Let's take an honest moment to discuss where in America Canadian Travellers first travel to. It's true, we are romanced by the allure of Hawaii, the original sun vacation. We know of the Big Apple's frenetic pace and talented Broadway performances. And everyone has heard the phrase, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." But once you've exhausted these quintessential US destinations, it's time to really dig into the vibrant diversity of America's states. It never ceases to amaze us how unique each one is and we love the enduring pursuit of sampling them all. 

One state we've really got burning on our mind is South Carolina. Canadian readers might be surprised to hear that, but they'd be shocked to find out we've been overlooking it for a while. Did you know Charleston has been voted America's #1 small city...for five years and counting? South Carolina's allure isn't contained to Charleston's city limits and Myrtle Beach either; there are so many reasons this state needs to be top of mind. Piqued your interest yet? Here are 10 experiences that will have you booking flights to South Carolina. 

Florence

Discover South Carolina
Credit: South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism

You may hear it referred to as ‘The Magic City”, and Florence does its best to live up to the moniker. A historic hub with agricultural roots, the old railroad and rural remnants add a unique flair to the modern city which has earned a family-friendly reputation.  

Rent a canoe and explore the scenic Lynches River or spend a day visiting the Florence National Cemetery, a resting place of Civil War soldiers. Whatever your plans are in Florence, be sure to pepper the day's agenda with some barbecue, one of the staples of Southern cooking.

 

Charleston

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The undisputed jewel of the South is the port city of Charleston. It is one of the best preserved Southern cities, with cobblestone streets lacing together hidden gardens and restored homes and churches. Antebellum architecture invokes the grandeur of the Old South which shaped the region for many years, creating one of the most genteel societies to have existed in North America. Heritage homes and buildings sit like dollhouses, lending charm to a city that feels like a living museum. We suggest taking a walking tour to experience the best of the city. Plus, you'll work up an appetite that can be satisfied by mouth-watering Lowcountry cuisine.

 

Antiquing

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It’s no surprise that one of the most historic regions of the country offers some of the best antique shopping. Seek out unique pieces by touring the markets and boutiques of the small towns scattered around the state.

Base yourself in Seneca or experience small-town Southern hospitality passing a day in places such as Easley and Walhalla. Both towns have several antique stores along with historic buildings and farmers’ markets.  The Lunney House Museum in Seneca offers an amazing guided tour of the antiques on display in the renovated Queen Anne style bungalow.

 

Devils Fork State Park

Discover South Carolina
Credit: South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism

Whether the goal is hiking, boating, fishing, swimming or even scuba diving, Devils Fork State Park has it all.

Even the accommodation is varied: rent a villa or camp with the kids to really absorb the gorgeous natural setting.

Those looking to stretch their legs can hit the trails. They range from an easy stroll to an 8 kilometre trek overlooking a 61 metre waterfall.

Recreational activites also abound: kayaks, jet skis and other car top boats can be rented for a day on the water. Cast a line and cook dinner over an evening campfire. Rent scuba equipment before entering the park to view the watery remains of a town that was submerged to create Lake Jocassee.

 

Seafood at Murrells Inlet

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Food...glorious food; it is one of the biggest draws to Murrells Inlet, a small fishing village known as the seafood capital of South Carolina.  Restaurants and markets line the business loop of U.S. 17 and every attraction has several eateries nearby to satisfy the peckish traveller. Lobster bisque is a local favorite and you can't miss the crab cakes served by An Mathis Springs, the Crab Cake Lady. If you've got access to a kitchenette, shop the markets for fresh seafood. Cook up a pot of lobsters, crabs, clams and anything else in season. Eat it up with crusty bread out on the deck - don't forget napkins. Save a day for barbecue and another for something fresh from the docks at the Marshwalk.

 

Revolutionary War History

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Start the day at the Chester County Historical Society Museum to get a good look at the firearms used during the war. There are also other assorted artifacts which help define the context and conditions of the war that lasted from 1775 to 1783.  

To explore more than 30 historical structures on 775 acres, head to McConnells and the living American historical site. Blackstock marks the defeat of General Thomas Sumter and the Union County Museum has a great deal of pre-revolutionary memorabilia including flags, furniture and deeds.  Nearby Cross Keys Plantation is a historic colonial house open most afternoons.

 

A Golfer's Paradise

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Whether looking for a view of the sea or a game in the foothills, South Carolina has a course for every golfer. In fact, the game is so popular an avid golfer could play every day of the year and never hit the same links twice.  

For shorter getaways, start with the 12 courses that made the top 100 Modern and Classic listing from Golfweek. Don’t miss Kiawah Island Golf Resort, ranked the highest in the state and a destination course for golfers from around the world. For a challenge, try the Ocean Course, named “America’s Toughest Course” and the 4th best course in the country according to Golf Digest.

 

Edisto River Treehouse Adventure

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Take an unforgettable trip down the Edisto River, the longest free-flowing blackwater river in the US, complete with a stay in a treehouse that towers over the forest floor. The lazy first day of paddling often provides glimpses of alligators and turtles, in addition to wildlife that inhabits the basin.  The pace is slow enough to allow for swim stops and casting a line for bass is encouraged.  The screened treehouses come equipped with a grill for cooking up your catch and the campsite fire pit is perfect for roasting marshmallows.

 

Island Hopping

hilton head south carolina
Credit: Unsplash, Shep McAllister

Beautiful and majestic, the Barrier Islands are perfect for a family vacation or a romantic adventure for two. Varied histories lend culture and charm to each of the islands, while ocean breezes and luxurious resorts offer relaxed pampering. James Island is known as the seat of authentic African culture is home to the largest living oak tree in the world. Edisto is dotted with historic plantations and those seeking the beach should head to Kiawah for sixteen kilometres of Atlantic shoreline. Hilton Head is a popular getaway seated in the South Carolina Lowcountry, home to a dynamic performing arts scene. 

 

Myrtle Beach

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Iconic Myrtle Beach has long been a destination for Canadians looking for a relaxing and fun-filled vacation.  Miles of soft-sand beaches and green fairways, family-friendly attractions and accommodations as rustic as waterfront camping or as luxurious as an oceanfront resort await visitors. Plus, Myrtle Beach is home to some of the best eateries in the state. Seafood can be found almost everywhere and of course barbecue is a must when travelling South Carolina.

 


Ready to plan a getaway to South Carolina? 
Let Discover South Carolina lend a hand, visit:
DiscoverSouthCarolina.ca


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