We move back to the southeast today on our trip through the United States. To recap, we started in Alaska, went to Florida, and across the Deep South. We turned north after Louisiana and went all the way to the Canadian border in Michigan. Today we go to South Carolina on our way up the eastern seaboard through the Mid-Atlantic states.
It is only appropriate we are in South Carolina to begin this leg. It is the classic border state, owing allegiance to the North for its personality and initiative and the South for its language and cultural history.
South Carolina, one of the 13 original colonies became the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, doing so on May 23, 1788. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union on December 20, 1860.
South Carolina is bordered by only two States. North Carolina is to the north and northwest. Georgia is to the south and southwest. The Atlantic Ocean borders The Palmetto State to the east. The highest point in the State is atop 3,554-foot Sassafras Mountain in the far northwest corner of the State. The lowest point is along the Atlantic shores. The geographic center of the State is near Hopkins in Richland County.
South Carolina is the 10th smallest state in the Union and ranks 24th in population. That places it solidly in the urban side of the urban/rural divide.
Like in our trip through the Deep South we find ourselves back in a place with a humid sub-tropical climate. While not nearly the hurricane magnet found further down the East Coast, South Carolina experienced significant damage from Hurricanes Hazel and Hugo.
Columbia is both the largest city in the state and the capital city of South Carolina. It joins Charleston as the only two cities in the State with a population greater than 100,000.
Airports in South Carolina:
Myrtle Beach International serves 900,000 passengers a year. Charlotte is the most common destination.
Greenville–Spartanburg International enplanes nearly a million passengers annually. Atlanta is the most frequent destination.
Charleston International serves 1.7 million flyers a year. Many of them are bound for Atlanta.
Top Movies Filmed in South Carolina:
The Notebook (2004)
The Patriot (2000)
Dear John (2010)
Famous South Carolinians:
President Andrew Jackson
Military/Politics: John Calhoun, William Westmoreland, Jesse Jackson, Sen. Strom Thurmond, John Laurens, and Robert McNair.
Actors: Coco Jones, Sterling Knight, Kelsey Chow, Aziz Ansari, Madison Iseman, Thomas Gibson, Allison Munn, Viola Davis, Monique Coleman, Chadwick Boseman, Kyla Kenedy, Anna Camp, Jessica Stroup, Jaimie Alexander, and Coy Stewart,
Entertainers: Bill Anderson, Chris Rock, James Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, Eartha Kitt, Young Jeezy, Lee Brice, Darius Rucker, Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates, Josh Turner, and Vanna White.
Authors: Kiera Cass
Athletes: Joe Frazier, A.J. Green, Big Show, Kevin Garnett, Josh Norman, and Althea Gibson
Weird and Wonderful Facts About South Carolina:
Near Gowensville stands the last remaining covered bridge in South Carolina. Called “Campbell’s Bridge” it was built in 1909.
The first battle of the Civil War took place at Fort Sumter, off the South Carolina coast.
South Carolina is one of the few States with an official amphibian. The salamander takes the honor.
During the War of 1812 British cannonballs bounced off the soft, spongy palmetto logs of the fort on Sullivan Island without exploding.
South Carolina (not Georgia) is the nation’s leading peach producer.
Before being known as the Palmetto State, South Carolina was known as (and had on their license plates), the Iodine State.
Duncan Park Baseball Stadium in Spartanburg is the oldest minor league stadium in the nation. The Greenville Drive play there as the Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
Legend has it that anyone who drinks water from Catfish Creek becomes infatuated with the Marion area and wishes to remain there.
Let’s Take a Trip Through South Carolina:
I don’t think I’ve asked you this before. Does your idea of a good trip mean one to the mountains or to the beach? Great, because South Carolina has both! We are going to cover 479 miles on our trip. It will take us across the state from west to east, and down the Grand Strand. Trust us. You will know what that is when we’re done. We are starting in Caesar’s Head State Park in western S.C, up near the North Carolina border. A spectacular view that extends into North Carolina and Georgia awaits us. One of the most popular trails at Caesar’s Head is the two-mile Raven Cliff Falls trail. This hiking trail leads to 420-foot Raven Cliff Falls. That’s where a suspension bridge (for the hardy and brave) offers one of the two publicly accessible overlooks to the falls. Watch and hear them as they plunge deep into the mountain cove below.
The waterfalls plunge. Not the hardy and brave.
Where to spend the night? We really like the Saluda Mountain Lodge but technically, it is in North Carolina. So we will play by the rules. We’ll stay in Traveler’s Rest at the Hampton for $99.
The next morning we’ll pass through Columbia on our way to the breezes of the Atlantic Shore. Myrtle Beach is our destination. We’re headed for the Boardwalk at Myrtle Beach. On the Boardwalk, just under a mile and a half in length, we find everything from tourist crowds to quiet and peaceful ocean vistas.
We start at Plyler Park and walk to 8th Ave, North. This section has beachfront stores and shops. It really invokes a nostalgic/carnival atmosphere with its sights, sounds, and energy.
We’ll continue from 8th to 2nd Ave. This section offers relaxing views of the beach and less than strenuous recreational opportunities. We’ll stay two nights at the Sea Crest Oceanfront Resort for $90 a night.
On the second morning, we will have breakfast at Johnny D’s Waffles and Bakery. Trust us on the subject of Coconut-Banana French Waffles.
Then we head to Family Kingdom Amusement Park. This family-friendly spot will delight young and old. It has been described as a 12-month county fair, and we can’t disagree. Unlike most amusement parks, there is no admission charge. It is pay-per-ride and pay-per-attraction. The rides and attractions are inexpensive enough that we keep a relative handle on our vacation budget.
It was a good two days in Myrtle Beach. Time to drive the Grand Strand.
The Grand Strand refers to a large stretch of beaches extending roughly 60 miles from Little River to Georgetown. It is an essentially uninterrupted arc of a beach. There are as many amusement stops and tourist attractions along here as you care to experience. Truthfully, one could spend a week’s vacation and never get off the Strand.
While that would be an awfully fun vacation, it doesn’t fit our profile of traveling through the State. If you ever have two weeks to travel, you could do worse. We are off to Hilton Head.
The first thing we are going to do on Hilton Head Island is a work of those waffles. It is a good thing we found Hilton Head Island Bike Trails. The trail system circles the 22-mile island with additional trails that take in most of the plantations, parks, and shopping plazas. The bike paths are all paved, separate from the streets and highways, and wide enough to ride 2-3 abreast. The trails are flat, and the beauty is palpable. We’re going to stay two nights at The Beach House from $73.
Did you bring your sticks? A golfer should always bring the tools of the sport to Hilton Head. All of South Carolina is golf country, but nowhere are courses more plentiful or renowned as at Hilton Head.
We like to swing it at Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines. They treat us like a pro and the course is always in great condition.
The last night of our trip will be spent at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. It is truly an incredible place! Plays, often (but not always musicals), are produced, designed and directed at this theater! Think of it as Broadway style shows on a smaller scale, almost like our own personal/private experience. Community theater writ small but with lofty ambition.
We hope you have enjoyed our trip through South Carolina. North Carolina is next. A very different State with a very different vibe. We can’t wait!