Southeast

Places to Visit in South Carolina: 8 Great Options for Weekend Getaways in South Carolina

South Carolina offers an array of appealing quick-trip options, ranging from a lakeside mountain retreat to an elegant hotel surrounded by small-town charm.

From the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains to the romantic stretches of Spanish moss-covered live oak trees, there are a number of outstanding places to visit in South Carolina.

Plan your next weekend getaway here, where options range from tranquil seaside towns to elegant golf resorts. Bring the kids to the capital city of Columbia, which features a wide range of fun, family-friendly attractions, or escape with your one and only to Aiken, filled with nostalgic small-town charm.

Travelers looking for a little excitement can’t miss the lively mountain town of Greenville, while Dataw Island on the southern coast provides a perfect backdrop for a tranquil, relaxing stay. Pack your bags and pick your pleasure, as these eight options offer something for everyone.

Visit Aiken: A Romantic South Carolina Getaway for Two

The charming town of Aiken dates back to 1835, when it was first formed as a planned destination spot for wealthy northeastern ‘snowbirds’ to spend their winters. Filled with coffee shops and boutiques, be sure to make a stop at Malia’s, one of the best restaurants in town. Spacious yet intimate, expect new American fare like braised beef short ribs or vegetable crepes.

Take a romantic stroll or horseback ride in the Hitchcock Woods, the largest privately-owned urban forest in the country. With more than 70 miles of sandy trails spanning 2000 acres of suburban forest, the Woods have been a haven for both pedestrians and equestrians since the early 1800s.

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Listed on the national register of historic places, The Willcox features elegant rooms and suites filled with period antiques, four-poster beds and deep soaking tubs. The original hotel was lost in a fire in 1898, and the current structure — built in its place — dates back to 1900. Along with a spa, pool and restaurant, The Willcox provides complimentary use of bicycles for exploring Aiken’s tree-lined streets, filled with Southern charm.

The Willcox

Top rated
Aiken
9.2 Excellent (138 reviews)

Visit Charleston — Old-World Charm on This Side of the Pond in South Carolina

With its busy seaport, cobblestone streets and pre-Civil-War-era architecture, Charleston is sometimes referred to as “Little London.” History buffs and anglophiles alike will enjoy the near-endless options for dining, shopping and strolling.

Head to King Street, with two miles of boutiques, shops, and award-winning eateries, as well as some of the best antiquing to be found anywhere. For those interested in soaking up history more than purchasing some of it, take a carriage ride down Rainbow Row – a cluster of 13 iconic pastel-colored houses dating from the 1700s.

Rest and refuel at Oak Steakhouse, a restored former bank building now serving locally sourced beef and sustainable seafood. Along with jumbo lump crab cakes and steak tartare, be sure to sample their signature Oak burger, made with a blend of New York strip, filet and brisket.

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Guests of the luxurious French Quarter Inn, a centrally located boutique hotel, are greeted with a glass of champagne. Overlooking the historic City Market and St. Philip’s steeple, the Inn’s rooms are known for being both elegant and welcoming. Along with a complimentary continental breakfast buffet each morning, the Inn provides wine, champagne, coffee and snacks throughout the day.

French Quarter Inn

Top rated
Charleston
9.7 Excellent (1721 reviews)

Visit​ Hilton Head Island -- Ideal for a Sporty Getaway in South Carolina

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Just five miles wide, Hilton Head Island boasts fertile salt marshes, forests of moss-draped oaks along with magnolias and palmettos, and 12 miles of sandy coastline. All of this is interspersed with championship golf courses, multiple tennis courts and miles of trails. Anyone hoping to spend a weekend in the great outdoors will be well accommodated here.

Spend time golfing at one of fifteen of the area’s highly regarded golf courses, including Rees Jones-designed Oyster Reef Golf Club. Known for its signature par-3 sixth hole, flanked by the Port Royal Sound, the 18-hole, par-72 course is playable by golfers of all levels.

Afterwards, head to Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks. Set in a factory built in 1912 and still partially used to process fish, this local staple has served up their legendary crab cakes, she crab soup and local shrimp dishes for over 50 years.

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Overlooking popular Coligny Beach Park, Marriott’s elegant Grande Ocean Hotel features spacious, two-bedroom villas with fully equipped kitchens and furnished balconies. Along with heated indoor and outdoor pools and a fitness center, the resort offers a plethora of other active options, including lighted tennis courts and a putting green.

Marriott's Grande Ocean

Top rated
Hilton Head Island
9.2 Excellent (297 reviews)

Visit Murrell's Inlet: A Quiet Retreat in South Carolina for Nature Lovers

Just ten miles south of the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach, quaint Murrell’s Inlet was once a thriving fishing village. Devoid of neon and concrete high-rise hotels, the town is filled with welcoming restaurants, shops and art galleries, and the surrounding area is a nature lover’s paradise.

Legend has it that Murrell’s Inlet was once the lair of the infamous pirate Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard. Some claim he even died on Goat Island – sometimes referred to as Drunken Jack’s Island – south of town. Overlooking the salt marsh, the ½-mile wooden boardwalk known as the MarshWalk offers views of the island, home to goats and peacocks placed there every spring by Drunken Jack’s Restaurant and Lounge, a popular spot for seafood with a view.

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Overlooking the Waccamaw Trail, this cozy, colorful two-bedroom home is bursting with beachy details. Enjoy breakfast on the outdoor patio before heading out for a stroll on the adjacent Waccamaw Neck bikeway, an 18-mile, multiple-purpose paved trail. The home’s central location is also walking distance to shops and restaurants, as well as kayaking, paddle boarding and fishing spots.

Shugs Shack Beach And Inlet Vacation Getaway

Murrells Inlet

Visit Columbia: Weekend Fun in South Carolina With Your Littles

Named for Christopher Columbus, South Carolina’s “famously hot” capital city is best-known as the home of the University of South Carolina. While Gamecock-based opportunities abound here, there is plenty to do with younger kids as well.

Check out Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, home to more than 2,000 animals representing more than 350 species. Along with a botanical garden and zip lines, the zoo boasts one of only five permanent koala exhibits in the nation. Also be sure to visit the South Carolina State Museum – the state’s largest, with four floors of exhibits featuring natural history, art, culture, science and technology, including many displays geared to young visitors.

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Pet-friendly Staybridge Suites is centrally located in downtown Columbia and offers studios, as well as one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites with living rooms and kitchens. Along with an indoor pool and 24/7 gym, there’s free Wi-Fi, parking and breakfast.

Stroll to the nearby Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park for views of the Congaree River before grabbing lunch – or picnic supplies – at Motor Supply Company Bistro, offering an ever-changing array of fresh salads, soups, sandwiches and hot entrees.

Staybridge Suites Columbia

Top rated
Columbia
9.3 Excellent (2243 reviews)

Visit ​Dataw Island: Unplug and Reconnect in South Carolina

Once an expansive 18th-century cotton plantation, Dataw Island is now home to a large gated community just six miles from historic Beaufort. Along with sweeping water views, the 870-acre island offers a host of activities perfect for some family bonding.

Hit some balls at the full-service tennis court or on one of two 18-hole golf courses designed by Tom Fazio and Arthur Hills. There are also indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a fitness center and a deep water marina with access to the Atlantic Ocean via the Intracoastal Waterway.

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A 15-minute drive across the river from Beaufort, this three-bedroom, two-bath home on Dataw Island sleeps up to 11 guests and is set on a tidal waterway leading out to Jenkins Creek. Along with access to the neighborhood amenities, there are beach umbrellas, chairs and three surfboards available for use. The house’s dock also comes equipped with a three-person kayak, plus shrimp nets and crab pots to catch one’s own dinner.

Dataw Island Villa On Ocean Waterway With Dock, Kayak, Bikes, Wifi, 4 Tvs, Grill

Beaufort
9.0 Excellent (48 reviews)

Visit Greenville - Play All Day in this Vibrant Mountain Town in South Carolina

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With its abundance of bikes, craft beer and delicious food, the artsy town of Greenville is a welcoming destination for all sorts of weekend travelers. Be sure to visit picturesque Falls Park on the Reedy, filled with 32 acres of gardens, plus a dramatic curved suspension bridge with waterfall views. The jewel of Greenville, Falls Park was founded in 1967 when a local garden club reclaimed the land, which had previously been used by textile mills.

After getting your fill of the natural splendor, head to Smoke on the Water, a vibrant, unpretentious taproom and gastropub serving barbecue and other Southern fare. Favorites include the pulled pork platter and crab cake po’ boy, served with classic Southern sides like fried okra and mac n’ cheese.

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Conveniently located on a lush, tree-lined downtown street, Home2 Suites by Hilton features bright, modern rooms and suites with kitchenettes. The pet-friendly hotel offers a gym, an outdoor pool and free breakfast daily, and its walkable location is the perfect base from which to take in any events held at nearby Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

Home2 Suites by Hilton Greenville Downtown, SC

Greenville
9.0 Excellent (891 reviews)

Visit Lake Keowee - Peaceful Gathering Spot for a Family Getaway in South Carolina

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With its location at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Keowee is the perfect spot from which to access the surrounding area’s six state parks, all filled with scenic hikes and waterfalls.

Nearby Oconee State Park rests on a high plateau and features two mountain lakes, picnic areas and hiking trails, including a few with views of picturesque waterfalls. Just down the road, Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel marks the remains of a failed 1850’s attempt to link the port of Charleston to the cities of the midwest by rail. Abandoned during the Civil War, the tunnel is now part of Walhalla City Park, along with Issaqueena Falls, a stunning 200-foot cascade just a short trail walk away.

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Set on Lake Keowee, this spacious four-bedroom, three-bath home features an open floor plan and expansive waterfront views. Along with a covered outdoor deck area with a grill and a fire pit, there’s a large deepwater dock for your boat. Downstairs, find a rec room complete with a billiards table, perfect for fostering family togetherness.

Beautiful Lakefront Rental On Lake Keowee Near Clemson. Pets Welcome!

Seneca
8.7 Excellent (54 reviews)