Take Your Pick
Beaufort, SC
Union Headquarters in SC
Beaufort Arsenal - Completed in 1798, the Beaufort Arsenal was home to the Beaufort Volunteer Artillery. The structure was seized by Union troops in 1861 during the Civil War and is now the home of the Beaufort Arsenal Museum. In the museum are war relics from the American Revolution and Civil War (including two brass trophy guns captured from the British in 1779), plantation artifacts, fossils and art pieces. Just down the street from the Arsenal is the Verdier House, the post headquarters for Union soldiers.
Blacksburg, SC
American Revolution Battlefield
Kings Mountain National Military Park - When you think of a battlefield in South Carolina, you're first guess will probably be that it is a Civil War battlefield. Not this one. The Kings Mountain National Military Park is considered the turning point in the American Revolution. Until meeting in the wilderness the British dominated the south by capturing Charleston, South Carolina and had their eyes set on North Carolina. Then on October 7, 1780 some 900 sharp shooting patriots, using long rifles and guerrilla tactics, surprised and forced the Brits to surrender. The park features a Visitor Center (hosting a half hour film), hiking trails, monuments and battle information.
Charleston, SC
H.L. Hunley Submarine
Charleston Museum - The Charleston Museum is called "America's First Museum" because it was founded in 1773 just prior to the nation's independence. The first thing to see when visiting is the H.L. Hunley replica outside the doors (the real Hunley is also in Charleston at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center). Inside the museum are Natural History and Native American galleries containing exhibits detailing trade, commerce, plantation life, and Civil War events. The Charleston Silver exhibit has an exceptional collection of silver objects dating from colonial times.
Charleston, SC
A A Great Wedding Location
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens - The Magnolia Plantation and Gardens was established in 1679 by Thomas and Ann Drayton making it one of the oldest plantations in the south. It is also the only plantation in the state under original family ownership. The Plantation Gardens contain 500 acres of flowers and plants from around the world which bloom throughout the year. Some sections are over 300 years old. Equally beautiful are the carefully manicured gardens and the untamed country-side. Guided tours of the 19th century Plantation house and gardens are available (including boat tours). Along the way are Herb, Camellia and Biblical Gardens as well as some beautiful wildlife.
Charleston, SC
Naval and Maritime Museum
Patriot's Point - Located in Historic Charleston Harbor, at the base of the magnificent 1,500 foot Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, is Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime Museum. Not only is it the embarkation point for Fort Sumter tours, it hosts the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, the destroyer USS Laffey, the submarine USS Clamagore, the cutter USCGC Ingham, and a Cold War Submarine Memorial. Aboard the USS Yorktown is the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum dedicated to the soldiers who have received this highest military decoration.
Columbia, SC
He Makes Me Look Small
EdVenture - EdVenture is a 67,000 square foot museum and hands-on experience designed to make learning fun for children 12 and under. There are eight unique galleries that teach about the body, animals, technology, and occupations. The most recognizable feature of the museum is EDDIE, a 40 foot tall, 17.5 ton fully interactive sculpture. Your little monkeys can climb over him on the outside and through him on the inside. His brain, heart, stomach, and intestines are all interactive and ready to be explored. EdVenture is the largest children's museum in the area and a great learning experience.
Columbia, SC
Palmetto State Capitol Building
Capitol Building - The South Carolina Capitol Building (Statehouse) with its distinctive copper dome took over 50 years to complete. Construction began in the 1850s, then stopped during the Civil War and only slowly progressed during the poverty years after the war. It was finally completed in 1907. The interior contains works of art including House Gallery Portraits of Presidents and famous South Carolinians. The exterior and grounds feature a dome made with over 40,000 lbs of copper, sculptures and flowering gardens. And if you look closely at the exterior you'll find six bronze stars marking the location where Union cannonballs struck the building in 1865.
Columbia, SC
Shark Exhibit in the State Museum
South Carolina State Museum and Confederate Relic Room and Museum - Located in a refurbished 1894 textile mill, the South Carolina State Museum and the Confederate Relic Room and Museum offers a glimpse into South Carolina's proud history. The State Museum displays a nice collection industrial, social and natural history exhibits, in its spacious three floor building. I have to say, the textile machine exhibit employs a great use of mirrors. The Relic Room contains a large collection of Civil War flags, uniforms, weapons and South Carolina war related artifacts.
Darlington, SC
Too Tough to Tame
Darlington Raceway Stock Car Museum - Located at the raceway nicknamed "the Track too Tough to Tame" is the Darlington Raceway Stock Car Museum. From its humble beginnings when moonshiner's raced each other to prove they could out-run anyone, to a multi-billion dollar empire, the sport has come a long way. The museum displays the cars that ran the races from the early 40s to present day. See Dale Earnhardt's #3 car with his hand prints still on it and the destruction of Darrell Waltrip's car that he flipped going 190 mph.
Dillon, SC
Pedro and Socko
South of the Border - South of the Border, the border between the Carolinas, is a tourist-trap-extraordinaire. With billboards for hundreds of miles, Pedro (the South of the Border mascot) has tantalized you with promises of fireworks, great food, and trinkets galore. And you won't be disappointed, especially if you're a monkey who loves a good ol' American roadside attraction. On site is an amusement park, a 300 room motel, restaurants, bins of souvenirs and a great display of fireworks. Of course the trip wouldn't be complete without climbing to the top of the 165 foot Sombrero Tower.
Florence, SC
Accidental Nuke
Nuclear Bomb Dropped - During the days when school children practiced hiding under their desks during nuclear bomb drills, a nuclear bomb was accidentally dropped on the small town of Mars Bluff. On March 11, 1958 while flying over Mars Bluff, a crew member of an Air Force B-47 Stratojet mistakenly pulled the release pin of an unarmed nuclear bomb and it dropped 15,000 feet to the ground. Upon impact, the 7,600 lbs of conventional explosives detonated destroying the farm house of Walter Gregg and leaving a 35 foot deep hole. The crater is still visible today and fragments of the bomb are on display at the Florence Museum of Art, Science and History.
Georgetown, SC
The 1800s Rice Trade
Rice Museum - In the 1840s nearly half the rice grown in the US was produced in the Georgetown District. The Rice Museum, located in the 1842 Old Market building (or Town Clock), chronicles the history of South Carolina's lucrative rice trade. Exhibits include dioramas of Georgetown plantations, interactive maps, relics of the rice trade, and artwork. Next door in the Kaminski Hardware Building is the Maritime Museum Gallery. On display are the remnants of the "Browns Ferry Vessel" which is the oldest colonial manufactured vessel in the US.
Greenville, SC
A Great Collection of Religious Art
Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery - The Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery, located on campus, houses some of the finest religious art in the America. The works are displayed in 25 galleries and span from the 14th to the 20th century. In the "Old Masters Collection" are the works of Rubens, van Dyke, Tintoretto, and Veronese. Throughout the museum are sculptures, period furniture and beautifully designed tapestries. The museum is known for the exquisite collection of Italian paintings, but the art and objects collected from Egypt, Palestine, and other parts of Europe are also spectacular.
Greer, SC
Beemer Museum and Factory
BMW Museum and Factory - BMW manufactures several models of vehicles in the USA and a tour of BMW's Zentrum Museum and Factory is a great way to see how it's done. The museum contains some rare BMW race cars, passenger cars, motorcycles, "art cars" and the next generation hydrogen car. Exhibits in the museum chronicle the history of BMW from aviation to motor sports and touring. But the real show is in the factory. Here you see the magic of man and robots creating some of the finest manufactured cars in the world.
Hilton Head Island, SC
Lighthouse and Sundial
Harbor Town Lighthouse - The Harbor Town Lighthouse is one of Hilton Head Island's most easily recognized landmarks. Located in the upscale Sea Pines Resort area, this red and white candy-striped beacon built in 1970 is a museum and navigation guide. Inside this 90 foot tall structure, you can stop to read about the Gullah Culture, the Civil War and Plantation Life, then at the top enjoy a great view of the marina. Another landmark within a few miles of the lighthouse is the King Neptune Statue. It is one of the world's largest functioning sundials (located in Palmetto Dunes).
Hilton Head Island, SC
Hilton Head's Honey Horn
Coastal Discovery Museum - The Coastal Discovery Museum offers classes, activities, and several interesting tours and cruises of the island. Here you can learn everything there is to know about sea turtles and dolphins. Also leased by the museum is Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn which preserves some of the last undeveloped land on Hilton Head Island. Honey Horn is nearly 70 acres are salt marshes, retired farm land, and mud flats with about a dozen historic structures located on the property.
Hopkins, SC
South Carolina's First National Park
Congaree National Park - The Congaree National Park is South Carolina's first National Park and contains 22,000 acres of bottomland hardwood forest. The area is located on the floodplain of the Congaree River and boasts some Loblolly Pines standing over 150 feet tall. Hiking is probably the most popular choice at the park, with over 20 miles of hiking trails and 2.4 miles of boardwalk trails. In addition to hiking, activities include canoeing, fishing, bird watching and picnicking. There is abundant wildlife in the park including river otters, owls, bobcats and alligators.
Hunting Island, SC
A Gorgeous Beach and Lighthouse
Hunting Island State Park - Attracting over one million visitors a year, Hunting Island State Park is the most popular state park in the South Carolina. The combination of warm sun, pristine beaches, great fishing, tree-draped hiking trails and diverse wildlife makes it a perfect vacation area. Adding to the allure of the island is the Hunting Island Lighthouse. This 170 foot lighthouse was built in the 1870s and is the only one in the state open to the public. From atop the platform are some fantastic views of the beach, surf, marsh, and sea-side foliage.
Myrtle Beach, SC
Beaches and Seafood
The Grand Strand - The Grand Strand refers to the magnificent beach lined Atlantic Coast area stretching some 30 miles north and south of Myrtle Beach. The area offers a wide variety of tourist activities including golf, arcades and amusement parks, but the millions that flock here mainly come to relax and soak up the sun on the beaches. Of course eventually a monkey has to eat. And if you love seafood, the fishing village of Murrell's Inlet just south of neon glow of Myrtle Beach is the place to go. Restaurant Row offers the freshest seafood, something that you can only get in a coastal town.
Sullivan's Island, SC
The Start of the Civil War
Fort Sumter - Fort Sumter is where it all started, the American Civil War that is. On April 12, 1861 the opening shots rang out and they continued for 34 straight hours until the Union controlled Fort Sumter was surrendered to the Confederates. This was the beginning of America's bloodies war which divided a nation between free and slave states. A tour of the fort begins at Patriot's Point or Liberty Square where you board a ferry carrying you to the historic National Park. Once there, a guide will explain the history of the fort and then you'll be able to explore on your own. The Fort Sumter Museum also documents the War Between the States with several significant artifacts including the flag of the surrendering Union.