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South Carolina

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Travel Guide North America USA Southern United States South Carolina

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Introduction

Folly Beach, South Carolina

Folly Beach, South Carolina

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South Carolina is a state in the Southern United States.

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History

Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was the first of the 13 colonies that declared independence from the British Crown during the American Revolution. The colony was originally named by King Charles II of England in honor of his father Charles I (Carolus being Latin for Charles). South Carolina was the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation, the 8th state to ratify the US Constitution on May 23, 1788. South Carolina later became the first state to vote to secede from the Union which it did on December 20, 1860. It was readmitted to the United States on June 25, 1868.

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Geography

South Carolina is the 40th most extensive and the 24th most populous of the 50 United States. It is bordered to the north by North Carolina; to the south and west by Georgia, located across the Savannah River; and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean.
South Carolina is composed of five geographic areas, or physiographic provinces, whose boundaries roughly parallel the Atlantic coastline. In the southeast part of the state is the Coastal Plain, which can be divided into the Outer and Inner Coastal Plains. From north to south the coast is divided into three separate areas, the Grand Strand, the Santee River Delta, and the Sea Islands. Further inland are the Sandhills, ancient dunes from what used to be South Carolina's coast millions of years ago. The Fall Line, which marks the limit of navigable rivers, runs along the boundary of the Sandhills and the Piedmont, which has rolling hills and clay soils. In the northwest corner of the state are the Blue Ridge Mountains, the smallest geographical region in the state, which continue into North Carolina and Georgia, as part of the southern Appalachian chain. Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina's highest point at 1,090 metres is located in this area.

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Regions

  • Golden Corner - southern coast
  • Grand Strand - northern coast
  • Greater Charleston - around Charleston and the central coast
  • Greater Columbia - the state capital and uplands
  • Old 96 District
  • Olde English District
  • Pee Dee Country
  • Santee Cooper Country - central South Carolina between the capital and Charleston
  • Thoroughbred Country - south of the capital bordering Georgia
  • Upcountry South Carolina - the extreme western South Carolina bordering both Georgia and North Carolina

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Sights and Activities

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park preserves the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the United States. Located in South Carolina, the 107.43 km2 national park received that designation in 2003 as the culmination of a grassroots campaign which had started in 1969. The lush trees growing in this floodplain forest are some of the tallest in the Eastern U.S., forming one of the highest temperate deciduous forest canopies remaining in the world. The Congaree River flows through the park. About 57 percent (61 km2) of the park is designated wilderness area.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Charles Pinckney National Historic Site at Mt. Pleasant
  • Cowpens National Battlefield near Chesnee,
  • Fort Moultrie National Monument at Sullivan's Island
  • Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston Harbor
  • Kings Mountain National Military Park at Blacksburg
  • Ninety Six National Historic Site in Ninety Six
  • Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail
  • Healing Springs near the town of Blackville

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Weather

South Carolina has a humid subtropical climate, although high elevation areas have less subtropical characteristics than areas on the Atlantic coastline. In the summer, South Carolina is hot and humid with daytime temperatures averaging between 30-34 °C in most of the state and overnight lows averaging 20-23 °C. Winter temperatures are much less uniform in South Carolina. Coastal areas of the state have very mild winters with high temperatures approaching an average of 16 °C and overnight lows 5-8 °C. Inland, the average January overnight low is around 0 °C in Columbia and temperatures well below freezing in the Upstate. While precipitation is abundant the entire year in almost the entire state, the coast tends to have a slightly wetter summer, while inland, March tends to be the wettest month and winter being the driest season, with November being the driest month. The highest recorded temperature is 45 °C in Johnston and Columbia on June 29 2012 and the lowest recorded temperature is -28 °C at Caesars Head on January 21, 1985. Snowfall in South Carolina is somewhat uncommon in most of the state, while coastal areas receive less than an 2.5 centimetres annually on average. The interior receives a little more snow, although nowhere in the state averages more than 30 centimetres of snow annually. The state is occasionally affected by tropical cyclones. South Carolina averages around 50 days of thunderstorm activity a year. Some notable tornadoes have struck South Carolina and the state averages around 14 tornadoes annually.

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Getting There

By Plane

By Train

A number of train, operated by Amtrak, travel to the state of South Carolina. These include:

By Car

Interstate 85 traverses the northwest corner of the state, near Anderson, and connects Greenville and Spartanburg with Charlotte, North Carolina.
Interstate 26 stretches southeast across the state, from Landrum to its terminus in Charleston. Interstate 26 intersects with Interstate 85 near Spartanburg, Interstate 20 near Columbia and Interstate 95 near Orangeburg. I-26 also connects with I-85 via I-385, which goes directly into downtown Greenville.
Interstate 77 begins in Fort Mill, at the North Carolina border from Charlotte, N.C. and continues south to its terminus at Interstate 26, just south of Columbia.
Interstate 95, the most major highway in the state, crosses the border near Dillon and continues south-west through Florence to Savannah.

By Bus

Check Greyhound for options to travel to/from South Carolina by bus.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

South Carolina has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.

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Eat

Most of the BBQ in South Carolina is similar to Eastern Carolina-style with mostly mustard-based sauces on pulled pork. South Carolina is the only state that boasts 4 distinct styles of sauces: mustard, vinegar, tomato and ketchup.

On the Southern coastline, lowcountry and Charleston-style cuisine prevail, influenced by French, continental, and creole cooking with lots of fresh seafood. Shrimp and grits is a local specialty in the Charleston region with a seemingly limitless number of recipes.

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Drink

Sweet tea is very popular and readily available, as is elsewhere in the South.

The drinking age for alcohol in South Carolina is 21. Almost all bars and off-premise vendors request government issued photo I.D. for younger looking patrons. In spring break destinations like Myrtle Beach police write scores of citations for underage drinking at clubs or on the beach.

Beer and wine are widely available in grocery and convenience stores around the state. Liquor must be sold in dedicated liquor stores. With the exception of coastal and metropolitan counties, off-premise sales of beer are banned on Sundays.

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Sleep

Hotel and Motel Chains

There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:

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References

  1. 1 Mid-2008 estimate, U.S. Census Bureau

Quick Facts

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Capital
Columbia
Population
4,479,800[1]

On Travellerspoint

Contributors

as well as Peter (8%), NuMexiKan (3%), ecommerce (1%)

South Carolina Travel Helpers

  • bbaumga1

    I've lived here in Myrtle Beach my whole life so I can point out all the local spots and give honest reviews. I've also worked in resorts on the beach for about 3 years, so I am very familiar with "touristy" attractions.

    Ask bbaumga1 a question about South Carolina

This is version 22. Last edited at 5:39 on Apr 18, 16 by Utrecht. 20 articles link to this page.

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