Mountain to Beach - Charming South Carolina Small Towns

Mountain to Beach - Charming South Carolina Small Towns
Courtesy of Lonely Planet

There are some of the best small towns in South Carolina, from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean.

Charleston's pastel-colored homes or the Grand Strand's golden beaches are likely to come to mind when you think of South Carolina. Besides the big cities, did you know the state has much more to offer?

Charleston, Greenville, and Columbia, South Carolina's small towns and secluded islands are well worth a visit, whether on a day trip or as your main destination. There's plenty to see and do all over the state, including sweet tea, Southern hospitality, and stunning scenery. 

Including some of the slightly larger favorites like Hilton Head Island and Bluffton (which are also worth visiting), small towns in South Carolina with around 15,000 residents or less. These small towns in South Carolina are ideal for mountain getaways or beach vacations without the crowds.

Sullivan's Island

Courtesy of Dunes Properties 

One of the best beach towns in South Carolina is located just a short drive from downtown Charleston. There is a charming main drag, pristine beaches without high-rise hotels or tourist traps, and a historic fort on the 2.5-mile long island. Middle Street - located in the heart of the island - is home to a number of popular restaurants, including Poe's Tavern (a themed eatery with incredible burgers), Home Team BBQ, and The Obstinate Daughter.

Travelers Rest

Courtesy of The Travelers Rest Tribune 

In the shadow of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains, the Upstate South Carolina region is dotted with lakes and rolling hills. Only a short distance from Greenville, Travelers Rest (or TR) offers a taste of small-town life and outdoor adventure. Tandem Creperie and Coffeehouse fuels up before hiking, kayaking, or mountain biking, and Swamp Rabbit Brewery ends the day with a pint. With beautiful grounds and accommodations overlooking the mountains, the Hotel Domestique offers a taste of the Tuscan countryside less than 20 minutes from town.


Courtesy of Historic Georgetown

Georgetown, located between Charleston and Myrtle Beach, is one of South Carolina's lovely coastal small towns. On Front Street, you'll find local shops and restaurants as well as the third-oldest town in the state. Admire the sparkling water as you stroll along the Harborwalk.

Edisto Beach

Courtesy of Airbnb

It's great for a laid-back beach vacation to visit Edisto Beach on Edisto Island. A beautiful beach called Driftwood Beach is found on the Sea Island, which is located between Hilton Head and Charleston. The area doesn't have many large hotels, so consider renting a house here and soaking up the peaceful atmosphere.

Kiawah Island

Courtesy of The Washington Post 

Kiawah is another barrier island on the South Carolina coast that offers seafront serenity and an upscale feel. There are two golf courses on the island, as well as a luxury hotel called The Sanctuary, located on the beach front. Kiawah Island Golf Resort is a primarily privately owned island with championship golf courses. A variety of restaurants and shops can be found in nearby Freshfields Village (including resort wear).


Courtesy of Pinterest 

A quintessential small town in the Midlands region of South Carolina, Newberry lies between Greenville and Columbia. Opera house, antique shops, locally owned restaurants, and more can be found in the well-preserved downtown area. Festivals are also held throughout the year, including Oktoberfest, Christmas, and Pork in the Park.


Courtesy of Crystal Coast 

The historic coastal town of Beaufort is located on Port Royal Island in the Lowcountry. Learn about Gullah culture at historic sites or on a tour, visit ruins and old homes, and more to experience South Carolina's history firsthand.

Daufuskie Island

Courtesy of Wall Street Journal 

In the middle of Savannah and Hilton Head on the coast, Daufuskie Island is the ultimate getaway. Only accessible by boat, Daufuskie Island has a small-town atmosphere, including some cafes and restaurants, the Daufuskie Island Distillery (with delicious spirits like Kona coffee rum), and shops for local artisans. Dolphins and turtles can be seen along the sandy shoreline, so keep an eye out.

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