Looking to get out of the house but want to avoid a big city or a crowded beach? Check out these three destinations that provide plenty of opportunities to get outside—without being too close to others. Whether you’re into swimming, hiking, fishing or just a change of scenery, South Carolina has something for you. So, grab your mask, sunscreen and bathing suit and hit the road.
Quiet Beach Getaway on Daufuskie Island
Just off the coast of Savannah and Hilton Head, Daufuskie Island is the perfect place for a quiet and isolated beach getaway. The island is only accessible by boat and has no hotels, with a population of around 400. Most of the island is undeveloped conservancy land, so there are plenty of opportunities to experience nature. You might even spot some of the local wildlife, which includes bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead turtles and Marsh Tacky horses.
Haig Point, one of the communities on the island, hosts a variety of activities. There’s something for everyone, from waterfront horseback riding to a 20-hole Rees Jones signature golf course. Since there are no hotels, if you want to stay on the island, you have to rent a house or a room. One option is the Strachan Mansion. The mansion was actually built in 1910 on another island and then moved to Daufuskie in 1986, using two barges over three days. It boasts four luxurious suites and a general store. Another historic building available for rent is the 1873 Lighthouse. The lighthouse operated from 1873 to the 1930s and after a period of disuse, it was restored in the 1980s. It now serves as a guesthouse with two bedrooms, a kitchen and a porch overlooking Calibogue Sound.
Mountain of Culture in Greenville
Greenville’s location in the Blue Ridge Mountains means there are plenty of lakes, waterfalls and hiking trails. Climb up to Rainbow Falls, a 140-foot waterfall in Jones Gap State Park. Dip into the Middle Saluda River or turn onto the Jones Gap trail on the way back. Head into Caesars Head Park, which boasts 420 waterfalls, more than 60 hiking trails and the Caesars Head Overlook, which provides views of South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. Be sure to pass through the Devils Kitchen—a narrow passageway between two giant rocks, just wide enough for a person to walk through—on the way to the overlook. There’s also the Raven Cliff Falls trail, a four-mile trail with 420-foot falls and a suspension bridge over the creek above the falls. Or head for the Prisma Swamp Rabbit Trail, perfect for a leisurely bike ride, swimming or fishing. Check out Paris Mountain State Park, seven miles from downtown Greenville, and stop at the Fred W. Symmes Chapel. Also known as “Pretty Place,” the chapel has great views of the mountains.
For lodging, book a stay at the Red Horse Inn 30 minutes from town. The inn is still open at this time, but they encourage a cottage over a single room. There’s also the Hotel Domestique by professional cycler George Hincapie. Many of the parks also offer camping and cabins. Be sure to check the park’s opening status before you go.
Wellness Resort in Hilton Head
Looking to get back on track with a healthy lifestyle, but only have a few days? Stay at one of Hilton Head Health’s 3- and 4-day Healthy Getaways. The programs include daily beach walks, outdoor pool workouts, beach yoga, kayaking and paddleboarding through Hilton Head’s scenic inlets. There are also healthy cooking classes, daily meditations, and motivational trainers bring both celebrities and regular folks back to the resort year after year. The resort is taking safety precautions at this time, including operating at half capacity and dividing fitness rooms to keep guests six feet apart.
Any of these locations would be perfect for a relaxing and refreshing vacation. Stay safe, and make sure to check on your destination’s opening status before you leave.
If you’re in need of a good book, consult our Summer Reading List.
John Cole / August 7, 2020
The Blue Ridge Mountains are gorgeous. Even though I’m in Georgia, I often go towards Lake Jocassee over in SC and love those waters. The clarity of that water is something you should talk about. Although you’d need a boat to enjoy it really. Thanks for pointing out some spots I have not visited yet.