The Deep South: South Carolina

22/07/2016

The very words, ‘The Deep South’ undoubtedly conjure up so much intrigue; be it the history, politics or people.  It is one of those places that should be on everyone’s wish list to visit, but it is a huge area of America.  Spreading from Virginia down to the Gulf of Mexico, one thing is for sure, it’s too big and has too much to see to do it all in just one trip. 

Although Nashville. Memphis and New Orleans may be the obvious tourist destinations, there are other fascinating areas that you shouldn’t overlook, South Carolina being one of them.  The relatively small state is ideal for people who love history but also appeals to those looking for incredible beaches as well as golf and sporting facilities – and of course a huge hospitable welcome! 

The main historical pull of South Carolina is Charleston...

The pastel-coloured, picturesque town has a rich history reflected in its’ architecture from Georgian townhouses to austere Federal style halls and Greek Revival churches.  To get the feel for this city take a horse-drawn carriage tour to enjoy the boulevards and beautiful mansions which line the streets down to the crystal blue sea. Charleston had a fundamental role in the American Civil War too.  It was here, from Fort Sumter in the harbour, that the first shots rang out, hailing the start of the War.  Now you can catch a boat tour to see the island with its original guns and fortifications.

Also, ever present in Charleston’s history, is the shameful role it played in the country’s slave trade.  The last remaining Slave auction house, Ryan’s Mart, is now a museum illuminating the slave experience.  The open air market which auctioned African men, women and children in the mid 1800s includes some chilling artifacts, such as leg shackles, and you can listen to the first-hand recollections of former slave Elijah Green and others.

Just 11 miles from downtown Charleston on Hwy 17N, Boone Hall Plantation is famous for its magical Avenue of Oaks, planted by Thomas Boone in 1743. Boone Hall is still a working plantation, though strawberries, tomatoes and Christmas trees long ago replaced cotton as the primary crop. The main house, built in 1936, is the fourth house on the site but the Slave Street cabins, built between 1790 and 1810 are now lined with exhibits.

Another fascinating Plantation house to visit is Drayton Hall. 

Dating back to 1742, this is the oldest plantation mansion open to the public in the country.  Although it is now completely empty with peeling walls, it still remains a remarkable Georgian Palladian beauty.

And when you’ve had your fill of history and want to relax there are endless leisure opportunities in South Carolina too.  Along the coast are the Sea Islands each with its’ own character and style.  Some are highly developed resorts like Hilton Head Island, and others like Edisto Island, located 50 miles southeast of Charleston still boast stately old plantation homes, beach houses on stilts and ancient oak forests. The two miles of sandy beaches around the island are great for swimming and shell collecting.

Hilton Head Island is the most developed with 22 golf courses and is fringed by 12 miles of white sandy beaches.   Driessen and Folly beaches are run as parks and are the archetypal all American beach hang outs - and don’t forget the plentiful supply of seafood all along this coast! 

Mrytle Beach is changing...

To the north of Charleston is the coastal town of Myrtle Beach with an incredible 60 miles of golden sand.  Although it made its name with theme parks and has over 100 golf courses, nowadays there are new boutique hotels, high-end malls and innovative restaurants all raising the standard. 

South Carolina is a State overflowing with fascinating history - and living proof that the legendary Southern hospitality really exists!

The Deep South is best enjoyed as a multi-centre trip, take a look at our Deep South Highlights and our South Carolina road trips for some inspiration!

Visit South Carolina and other parts of the US with one of our multi centre holidays.

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