Quite simply, South Carolina has it all, y’all—and the state has delivered to visiting RVers with a friendly southern drawl. From the Upcountry mountains through the vibrant Midlands and to the Lowcountry coast, the Palmetto State beckons with a wave that signals everyone’s welcome—come on down!
South Carolina offers enough variety to keep visitors busy for weeks. That should be just long enough to start speaking with at least a little bit of a southern accent.
This is a state of variety, with beautiful beaches, remote islands, charming cities and towns, watery wilderness, great golf, interesting history, rolling hills and mountains, and much more.
South Carolina has something for everyone, including visiting RVers who want a range of campgrounds and other RV facilities and services (including RV-friendly parking at shopping venues, restaurants, and attractions). From one of the nation’s best state park systems to a long legacy of hosting happy RVers, South Carolinians welcome campers with open arms and southern hospitality.
Myrtle Beach is one of America’s premier beach destinations. The wide ribbon of surf-smoothed “Grand Strand” sand runs for 60 miles from Little River to the historic town and tidelands of Georgetown. The area has become a complete vacation paradise.
Natural beauty, a climate with distinct but mild seasons, and a variety of activities almost as limitless as the seashells have all made the Grand Strand the choice for vacation and retirement for generations of Carolinians, along with a swelling tide of tourists. Myrtle Beach has become a popular year-round vacation destination, with temperatures averaging in the 80s in the summer, (cooled to comfort by a sea breeze) and in the 50s in winter, warmed by the sun. Along with the beach (including two oceanfront state parks), seemingly endless golf, entertainment, shopping, and dining options abound.
In the center of South Carolina’s Lowcountry region sits the city of Charleston, one of the South’s prettiest cities. This historic colonial port city boasts 70+ pre-Revolutionary buildings, more than 135 from the late 18th century, and at least 600 more built prior to the 1840s. Visitors can wander along cobblestone streets, smell the sea breezes, explore antique shops and boutiques, buy one of the famed sweetgrass baskets, and treat themselves to fresh seafood.
South of Charleston, some of the finest resort islands in America await. The most famous is Hilton Head Island, with more than 12 miles of broad beaches, world-famous golf, an oft-photographed lighthouse, and many other vacation activities. Hilton Head, other resort islands,
and the historic towns of Bluffton and moss-draped Beaufort provide perfect bases for exploring South Carolina’s Lowcountry.
In the center of the state, the possibilities abound in Columbia, the cultural and political capital of South Carolina. Just as its fathers planned it two centuries ago, Columbia is at the center of everything, serving as the seat of government, a hub of the arts, the home of many fascinating museums, and the gateway to the wealth of South Carolina’s many riches. City highlights include the South Carolina State Museum, the Governor’s Mansion, the State House, the State Farmers’ Market, and the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden.
The central part of the state also features other opportunities, including: Pee Dee Country (including stock car racing at Darlington Raceway); Santee Cooper Country (with the wild Santee River and the quiet Cooper River); Thoroughbred Country (horse-and-rider heaven); and Lake Murray Country, with its namesake 50,000-acre lake.
The northwest section of the state features the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as much more history and outdoors activities. The Cherokees called this range the Great Blue Hills of God and it’s easy to see why.
To the south, the Old 96 District takes its name from a British fort that was 96 miles south of the Lower Cherokee Capital of Keowee. Today, the Old 96 is an area of living history, with friendly historic towns like Abbeville, retirement communities, and open country that has become a sportsman’s paradise. The fascinating Ninety Six National Historic Site, an important Colonial-era frontier outpost, is another Old 96 must-see (with lots of RV parking).
Finally, Upcountry means Greenville. Along with stunning mountain scenery, downtown Greenville has developed into a stand-alone draw, thanks to big city dining, shopping, and an array of activities and events. RVers will enjoy driving the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Highway, including juicy stops like Perdue Fruit Market. Other Upcountry highlights include several state parks, whitewater river fun on the Chattooga, and much Cherokee Nation history.
For more information, visit DiscoverSouthCarolina.com. South Carolina’s excellent state park system (including lots of great camping options for visiting RVers) celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2008; go to SouthCarolinaParks.com.
Though RVers have it good when it comes to eating a “home-cooked” meal on the road, there’s still something special about spotting a mom-and-pop restaurant where everyone is treated like a visiting member of the family—including a home-cooked meal!
South Carolina abounds with southern-style mom-and-pop eateries where the welcome is as generous as the portions. “Nearly every town from the mountains to the sea here in South Carolina has their corner ‘meat-and-three,’ along with popular stops for barbecue and seafood and other regional favorites,” says Marion Edmonds, director of communications for the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism. He recommends visitors check out SavorSouthCarolina.com, a website devoted to the special foods found in the state’s restaurants and more. Here are a few favorites across South Carolina (there are dozens more “just around the bend”):
SeeWee Restaurant, 4808 Highway 17 North, Awendaw: Located northeast of Charleston, SeeWee is quintessentially Lowcountry, with baskets of hush puppies, classic southern-style entrees, and a variety of sides (like fried green tomatoes) on the
Cayce Café, 901 Holland Avenue, Cayce: Just a short drive from the State House in Columbia, Cayce Café features friendly home-style breakfasts and lunches with the locals—with the daily menu posted on a bulletin board by the cash register.
Miller’s Bread Basket, 483 Main Street, Blackville: Ray Miller starts baking bread at 5 a.m. and his wife, Susie, starts preparing the day’s cafeteria-style menu soon thereafter. They call their fare and hospitality “Pennsylvania Dutch with a Southern Touch.”
Kickers Restaurant, 413 Edgefield Street, Greenwood: Located in the heart of the Old 96 District, Abdel and Andrea Dimiati serve up home-style cuisine from around the world—with southern hospitality.
Grits and Groceries, Saylors Crossroad (2440 Highway 185), Belton: Owners Joe and Heidi Trull say all of their food is made from scratch, with love, like grandmother. Their Saturday brunch is worth the drive.
Skins, locations in Anderson, Seneca, Clemson, Easley, Mauldin, Greenville: Founded in Anderson by Floyd “Skin” Thrasher in 1946, the Skins menu has only one main dish—their famous hot dogs. They can be topped with hot sauce, mustard, ketchup, mayo, onions, and chili, with chips, slaw, and pickle on the side—and chocolate pound cake for dessert.
Jewel’s, 32 Public Square, Darlington: Jewel’s is a classic “meat-and-three” gem. Other Darlington-area eateries worth the drive include Raceway Grill (adjacent to the “Track Too Tough to Tame”), Joe’s Grill (burgers and fries), and Johnny’s Truckstop (with one of the state’s best Sunday buffets).
Midway Barbecue & Market, 811 Main St., Buffalo: Located in the Olde English District, Midway features some of the state’s best ‘cue, but it’s also known for classic mac-and-cheese.