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Carolina country with a serious southern accent

South Carolina offers enough variety to keep visitors busy for weeks. That should be just long enough to start speaking with a little bit of a southern accent.

This is a state of variety, with beautiful beaches, remote islands, charming cities and towns, watery wilderness, great golf, interesting history, watersports, mountains, and much more. From the Lowcountry on the Atlantic coast to the Upcountry in the mountains, South Carolina has something for everyone.


South Carolina's Atlantic Ocean coastline is famous for good reason. When you combine the beaches of the Grand Strand area around Myrtle Beach with the charming city of Charleston and the resort islands in the south, you have a coastal vacation combination that's hard to beat.

The Myrtle Beach area along the famed Grand Strand is one of America's premier beach destinations. The wide ribbon of surf-smoothed sand runs for 60 miles from the Little River to the historic town and tidelands of Georgetown. It has become a complete vacation paradise (see sidebar).

Natural beauty, a climate with distinct but mild seasons, and a variety of activities almost as limitless as the seashells have all made the Grand Strand the choice for vacation and retirement for generations of Carolinians, along with a swelling tide of national and international tourists. Myrtle Beach has become a popular year-round vacation destination, with temperatures averaging in the 80s in the summer, cooled to comfort by a seabreeze, and in the 50s in winter, warmed by the sun.

In the center of South Carolina's Lowcountry region sits the city of Charleston, one of the south's prettiest cities. This historic colonial port city boasts 73 pre-Revolutionary buildings, 136 from the late 18th century, and more than 600 others built prior to the 1840s. Visitors can wander along cobblestone streets, smell the sea breezes, explore antique shops and boutiques, and treat themselves to delicious fresh seafood. Charleston's journey through time provides a southern twist to American history.

South of Charleston sits some of the finest resort islands and coastal country in America. Hilton Head Island, with its four main resort communities of Palmetto Dunes, Port Royal Resort, sea Pines, and Shipyard Plantation, features more than 12 miles of broad beaches, world-famous golf, and many other vacation activities.

Hilton Head, other resort islands, and the historic town of Beaufort provide perfect bases for exploring South Carolina's Lowcountry. The marshes are alive with the calls of birds, leaping fish, alligators, and much more. It's easy to explore the wetlands on your own or with one of many excellent outfitters offering a wide range of tour options.


The central part of the state features more outdoors opportunities, as well as the modern touches of the state capital in Columbia. Several interesting areas in this region include Pee Dee Country, Santee Cooper Country, Thoroughbred Country, Lake Murray Country, and Columbia.

In the north, Pee Dee Country is famous for the drama of the great outdoors, dramatic stock car racing at Darlington Raceway, and the exploits of Francis Marion, a Revolutionary hero who used his cunning and courage to evade the British during many drama-filled skirmishes. From roaring engines and guns to the quiet of nature, Pee Dee Country is sure to please.

The calling card for the Santee Cooper Country is water. The wild Santee River and the quiet Cooper River combine to make some of the region's finest sport fishing and recreation. Additional attractions like Cypress Gardens draw outdoors lovers in the thousands.

To the south, Thoroughbred Country is horse-and-rider heaven. The year-round green pastures rolling across the sandhills is perfect for one of the state's most celebrated "crops." Fine horses (and many visitors) thrive beneath the wide and warm skies in this open countryside. The sophisticated horse set has found the landscape and historic towns like Aiken to their liking and so will travelers.

In the center of the state, Lake Murray Country and the city of Columbia provide many outdoors and indoors diversions. Outdoor pleasures abound on Lake Murray, a 50,000-acre impoundment of the Saluda River. It features 525 acres of shoreline and legendary populations of stripers, bass, bream, and crappie.

Indoor pleasures abound in Columbia, the cultural, political, and spiritual capital of South Carolina. Just as its fathers planned it two centuries ago, Columbia is at the center of everything, serving as the seat of government, a hub of the arts, the home of many fascinating museums, and the gateway to the wealth of South Carolina's many riches. City highlights include the South Carolina State Museum, the Governor's Mansion (closed for renovations this summer), the Governor's Green, the State House (closed for renovations this summer) the State Farmers' Market, and the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden.


The northwest section of the state features the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as much more history and outdoors activities. The Cherokees called this range the Great Blue Hills of God and it's easy to see why.

The Olde English District features a touch of Britain, with town names like York, Lancaster, Chesterfield, and Camden. Interesting diversions include the Museum of York County, Kings Mountain National Military Park, Paramount's Carowinds, Historic Brattonsville, and the Radisson Grand Resort, a 2,200-acre Christian resort that was once the realm of Jim and Tammy Bakker.

To the south, the Old 96 District takes its name from a British fort that was 96 miles south of the Lower Cherokee Capital of Keowee. Today, the Old 96 is an area of living history, with friendly historic towns like Abbeville, retirement communities, and open country that has become a sportsman's paradise.

Finally, Upcountry Carolina welcomes South Carolina visitor to the mountains. Along with stunning mountain scenery, other Upcountry highlights include tasty peaches, whitewater river fun on the Chatooga, and much Cherokee Nation history.

From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, South Carolina is a state steeped in variety. It's sure to give any vacationer a big smile and at least a little southern accent.

For more information, contact the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (TravelAmerica Magazine) at P.O. Box 71, Columbia, SC 29202, (803) 734-0122).



The Myrtle Beach area offers a beach vacation at its best. The Spanish were the first to drop anchor in these charmed coastal waters. Their settlement didn't last long, but the word was out. Since then, the world has come to fish, swim, sunbathe, retire, boat, snorkel, golf, eat, shop, and enjoy the Grand Strand with a teen's eye for romance.

Several activities have become Myrtle Beach vacation traditions, making any visit much more than a day at the beach. Along with sun-drenched sand, many Myrtle Beach days can be filled with golf, shopping, and entertainment.

Golf has become a year-round attraction in the Myrtle Beach area. More than 80 championship courses are available to golfers on the Grand Strand. Designers include the famous names of Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Dye, and Fazio, as well as many more of the world's best-known players and architects. Maybe that's why more than three million rounds are played every year in this golf mecca.

Shopping is another "sport" that has a passionate following in Myrtle Beach. Shoppers flock to such popular treasure hunting sites like the Waccamaw Outlet Park in Myrtle Beach. Barefoot Landing at North Myrtle Beach is an unusual outdoor mall on the waterfront that features an assortment of shops and boutiques. At the Hammock Shops down on Pawley's Island, shoppers can see and buy world-famous hammocks and much more.

Myrtle Beach has also become a major entertainment center in the past few years, as the lights have come up and the stars have appeared on the stages of a dazzling array of family entertainment complexes. Some of the most popular options include the Carolina Opry, Dixie Stampede, Alabama Theatre, Broadway at the Beach, Dixie Jubilee, Fantasy Harbour, EuroCircus, Myrtle Beach Opry, Southern Country Nights, and Medieval Times. It's an entertaining way to spend many evenings.

There are many other exciting Grand Strand options. Some possibilities include: several amusement parks and attractions for kids and kids at heart; one of the world's finest sculpture collections at Brookgreen Gardens; outdoors adventures along the coastal waters; the newly-opened Oceanic Adventures aquarium; many historic museums; quiet Huntington Beach State Park; restored rice plantation homes; and quiet little communities like Georgetown, Murrells Inlet, and Pawley's Island.

For more information, contact the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Info Center 15 P.O. Box 2115, Myrtle Beach, SC 29578-2115, (803) 626-7444 or (800) 356-3016 (brochures only).