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Why You Should Explore South Carolina Year-Round

No matter when you're here, there’s a lot more to South Carolina than famous golf courses and pretty beaches.

By Kari Kynard Ridge on July 16, 2017

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Courtesy of DiscoverSouthCarolina.com

It’s no secret that South Carolina is the perfect spot if you want world-class golfing options or spring break beaches. But the Palmetto State is actually a hub for year-round adventure and fun. This is how to spend the whole year exploring and enjoying this diverse region. 

Winter Wonderland

Courtesy of DiscoverSouthCarolina.com

Photo: Courtesy of DiscoverSouthCarolina.com

When much of the nation is hibernating, winter can be one of the best times to visit South Carolina. Mild temperatures and a lack of pesky insects mean you can explore in comfort. There are more than 47 state parks and nine national parks throughout the state with trails designed for hikers of all abilities. It is estimated that there is a state park within an hour of every South Carolina community.

Table Rock State Park (near Greenville, SC), with its gorgeous mountain views and cascading waterfalls, and Congaree National Park (near Columbia, SC) are two popular places to hike. Congaree contains the largest tract of old-growth forest in the country, and there are plenty of trails below those tall trees to let you explore this national treasure.

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Springing into Adventure

Courtesy of DiscoverSouthCarolina.com

Photo: Courtesy of DiscoverSouthCarolina.com

Spring means the arrival of flowers to the Palmetto State – spectacular displays of them, in all shapes, sizes and colors. Hit the trails in Landsford Canal State Park (near Rock Hill, SC), along the Catawba River, to find the world’s largest population of rocky shoals spider lilies, a rare white beauty that blooms for just one day.

For many people, spring hasn’t sprung until they’ve explored Summerville, also known as “Flowertown,” with its incredible displays of azalea blossoms sweeping across the Charleston suburb. Gardens and plantations throughout town are at their best in spring, and you can celebrate spring at the annual YMCA Flowertown Festival that includes a juried arts show, children’s activities, food and a farmer’s market.

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Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy

Courtesy of DiscoverSouthCarolina.com

Photo: Courtesy of DiscoverSouthCarolina.com

When summer temperatures rise, South Carolina offers endless things to do while keeping cool. The state’s coastline stretches 187 miles and includes the Myrtle Beach Grand Strand, often named one of the best family beaches on the East Coast. The shore has plenty of other places to explore and cool off such as Hunting Island, Pawleys Island and Hilton Head Island’s 12 miles of sandy beaches.

If you prefer freshwater, Santee State Park’s Lake Marion (between Columbia and Charleston) is South Carolina’s largest lake – covering 110,000 acres – where you can swim, paddle and fish for one of the lake’s legendary gigantic catfish. Check out the flooded cypress forest in the middle of the lake and watch for the local residents: alligators, osprey and herons.

Huntington Beach State Park is considered one of the best birding spots in all of South Carolina – at all times of year. Explore the park in summer for a chance to see bald eagles and roseate spoonbills.

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Falling in love with Fall

Courtesy of DiscoverSouthCarolina.com

Photo: Courtesy of DiscoverSouthCarolina.com

South Carolinians know their state has one of the longest foliage seasons in the country, usually peaking from October through late November. You can enjoy the season from any place in the state, or head to the mountains to get some of the most spectacular views as the deciduous trees’ leaves transform from green to yellow, red, and orange.

Deep in the Blue Ridge, there are breathtaking views from Devils Fork State Park (near Greenville), overlooking the 7,500-acre Lake Jocassee and cascading waterfalls. Whether you hike in the park, or just drive through it on Highway 11, you will get the full experience of autumn in the Upcountry.

For golfers, autumn in South Carolina means an extended season of play. There are 350 greens located throughout the state, including Harbour Town Golf Links on the Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island, which hosts the annual RBC Heritage PGA tour.

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