Road Tripping in South Carolina
Everything you need to know to travel through the Palmetto State.
While some road trips are best suited to the summer months, when school’s out and the weather is hot, others places are best visited in the spring, just as the last vestiges of winter are fading away.
It just so happens South Carolina fits both of those descriptions. South Carolina has a lot to offer if you’re looking for somewhere to take an amazing road tripi—and now may be the perfect time to visit.
When Should You Go?
When should you take a road trip to South Carolina? That depends on why you want to go. If you want to hit the beaches and enjoy the sun and sand, June through August are the best times to visit. South Carolina summers are hot and humid, which makes it the perfect time to be near the water, whether it’s on the beach or fishing on the scenic rivers.
On the other hand, if you want to enjoy the best South Carolina has to offer in terms of festivals and events, April and May are some of the best months to take a trip. For one thing, the weather is a lot cooler. From July to September, the weather gets very hot, but in early spring, the weather is sunny but relatively cool. The only drawback is that early spring is tornado season in South Carolina, so there may be some thunderstorms and rain.
If you want to go during the fall and winter months—November to March—you can save quite a bit of money, as the tourist season is over and prices for everything, especially accommodations, will come down significantly.
Where To Visit
Fortunately, South Carolina has a lot of opportunities when it comes to road trips—enough to fuel years’ worth of vacations. Some possibilities include:
- Taking a tour of South Carolina’s lighthouses along the coast. You can follow the road to check out the Georgetown Light, Cape Romain’s 1827 Lighthouse, the Charleston Light and more. Check out this list to find out more.
- You could block out a few hours to see a series of some of South Carolina’s most famous waterfalls by taking a road trip to Carrick Creek and hiking a trail.
- If you’ve got a fondness for things that go bump in the night, consider taking a haunted road trip across South Carolina. You could start at the famous Graniteville Cemetery and go on to visit the Tomb of Julia Legare (who was allegedly buried alive and still haunts her grave), look for the mysterious lantern lights on the train tracks near Jacksonboro, and finish with a visit to the Battery Carriage House.
- If you want to really soak in the natural beauty, you might check out the Oscar Wingington Byway, which features access to the Nantahala National Forest, Bad Creek Overlook, Foothills Trail and more. Like the Carrick Creek trip, this one’s especially good for hikers.
- Finally, for the history buffs, there’s lots of Revolutionary War sites to see in South Carolina. You can start at Drayton Hall, the last surviving plantation in South Carolina, and go on to visit the museums in historic Columbia. You can then see the battlefields at the Battle of Musgrove’s Mill State Historic Site and finish by checking out the museum and battlefield at King’s Mountain National Military Park.
Tips For a Successful Trip
Before you take a road trip through South Carolina, it’s important to prepare ahead of time to make sure your journey is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Here are some packing and car tips to help you get ready:
- Pack for the Weather: South Carolina can experience hot and humid weather, so it’s important to pack appropriate clothing. Pack light, breathable clothing and comfortable shoes for walking. If you plan on visiting beaches or spending time outside, be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to protect your skin.
- Prepare your Car for the Trip: Check your fluid levels, tires and brakes. Make sure you have a tank full of gas.
- Be aware of the Driving Laws in South Carolina: There is a “distracted driver” law in the state, meaning it’s unlawful to use an electronic communications device while driving. Carry proper insurance minimums (or bump them up before your trip). Per numbers from Kristine Lee at The Zebra, the minimum liability insurance required in South Carolina is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
- Entertainment: Road trips can be long and boring, so bring some entertainment with you. Load up your favorite music, audiobooks or podcasts to make the trip more enjoyable. One hot podcast based in South Carolina right now is the Murdaugh Murders.
- Food & Snacks: Bring along some snacks and drinks for the trip. Packing healthy snacks like fruits and nuts can help you avoid the temptation of stopping at fast food restaurants, and South Carolina also has a variety of roadside stands with fresh fruits and vegetables, and you’ll want to leave room for tasting the state’s delicacy: shrimp and grits.
Featured image courtesy of Discover South Carolina.