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South Carolina – Sandy Beaches, Historic Places, Wild Beauty

South Carolina is a prime recreational destination in the South. The state looks back on a rich and multi-faceted history and offers a stunning present to all visitors. From the fine sandy beaches extending along the Atlantic shoreline over the lakes and rivers of the central region to the cascading waterfalls of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge Mountains, South Carolina offers everything a visitor may wish for.


South Carolina is made up of four distinct geographic areas. The borders between the geographic regions roughly parallel the Atlantic shoreline running in a northwest-southeast direction. The first region is the Coastal Plain, also referred to as Lowcountry. It is made up of sand, silt, and clay. Ensuing are the Sandhills, the remnants of coastal dunes. Further inland, the Sandhills make for a more hilly outlook; many rivers spring from here. The rocky soil is not suitable for farming however. In the western part of the state, the Foothills and then the Blue Ridge Mountains follow. This is the highest part within the state’s boundaries. South Carolina’s highest peak, Sassafras Mountain at 3,500 feet, is located within this mountain range.

A characteristic of South Carolina are the many significant lakes that are located within the state. They offer all kind of water sport activities. The largest of the lakes is Lake Marion, followed by Lake Strom Thurmond, named after the notorious US Senator of the Civil Rights era, and Lake Moultrie.


South Carolina due to its southern location has a humid subtropical climate. In the summer months, temperatures are high throughout the state and the climate is humid, with highs in the 90s and even 100s and overnight lows rarely below the 70s. In the winter, the picture is less uniform. Generally, the further inland (thus the higher) one gets, the colder the winter temperatures become. However, even in the mountainous regions, snowfall is a rare phenomenon.


Originally settled by English settlers, most (forceful) immigrants in the colonial period were in fact Africans who were imported and traded as slaves. Charleston became the major slave hub in the South. South Carolina is known for being the first state to have seceded from the Union in 1860 in the events leading up to the Civil War.

In the early 20th century, the textile industry became the major economic factor and cotton was not the only source of income any more. Many large military bases are today located in South Carolina.

Islands and Coast / Charleston

The South Carolina shoreline holds in store some of the state’s finest sights and historic places like Charleston, along with magnificent beaches, beautiful island getaways and, of course, the Atlantic Ocean with its abundance of recreational activities.

South Carolina’s beaches stun visitors with their great variety and beauty. Take Myrtle Beach and the Grand Stand, for instance. This region is a prime destination for a family vacation. The beach continues over 60 miles from Little River to Georgetown. Along the beach, great attractions like Brookgreen Gardens, home of the largest sculpture collection within the US, lure tourists and locals alike. Pawley’s Island is one of the oldest tourist resorts in the country, then and now offering some of the finest accommodation you can imagine. Other great destinations of the region include Litchfield Beach, a quaint community, historic fishing village Murrells Inlet which offers some of the best seafood along the coast, Garden City Beach, and Surfside Beach. The latter is in fact not a hotbed of sporty youngsters but a primary family destination.

Historic Charleston and the surrounding resort beaches and islands are one of the most attractive sites in the state. Charleston’s charm and historic and ethnic flavor continue to attract millions of visitors each year. There are still 73 buildings standing from the colonial era. The city was founded in 1670 which makes it one of the oldest settlements in the South. Old City Market is but one of the many great places to see. Lodging options naturally abound in the city that houses some 330,000 people. Surrounding islands like Hilton Head Island, Bulls Island, the Isle of Palms, and Kiawah Island, offer exclusive recreation and relaxation with fine golf courses, national wildlife refuges and of course extensive water sports options. In South Carolina’s Lowcountry, Beaufort is a great place to visit, a charming village by the water.

Lakes and Rivers Region & Columbia

Between the coastal plains and the mountains in the west, South Carolina boasts many big lakes and extensive waterways. Lake Marion is in fact the largest inland body of water in the South. The lakes continue into the more mountainous regions with Lake Jocassee being one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in the US. The lakes are great fishing grounds with stores of striped bass, trout, catfish, and other species. On the scenic rivers, canoeing and kayaking are a great way to get rid of the city stress.

South Carolina’s capital Columbia is also located in the central Lakes and Rivers Region. The city is known for its characteristic southern hospitality, interesting museums, stunning sights, and many great golf courses. Riverbanks Zoo, nearby Lake Murray, Congaree National Park, and the Newberry Opera House must suffice as examples for the wide array of possible activities in the region. All types of accommodation options are offered, from smaller pensions to high-class lodging and luxurious hotels.


The westernmost region thrills visitors with its many cascading natural waterfalls, including the highest waterfall in the east of the United States. Along with the natural delights and state parks, the upcountry has many interesting towns and cities in store. Notable places include Greenville, Spartanburg, and Blacksburg. Of course, the natural areas are a primary destination. Devils Fork State Park, Table Rock or Oconee State Park range among the finest in the nation. Upcountry South Carolina is simply a relaxing place to be… So is the entire state.

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