Destination Guides

South Carolina

General   Weather   Airports   Attractions   Activities  


Lake Marion, South Carolina ©Iempleh

The small state of South Carolina is dominated by agriculture, with rolling hills and fertile farmland making up the interior and grand antebellum plantations along the picturesque coast. The flat plains and the undulating pastoral landscapes of the interior are charming but hold little of interest for most visitors; the South Carolina coast is the true jewel of the state and boasts most of the attractions.

Miles of white sandy seashore stretch from the Grand Strand in the north to the mouth of the Savannah River in the south. The glitzy heart of the coast is the popular tourist resort of Myrtle Beach, which is famous for its family entertainment, amusement park attractions and recreational activities, especially golf. A string of resorts are dotted along the coast to historic Georgetown, sitting between the carnival atmosphere of Myrtle Beach and the old port grandeur of Charleston, one of the most elegant cities in the country. South of Charleston the coastline breaks up into small marshy islands that preserve traces of the Gullah culture. These Sea Islands are home to descendants of the West African slaves brought to labour on South Carolina's plantations, who were given land when they were freed in 1865, and who speak a dialect known as Gullah that is unique to the African Americans of the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia.

South Carolina, nicknamed the 'palmetto state', has a rich history that is best documented in the beautiful historic district of Charleston, and the restored plantation estates. Civil War enthusiasts and those interested in the history of slavery in the US will find a wealth of diversions in South Carolina, and those less earnestly engaged can simply soak up the lovely landscapes and distinct Southern culture.

Climate Info

South Carolina's climate is subtropical, with plenty of humidity in its long, hot summers. Temperatures tend to be higher on the coast, with colder conditions in the mountains, though on average the winters are short and mild. With predominately low altitudes in the state, and the protection of the Appalachian Mountains screening South Carolina from cold air from the interior, average temperatures tend to range from 58°F (14°C) in the northwest to 68°F (20°C) on the coast, though summer temperatures usually climb to 90°F (32°C) and up, particularly in the central part of the state. Rainfall occurs mostly in the spring and summer, with more precipitation occurring in summer along the coast, and in spring further inland.

Getting Around

Charleston is fairly compact and it is easy to explore many attractions on foot or on a rented bicycle. To visit plantations and other attractions outside the city, however, hiring a car is the best option. In the city a comprehensive and efficient bus service covers most areas, operated by CARTA (Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority). Regular bus fare costs from $1.75 and a day pass costs $6. The most useful public transport for visitors is the trolley system (DASH), which offers free transport in the historic downtown area every day of the week. It is possible to reach many of the city's top attractions on the trolley system. Taxis are available but must be called for.

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT)

LocationThe airport is situated seven miles (11km) west of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Time DifferenceGMT -5 (GMT -4 from March to November).

Tel: +1 704 359 4013 or 704 359 4910.

Getting to city

The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) runs a bus service between the city and the airport, picking up passengers in front of Zone D Baggage Claim. All other ground transportation operates from the lower level of the terminal. Courtesy vehicles are available for most local hotels and motels. Taxis are also available.

Car Rental

Car rental companies include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz and Thrifty. All rental car counters are located on the lower Baggage Claim Level of the passenger terminal.

Airport Facilities

Facilities at the airport include restaurants, bars, shops, duty-free, postal services, left luggage, and tourist information. Banks, ATMs and currency change is also available. There is a business centre where conference facilities and wireless Internet is available. A Welcome Centre is located in the baggage claim area and provides visitor information. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should advise their airline in advance.

Car Parking

Parking at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport can take a while at peak times. Hourly parking is $1 per hour up to $16 per day. Daily and Remote parking is cheaper at $1 per hour or $6 per day, but further from the terminal. All parking lots are connected to the terminal by a free shuttle. Valet parking is also an option.

Depature TaxNone.

Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR)

LocationThe airport is situated three miles (5km) southwest of downtown Myrtle Beach.
Time DifferenceGMT -5 (GMT -4 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).

Tel: +1 843 448 1589.

Getting to city

Coast RTA provides public bus service to and from the airport every day. Adult bus fare is $1.50. There are hotel shuttles that run to and from the airport, as well as taxis and rental cars available.

Car Rental

Car rental companies located at the airport include Avis, Alamo, Thrifty, Budget, Hertz, National and Enterprise.

Airpor Taxis

There are a number of taxi companies operating from outside the baggage claim section of the airport. Passengers are urged to take the first taxi waiting in line.

Airport Facilities

Airport facilities include a variety of restaurants and snack bars, a newsagent, information booths and ATMs.

Car Parking

Short-term parking is free for 15 minutes and $3 for the first 30 minutes with each additional 15 minutes costing $1, up to a daily maximum of $21. Long-term parking is $12 per day. Credit Card parking costs $9 a day.


Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE)

LocationThe airport is situated five miles (8km) southwest of Columbia.
Time DifferenceGMT -5 (GMT -4 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
Getting to city

Taxis and rental cars are available and many hotels provide airport shuttles. Limousines can also be arranged.

Car Rental

Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz and Thrifty are represented at the airport.

Airpor Taxis

A large number of taxi companies service the airport and a taxi can usually be found without pre-booking. Taxis can be found just outside the terminal.

Airport Facilities

Airport facilities include a business centre, a food court, gift shops, a bookstore, and ATMs.

Car Parking

Covered parking in the multi-level garage is free for 20 minutes, $3 for up to 40 minutes, then $1 for each subsequent 20 minutes up to a daily maximum of $12. Surface parking is $1 per 20 minutes up to a maximum of $8 per day. Valet parking is available for $14 per day.


Charleston International Airport (CHS)

LocationThe airport is situated 12 miles (20km) northwest of downtown Charleston.
Time DifferenceGMT -5 (GMT -4 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
Getting to city

CARTA offers services to and from the airport on the NASH Express between about 8am and 9pm on weekdays and Saturdays, and 12pm and 6pm on Sundays. Bus tickets cost $3.50 per person per trip. Once in town, passengers can access the free DASH shuttle service that travels to numerous destinations. There is a shuttle bus that makes multiple stops and is shared among multiple passengers. Adult shuttle fare to downtown Charleston is $14, departing every 15 minutes. Taxis and rental cars are also available.

Car Rental

Avis, Budget, Hertz, National and Enterprise are represented at the airport.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis operate at the airport. The taxi fare to downtown Charleston is roughly $30.

Airport Facilities

Airport facilities include pay phones, ATMs, bookstores, restaurants and gift shops.

Car Parking

In the Surface Lot parking costs $1 per half hour, up to a daily maximum of $10. In the Parking Deck, hourly rates are the same, but the daily maximum is $15.


Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport (GSP)

LocationThe airport is situated about 12 miles (20km) from Greenville.
Time DifferenceGMT -5 (GMT -4 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
Getting to city

Atchison Transportation Services is the only official ground transportation provider authorised by the airport. The company offers door-to-door transport to and from anywhere in the Carolinas. Rental cars are also available.

Car Rental

Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Hertz are represented at the airport.

Airpor Taxis

Atchison Transportation Services is the authorised airport taxi service.

Airport Facilities

Airport facilities include an ATM, conference rooms, business workstations, a restaurant, snack bars, and a gift shop.

Car Parking

All airport parking costs $1 for every 30 minutes. A full day costs $14 in the garages, $9 in the daily lots, $7 in the Sky Lots, and $5 in the Economy Lot.


Fort Sumter

Situated on a small man-made island in the bay, guarding the entrance to Charleston Harbour, Fort Sumter National Monument is one of the most important historic military sites in the country. It was built using 70,000 tons of granite and rock, simply dumped into the water to form a man-m
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Fort Sumter ©Methaz


Along the Ashley River are a series of magnificent plantations that can be visited, and some gems can also be found north along the highway towards Georgetown, where the grounds of Boone Hall Plantation are the main attraction. A majestic oak avenue leads to the estate that has been the
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Mansfield Plantation ©Thomas Namey, Namey Design Studios

South Carolina Aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston's most visited attraction, features thousands of amazing aquatic animals from river otters and sharks to loggerhead turtles in over 60 exhibits, which represent the rich biodiversity of South Carolina from the mountains to the sea. The aquarium als
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South Carolina Aquarium ©Harry Alverson

Charleston Museum

America's first museum, the Charleston Museum, was founded in 1773 while the United States was still a British colony, inspired by the opening of the British Museum in 1759. Encompassing three historic buildings, the museum aims to preserve the unique culture and natural history of Charl
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Joseph Manigault House ©Matt Howry

Angel Oak

Angel Oak (or Scarlet's Tree) is thought to be the oldest existing entity, either living or man-made, east of the Rocky Mountains. This extraordinary live oak is over 1,400 years old and, while not very tall, it does boast a vast canopy, in excess of 17,000 square feet (1,600 sq m). Ange
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Angel Oak, Johns Island ©Lil Rose

Caw Caw Interpretive Center and Charleston County Park

Set in the Caw Caw Swamp, the Caw Caw Interpretive Center is home to vast natural, cultural and historical displays. Dating back to the 18th century, this formerly slave-worked rice paddy exhibits earthen dikes, rice trunks and canals. Many species of plants and animals can be seen in th
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Caw Caw Swamp ©Charles Rhyne

The Hunley

The Hunley was the world's first successful submarine, built on President Abraham Lincoln's orders during the Civil War. The submarine first arrived in Charleston by train in 1863, and proceeded to sink the warship Housatoni in 1894. However, the Hunley itself also sank and its location
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Hunley Submarine Replica ©lns1122

Provost Dungeon and Old Exchange Building

The British used Provost Dungeon to hold prisoners during the American Revolution, and in 1774 the Old Exchange Building hosted the delegate elections for the First Continental Congress. Before this momentous occasion, the Exchange Building was built in 1772 in order to assist with the h
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The Old Exchange ©Howard Arnoff

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