History

A lot has gone down in South Carolina over the last four centuries, and many of the best stories and lessons are accessible in the state's numerous historical museums and sights.

Charleston South Carolina's oldest city is a treasure trove of historical sights and beauty.

Beaufort Understand the Reconstruction era with the help of some new monuments in this very well-preserved town.

Fort Sumter National Monument Time-travel to an era when slow-moving enemy ships had to be stopped by cannons and forts.

Penn Center Gullah heritage is alive and well on St Helena Island and this is its de facto headquarters.

McLeod Plantation The story of the South unfolds when touring this incredibly important historical sight.

Drayton Hall A plantation home older than the US, preserved as found rather than restored.

Aiken-Rhett House An urban plantation with an excellent audioguide and a new exhibit of artifacts excavated from the laundry room.

Old Slave Mart Museum Required background for understanding how Charleston rose to prominence in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Outdoors

South Carolina is an outdoor enthusiast's kinda state, with forests, mountains, swamps and long stretches of pristine coastline.

Congaree National Park Canoe in an inky-black swamp past old-growth bottomland forest.

Swamp Rabbit Trail An excellent 22-mile bike trail stretching from Greenville to Travelers Rest.

Sandbar The perfect paddleboarding destination, often paired with revelry and booze.

Table Rock State Park Ideal place to hike through the forest, with a 3124ft-high mountain and its striking granite face.

Caesars Head State Park Plenty of great hikes and accessible, sweeping views of regional mountains and foothills.

Shem Creek Kayak or canoe through a lively shrimping village.

Hunting Island State Park The state's most beautiful beach is littered with seashells and shark teeth.

Culture

Across South Carolina, cultural centers, exhibits and events flaunt the long-standing traditions of the state's fine people.

Lowcountry Oyster Festival Some 80,000lb of oysters are devoured at this remarkable display of Lowcountry culture.

South Carolina Artisans Center The best place to check out the works of the state's finest folk artists and craftspeople.

Hagood Mill Historic Site and Folklore Center A stream-side historic mill with a petroglyph display and occasional bluegrass music.

Charleston City Market Hyper local market in the middle of the city, with products ranging from sweetgrass baskets to biscuits.

Gullah-N-Geechie Mahn Tours Tours around St Helena Island, the epicenter of Gullah culture.

Museum of the Cherokee A small museum in the northwestern corner of the state honoring the region's Cherokee heritage.

MOJA Arts Festival Charleson's two-week celebration of African American and Caribbean culture.

Food

The amalgam of European, African and Caribbean culinary influences mean the eatin's good here in South Carolina.

Charleston It's no secret that Charleston is among the nation's best food cities.

Charleston County Sea Islands Seafood galore, with local oyster-shucking beach shacks and top-end fish houses.

Greenville A dining hub, with more than 120 locally owned restaurants and dozens of relatively recent openings.

Restaurant Week Hundreds of restaurants all over South Carolina feature special menu items and promotions in January.

Food & Wine Festival Charleston's elaborate food festival, with dinners, wine tastings, food workshops and culinary excursions.

Hilton Head Island Lots of fresh Lowcountry seafood, and a healthy distaste for chain restaurants.

Islands

The Lowcountry is composed of more islands than you can shake a palm frond at, and half the time you're on one you won't even realize it.

Edisto Island Great island for a family vacay, with some stunning, secluded beaches.

Folly Beach A chilled-out beach community just 15 minutes from Charleston, with a pretty, wind-swept county park and a lighthouse.

Daufuskie Island A seldom-visited, car-free island that can only be reached by boat. Still, there's a winery and a rum distillery.

Hilton Head Island A golf hub with good restaurants and some pleasant outdoor adventures.

Sullivan's Island Great sunset-viewing island, with good bars and restaurants and a soft, wide beach covered in gorgeous flora.

Bulls Island Populated by quite a few alligators and storks, this island is strictly au naturel.