7 Amazing Hidden Gems in South Carolina
If you want to find the hidden secret gems a place has to offer, there is no better way to talk to the locals. Although South Carolina is not the biggest state that you can visit, there are still some amazing nook and crannies that many people do not know about. Here are seven interesting hidden gems in South Caroline that you really should explore.
The Center for Birds of Prey
Unsplash by: Dennis Buchner
Whether you are a huge animal fan or not, visiting The Center for Bird of Prey is a must. If you are planning a family vacation, it is guaranteed that your kids will adore this place. The center of birds of prey is probably one of the most memorable outdoor experiences you can have in South Carolina. The staff members are incredibly passionate about their job, and the excitement spreads in the air. The vast campus allows visitors to experience these magnificent birds in natural surroundings. It is an excellent opportunity to learn more about conservation and avian science, so make sure to stop by.
Flickr by: Mogollon_1
If you are a runner, this hidden gem of Hammocks Beach State Park will definitely blow you away. It is only accessible by ferry or a private boat. One of the best things about this little hidden treasure is that it never receives a lot of crowds like some other beaches in South Carolina, which makes it a perfect place to spend a relaxing vacation.
In summer you can find the ferry to the island very quickly, as they run frequently. In the fall and spring, they run less often, but in winter, they do not run at all. But do not feel like you are missing out on that wonderful winter landscape, because the summertime beach on Bear Island will make it up to you. It is one of the most majestic beaches you will ever visit. If you are feeling a bit adventurous, camping on the island is also possible.
Running around the island, especially early in the morning, will leave you breathless and motivated to run even more. When you visit the island once, trust me, you will be coming back to it. But do not be fooled, this island can provide a challenge, so proper running gear is essential. Even if you are not a runner, you will be inspired to go for a run once you visit, or just walk around absorbing the beauty, which is also a very valid exercise on the island and you will be doing a lot of it.
Located in the Northwest, Walhalla is a beautiful, small city with a rich history. If you think that the name sounds familiar, you are absolutely right. The city is named after Valhalla, the afterlife of Norse Mythology. If you are looking for a hiking adventure, Walhalla is a great place to start. Towering over the city is the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are filled with beautiful waterfalls. Every one differs from the other, but they will all charm you with their scenic beauty. Some of the most magnificent South Carolina waterfalls include:
- Raven Cliff Falls in Caesars Head State Park
- Rainbow Falls in Jones Gap State Park
- Carrick Creek Falls in Table Rock State Park
- Station Cove Falls just outside of Oconee Station State Historic Site
- Laurel Fork Falls on Lake Jocassee and accessible by boat from Devils Fork State Park
- Wildcat Wayside Falls between Caesars Head and Jones Gapand many more!
Beautiful Lavender Fields
If you are looking for that perfect vacation photo to show off on Instagram, you do not have to go further than a visit one of South Carolina’s first lavender farms; La Bastide des Lavandes, Southern Hills Lavender or Twin Creeks Lavender Fields. La Bastide des Lavandes boats around 6,000 plants and trees planted here in less than six years, and a staggering 60 different varieties of lavender. Although they are not open for public visits, they do offer tours and workshops, so make sure to keep an eye on that. Southern Hills Lavender and Twin Creeks Lavender operated pick-your-own fields.
Hatcher Botanical Garden
Wikimedia Commons by: Rono359
If you imagine the most beautiful place with all the trills of nature combined, such as majestic scenery, and diverse wildlife, then you are imagining Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve. It began as a backyard garden of Harold and Josephine Hatcher in the 60s, but since then evolved into a paradise that is open and free to the public. This 10-acre space is well designed and features many paved paths, six different ponds, many colorful flower beds, and a butterfly garden. Apart from a walk in nature, away from the busy streets of South Carolina, visitors are more than welcome to bring their picnic baskets and enjoy their nature retreat.
Jim Harrison Art Gallery
In a tiny town called Denmark lives a painter with his studio filled with gorgeous paintings of South Carolina’s landscapes. His name is Jim Harrison, and he owns this art gallery. If you are ever near this area, take advantage of the change to visit this place and see the real beauty of South Carolina from the eyes of a local. Apart from breathtaking paintings, you can also find bronzes, etchings, and many reproductions of his 35-year long art career.
Picturesque Light Houses
South Carolina has been a seafaring hub for trading ships since the earliest days of the United States. Today it is home to fishing boats, commercial vessels, and thousands of pleasure yachts. Its coastline stretches for 187 miles and is dotted with photogenic lighthouses. If you will be taking a beach vacation in South Carolina, seek out some of the colorful lighthouses that grace its shores. If you will be boating near Folly Beach, catch a glimpse of the Morris Island Lighthouse (pictured above) that sits in the middle of the ocean now that the land has receded away from the lighthouse.
Visiting out of the way or unknown places has its charm, but the most satisfying thing is believing that this tiny miracle on Earth is your own little heaven. South Carolina is filled with such places, but these out just our personal favorites.