15 Best Places to Live in South Carolina

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
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Drenched in beauty, filled with attractions, a thriving economy, and almost perfect weather, South Carolina is one of the best places to live. South Carolina is home to almost five million residents and continues to grow. With tropical beaches and sea islands, South Carolina lies in the southeast of the United States and has a whole host of darling towns and villages to explore.

Hilton Head Island, infamous Myrtle Beach, and of course Charleston, home to Fort Sumter; the list of reasons to love little old SC goes on and on! This state once thrived on agriculture and natural resources, but in more modern times there is a significant steel and machinery production industry, meaning jobs are in no short supply.

Dating back to the Revolution, this state is filled with historic towns and architecture. Along with its modern living, dining options, and vacation hot-spot, South Carolina has become one of the best places to live in the United States.

Below, we’ve completed the research for you and have compiled a list of the 15 best places to live in South Carolina.

1. Five Forks

Five Forks, South CarolinaSource: www.thecrossingsatfiveforks.com
Five Forks

Five Forks has been named one of the best places to live in South Carolina. Over the years, this suburb has grown tremendously, with many housing developments hosting residents of all ages and lifestyles.

Five Forks is located near major highways, downtown Greenville, and Woodruff Road for shopping and dining. This type of convenience is one of the main deciding factors when choosing Five Forks to call home.

An upside for its new residents is that Five Forks has one of the lowest sales tax rates at six percent and is considered one of the safest neighborhoods for families. In the suburbs of Five Forks, you’ll find everything from pricey to affordable homes.

From its great amenities to excellent schools, it’s no wonder Five Forks has seen fast growth over the years!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the top things to do in or near Five Forks are:

  • Dance Edge Movie Theater
  • Greenville Tennis Club
  • Townes at Woodruff Park
  • Heritage Park
  • Discovery Island Waterpark
  • Pelham Mill Park
  • Maple Street Biscuit Company
  • Uncle Bertos Burritos

2. Tega Cay

Tega Cay, South CarolinaSource: lorilord.com
Tega Cay

Tega Cay is located on a beautiful peninsula, one of the best places to live in South Carolina. In this gorgeous town, you’ll find miles of waterfront beaches and walking trails that residents enjoy using to explore the outdoors.

This recreational community has many activities such as golfing, swimming, fishing, boating, and biking trails. Coming in second as the safest city in South Carolina in 2018, families have been flocking to move to this welcoming community.

Although the median household income is a punchy six figures, there remains a diversity within the residence regarding ethnicity and economic background. Much like in Five Forks, this helps keep the area feeling fresh and vibrant.

Located in this community and a hot spot for residents is the Glennon Community Center. This community center has indoor and outdoor seating, a bar, and a golf pro shop! If you’re a family with children, you’ll love that Tega Cay has sports programs for the kids. Provided are tennis courts, athletic fields, and waterfront parks.

If you love being outdoors daily, Tega Cay is one of the most beautiful places you can call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Tega Cay are:

  • Tega Cay Golf Club
  • Summer Concerts at Runde Park
  • Canaan Zipline Canopy Tour
  • Tega Cay Fall Festival
  • Mr. Putty’s Fun Park
  • Carowinds Amusement Park
  • BBQ & Grill
  • Windjammer Park

3. Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant, South CarolinaSource: elvisvaughn / shutterstock
Mount Pleasant

Located near Charleston, Mount Pleasant is a coastal destination and one of the best places to live in South Carolina. This taste of paradise is more than just a popular vacation spot. From delish cuisine to attractions for all ages, Mount Pleasant is the prime location to raise a family.

Whether you love being on the water or exploring on land, Mount Pleasant has much to do to keep you entertained. In addition, Mount Pleasant is also home to some of the best waterfront restaurants in the world.

While slower-paced than its neighbor, Mount Pleasant has a city size loaded with history, outdoor activities, and entertainment. It also has one of the best economies based on shipyards, tourism, and its popular seafood industry.

To sum it up, Mount Pleasant has a lot to offer from its easy access to Charleston, amenities, and sandy beaches.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Mount Please South Carolina are:

  • Golfing
  • Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
  • Waterfront District at Shem Creek
  • Boone Hall Plantation
  • Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Pavilion
  • Memorial Waterfront Park
  • Pitt Street Bridge
  • The Old Village
  • Mount Pleasant Pier
  • Palmetto Islands County Park
  • Mount Pleasant Farmers Market
  • Laurel Hill County Park
  • Charleston Fun Park
  • Splash Island at Palmetto Islands County Park

4. Seven Oaks

Seven_Oaks.jpgSource: Ken Lund / Wikimedia
Seven Oaks

Situated on Lake Wylie is the charming small town of Seven Oaks in York County, South Carolina. With around ten thousand residents living in Seven Oaks, you’ll find that this town is peaceful with plenty of recreational activities such as boating and fishing.

For those who prefer non-water activities, there are endless trails for walking and golf courses to practice your swing. In this small town, you’ll see nothing but scenic greenery and plantation homes. This small town with rustic charm still carries the conveniences you’d find in a mid-sized city.

A recent upturn in interest from millennials has, in turn, created a real family-oriented feel to the neighborhood and sees Seven Oaks being regarded as one of the best suburbs to raise a family in South Carolina. If you’re looking for a town where you can still experience those big-city luxuries but want to live the rural life, Seven Oaks is the perfect town to call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Seven Oaks South Carolina are:

  • Seven Oaks Park
  • Regal Cinemas 14
  • Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
  • Columbia Museum of Art
  • Lake Murray Public Park

5. Clemson

Clemson, South CarolinaSource: Rob Hainer / shutterstock

When we mention Clemson, you may already be familiar with Clemson University. In the picturesque town of Clemson, you’ll find that many things here revolve around their championship football team.

Clemson has many upscale and regular dining spots to chow down on fine cuisine, burgers, and pizza. Some of the most popular restaurants in this football town are:

  • Esso Club
  • Pot Belly Deli
  • Calhoun Corners
  • Palmetto Smokehouse and Oyster Bar
  • Skin’s
  • Pixie and Bill’s
  • Mac’s Drive-In

Along with the noticeable Clemson Tiger gear, Clemson has an array of locally-owned shops. For a town that’s all about football, it sure knows how to keep its residents pleased no matter what’s on the schedule!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Clemson are:

  • Memorial Stadium
  • Bob Campbell Geology Museum
  • Stump House Axe Throwing
  • Sunnyside Café
  • Clemson University Campus
  • Lake Hartwell State Park
  • The Cliffs

6. Fort Mill

Fort Mill, South CarolinaSource: fortmillsc.gov
Fort Mill

Lying just east of Tega Cay is the next suburb of Charlotte to feature on our list, Fort Mill. This is a fantastically affordable area to live in and being so close to the city center means that jobs are readily available.

Fort Mill is one of the best places to live in South Carolina and one of the fastest-growing communities with an attractive downtown area filled with dining and shopping districts. While you’ll find more old-fashioned traditions in this community, it offers its residents plenty of amenities and attractions.

This small and friendly community is known for its peace orchards, nature preserves, and massive greenway in its downtown area. Fort Mill is also one of the safest areas to raise a family in 2023. This community has everything you need from well-maintained nature parks to excellent school systems, restaurants, and golf courses!

Although Fort Mill doesn’t have public transportation, you’ll only need to drive three miles to the closest bus stop. If you’re looking for a town near Charlotte, you’ll love this suburban community with its beautiful trees and serene landscapes.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Fort Mill are:

  • Anne Springs Close Greenway
  • South Carolina Strawberry Festival
  • Olive’s Mud Puddle Coffee Shop
  • Viking’s Axe Sports Bar
  • Fort Mill History Museum
  • Big Rock Nature Preserve
  • Spare Time Pineville Bowling Alley

7. Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan’s Island, South CarolinaSource: Spencer Means / Flickr
Sullivan’s Island

Home to just a little over two thousand residents, Sullivan’s Island has a small-town charm with a relaxing lifestyle. Sullivan’s Island is known for its gorgeous beaches, delicious restaurants, and friendly community.

Settled in the late seventeenth century, Sullivan’s Island has a military background and was the site of the Revolutionary War. The island is only a twenty-minute drive from downtown Charleston when taking Ben Sawyer Bridge.

Many of the restaurants on Sullivan’s Island are family-owned, so it’s easy to keep a good relationship with the locals in this town. The island also has a strict preservation plan, making this great for locals so it doesn’t get overrun with tourists.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do near or on Sullivan’s Island are:

  • Sullivan’s Island Beach
  • Dunleavy’s Pub
  • Home Team BBQ
  • Pier 22
  • Sandpiper Gallery

8. Hilton Head

Hilton Head

Known for its breathtaking beaches and green golf courses, Hilton Head is a popular vacation spot and one of the best places to live in South Carolina. But did you know there’s so much more to Hilton Head than its beaches?

At twelve miles long, Hilton Head has endless amounts of bicycle trails. Whether you own your bike or need to rent one, bicycling is one of the best ways to explore Hilton Head. Even though this beach destination sees over two million visitors yearly, it’s home to fewer than forty-thousand residents year-round.

With more than thirty golf courses, Hilton Head is called The Golf Island among its residents. You also won’t need to travel far to dine and shop. At Hilton Head, you can find almost any dish you want, whether fresh seafood or hot wings.

Entertainment & Activities

You don’t need to be a tourist at Hilton Head to have fun here. Hilton Head has many attractions and activities to keep you busy outdoors.

  • Sea Pines Forest Preserve
  • Harbour Town Lighthouse
  • Sandbox Interactive Children’s Museum
  • Hilton Head Distillery
  • Coastal Discovery Museum
  • Shelter Cove Towne Center
  • Folly Field Beach Park

9. Lexington

Lexington, South CarolinaSource: Vrc84 / Wikimedia

Situated south of South Carolina’s capital, you’ll find the small charming town of Lexington, one of the best places to live in South Carolina.

While strolling through the community’s Main Street, you can make a pit stop at Lexington Square Park where the Lexington Clock is located. The clock in Lexington has always been a symbol of the character this charming town possesses.

Lexington is also one of the best small towns with an excellent local dining spot option. From fine dining at Bodhi Thai to a cup of hot coffee at Haven Coffee, you’ll never have to leave for delicious flavors. For families, they also have a unique aviation-themed diner called the Flight Deck Restaurant.

The true reason residents love this unique town is its outdoor recreational activities. From walking the trails at Virginia Hylton Park to swimming at Lake Murray, you’ll want to spend every day outdoors in Lexington.

With the friendliness of its residents, dining and shopping options, and its long list of outdoor exploration opportunities, Lexington is the perfect place to call home!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Lexington are:

  • Icehouse Amphitheater
  • Lexington County Museum
  • Hudson’s Smokehouse
  • Old Mill Brewpub
  • Mercury House Estate Winery
  • Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve
  • Gibson Pond Park
  • Koosa Golf

10. Isle of Palms

Isle of Palms

One of the best places to live in South Carolina and a beautiful vacation spot is the Isle of Palms. This residential community has welcoming residents, a beach environment, and family-friendly activities everyone can enjoy.

You can be as active or relaxed as you’d like when you live the island life. The Isle of Palms business district has delicious restaurants and a grocery store, so you won’t need to leave the island for any necessities.

Many residents of Isle of Palms love to explore the Intracoastal waterways by kayaking and paddle boarding. If you’re worried about getting exercise in this small town, this town is filled with plenty of outdoor recreation.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Isle of Palms are:

  • Isle of Palms County Park
  • Shem Creek Park
  • Coconut Joe’s Beach Grill
  • Beach House Spa
  • Wild Dunes Resort Golf
  • Kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Sailing

11. Reidville


The small town of Reidville is situated at the bottom of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With a population of just over five thousand people, this charming town has a friendly atmosphere and hometown feel, making it the perfect place to call home.

In Reidville, the weather is exceptionally mild all year, making it the perfect location for outdoor recreation. Many residents here love to use the nearby trails for hiking and the parks for fishing along the river.

You won’t need to go far for necessities. Reidville has convenient shopping and restaurants, providing everything you need within reach. Reidville is a great place to live if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of big-city life.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Reidville are:

  • Tyger River Park
  • Berrys Pond
  • The Ultimate Driving Museum
  • Discovery Place Science
  • Bush-N-Vine Farm
  • Cribbs Kitchen

12. Northlake


One of the best places to live in South Carolina is a small town filled with a vibrant atmosphere, friendly residents, and many activities to entertain its residents. In this town, you’ll find that there are many places to shop, eat, and explore the outdoors.

Residents love their community here and like to organize outdoor events every year. Known for its breathtaking views and stunning lakes, this is an ideal spot for outdoor recreation. For families who are looking for an enjoyable environment and safe community, Northlake is a great place to call home.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Northlake are:

  • Red Tomato and Wine Restaurant
  • Boulevard Lanes
  • AmStar Anderson Movie Theater
  • Skateland USA
  • Anderson County Museum
  • Denver Downs Farmstead
  • John’s Cabin Bar & Grill

13. Irmo

Irmo, South CarolinaSource: www.rentcolumbia.com

Irmo is your ideal southern town located in South Carolina. In this gorgeous community of Lexington, Irmo has experienced rapid population growth over the last fifty years. Irmo has some of the greatest schools and safest neighborhoods in this calm community.

Local businesses in Irmo are thriving, so if you’re moving here to start a small business, you’ll be in great shape! Irmo is a family community that provides many conveniences that can be found in the big city while experiencing suburban living.

Today, Irmo has over three thousand residents and has some of the greatest school districts in South Carolina. With great education, affordable housing, and the conveniences of city life, Irmo is the perfect place to raise a family.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Irmo are:

  • Irmo Community Park
  • Irmo Town Park
  • Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
  • Anchor Lanes
  • Frankie’s Fun Park

14. Pendleton


Situated on the tip of Lake Hartwell is the small town of Pendleton and one of the best historic places to live in South Carolina. In this small historic town, you’ll find over fifty buildings that date back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

In this town, you’ll find an art gallery with showcases from local artists, a shop for woodworking, and some unique bluegrass music. This small town hasn’t changed much since it’s been founded and has one of the largest historic districts in the United States.

While South Carolina is famous for its tasty BBQ, Pendleton is a hidden gem where you’ll find delicious brisket, ribs, and pork. You’ll be shocked to know that this small town only has a little over three thousand residents and surprisingly offers many dining options.

  • The Smokin’ Pig
  • 1826 on the Green
  • Blue Heron Restaurant & Sushi Bar
  • The Village Bakery & Cafe
  • Dyar’s Diner
  • Swamp Bar Distilling

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in or near Pendleton are:

  • Woodburn Plantation
  • Clemson Little Theatre
  • Bart Garrison Agricultural Museum of South Carolina
  • Boscobel Golf & Country Club
  • Hog Tails Bar & Grill

15. Taylors


Rounding off our list is Taylors, a town in Greenville County with plenty of things to do. Nearby is Mountain State Park which has breathtaking views and is ideal for outdoor recreation.

In addition, many stores in this town are locally owned, provide great restaurants for delicious cuisine, and are budget-friendly. As a mid-sized city, Taylors is perfect for those who love the in-between of big city life and the suburbs.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Taylor are:

  • The Logos Theatre
  • Model Trains Station
  • Roller Sports
  • Olde Faithful’s Antique Mall
  • Big Papa’s Pour House
  • Taylors Park
  • Northside Park
  • Lincoln Park

15 Best Places to Live in South Carolina:

  • Five Forks
  • Tega Cay
  • Mount Pleasant
  • Seven Oaks
  • Clemson
  • Fort Mill
  • Sullivan’s Island
  • Hilton Head
  • Lexington
  • Isle of Palms
  • Reidville
  • Northlake
  • Irmo
  • Pendleton
  • Taylors