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Introducing South Carolina

Cross the border of South Carolina and plunge back in time. For a traveler heading down the eastern seaboard, venturing into South Carolina marks the beginning of the Deep South, where the air is hotter, the accents are thicker and traditions are clung to with even more fervor.

Starting at the silvery sands of the Atlantic Coast, the state climbs westward from the Coastal Plain and up through the Sand Hills, the Piedmont, the Foothills and on into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Most travelers stick to the coast, with its glorious marshlands, white-columned colonial plantations and palm tree–studded beaches. But instate has a wealth of sleepy old towns, wild and undeveloped state parks and spooky blackwater swamps just waiting to be explored by canoe.

Along the sea islands you hear the sweet songs of the Gullah, a culture and language created by former slaves who held onto many West African traditions through the ravages of time.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic weekend in genteel, gardenia-scented Charles-ton or a week of riotous fun at bright, tacky Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is a lovely, ­affordable destination.