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The culmination of rich colonial history, stunning architecture, and southern hospitality and charm is found in the sunny state of South Carolina.
Here, you can sink your toes in beautiful beaches that rival any found on the West Coast, tour massive plantation estates and quaint 1700th century homes, unwind at the gorgeous gardens and parks, or have fun at the many zoos, museums, and concert halls scattered throughout the state.
Don’t let her old age fool you; South Carolina is one of the most exciting states on the East Coast.
Those who would argue that the West controls the market on beautiful beaches have never visited Myrtle Beach. Miles of white sand and crystal clear water make Myrtle Beach the perfect place to begin our tour. Along with the breath-taking coastline, the town also hosts more than 100 golf courses, malls, restaurants, boutiques, water parks, and deep-fishing venues. Some attractions that should not be missed include Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, where patrons can enjoy delicious southern cooking, while watching an entertaining dinner show, complete with daring horsemanship and thrilling stunts. At the Family Kingdom—South Carolina’s only seaside amusement park, and one of the top ten parks in the country—you can ride over 30 hair-raising roller-coasters and munch on tasty treats.
Keep on Highway 17 to reach our next destination spot, the charming little town of Murrell’s Inlet. If you are a bird enthusiast, head over to Huntington Beach State Park, where many flocks of feathered fowl gather along the banks of the freshwater lagoon, or near the salt marsh. The unique Brookegreen Gardens provides a leafy oasis of pools, flowers, and fountains, with hundreds of pieces of artistic sculpture skillfully blended into the landscape.
Farther down the 17 Highway is the booming, historic town of Charleston. Stop in at the South Carolina Aquarium and Wharf, and you will not only get a view of amazing marine life and superb seafood, but also get a chance to see a movie at the IMAX Theater and shop at many chic boutiques. To see the historic side of the city, make a trip to Fort Sumter National Monument and see where the initial struggle between Union Soldiers and the Confederate armies began. Or hop on a carriage ride through the downtown distinct to see the wonderful 1700th century homes and the sprawling Drayton, Magnolia, and Middleton Plantations.
From Charleston, travel on Interstate 26 West and 77 North to the state capital of Columbia. Your family can meander through a blooming landscape and experience close encounters with zebras, koalas, giraffes, and other captivating creatures at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden. Hike, or bike, your way through 120,000 acres of lakeview trails in Sumter National Forest, or get a chance to go on a space mission at the Challenger Learning Center, where high-tech simulators provide you an opportunity to boldly go into the final frontier. At the South Carolina State Museum there are four floors of exhibits on art, history, science, and technology, not to mention a 43-foot prehistoric great white shark lurking somewhere in the building. And a trip down I-26 takes you to Columbia’s recently renovated Newberry Opera House, which hosts all genres of top-notch performers, from classical instrumentalists to country crooners, to dancing pop stars. South Carolina’s capital is the perfect way to end the tour of this truly delightful southern state.