While this area is most well known for its role in the Civil War — Charleston ’s as the instigator of the conflict, and Savannah ’s as the terminus of Sherman’s notorious “March to the Sea” — this is a drastic oversimplification. Although South Carolina was the “cradle of secession,” it also lost more men in the fight for American independence than any other colony, including Massachusetts. Here are some military history highlights from other eras:
In Charleston, go to The Citadel  and enjoy the colorful weekly parade of cadets, the fabled “Thin Grey Line,” at 3 p.m. most Fridays. In Mount Pleasant eat lunch in the mess hall of the USS Yorktown at the Patriots Point Naval Museum . Visit historic Middleton Place , home of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and where some scenes from Mel Gibson’s The Patriot were filmed.
On Parris Island tour the Marine Recruit Depot Parris Island and see one of the oldest European archaeological sites in the United States, Charlesfort.
In Savannah, head to Battlefield Park  and see the replicated British redoubt marking the failed Siege of Savannah. Visit Old Fort Jackson , an 1812-era installation on the Savannah River. Tour the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum , which honors the contributions of the Eighth Air Force, founded in Savannah in 1942.
In Darien, Georgia, is Fort King George, the first English outpost in Georgia. Nearby is Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, formerly a World War II airfield.
On St. Simons Island is Ft. Frederica, a tabby fort built by General James Oglethorpe, and the nearby Battle of Bloody Marsh site, where Oglethorpe ended the Spanish threat to Georgia.
While the big U.S. Navy Trident sub base at Kings Bay, Georgia, is not open to the public, check out the St. Marys Submarine Museum in St. Marys, which pays tribute to the “Silent Service.”