17 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in South Carolina

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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South Carolina, The Palmetto State, offers some of the most beautiful and spectacular sights and places to visit! Just browse through these awesome pictures and be amazed by it’s beauty.

1. Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island, South CarolinaSource: PETER LAKOMY / shutterstock
Hilton Head Island,South Carolina

Hilton Head Island is one of South Carolina’s most beautiful locations, boasting rich historical importance and a wide range of cultural attractions. The island, named after the man who discovered it, Captain William Hilton, has 12 miles of beaches and has developed into a popular holiday destination.

The Hilton Head Choral Society, the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina and many community festivals are among the top-class cultural options on offer on the island today. More than 1,500 domestic and international wines are tasted at the island’s WineFest event, while Hilton Head is a golfer’s paradise with 24 great courses to choose from.

2. Cypress Gardens

Cypress Gardens, South CarolinaSource: Denton Rumsey / shutterstock
Cypress Gardens

A massive blackwater bald cypress/tupelo swamp is the centerpiece of Cypress Gardens, a huge preserve and gardens located at Moncks Corner in South Carolina. Foot paths lead visitors throughout the gardens, while there are also flat-bottom boats available to take trips in the swamp.

Attractions at the gardens also include Butterfly House and an Aviary, as well as a Swamparium with local venomous snakes, native and exotic fish and siren salamanders.

3. Morris Island

Morris Island, South CarolinaSource: Cvandyke / shutterstock
Morris Island

Morris Island is another of South Carolina’s important historical sites. While the island is uninhabited, it acted as a vital strategic defense point in the Civil War. Morris Island Lighthouse is one of the few landmarks on Morris Island, standing at the south side of Charleston Harbor.

Over the years land erosion has reduced the size of the island, so time may well be running out to appreciate its rugged unspoiled beauty. The Thriller Charleston high speed boat trip is an exciting journey that travels close to Morris Island.

4. Lee Falls

Lee Falls, South CarolinaSource: TheBigMK / shutterstock
Lee Falls, South Carolina

The stunning Lee Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in the South, standing at 75-feet. The waterfall can be found close to Walhalla in Oconee County, but hikers will have to navigate a natural trail, with the walk likely to take between one and two hours to complete.

The trek is usually accessible between March and October depending on the weather and the trip is well worth it as Lee Falls is definitely one of the most beautiful locations in South Carolina.

5. Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls, South CarolinaSource: SHoener / shutterstock
Rainbow Falls

Even bigger than Lee Falls is Rainbow Falls, an incredible 140-foot drop into Cox Camp Creek. The trail to the falls is around 4.3 miles long and it is difficult, so only experienced hikers should take it on.

The waterfall is technically Camp Greenville property and those wanting to experience it must register at the camp offices before setting off on their trip. Part of the trail involves crossing a creek via a large fallen tree, so this is not for the faint-hearted.

6. Columbia, South Carolina from Finlay Park

Columbia, South Carolina from FInlay ParkSource: Sean Pavone / shutterstock
Columbia, South Carolina From FInlay Park

Columbia, South Carolina from Finlay Park

7. Congaree National Park

Congaree National ParkSource: Jimmy Gray Photo / shutterstock
Congaree National Park

A designated Wilderness Area, Congaree National Park is one of South Carolina’s most unspoiled and natural sights. Camping is available, but many will head to the Harry Hampton Visitor Center to learn about the rich history of the park.

The Boardwalk Loop is a highlight of the park, taking visitors through Congaree National Park’s swampy environment. Thrillseekers could also enjoy a canoe trip down Cedar Creek during their time inside the park’s grounds.

8. Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head IslandSource: Ruth Peterkin / shutterstock
Hilton Head Island

9. Swan Lake

Swan Lake, SumterSource: makasana photo / shutterstock
Swan Lake, Sumter

All eight species of swan – Whistlers, Bewick’s and Trumpeters, Royal White Mutes, Black Necks, Australians and Coscorobas – call Swan Lake home. This is the only public place in the United States where all eight species can be seen in their natural habitat. The stunning sunsets at Swan Lake are known throughout South Carolina and beyond.

Swan Lake Iris Gardens also boasts Japanese iris, which are typically in bloom from the middle of May until the start of June. The Iris Festival, which is the oldest festival in South Carolina, is held at Swan Lake.

10. Johns Island

Angel Oak Tree on John's Island, South CarolinaSource: digidreamgrafix / shutterstock
Angel Oak Tree On John’s Island, South Carolina

Johns Island is the biggest island in the state, with the incredible Angel Oak Tree one of the most beautiful natural sights in the whole of South Carolina. Some estimates say the tree is 1,500 years old. The island, which has a population of 14,000 people, is a popular spot for dolphin watching, while many horse-related activities take place at Mullet Hall Equestrian Center.

To mark the historical importance of Johns Island, the annual Battle of Charleston reenactment is held. Hundreds of species of birds – including bald eagles, egrets and wild turkeys – live on the island, which is also home to deer, alligators, bobcats and even coyotes.

11. The Battery

The Battery, Charleston, South CarolinaSource: Sean Pavone / shutterstock
The Battery, Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is South Carolina’s oldest city and The Battery is one of its oldest landmarks. The landmark defensive seawall and promenade is so named as it was a coastal defense artillery battery during the Civil War. Today, The Battery provides fantastic views across the coast of South Carolina, from Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse to Fort Sumter and Castle Pinckney.

The Battery is also lined with beautiful antique homes, while nearby White Point Garden is one of Charleston’s most gorgeous places to visit, boasting the 100-year-old Williams Music Pavilion.

12. Isle of Palms

Isle of Palms, South CarolinaSource: Mikayla E / shutterstock
Isle Of Palms

Just 12 miles away from central Charleston is the unparalleled beauty of the Isle of Palms. The barrier island is separated from the mainland of South Carolina by the Intracoastal Waterway.

Isle of Palms is home to a thriving community but visitors will perhaps be most interested by the stunning sunsets that can be enjoyed in this lovely corner of the state. Beach volleyball, golf and tennis are all popular in this sports-minded community too.

13. Caesars Head State Park

Caesars Head State ParkSource: Nikola Spasic Photography / shutterstock
Caesars Head State Park

Caesars Head State Park is so named due to the eponymous awesome rock formation that dominates the park, but the two-mile Raven Cliff Falls trail is arguably the star attraction. The 420-foot Raven Cliff Falls can be viewed from two publicly accessible overlooks on a suspension bridge, providing superb views.

Trailside camping and hiking are both popular in the park, while aside from the giant Raven Cliff Falls there are five further waterfalls to be enjoyed at this site.

14. Old Sheldon Church

Old Sheldon Church near Beaufort, South CarolinaSource: realadampowell / shutterstock
Old Sheldon Church Near Beaufort, South Carolina

The ruins of Old Sheldon Church are a must-visit for anyone traveling through South Carolina, the stark beauty of the ruined church building providing a sharp contrast to the stunning scenery. Prince William’s Parish Church was one of the first Greek-Revival structures in the United States when it was built, but the pre-Revolutionary church has now lain in ruins for dozens of years.

15. Columbia State House

Columbia State House, South CarolinaSource: Jon Bilous / shutterstock
Columbia State House

Dating back over 150 years old, the Columbia State House is one of the most beautiful buildings in the whole of South Carolina. The Greek Revival style building hosts a number of important monuments, including the African-American History Monument and the Confederate Monument, as well as monuments to important American figures such as President George Washington. Due to the significance of the Columbia State House, it has been made a National Historic Landmark.

16. UFO Welcome Center

UFO Welcome Center, BowmanSource: Jim in SC / shutterstock
UFO Welcome Center, Bowman

Possibly the most unusual tourist destination in South Carolina is the UFO Welcome Center in Bowman. The centerpiece of the attraction is a 42-foot-wide flying saucer made out of a mix of materials including plastic, fiberglass and wood. Visitors can even enter the UFO via a powered ramp, with the center without a doubt one of the most unique days out available in the state.

17. Huntington Marsh

Huntington Marsh, South CarolinaSource: Vizual Studio / shutterstock
Huntington Marsh

Found at Murrells Inlet, Huntington Marsh is one of South Carolina’s most beautiful natural landscapes. Tourists flock to visit the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk, a short boardwalk boasting a number of superb restaurants.

Murrells Inlet is famously known as the Seafood Capital of South Carolina, with the area also home to a series of stunning golf courses too. Atalaya, Richmond Hill and Murrells Inlet Historic District are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

17 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in South Carolina:

  • Hilton Head Island
  • Cypress Gardens
  • Morris Island
  • Lee Falls
  • Rainbow Falls
  • Columbia, South Carolina from Finlay Park
  • Congaree National Park
  • Hilton Head Island
  • Swan Lake
  • Johns Island
  • The Battery
  • Isle of Palms
  • Caesars Head State Park
  • Old Sheldon Church
  • Columbia State House
  • UFO Welcome Center
  • Huntington Marsh