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South Carolina has a rich and eclectic history. After becoming the eighth state to join the union in 1788, South Carolina saw its share of historical proceedings.
From playing a major role in the American Civil War, to a popular location for plantations, South Carolina has a deep past – and the coastal cities are no different.
Make plans to cruise the SC coast on your next visit to the Palmetto State. Cities like Charleston, and Myrtle Beach are sterling examples of southern hospitality, each with their own charm and unique attraction.
Explore the local history with a visit to Drayton Hall, just north of downtown Charleston. This plantation, built in 1738 on more than 600 acres, offers guided tours and is a gem of local history.
Visit the Fort Sumter National Monument in the Charleston Harbor. Playing a major role in the American Civil War, Fort Sumter National Monument allows for self-guided tours – go at your own pace!
In downtown Charleston prepare to tour Historic Charleston. Well-preserved historic buildings and landmarks line the streets of downtown Charleston, including the Aiken-Rhett House constructed in 1818.
In Georgetown you’ll discover the Kaminski House Museum, an enchanting experience. Set north of Mount Pleasant, and south of Conway, and North Myrtle Beach, the Kaminski House Museum is a masterpiece of Georgian style architecture and offers daily, guided tours.
One of the more unique ways to experience Charleston is the Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site. Open year round (minus Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) the Charles Towne Landing is found just outside of downtown Charleston along the Ashley River.
Preserving the site of the very first and permanent English settlement in South Carolina, Charles Towne Landing is a popular and fun attraction along the SC coast.
Measuring in at 664 acres, Charles Towne Landing was created in 1970. At the Charles Towne Landing you'll find a zoo, hiking/walking trails, and the Experimental Crop Garden.
Constructed in 1735, the Hampton Plantation State Historic Site was selected to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and has been enlightening tourists ever since.
Visit the South Carolina coast and be sure to explore the 275 acres of land and the 12 room mansion – both chock full of South Carolinian history.
Conveniently located along the coast, near North Charleston and Myrtle Beach, the Hampton Plantation is more than a historic mansion. It also serves as an outdoor recreational area for vacationers.
In the surrounding area, visitors enjoy fishing in nearby Wambaw Creek, hiking the two mile loop trail that traverses the property, and bird watching – the red-cockaded woodpecker and swallow-tail kite. Both are endangered and call the park home.
A U.S. Historic district, the Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens is located in Mount Pleasant – a suburb of Charleston on the South Carolina coast.
Constructed in 1850, the antebellum structure is also listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Covering 16 acres, Boone Hall is reached by the mile-long Avenue of Oaks. Also an African American Historic Places in South Carolina, the site also features Boone Hall Farms.
Constructed in 1822, the Colleton County Courthouse is yet another historic site found in Walterboro on the South Carolina coast.
Found on the National Register of Historic Places, the site features the familiar look of designer Robert Mills.
The was the site of Robert Barnwell Rhett calling for South Carolina’s secession in 1828 – igniting what was 35 years later to become the Civil War.
Be sure to see the Colleton County Monument – dedicated to southern soldiers and women of South Carolina.
History buffs in the coastal region of South Carolina have a treasure waiting for them in Charleston. Drayton Hall, built between 1738 and 1742, is a beautiful Georgia-Palladian plantation house, located across the Ashley River in North Charleston.
This National Historic Landmark survived the Civil War, as well as the Revolutionary War, becoming the only plantation home along the Ashley River to do so. This exquisite home sits on 630 acres of land, that was once a rice plantation.
This beautiful historical plantation stayed in the Drayton family for seven generations, beginning with John Drayton. He built the home adjacent to his birthplace, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, one of the oldest remaining plantations in America's southern region. Seven generations of the Bowens Family also lived and worked at the Drayton Hall.
By 1974, Charles and Frank Drayton sold the home to the National Trust. Enjoy a guided tour this incredible plantation home, as well as walk along the River Walk and the Marsh Walk to see the remains of the 18-century rice fields.
Attracting more than three million visitors a year, Historic Charleston is a premier destination in South Carolina. Learn about the city's namesake, King Charles II – "The Merry Monarch," and the town's rich history during a tour.
The preserved historic buildings nestled along the coast provide a look into the eventful past of this Holy City. The church steeples dotting the Charleston skyline add to the character of this city.
The Aiken-Rhett House built in 1818, showcases the urban life of antebellum Charleston. Tour this townhouse to see original fine art purchased by William Aiken, Jr., who became governor of South Carolina in 1844.
The house remained in the Aiken family until the 1970s. Create your own memories during your time in this exciting city.
A U.S. National Historic Landmark, the City Market located in downtown Charleston is a major historic sites and attraction along the South Carolina coast. Centered around the iconic Market Hall – a Greek Revival-style structure built in 1841.
Found on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the Historic Charleston City Market features over 100 vendors along with the Daughters of the Confederacy Museum.
Be sure to pick up the famed sweet grass baskets along with crafts, art, snacks, and jewelry.
Located along South Carolina’s Atlantic coast, the Hopsewee Plantation is a National Historic Landmark just outside of Myrtle Beach in Georgetown.
The house was built nearly 40 years before the Revolutionary War, and houses plenty of South Carolina history.
Although the house is still a private residence, visitors frequently enjoy viewing the historic home’s surrounding scenery, featuring hanging moss-trees along the Golden River.
View original décor, take tours of the home, and be sure to visit during one of the plantation’s many elegant events.
A U.S. Historic district, Magnolia Plantation & Gardens is located in Charleston on the South Carolina coast.
Constructed in 1850 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the grounds cover a total area of 390 acres.
The Magnolia Plantation & Gardens features a historic home museum, a nature train, and a boat tour of the marsh.
Bring the kids to the Magnolia Zoo & Nature Center, and be sure to grab lunch at the Peacock Café.
Spanning over 8,000 acres, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island is set in Port Royal on the South Carolina Coast near Beaufort. Dubbed MCRD Parris Island, or even MCRD PI, the site offers initial training for female recruits, and male recruits east of the Mississippi River.
Constructed in 1861, MCRD Parris Island is also home to the two-acre Parris Island Drydock and Commanding Generals House – found on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The post was also the filming site for the film Full Metal Jacket. Enjoy MCRD Parris Island.
Set on St. Helena Island, the Penn Center is a National Historic Land District set on the South Carolina Coast's Sea Islands. Established in in 1862, the Penn School was one of the first learning institutions for freed slaves in the country.
Covering 50 acres, the Penn Center campus features the Penn Center Conference Center, the Frissell Community House, and the Darrah Hall. Visitors are encouraged to explore the York W. Bailey Museum – Beaufort County’s first African-American focused museum – for exhibits like “Education for Freedom.”
Constructed in 1810, the Milton Maxcy House – or “Secession House” – is located in Beaufort on the South Carolina Coast. This historic structure was the site of many meetings, hosted by Edmund Rhett, held to discuss southern secession from the United States decades before the Civil War.
You'll for sure want to see the basement inscription – “In this house the first meeting of Secession was held in South Carolina.” Don't forget to pose for a picture with the Maxcy Rhett House Marker. There are many ways to experience history in South Carolina – the Secession House is one of the best.
Located along South Carolina’s Atlantic coast, the Stewart-Park House gives visitors an up-close and personal view into South Carolina’s historic past. The house is located in Georgetown, which is just south of Myrtle Beach.
The house was built around 1740, and features accurate reproductions of the original furnishings. The first floor of the home is available for weddings, meetings, and events. Today, the home is owned and operated by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America.
Set on Broomfield Creek, the Big Chill House is located along Highway 21 in Beaufort on the South Carolina Coast. An iconic antebellum home, the structure was the film set for the 1983 movie of the same name.
Former stomping grounds of Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, Jeff Goldblum, and the rest of the Big cast, Big Chill House is privately owned, but makes for a great photo. The house, also the film site of The Great Santini, was utilized during the U.S. Civil War as a hospital.
Constructed in 1915, the Walterboro Water Tower is a 133-foot icon found along the South Carolina coast in the historic city of Walterboro. Found downtown, the tower is located at the intersection of North Memorial Avenue and East Washington Street.
One of three remaining standpipe towers in South Carolina, the Walterboro Water Tower provides over 100,000 gallons of water to Walterboro. Found on the National Register of Historic Places, the tower almost acts as a pin for the Walterboro Historic District – and makes for great photos.