Editors' Picks: 20 of the Best Things to Do in South Carolina!

South Carolina, also known as "The Palmetto State," was the eighth state to enter the Union (1788). Less than a hundred years later, it would see the start of the Civil War, when shots were fired on Fort Sumter in April, 1861.

But perhaps its most significant role in America's history? It was where the first game of golf was played in the United States (South Carolina is home now to 300 public and private courses, with Myrtle Beach considered the "golf capital of the world").

Even more so than Georgia, South Carolina produces more peaches than anywhere else in the country. The state claims many famous citizens, including activist Jesse Jackson, singer James Brown and comedian Stephen Colbert. It's home to one of the oldest trees in the world, and the first public library in the original American colonies.

Need more to explore? Check out our collection of 20 of the coolest things to do in South Carolina.

1. Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, Charleston, SC

It's Charleston's most visited plantation, and for good reason: it's utterly breathtaking. Founded in 1676, the gardens have been attracting people since they were first opened to the public in the 1870s, and are among some of the oldest unrestored gardens in the country.

2. Fort Sumter, Charleston, SC

On April 12, 1861, the first shots of the Civil War were fired at this historic site, as Confederate forces lobbed artillery at this Union garrison in Charleston harbor. No one at that time had any idea how those shots would impact the country at large.

3. South Carolina Botanical Garden, Clemson, SC

Over its 295 acres, you can wander among a wildflower meadow, butterfly garden, trails and streams - and inhale the heavenly scent of over 300 types of that typical Southern flower, the camellia.

4. The Hunley, North Charleston, SC

It's one of the great maritime mysteries of the Civil War: The Hunley, an experimental submarine, rammed and sank the Union ship, Housatonic. Then it vanished under the waves for seemingly no reason. Since its recovery, tours allow you to view it within its conservation tank, and to gaze upon the personal artifacts of the men who went down with the ship.

5. Rainbow Row, Charleston, SC

Charleston is considered one of America's most beautiful cities - and Rainbow Row, a series of colorful historic houses in that city, is a must-see. Painted in pretty pastel colors, these restored homes are among the most photographed locations anywhere.

6. Palmetto Moonshine Distillery, Anderson, SC

Get out of the heat and explore the state's first legal "'shine" distillery. There's an interesting tour - and tastings of various types of moonshine. Might want to have a designated driver handy.

7. Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel, Walhalla, SC

It was meant to be a shortcut to the Ohio River Valley, but this unfinished pre-Civil War railroad tunnel has since become a cool tourist attraction. Even on hot summer days, there's always a refreshing breeze blowing through it, and the nearby waterfalls are another lovely bonus.

8. The Angel Oak Tree, Johns Island, SC

This magnificent tree has weathered storms, floods and other environmental challenges for nearly 500 years (although some age estimates range as much as 1,500 years). As you stand beneath its enormous branches, just imagine what it's witnessed.

9. Myrtle Beach, SC

Summer means the beach, and this town is one of the top beach destinations anywhere. Soft sand, fantastic waves and an amazing boardwalk - what more can you ask for?

10. Falls Park on the Reedy, Greenville, SC

This Greenville park has been a soothing oasis for well over a decade. Stroll through gardens punctuated by waterfalls, stonework and public art.

11. Birding at Huntington Beach

Over 300 species of birds hang out here, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. In fact, it's considered one of the best destinations in the state.

12. Dupont Planetarium, Aiken, SC

It's a fantastic way to explore the night skies of autumn, but this beautiful planetarium also does amazing shows covering crazy weather phenomenon…even the life of a cell. Mind blowing.

13. Caesars Head State Park, Cleveland, SC

Get in some autumn hiking, picnicking or camping at this popular park, which offers some astounding views. It borders North Carolina, so you get two states' worth of beauty in one shot.

14. Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway

This 112-mile roadway was once used by the Cherokee as well as fur traders from England and France. Today, it offers spectacular fall foliage views as it winds among the southernmost portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are also plenty of interesting stops along the way. Well worth the drive.

15. The Button Museum, Bishopville, SC

This kitschy place is the result of one man's insomnia. During bouts of sleeplessness, Dalton Stevens began covering anything he could think of with buttons. It's since grown to this hangar-sized museum, where you can gaze upon everything from a hearse to an outhouse and more, all covered in colorful buttons. Because, why not?

16. The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, Charleston, SC

Built in the 18th century, the Old Exchange is one America's oldest buildings, and served as a major trade center for Charleston. On the flip side, the nearby Provost Dungeon housed shady characters of the day. With videos, artifacts and more, both buildings offer a fascinating look at life way back when.

17. The Citadel, Charleston, SC

This historic military school (established in 1842) is situated on a gorgeous campus on the Ashley River. Visitors are welcome. If you can make it on a Friday, you can take in the regular parade of cadets - an amazing precision event.

18. Festival of Trees, Myrtle Beach, SC

Every holiday season, Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach hosts this popular event, with 50 different Christmas trees, each decorated to represent a different state. What will your state's tree look like?

19. Famously Hot New Year, Columbia, SC

It's billed as the state's largest, free New Year's party. Set in Columbia's historic downtown area, there's music and pretty righteous fireworks at midnight. Best of all, there are plenty of hotels within walking (or staggering) distance.

20. Murrell's Inlet, SC

Just south of Myrtle Beach is this charming fishing village, widely considered the "Seafood Capital" of the state. There are plenty of great restaurants, and even chances to head out on a fishing charter and catch your own dinner. Or just take in the tranquil surroundings of the town during the quiet winter months.

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Best Things To Do Near You
Best Things To Do Near You
Oct
22

South Carolina State Fair

11:00 AM
South Carolina State Fairgrounds Columbia, SC
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Oct
22

Sumter County Fair

4:00 PM
Sumter County Fairgrounds Sumter, SC
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Oct
23
Oct
23
Oct
23

Terror Falls Haunted Farm Attraction

7:30 PM
Terror Falls Haunted Farm Gaston, SC
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Oct
23

Sumter County Fair

10:00 AM
Sumter County Fairgrounds Sumter, SC
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Oct
23

South Carolina State Fair

10:00 AM
South Carolina State Fairgrounds Columbia, SC
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Best Places To Go Near You
Best Places To Go Near You
1515 Main Street, Columbia, SC
Mission:The Columbia Museum of Art seeks to inspire, educate and enrich the lives of the community, South Carolinians, tourists and visitors by col... Read More
301 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC
Mission:Through innovative partnerships, comprehensive collections, and stimulating exhibits and programs, The South Carolina State Museum provides... Read More
360 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
Mission Statement:To document and explain the natural and cultural history of Charleston and the South Carolina coastal region through the maintena... Read More
633 Front Street, Georgetown, SC
The Rice Museum, known locally as The Town Clock, is located in the Old Market Building and is a prominent symbol of Georgetown County. Through dio... Read More
135 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
Mission Statement: The Gibbes Museum of Art exists to link the art of our past with the art of our future through innovative exhibitions, acquisit... Read More
816 Bull Street, Columbia, SC
McKissick Museum is located at the heart of the historic Horseshoe on the Columbia campus of the University of South Carolina. It was established i... Read More
202 East Greenville Street, Anderson, SC
Mission Statement:The Anderson County Museum collects, preserves, and interprets artifacts that document the history of Anderson County and educate... Read More
1051 Greene Street, Columbia, SC
History:The Ira & Nancy Koger Center for the arts demonstrates the cooperative spirit present in South Carolina. Its construction is the produc... Read More
3380 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC
Mission: The Mission of Drayton Hall, a Historic Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is to preserve and interpret Drayton Hall ... Read More
805 Main Street, Conway, SC
Mission:To collect and preserve material related to the prehistory, natural history, history and culture of Horry County; to interpret and to creat... Read More
222 North Fifth Street, Hartsville, SC
Mission : The Hartsville Museum has two fundamental purposes:1. To discover, collect, preserve, interpret and exhibit the history of the city of Ha... Read More
500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC
About Us:Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is home to more than 2,000 magnificent and fascinating animals and one of the nation's most beautiful and inspir... Read More
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