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Southern Delight: Why You Should Visit South Carolina


(Image credit: Sean Pavone Photo/Getty Images.)


When people say, " I am going to XYZ," the next question is almost, "Why?" When someone says they are going to South Carolina, the next statement is, "it is one of the most magical places on Earth." The state's hospitality, culinary, and historical significance makes it one of the most popular destinations. I had the chance to speak with Devyn Whitmire. Digital Engagement Manager at South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, to learn more about why you should visit The Palmetto State.



(Image courtesy of Destination South Carolina.)



1. Why should someone visit South Carolina?

I could speak for hours about the incredible food, drink, attractions, and natural beauty that are all worthy reasons to visit. But, whenever I speak to SC locals about what makes the state stand out, nearly every person says that the people here make this state so special. The hospitality and welcome that the people of the Palmetto State offer at every corner is unmatched. Being neighborly and recognizing others, be it with a wave, holding a door, or simply offering a welcoming smile, is so ingrained into the people here you can’t help but feel at home. You matter, and when you visit South Carolina, you will feel that.


(Image credit: Jeffrey Greenberg and Universal Images Group via Getty Images.)




2. How does South Carolina honor its past and embrace innovation?

In so many ways! One incredible example is the brand new International African American Museum that will be opening this summer.


“The IAAM explores the African American journey through the power of place by acknowledging the achievements of these individuals, exhibiting how their labor, resistance, and ingenuity has shaped every aspect of our world.” Located at Gadsen’s Wharf in Charleston, the museum sits on what was once one of the nation’s most prolific slave ports. In addition to nine separate galleries, there will be a Center for Family History which will allow visitors to trace their own ancestry and foster more connections within their community. This museum has been in the works for more than 20 years and will “honor the untold stories of the African American journey at one of the country’s most sacred sites.” – IAAM.


(Image courtesy of IAAM. The image depicts the IAAM's exterior.)


3. What are some hidden gems that people should visit?

Tucked away in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is Lake Jocassee. South Carolina has a lot of beautiful lakes, but Lake Jocassee is just stunning. It has so many hidden waterfalls that you can explore, and it is only accessible through Devil's Fork State Park, so if you get the chance to go, you won’t experience too much boat traffic.



(Image courtesy of Leigh Webber.)



In Rock Hill, South Carolina, Winthrop University hosts the Annual United States Disc Golf Championship each October around Winthrop Lake. It’s one of the most challenging courses in the world of disc golf. You can come and play any time year-round to get a taste of what the professionals go through each fall!



(Image courtesy of United States Disc Golf Championship. The image depicts competitor Jennifer Allen)




Lake City, South Carolina, is an Art Town, working with locals and businesses to incorporate art in everything that they do. They’re ArtFields Festival that happens each April brings in thousands to experience the special charm of this tiny South Carolina destination.



(Image courtesy of Visit Lake City, South Carolina.)



Greenville is a city that is really close to my heart, as I grew up just outside the city limits. It is the home to an amazing food and drink scene. Art and nature weave throughout the city, and it is beautiful to see.



(Image courtesy of Destination South Carolina.)



A bit down the road from Greenville is GreenWOOD. It’s known for having one of the widest main streets in the world, and each summer comes to life through its infamous topiaries. These massive structures of plants are absolutely stunning and so intricate! They are primarily present each year to support one of South Carolina’s longest-running festivals, the Festival of Flowers, and literally, bring the city of Greenwood to life!



(Image courtesy of the South Carolina Flower Festival.)


Juniper is a locally owned restaurant in the town of Ridge Spring, South Carolina. The chef and owner, Brandon Velie, one of our original South Carolina Chef Ambassadors, works closely with local farms to craft his menu daily. The corn chowder is the best I’ve ever tasted!




(Image courtesy of Discover South Carolina.)



If you have the chance to visit Aiken, you can see how horses help create this city. When you go, make sure you at least stop by The Willcox Hotel for lunch or a drink if you can’t stay overnight.




(Image courtesy of The New York Times. Anne McQuary took this image.)




The Elloree Heritage Museum and Cultural Center are tucked away on an adorable main street in Elloree, South Carolina, and the museum is absolutely beautiful! It’s a true hidden gem that tells some of the area’s agricultural history and development through the generations.




(Logo courtesy of Elloree Heritage Museum and Cultural Center.)




North Myrtle Beach is where the state dance, The Carolina Shag, was born. You can still visit shag clubs like Fat Harolds and join this iconic dance!



(Video courtesy of Bruce Gleason.)



The town of Summerville is just outside of Charleston and is the birthplace of sweet tea. They’re known for beating the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest glass of sweet tea ever (which you can take a picture with!), and it’s just a really sweet town to visit with lots of lovely people.



(Image courtesy of Emma Christensen.)



Lastly, in the Lowcountry is Edisto Island, where you can visit Boneyard Beach, a naturally eroding beach where you can see the fallen and bleached trees that create a spectacular scene for photos and inspire a true appreciation for the power of the sea.




(Image courtesy of SC Lowcountry Tourism.)


4. Please describe South Carolinian cuisine.

South Carolina has a rich history of creating fresh and hearty food such as Shrimp and Grits, Frogmore Stew, Chicken Bog, and of course, our infamous barbecue telling our state’s story with every bite.




(Image courtesy of Discover South Carolina.)



5. What is the future of the state?

It sounds cliché, but South Carolina is booming. Many areas are undergoing revitalization and new development due to industry. More and more people are moving to South Carolina for our weather and amazing tourist attractions. We are thriving, and while there are always checks and balances that have to happen with that (being understanding of higher traffic, prices, etc.), rising tides lift all boats. The growth that our larger cities and towns are seeing is trickling down and breathing new life into areas that have been boarded up for years, creating a renaissance of sorts. Beauty inspires discovery, and there is so much beauty to be found in South Carolina, from the natural and culinary landscapes to the people you’ll meet along the way.



(Image courtesy of Boston Public Library.)

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Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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