South Carolina Tourist Attractions

By | January 3, 2023

Special churches

First Baptist Church in Columbia
The First Baptist Church in the city of Columbia is one of the oldest Baptist churches. The First Baptist Church was built in 1856. A meeting met here on December 17, 1860, which unanimously decided to withdraw South Carolina from the Union. The church was built in the style of the Greek Revival. First Baptist Church has been on the list of Historic Places since 1971 and on the list of National Historic Landmarks since 1973.

Contact 1306 Hampton Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29220

Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Charleston
The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in the city of Charleston was inaugurated in 1854, but still under the name Cathedral of Saint John and Saint Finbar. This cathedral burned down in 1861 and was rebuilt under the current name of Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. The foundation stone was laid in 1890 and the cathedral was completed in 1907. The cathedral is made of reddish brown sandstone and can be attributed to the architectural style of the Gothic Revival. The bell tower is 51 m high, making it the tallest building in Charleston.

Contact 120 Broad Street
Charleston South Carolina 29401

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia
The Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in the city of Columbia was built from 1845 to 1894 and is the first episcopal church and the oldest existing church building in Columbia. The church was built in the neo-Gothic style and bears great resemblance to the York Minster in York (England). Trinity Episcopal Cathedral has been on the list of Historic Places since 1971.

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Contact 1100 Sumter Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29201

Church of the Holy Apostels near Aiken
The Church of the Holy Apostels near the city of Aiken is an episcopal church that was built between 1856 and 1857. The church was built from cypress wood in the Gothic style. The Church of the Holy Apostels has been on the list of Historic Places since 1972.

Contact 1706 Hagood Ave
Barnwell, South Carolina 29812

House of Peace Synagogue in Columbia
The House of Peace Synagogue in the city of Columbia is a former synagogue. The building was originally located at 1318 Park Street, but the building was moved to its current location in the 1980s. After the former synagogue was no longer used for its intended purpose, it was used as a nightclub and called the Big Apple Club. Gervais Street Bridge has been on the list of Historic Places since 1979.

Contact 1000 Hampton Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29201

French Huguenot Church in Charleston
The French Huguenot Church in the city of Charleston, in the district known as the French Quarter, is, as the name suggests, a former French Huguenot church. The church was built in the Gothic Revival style from 1844 to 1845, making it the oldest church of this architectural style in all of South Carolina. The white church shines particularly beautifully in the sunshine and together with the palm trees on site and the construction of the church, colonial influences can be seen. Today’s services are held in English, but once a year, at the beginning of spring, a service in French. French Huguenot Church has been on the list of Historic Places since 1973.

Contact 136 Church St
Charleston, South Carolina 29401

Zoos, parks and amusement parks

Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia
The Riverbanks Zoo in the city of Columbia is a mixture of zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. The Riverbanks Zoo covers an area of ​​approximately 0.69 km² and has over 1 million visitors annually, making it the most visited attraction in South Carolina. The zoo has over 3,000 animals, the most impressive of which are African elephants, gorillas, grizzly bears, lions, tigers, zebras, giraffes, crocodiles, reticulated pythons, diamond rattlesnakes, green mambas and king cobras are. The Botanical Garden offers more than 4,200 species of indigenous and exotic plants on an area of ​​280,000 m². The botanical garden can be easily accessed on your own through a path system. Riverbanks Zoo has been on the list of Historic Places since 1973.

Contact 500 Wildlife Parkway
Columbia, South Carolina 29210

South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston
The South Carolina Aquarium in the city of Charleston was opened in 2000 and is located in the city’s historic harbor. The South Carolina Aquarium is home to more than 10,000 plants and animals.

The largest tank in the aquarium is the Great Ocean Tank with a capacity of 1.46 million liters. Among the highlights of the South Carolina aquarium are loggerhead turtles, jellyfish, puffer fish, moray eels, octopuses, stingrays, Mississippi alligators, Nile crocodiles and of course sharks. However, North American otters and rattlesnakes also live in the aquarium.

Contact 100 Aquarium Wharf
Charleston, South Carolina 29401

South Carolina Botanical Garden in Clemson
The South Carolina Botanical Garden covers an area of ​​1.2 km² and is located on the campus of Clemson University in the city of Clemson. In addition to hiking trails that lead through the different departments of the botanical garden, there is also a small museum. And best of all: admission is free.

Contact 150 Disovery Lane
Clemson, South Carolina 29634

Greenville Zoo
The Greenville Zoo in the city of Greenville was opened in 1960 and covers an area of ​​approximately 57,000 m². The zoo’s most impressive residents are certainly African elephants, lions, Mississippi alligators, giraffes, orangutans and red pandas. The Greenville Zoo has over 270,000 visitors annually.

Contact 150 Cleveland Park Drive
Greenville, South Carolina 29601

National parks

Congaree National Park
The Congaree National Park covers an area of ​​approximately 107 km² and is located south of the city of Columbia. The mostly swampy area is home to the last large holdings of old hardwood forests in the United States. These form one of the highest natural “roof areas” in the world. The Congaree National Park was founded in 1976, but has only officially been a national park since 2003. The park offers visitors several hiking trails such as the Bluff Trail (1 km), the Weston Lake Loop Trail (7.4 km), the Oakridge Trail (12 km) and the King Snake Trail (18 km). But the most popular hiking trail is the approx. 4 km long boardwalk loop, a boardwalk that leads through the swamp. There are also approx. 32 km of marked canoe routes in the Congaree National Park. The park also offers campsites and is a paradise for bird watching. About 135,000 people visit Congaree National Park each year.

Contact 100 National Park Road
Hopkins, South Carolina 29061

Protected areas

Francis Beidler Forest near Charleston The
Francis Beidler Forest is a nature and wildlife sanctuary in southern South Carolina, northwest of Charleston. The reserve is located on the Four Holes Swamp, a black water river. The protected area covers an area of ​​approximately 65 km². The swamp landscape is mainly characterized by swamp cypresses and has so far been spared human influence, so it is primary forest. In addition to the visitor center with a small museum, there is an approx. 3 km long hiking path that leads along a boardwalk through the swamp. Here are some trees that are over 1,000 years old. Canoe tours are offered when the water level is high.

Contact 1336 Sanctuary Road
Harleyville, South Carolina 29448

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge near Awendaw
The Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is an approximately 267 km² wildlife sanctuary in the south of South Carolina on the Atlantic coast, near the town of Awendaw. The reserve includes barrier islands, swamps, bays and beaches. The Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge has existed since 1932 and is primarily used to protect migratory birds such as the wood stork and yellow-footed plover. The Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge also serves as a conservation area for loggerhead turtles. The visitor center gives the visitor useful and interesting information about the flora and fauna.


Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge
The Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge is located east of South Carolina, near the city of Garden City. The reserve was established in 1997 and now covers an area of ​​approximately 93 km². Plans for an expansion include an extension of up to 200 km². The protected area offers a place of retreat especially for endangered species such as bald eagles, swallows and cockatoo woodpeckers.


Tybee National Wildlife Refuge
The Tybee National Wildlife Refuge was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 and is located in the far south of South Carolina on the Georgia border. The Tybee National Wildlife Refuge covers an area of ​​approximately 0.4 km² and is used to protect migratory birds.


Francis Marion National Forest
The Francis Marion National Forest is located in the north of South Carolina and covers an area of ​​approximately 1,050 km². The forest reserve was established in 1936. The forest reserve is named after the founder of modern guerrilla warfare Francis Marion. Hurricane Hugo in 1989 uprooted almost all old trees so that most of the trees in the area are younger today than they were in 1989. The Francis Marion National Forest comprises a total of 4 other protected areas, the Hell Hole Bay Wilderness, the Little Wambaw Swamp Wilderness, the Wambaw Creek Wilderness and the Wambaw Swamp Wilderness. Visitors to the Francis Marion National Forest or other protected areas can enjoy water sports, hiking trails, mountain bike trails and campsites.


Sumter National Forest
The Sumter National Forest is a protected area and national forest located in northwestern South Carolina. The Sumter National Forest is located at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Sumter National Forest was established in 1936 and now covers an area of ​​approximately 1,499 km². The Sumter National Forest is named after Thomas Sumter, a general in the American War of Independence. The Sumter National Forest also includes parts of the Ellicott Rock Wilderness.


Ellicott Rock Wilderness
The Ellicott Rock Wilderness Conservation Area was established in 1975 and covers an area of ​​approximately 33 km². The Ellicott Rock Wilderness encompasses the area around the point where the states of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina meet. The Ellicott Rock Wilderness Reserve is the only one of its kind that spans 3 U.S. states. The Chattooga River flows through the area.

Other natural beauties

Hunting Island State Park at Beaufort
Hunting Island State Park is located in southern South Carolina east of the city of Beaufort. The main component of Hunting Island State Park is the island of the same name, Hunting Island. This subtropical barrier island is an exception to many other barrier islands in Sout Carolina because it has not yet been developed. The area has been protected as a state park since 1935 and now covers an area of ​​approximately 20 km². The island of Hunting Island impresses visitors with its approximately 6.5 km of beach, swamps that can be walked along a boardwalk and the historic lighthouse Hunting Island Light from 1875. This has been on the list of historic places and since 1970 is also the only public lighthouse in South Carolina. The state park campground is located directly on a lagoon and is ideal for overnight stays. There are a total of approximately 10 km of hiking trails in Hunting Island State Park. With over 1.2 million visitors annually, the Hunting Island State Park is the state’s most visited state park.

Hunting Island State Park at Beaufort

Contact Saint Helena Island, South Carolina 29920

Turtle hatch

On the beach of Ediso Island south of Charleston on the Atlantic, the little turtles hatch from their eggs buried in the sand between July and September. They are the young of the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), whose shell can grow up to approx. 120 cm in size in the adult animals – with a weight of over 100 kg.

The color of the back armor is red-brown, while the belly armor is colored rather yellow-brown. In English, the animals are called Loggerhead Turtle. The hatching event is accompanied by numerous spectators and professional helpers. The animals are now strictly protected, so that the majority of the young animals can reach the sea. The eggs are also guarded to protect them from predators. Incidentally, the adult animals always come back to the egg-laying place where they hatched themselves.