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Things to Do in South Carolina - page 2

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Aiken-Rhett House

This historic museum is known for being one of the best examples of Southern antebellum architecture in Charleston. It was originally built as a private home—owned in 1820 by local merchant John Robinson and later bought in 1858 by Gov. William Aiken, whose family is responsible for the lavish interior decoration. With antique furnishings and original wallpaper, much of the period style remains intact. Many of the family’s objects and fine art, acquired for the home while touring Europe, can still be found in the rooms they were purchased for.

Walk through the grounds’ historic double side porch, stables, a carriage house, a kitchen and slave quarters. You’ll learn about the house staff, which included footmen, cooks, gardeners and seamstresses, as well as life in the pre-Civil War era. Then step inside and view the collection of sculptures, paintings and chandeliers as you tour the home and learn about the history of the home and the family.

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Children's Museum of the Lowcountry (CML)
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The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry (CML) is a hands-on museum dedicated to allowing children the freedom to explore, discover, and learn. From racing miniature boats down rapids to climbing aboard a Lowcountry pirate ship and even creating a masterpiece in the art center, the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry is truly open to help let children establish a lifelong love of exploratory creativity.

While some are splatter painting in the Art Room, others are exploring the Medieval Creativity Castle or taking the wheel of the antique Fire Truck. Kids are also free to let 'er rip down the chutes and hoops of the Golf Ball Room, where they watch in wonder as they send their golf ball through a maze of obstacles. There's even a special place for the littlest tykes to explore and play together! This is the perfect place for people of all ages to let their imaginations run wild.

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North Myrtle Beach

Perched on the northern end of South Carolina’s Grand Strand, North Myrtle Beach offers a relaxing place to enjoy the beauty of South Carolina coastal living. Many come here to learn how to surf thanks to the long slow-rolling breakers, while others come for the shopping, dining, and live entertainment at Barefoot Landing.

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Folly Beach

Folly Beach is conveniently located 15 miles from downtown Charleston and is both a cute town and a popular beach spot for surfers. It’s located on Folly Island, which locals often call the “edge of America.” You’ll find the small beach town dotted with restaurants, cafes, and an eclectic mix of shops.

What makes Folly Beach more interesting, however, are its salt marshes and tidal creeks. You’ll find bald eagles, sea birds, loggerhead turtles, and even dolphins calling Folly Island home. Take an eco-tour where you can visit the salt marshes to see Bottlenose Dolphins and migrating birds.

If you’re not a surfer, there are plenty of other water-related activities like paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing, and even parasailing on Folly Beach.

Don’t miss the Morris Island Lighthouse, which is north of Folly Beach on Morris Island. The lighthouse is now defunct, but it’s a beloved and interesting piece of South Carolina history.

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Gibbes Museum of Art
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The Gibbes Museum of Art hosts Charleston’s finest collections of art in a fabulous Beaux Arts building in Charleston’s Historic District. With over 10,000 works of fine art, it is here that you can see various glimpses into not just Charleston’s past, but into the Colonial American past as a whole. Featured exhibits include Mary Whyte’s gallery entitled Working South, and Vaughn Sills’ stunning collection of photographs documenting African American folk gardens and their creators.

The Gibbes Art Museum prides itself on its fine art collection and makes an effort to assure that either the paintings displayed or the artists themselves have some connection to Charleston. Laid out chronologically, the Gibbes Museum is two and a half floors of 17th to 21st century artistry culminating in the large stained glass dome, itself worth a few minutes of seated enjoyment.

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Myrtle Beach State Park
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One of the last bastions of undeveloped raw wilderness along the beautiful South Carolina coast, Myrtle Beach State Park is where you can explore the abundant beauty of this place without feeling the encroachment of all-forward progress. The 312-acre park encompasses some of the best surf-fishing and beach-side camping in all of South Carolina, as well as some surprisingly green nature trails. Enjoy the wide white sand beach of the Grand Strand, try to spot loggerhead sea turtles or hike the lowland maritime forests searching out freshwater pools on your way to a picnic. Camping adventures and nature trails both stem from the Nature Education Center where you can get a sneak peak at the local wildlife.

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Center for Birds of Prey

Even people who aren’t avid birdwatchers seem to enjoy birds of prey. Maybe it’s their large, feathery wingspan or the fact they’re expert hunters, but there’s something a little more wild and captivating about eagles, raptors, or hawks. Here at the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw, South Carolina, explore a campus of over 50 species of powerful aerial predators. Watch as a Peregrine Falcon goes soaring above the trees of the Lowcountry, and keep an eye out for wild bald eagles that frequently circle above.

During the daily flight demonstrations, listen as guides explain about species such as owls, vultures, and kites, and watch them display their hunting techniques as they coast on the breeze above. In addition to helping educate visitors about global birds of prey, the center helps to rehabilitate birds and place them back in the wild. In total, over 120 American bald eagles have been raised and released by the center, and it continues to reign as South Carolina’s best avian adventure.

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Rose Hill Mansion

The Grand Dame of Bluffton, Rose Hill Mansion, drips with period grandeur. The Gothic style Lowcountry plantation house was erected by cotton magnate and town founder, John Kirk, in 1858. It retains much of its original charm and architectural features from the columned porch and gabled peaks with cathedral-style windows to the Spanish moss-draped leafy grounds. Though the residence has a storied history—including a devastating 1987 fire, its role as a setting for several B-rated movies and a John Mellencamp music video, as well as rumors of hauntings that make it a popular Halloween season stop—its restored antebellum artifacts keep visitors streaming through this portal to the past.

Still operated as a private residence (and popular wedding venue with rentable carriage house for overnights), day visitors can take a one-hour guided tour of the first floor. On the tour docents will highlight original Kirk memorabilia—furniture, paintings and heirlooms—restored after the fire and visit the gentleman’s room and parlor with its 1870 Shaw grand piano. One of the highlights is the entrance hallway with its chandeliered curved staircase; its banister connects to the railings that ring an overlook from the second floor. Following the tour, visitors can enjoy locally made cakes and jams, peach tea and lemonade in the historic dining area.

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Family Kingdom Amusement Park
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Family Kingdom Amusement Park is South Carolina’s only beachfront amusement park, featuring more than 35 attractions—from kiddie rides to thrill rides—for the whole family to enjoy. Just minutes from the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade, the park is mere steps from the beach, so you can roll in the sand and then rollick on a roller coaster.

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Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center

Fort Sumter is an iconic name in US history, for it was here that Confederates fired the first shots of the Civil War in 1861. The fort was reduced to rubble by shelling over the ensuing years of war.

The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center is located at the ferry terminal for trips out to Fort Sumter. It’s well worth taking some time to learn more about the Civil War and the role Fort Sumter played, before catching your ferry to the fort.

Rangers can answer questions, and visual displays put the history into context.

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More Things to Do in South Carolina

Broadway at the Beach

Broadway at the Beach

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Located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Broadway at the Beach is a popular outdoor shopping and entertainment center. Home to theaters, restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, amusement parks, and more than 100 specialty shops, the complex has options for travelers of all ages and interests.

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Carolina Opry

Carolina Opry

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The Carolina Opry, the first theater in Myrtle Beach, hosts a variety of daily performances that blends family-friendly music, dance, and comedy in a state-of-the-art space. The Carolina Opry holds many concerts and shows during the year, has been named a Top Attraction in Myrtle Beach by CNBC, and has received the coveted Governor’s Cup.

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Brookgreen Gardens

Brookgreen Gardens

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Situated on a 300-acre (121-hectare) expanse within a larger South Carolina coastal preserve, Brookgreen Gardens was the nation’s first public sculpture garden when it opened in 1931. Today the National Historic Landmark is an oasis of native flora and fauna, including 250-year-old live oaks, and more than 2,000 sculptures.

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Medieval Times Myrtle Beach

Medieval Times Myrtle Beach

Medieval Times Myrtle Beach offers families a dining and entertainment experience that’s unlike any other. The jaw-dropping night of live performances transports guests back in time to an era when knights battled for the affection of the princess and kings and queens ruled the land.

Admission to the show includes a hearty meal that’s fit for a king and a top-notch seat right up close to the action. A thrilling dinner theater performance takes place live on stage, complete with sword fights between armored knights, jousting on horseback and falcons taking flight. It’s an experience that’s perfect for the entire family and is guaranteed to be a dinner to remember!

A variety of ticket packages are available for families, with options to include VIP first row seating and framed photos, priority castle access and even VIP birthday seating.

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Museum & Gallery at Bob Jones University

Museum & Gallery at Bob Jones University

This gallery and museum located in the heart of Bob Jones University has been open to the public since 1951 and its vast collection of artwork draws visitors from across the country.

Travelers will find some 200 Gothic-style pieces, 100 unique sculptures, 60 various textile designs and more than 1,000 ancient artifacts. Collections include the Old Masters Paintings, Russian Iron, Bowen Collection of Antiques and more. Baroque, Egyptian and even contemporary art works are beautifully displayed in the well-kept rooms of this incredible gallery and museum.

Visitors can explore the museum on their own, or combine it with a tour of this historic university. This is the perfect destination for old-world art lovers.

Please note: The Museum & Gallery at Bob Jones University is currently closed for renovation. However, many artworks can be found on campus and in museums around the globe.

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Grand Strand

Grand Strand

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The Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach is 60 odd miles of Atlantic coastline that’s ever-changing business-lined boardwalk and spectacular beach sunsets ensure fresh visitors year after year. Filled with restaurants, carnival games, souvenir shops and the occasional beach-side pub – the Grand Strand’s seemingly never-ending stretch of beach is one of the main attractions in South Carolina. Making the most of both the ocean and the available greenery, you’ll find plenty of golf courses, beach-side resorts, and amusement parks along the Grand Strand, as well as icons like the Springmaid Pier and the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk & Promenade.

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Myrtle Waves Water Park

Myrtle Waves Water Park

Myrtle Waves Water Park pumps some 1.2 million gallons of water daily through churning wave pools, meandering rapids, super slides, and calming raft rides, perfect for cooling down during the hot South Carolina summer. The state’s largest water park features more than 30 attractions catering to both thrill seekers and the tiniest visitors.

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WonderWorks Myrtle Beach

WonderWorks Myrtle Beach

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WonderWorks Myrtle Beach is an amusement park with more than 100 interactive exhibits to engage your mind and imagination. Built in an upside-down “top-secret laboratory” that was mysteriously transported from Bermuda to Myrtle Beach, this family-friendly park features six wonder zones, laser tag, a glow-in-the-dark ropes course, and a 6D motion ride.

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Barefoot Landing

Barefoot Landing

A stroll around South Carolina’s Barefoot Landing on the Waterway is an ideal way to spend an evening in North Myrtle Beach. With more than 100 shops and restaurants, there’s a tantalizing variety of sundries, souvenirs, and sustenance. There’s also an alligator park, a 7-D cinema, a live tiger attraction, and a lovely view of the riverfront.

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Greenville

Greenville

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At an elevation of nearly 1,000 feet, Greenville sits on the front doorstep of the Appalachian plateau. Within a 45-minute drive from town, visitors can be flying through the trees on a zipline and splashing through Class III rapids, or kayaking to waterfalls that spill directly into nearby Lake Jocassee. The convenient proximity to adventure, however, isn’t Greenville’s only perk; the city itself has recently emerged as a burgeoning Southern hub, where shopping, dining, and local art all thrive in Greenville’s downtown. Take a stroll or ride a bike on the city’s Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 19-mile, multi-use trail that passes the waterfalls of Greenville’s Falls Park and the iconic Liberty suspension bridge. Escape to the hills of Caesars Head State Park for a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and return for an evening of perusing the shops and restaurants of tree-lined Main Street. Though this upstate town has endured its share of economic unrest, it’s now in the midst of a healthy revival where cycling, shopping, dining, and art are welcome staples of a new economy and new, much improved Greenville.

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Ripley's Marvelous Mirror Maze

Ripley's Marvelous Mirror Maze

Don't miss the chance to wander the quirky LED-lit hall of mirrors at Ripley's Marvelous Mirror Maze in Myrtle Beach for a few minutes of baffling fun. This kid-friendly labyrinth is located right on Ocean Boulevard, steps from the boardwalk, making it a great detour for an entertaining adventure.

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Ripley's Haunted Adventure Laser Strike

Ripley's Haunted Adventure Laser Strike

Thrill seekers and adrenaline fanatics enjoy Ripley's Haunted Adventure Laser Strike, which combines the spookiness of a haunted house with the thrills of laser tag. With tickets to this live action haunted experience, you can shoot zombies, run from monsters, and try and keep your cool in the dark. Expect to hear some screams as you go.

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