Discover South Carolina
- Grand Strand Weekend
- South Carolina for Kids
- South Carolina Bar-B-Que
- A Midlands Weekend
- Civil War Adventures
- South Carolina Waterways
- Three Days in Horse Country
- South Carolina for Seafoodies
- South Carolina Kitsch
- Gullah and African American History
- Upstate Weekend
- South Carolina’s Top Ten for Golfers
- South Carolina’s Offbeat Festivals
- Southern Comforts
- Lowcountry Romance
Even by Southern standards, South Carolina is bathed in a certain mystique. I grew up right across the Savannah River in Georgia, and throughout my childhood the Palmetto State seemed to me an otherworldly locale, like something out of an old novel.
Who could resist the intrigue of the home of the Swamp Fox, a place where the first shots of the Civil War were fired and rivers are named Ashepoo and Pee Dee? The Spanish moss hangs low, people catch their own seafood for dinner, and the creeks are like highways in the marsh.
As I got older, I discovered an important truth about South Carolina: Few states provide such a wealth of experience in such a small package. You can traverse its entire width in half a day, going from a beautiful white sand beach to a stunning mountain overlook. Along the way you’ll experience a sampler of Southern culture encompassing the genteel remnants of the Lowcountry plantations, echoes of the old shag scene on the Grand Strand, and the very edge of Appalachia in the fast-growing Upstate region.
The common thread linking these disparate strands together is the people. Once here you’ll immediately tune in to a particularly South Carolinian vibe that’s easygoing yet flamboyant, laid-back yet cocksure. This unique twist on proverbial Southern hospitality — a sort of assertive niceness — is a product of the extraordinary resilience of South Carolinians, who have proudly maintained their identity despite centuries of war, strife, and natural disaster.
While history buffs flock to the region for its seemingly endless supply of colonial and Civil War sites, easily its most underrated attribute is the beauty of its environment and the scope of its outdoor recreation. Here you’ll find the oldest cypress stands in the world, a wealth of mountain waterfalls, and some of the best fishing, kayaking, and whitewater rafting in America.
As for its essence, South Carolina has long been something of a paradox. Notorious as the cradle of secession during the Civil War, the state is today home to some of America’s most patriotic citizens. Often caricatured as hopelessly retro, South Carolina’s larger cities have quietly become magnets for high-tech jobs and foreign investment.
While the rest of the world tries to figure out what makes them tick, South Carolinians do what they’ve always done: make their way in the world, often too stubbornly, practicing their take on Southern hospitality and having as much fun as they can along the way.
© Jim Morekis from Moon South Carolina, 4th Edition