to South America.

Caesar’s Head Hawk Site is an Atlantic Flyway census site. The park contains fishing rivers.

Several geocaches are concealed for treasure hunters to find using GPS. 

#14. Run the Cooper River Bridge Run 

The Cooper River Bridge Run is one of the most unique 10K races ever held in South Carolina worldwide. This one-way road running event connects Mount Pleasant with Charleston.

Participants are motivated by the event’s potential influence on the local community.

It will take place on the Cooper River Bridge, and the proceeds will go to several organizations that help Lowcountry communities.

In addition, the 10K footrace is promoted as an example of health motivation.

It encourages not only physical activity but also a healthy lifestyle.

Don’t miss out on this running event, which draws elite runners, Olympic medalists, celebrities, and foreign sportsmen. 

#15. Bar/Restaurant hop on Shem Creek 

No Charleston Coast getaway is complete without dining at the best restaurants on Shem Creek.

If waterfront eating interests you, you don’t have to look much farther.

Shem Creek is the place for bar hopping and food tripping, whether you’re a foodie, a food blogger, or just a hungry (or thirsty) traveler. 

Expect to feel Southern hospitality’s warmth and Lowcountry food’s comfort. Produce and ingredients are sourced locally.

You’ll find something to satiate your hunger: a seafood boil, delicious steaks, southern-style BBQ, fresh oysters, or handcrafted charcuterie.

With restaurants on both sides of the creek, consider it a full-day excursion. 

#16. Attend the St. Patrick’s Day Festival in 5 Points 

Five Points is where everyone knows everyone else and how to party, especially on St. Patrick’s Day.

This little enclave in Columbia, South Carolina, is an iconic neighborhood waiting to be discovered. 

In Five Points, nearly 40,000 people enjoy all things green and Gaelic on St. Patrick’s Day.

Food and drinks are plentiful, and there are plenty of games for everyone, including your young leprechauns.

In addition to the procession, there will be 10K, 5K, and 1K fun runs.

There is also nonstop live music on several streets. St. Patrick’s Day is a grand family celebration that you should not miss in South Carolina.

#17. Attend the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head 

Man Playing Golf

If there’s an opportunity to watch a PGA Tour event, grab it!

The RBC Heritage in Hilton Head attracts ardent golf fans and the Who’s Who in golf.

It has a long history of exciting golf matches headed by golf giants such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Davis Love III, and Stewart Cink. 

You can also compete against professional and amateur golfers in the RBC Heritage Pro-Am.

You’ll have a great time on the green whether you’re a player or a spectator at the RBC Heritage. 

#18. Visit the South Carolina Aquarium 

The South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston, SC, is home to over 4,500 animals—enough reason to visit and get to know the Aquarium’s residents from land, sea, and air.

You can meet endangered sea turtles and hear about conservation efforts to safeguard them. 

The Creatures exhibit is an eye-opening experience that teaches you about the micro and giant monsters essential to our ecology.

This is not your typical show, so be prepared for an interactive experience traveling around the incredible galleries. 

#19. Attend a USC vs. Clemson football game 

Attend a USC vs. Clemson football game to witness the rivalry on the field and in the fans. This rivalry has existed for 111 years.

Since 1896, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks and Clemson University Tigers have been bitter rivals. The rivalry’s enthusiasm has not waned. 

Regardless of your support team, the game will be high-tension and incredibly noisy.

The Palmetto Bowl, an annual competition, draws over 80,000 spectators.

When the applause starts, you’ll be unable to hear yourself.

Clemson now leads the series 71-42. However, USC can be streaky, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they closed the gap in the coming years. 

#20. Stand at the top of Sassafras Mountain 

A scenic view of forested mountains during fall, with trees displaying autumn colors in the foreground and rolling hills fading into the distance under a blue sky—one of the many breathtaking sights to explore when considering things to do in South Carolina.

Climbers do not climb mountains to conquer the hill but to overcome their fears and internal problems.

Some test their limitations, while others like the adrenaline rush.

Whatever your motive, you must realize that reaching the summit of Sassafras Mountain is a brave and exhilarating endeavor that few people can accomplish.

At 3533 feet, Sassafras Mountain is no Mt. Everest, but it’s also no stroll in the park.

Standing at the top of South Carolina’s highest point provides a spectacular perspective of 6000 other mountains in the distance. 

Preparation and safety procedures are required for the ascent.

You must be familiar with the paths and routes to avoid getting lost.

Although you can climb Sassafras Mountain all year, avoid doing it in the winter because ice conditions will slow you down. 

#21. Celebrate NYE at Columbia’s Famously Hot New Year 

If New York has Times Square NYE, South Carolina has its Famously Hot New Year in Columbia.

This event has become the state’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration, attracting more than 25,000 guests from 48 states and 11 countries.

Since 2011, the Famously Hot New Year has been a unifying event that ushers in the new year and celebrates diversity and community pride.

It also has brought in some music icons like En Vogue, Salt-N-Pepa, Lauren Hill, and Kool & the Gang.

Famously Hot New Year has proven South Carolina folks know how to party. 

#22. Climb to the top of the Hunting Island Lighthouse 

A black and white lighthouse stands tall with a surrounding white picket fence, green lawn, trees, and a partly cloudy sky in the background—one of the picturesque things to do in South Carolina.

When the state tells you that Hunting Island Lighthouse is the only publicly accessible lighthouse in South Carolina, your first instinct is to go, and you should.

It is only 167 stairs to the observation deck.

You’ll be 130 feet above the ground once you reach the top.

That’s high enough to get a bird’s-eye perspective of the Atlantic Coast and its aquatic life. 

#23. Take a Charleston ghost tour 

No South Carolina travel bucket list is complete without a Charleston ghost tour. Bulldog Tours gives you exclusive access to Charleston’s best-haunted ghost walking tours.

Get up close and personal with a ghostly presence as you walk with cemeteries, graveyards, haunted pubs, old city jails, prison cells, and spooky dungeons. 

Join a paranormal investigation of the haunted USS Yorktown, where you’ll try to communicate with the souls of the men and women who previously served aboard.

As a ghost detective, you will utilize unique equipment to discover concealed sounds, cold spots, and paranormal forces.

This is the most immersive Charleston ghost tour you’ll ever take.

#24. Check out all six waterfalls on Lake Jocassee 

Lake Jocassee at Devils Fork State Park has not one, not two, but six waterfalls accessible only by boat.

Local outfitters offer waterfall tours, including the Laurel Fork Falls, an 80-foot drop into Lake Jocassee.

The cascade can be seen from the lake or the foothills.

But if the weather and water level permit, the tour guide can take you into the crescent-shaped cave, where you’ll get a different view of the stunning cascade. 

#25. Columbia Museum of Art 

Bronze sculpture of a young male figure poised on a tree trunk, holding a small object in his right hand, exhibited on a pedestal against a dark background—a must-see if you're exploring things to do in South Carolina.

The Columbia Museum of Art should be on the agenda of any art fan visiting South Carolina.

It’s a pleasant place to spend a few hours, with over 25 galleries displaying regional, national, and worldwide artworks.

Examples from the Baroque and Renaissance periods and works by various European Masters are among the highlights.

There is also an extensive collection of artwork by American painters and ornamental and furniture elements.

There are guided tours and a fantastic series of seminars and other activities. 

South Carolina is also well-known as a tourist spot. It boasts beautiful coastlines, verdant wooded regions and parks, golf courses and recreation places, museums, and several historical sites.

Despite being one of America’s smaller states, it is jam-packed with opportunities for exploration and enjoyment.

Begin planning and packing for your trip.

Hopefully, this list has helped you determine what to do in South Carolina, the Palmetto State!

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