About South Carolina

South Carolina is affectionately known as the Palmetto State. Its nickname comes from the Sabal Palmetto tree, a symbol of the state's resilience. South Carolina is known for its rich history, picturesque landscapes, and unique Southern charm.

South Carolina is steeped in history. It is home of Fort Sumter, the start of the Civil War; Charleston, which was founded over 100 years before the birth of the country; and numerous Civil War and Revolutionary War battlegrounds, plantations, and historical landmarks.

Beyond history, South Carolina is where you’ll find the beachfront allure of Myrtle Beach, one of the most popular tourist destinations on the East Coast; the Upstate region, which hugs the Appalachian Mountains, and Columbia, the state’s Capital City.

  • 46 Counties
  • Largest Cities: Charleston, Columbia, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant
  • Population: 5.2 million (2021)
  • Size: 32,020 sq. miles (#40 in the U.S.)


What time of year is good to visit South Carolina?

South Carolina has a humid subtropical climate, meaning summers can be hot and humid, while winters are generally mild.

Spring (March to May) is one of the best times to visit South Carolina. During this period, temperatures are usually pleasant, and the state is awash with color as flowers and trees bloom.

Fall (September to November) is another excellent time to visit. The weather is pleasant, and the state's forests present a stunning array of autumn colors. Moreover, this is harvest season, so it's the perfect time to taste South Carolina's renowned peaches and other fresh produce.

Summers can be very hot, but are popular times to go on vacation to the beach towns. Winter is the off-season, so you’ll find less crowds, lower rates on hotels, and holiday-themed decorations and events

See: ‘Tis the Season with Christmas Activities in Charleston

What is the best city to go to in South Carolina?

The best city in South Carolina depends largely on your interests.

Charleston is one of the most popular cities, known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, distinguished restaurants, and hospitable people. Here, you can explore the historic district, visit the famous Battery promenade, or enjoy a carriage ride through the city.

Columbia, the state capital and the largest city in the state, is another must-visit. It offers a blend of urban and natural attractions. Highlights include the South Carolina State Museum, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, and the Congaree National Park.

Myrtle Beach, on the other hand, is a go-to destination for beach-lovers. Known for its extensive stretch of sandy beaches, the city is also home to a vibrant nightlife, numerous golf courses, and family-friendly attractions like the SkyWheel and Broadway at the Beach.

You also shouldn’t overlook Greenville. It is home to the Swamp Rabbit Trail, the Peace Memorial Center, Falls Parks on the Reedy, and a bunch of top-notch wineries set against a backdrop of mountain scenery.

What food is South Carolina famous for?

The Palmetto State's culinary scene is as diverse as its landscape, offering a blend of Southern classics and unique local specialties.

One of the state's most renowned dishes is shrimp and grits, a hearty meal that combines creamy grits with fresh local shrimp. This dish is a staple in many South Carolina homes and restaurants, and is in particular a Lowcountry specialty.

Barbecue is another South Carolina favorite. The state is known for its unique mustard-based barbecue sauce, a tangy departure from the tomato-based sauces found in other regions.

Don't forget about the state's famous peaches either. South Carolina is the second-largest producer of peaches in the U.S., and they make their way into everything from peach cobbler to peach-infused barbecue sauce.

Should I visit Charleston or Myrtle Beach?

The choice between Charleston and Myrtle Beach depends on what you're looking for in your South Carolina adventure.

If you're a history enthusiast or a food lover, Charleston might be your best bet. The city's filled with numerous historical sites, museums, and historic districts. Moreover, Charleston's dining scene is probably the best in the state, offering everything from fine dining to casual seafood shacks.

On the other hand, if your idea of a perfect vacation involves sun, sand, and surf, Myrtle Beach is the place to be. Boasting a 60-mile string of beaches, a lively boardwalk, and numerous family-friendly attractions, Myrtle Beach is a haven for beach-goers and families.

If you want a mountain vacation, or are an active person, you may want to consider Greenville. It offers lots of hiking, including at nearby Paris Mountain State Park, mountain biking, road biking, rock climbing, and much more.

How far is Charleston from Myrtle Beach?

The distance between Charleston and Myrtle Beach is approximately 95 miles (153 kilometers) if traveling by car. This translates into a driving time of around 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions and the specific route taken. 

The journey from Charleston to Myrtle Beach offers scenic views and an opportunity to explore the diverse landscapes and attractions of the South Carolina coast.

Top South Carolina Experiences