Relaxing Outdoor Experiences in South Carolina
What made me smile from the moment I began my descent into South Carolina was the sheer amount of expansive green I could see below me. Clearly, this state on the southeastern coast of the U.S.A. invites its visitors to relax and explore its beautiful natural landscapes. I was fortunate to visit numerous state parks, gardens, beaches, marshes and even golf courses on my trip, all of which provided exactly the type of outdoors experiences I was looking for: relaxing, low-key and unique to South Carolina.
Natural Wonders Along the Coast
Hilton Head Island is a beautiful place where the locals are committed to sustainable living. No neon billboards hinder your view of the sky. Residents protect Loggerhead sea turtle by turning off their beach lights at night during sea turtle nesting season. From shore birds to dolphins, wildlife is abundant here. Hilton Head Island also offers championship golf courses including the Harbour Town Golf Links, home to the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage golf tournament. While you’re here, you must ride a bicycle along the miles of beachfront and enjoy the serenity, or for a little more adventure, try out ZipLine Hilton Head at Broad Creek Marina.
In Charleston, take advantage of the walking tours through beautiful gardens and plantations, walk along The Battery, stroll along the promenade overlooking the marsh land at sunset or take a romantic carriage ride through the city to view the historic Antebellum houses. Or, get closer to nature by kayaking and standup paddle boarding through the Lowcountry waterways.
Myrtle Beach is a family-friendly favorite with dolphin watching tours, fishing, parasailing and any other water sports you can think of. Walk or jog along the 1.2-mile-long oceanfront boardwalk and stop to take a ride on the famous SkyWheel.
Outdoor Adventure Beyond the Coast
It’s not just South Carolina’s beach destinations that offer beautiful sights and activities for nature lovers. Near the state capital of Columbia, Lake Murray covers 202 square kilometers and is a boating favorite. I enjoyed several hours having fun by just jumping off the boat and soaking up the sun. Near Greenville, a bustling city in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, you can hike or bike ride along the trails of some of the best state parks.
In South Carolina’s so-called Upcountry, the northwestern region of the state, you will find some of the prettiest waterfalls you can imagine. Some are easily reached by the road, whiles others, like Laurel Fork Falls in Devil’s Fork State Park, require a more adventurous spirit. And if water sports are your preference, then you’ll be excited to know that South Carolina has 12 major lakes that offer great water activities such as boating, canoeing, houseboat camping, fishing and water skiing.
As you can see, South Carolina was made for travelers seeking a relaxing way to reconnect with the outdoors. From the sandy beaches to the tranquil waterfalls to lush forests and mountains, you’ll find many ways to embrace nature.