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Whether you are in town for two days or two weeks, you’ll find a wide variety of South Carolina attractions to enjoy in your free time. Live your dream of horseback riding on the beach. Rent a horse at Inlet Point or Myrtle Beach and explore the shoreline of the Grand Stand with the wind blowing in your hair. Looking for a unique way to beat the heat? Molten Mountain Miniature Golf in North Myrtle Beach is an air-conditioned indoor mini-golf course featuring 18 holes beneath a 50-ft. manmade volcano. Enjoy Southern hospitality at local festivals like the Walhalla Oktoberfest, Gaffney’s Irish Fest or the Heritage Jubilee Festival in Edgefield. See hundreds of hot air balloons at Balloons Over Anderson, or treat yourself to live entertainment at the Lone Star Bluegrass and Country Music Jamboree in Santee.
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden in Columbia offers fun for all ages. Situated along the Saluda River, the zoo features exhibits that spread over 170 acres. View more than 2,000 animals in themed areas like Kangaroo Walkabout and African Plains. Save time to visit the adjacent Riverbanks Botanical Garden. With 70 acres of spectacular gardens, the attraction boasts more than 4,000 species of plants from all over the world.
Hollywild Animal Park in Wellford presents a Holiday Lights Safari from mid-November through December. The event features close to 3 million Christmas lights spread over 100 acres. Visit Santa’s Village, Enchanted Deer Forest and enjoy views of animals in their habitats.
Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary spans 600 acres. Located just three minutes from I-95, the center is open from sunrise to sunset and offers free admission. Enjoy four miles of hiking and biking trails, playgrounds and scenic picnic areas. See educational exhibits at the Discovery Center and view wildlife from boardwalks and canoe trails along Ireland Creek and the Ashepoo River.
The South Carolina Coast is home to several wildlife refuges. Visit the Pritchards Island Center for Coastal Ecology near Beaufort. Accessible only by boat, the center offers tours of the maritime forest and a chance to see loggerhead sea turtles.
Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge features over 14 miles of hiking and biking trails and provides the opportunity to view more than 250 bird species. See yellow-crowned night herons, warblers, the painted bunting and a variety of raptors and wading birds. As you tour the island you may spot white tailed deer, bobcats, foxes, or American alligators.
Sewee Visitor and Environmental Center near Charleston offers fun interactive experiences for children and a chance for the whole family to view red wolves in a habitat designed to preserve the endangered species.
Founded in 1931 by Archer and Anna Huntington, Brookgreen Gardens is a must-see on the South Carolina Coast. Situated at Murrells Inlet, the historic landmark combines art, nature, and history. Stroll among gardens covering over 9,000 acres, view incredible sculptures and tour the Lowcountry Zoo. Explore the myriad exhibits on your own or sign up for a guided tour.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in North Charleston features a wildlife observation tower, petting zoo, plant conservatory and a boat tour of the Audubon Swamp Garden.
History and architecture buffs have much to explore in the Palmetto State. Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1859 and situated near Columbia, the plantation was owned by James Henry Hammond, a prominent senator, governor, and cotton farmer. The home is furnished with original decor and artifacts from the 19th century.
The South Carolina State House in Columbia houses the state capitol. Built in the Greek Revival Style in 1855, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. See a 15-minute video that provides an overview of the architectural components and history of the building. Guided tours provide additional background on significant features.
Rose Hill Plantation Historic Site in Union is easily accessible from Greenville. Built in 1832, the plantation was the home of Governor William H. Gist. Sprawling over 44 scenic acres, the site features a nature trail, picnic shelter, and exhibits on the Civil War era.
Rivers Bridge State Historic Site in Ehrhardt marks the Battle of Rivers Bridge, one of the last stands the Confederacy made against Union forces during the Civil War. Take a self-guided walking tour of the grounds and view interpretive panels, or sign up for a ranger-guided tour to learn more background on the battle. The park is pet-friendly and offers picnic facilities.
Fort Moultrie National Monument features historic exhibits and a variety of military displays from the Revolutionary War to World War II. Used by the Army for coastal defense for 171 years, the fort played a crucial role in U.S. history. Located just minutes from Mount Pleasant at Sullivans Island, the national park is managed by the National Park Service. The site includes the original log fort built by William Moultrie along with equipment and structures from World War II.
Tuskegee Airmen Monument honors the first African-American military pilots in the United States. Situated at Lowcountry Regional Airport in Walterboro, the monument celebrates the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II with a collection of historic photos and exhibits.
With its gorgeous beaches, stunning forests, and wealth of historic sites, it’s no surprise that South Carolina is a popular location for movies and television shows. Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens in Mount Pleasant was used as a setting for the film The Notebook and the epic mini-series The North and the South. An antebellum home in Beaufort starred in the movie The Big Chill, and the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro had a prime role in Forrest Gump. The Military College of South Carolina has been used in countless movies and TV shows over the years including Columbo, Jag, House of Cards, and Army Wives.
No matter what time of year you visit, you’ll discover that every region of South Carolina provides a beautiful backdrop for vacation memories.
Set on the Murrells Inlet, Brookgreen Gardens is both a zoological park and sculpture garden located on Pawleys Island.
Found just south of Myrtle Beach on the South Carolina Coast, the gardens cover over 9,000 acres.
Established in 1932, Brookgreen Gardens is a U.S. National Historic Landmark District listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The site features nearly 1,500 stunning sculptures, the Lowcountry Zoo and center, boat tours, and much more.
Set at the Lowcountry Regional Airport – formerly the Walterboro Army Airfield – the Tuskegee Airmen Monument is located in Walterboro, found just west of Charleston on the South Carolina coast.
The monument commemorates the legendary Tuskegee Airmen of World War II – the nation’s first African-American military pilots. Fans of the famed aviators may head to what was formerly the Walterboro Airport for photos and reflections of this impressive historic marker.
Located on South Carolina’s gorgeous coast, the Fort Moultrie National Monument offers visitors a wealth of scenery and history wrapped into one great attraction.
Just outside of Mount Pleasant, this National Park was originally constructed in 1776 as active military base, but has since been transformed into a tourists’ delight.
Visitors frequently enjoy visiting the Fort Moultrie Visitor Center as well, featuring a number of historic exhibits and informative, military displays.
Walk the grounds and travel back through time, visiting structures that have seen events ranging from the Revolutionary War to WWII.
Did you know South Carolina is a popular filming spot for all sorts of movies, soap operas, reality TV, and television series? Here are a few you may – or may not have – noticed:
Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens
A U.S. Historic district in Mt. Pleasant, the antebellum Boone Hall served as a background for television shows like "Days of our Lives" and "North and South."
Movies filmed at this historic home found on the National Register of Historic Places include "Queen," "Bin Yah," and – wait for it, ladies – "The Notebook."
The Big Chill House
Fans of the 1980s dramedy “The Big Chill” – or maybe just fans of a young Jeff Goldblum – can head to Beaufort on the South Carolina Coast for a look at the iconic antebellum home where the movie was filmed.
It’s a private residence, but you can still drive by along Highway 21 before hitting Broomfield Creek.
Known locally as Pelicans Ballpark, TicketReturn.com Field was the filming site for the good chunk of the "Eastbound & Down" third season.
Here the ever-abrasive Kenny Powers – played by Danny McBride – was pitcher for the minor league Myrtle Beach Mermen.
The Military College of South Carolina also provides a great film setting for some war movies, political dramas, reality TV, and more – all in Charleston.
The Citadel created the backdrop for movies like "Dear John" and "For the Boys," and television shows like "Columbo," "House of Cards," and "Army Wives" – not to mention the "American Baby" music video for Dave Matthews Band.
MCRD Parris Island
Set on Parris Island, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Port Royal was depicted in Jack Webb’s "The D.I." and Stanley Kubrick’s "Full Metal Jacket" – plus an episode of "JAG" which may go without saying.
Colleton County Courthouse
The charming city of Walterboro in central South Carolina and its now Collection Center had a large role as a film set for the movie "Radio" and "Forrest Gump."
Opened in 1997, the House of Blues is located in northern Myrtle Beach in – you guessed it – North Myrtle Beach. A premier music venue, House of Blues Myrtle Beach is set in the scenic White Pointe Swash of the South Carolina Coast.
A true southern attraction, House of Blues Myrtle Beach was constructed to resemble a genuine tobacco farm. Check out the Crazy Quilt or box of Mississippi Delta mud during the performance.