South Carolina is renowned for its lush wooded areas and gorgeous beaches, but it also has plenty of historic points of interest. The state’s storied past includes its slave trade history, secession from the Union and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and it has left its mark on towns like Greenville, Charleston and Columbia. From plantations and prisons to ruins and monuments, the state is rich in historical sites to explore.
While many of these historic places are available for tours, you may be able to save money by skipping the guided experience and opting for a self-guided tour instead. Many of the state’s museums offer free admission on certain days, or you can save a few bucks by visiting during an off-peak time.
The state parks can be a big draw for families with kids, and you can find a variety of free activities at some of them. In Columbia, Dreher Island State Park offers nature-based boat tours, kayaking adventures and fossil hunting as well as a Nature Center that hosts educational programs. This manmade lake near Columbia also has fishing, golfing and recreational opportunities on its 50,000 acres of land.
Some of the state’s parks also offer discounted entry for so-called snowbirds, those who live in the southern states for part or all of the year. Snowbirds can purchase a state park passport for less than $10 per day, which provides a 30-day stay at half the normal price. These so-called pass holders can also save on camping fees at select state parks as well.
One of the best and most historic places to visit in South Carolina is Middleton Place, a restored plantation that offers visitors an authentic taste of 18th and 19th century life. The house is full of original furniture, and the property’s gardens are spectacular. The nearby Old Sheldon Church Ruins are another historic point of interest that is a must-see.
If the outdoors isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of things to do in the state’s quaint cities and towns. The quaint town of Chapin hosts free movie nights at Melvin Park, and Newberry has a farmers market that features kids’ activities.
South Carolina is home to more than 47 parks, and many of them are free to enter. If you want to visit more than one, consider purchasing a state park passport that costs less than a single day at some of the most popular parks in the country. A 7-day pass is available for $65, and a year-long passport can be purchased for $99. These passes include access to all the state’s parks, and they also grant discounts at the state’s biggest attractions such as the castle at Huntington Beach State Park. In addition, they offer other discounts on restaurants, hotels and other attractions. This makes it an excellent option for anyone looking to maximize their savings while exploring this beautiful state. You can purchase your state park passport online or at the participating parks and other attractions throughout the state.