Search the internet for the “worst South Carolina cities” and you’ll come up with a list published last year by Roadsnacks.net. In it, ten of South Carolina’s
charming and historic towns are laid out on the chopping block and touted as the worst places to live in the state. Since we love every community, town and city in South Carolina we simply don’t agree. Look for a thorn and you’ll see a thorn…but look for the rose and you’ll see so much more. Here are those 10 misunderstood towns in South Carolina and why they’re actually…well…amazing!
South Carolina's first stop for travelers headed down I-95 is Dillon. Unless you're headed to Myrtle Beach, you probably haven't made it past the fireworks stands or gas stations at the Dillon exit. But Dillon is actually a quaint little city in the Palmetto State. Home to a Southeast distribution center for Harbor Freight Tools and a big yarn factory, this city is full of hardworking people whose families have called Dillon home for generations.
For an adventurous outing, head over to Lake Norton at Little Pee Dee State Park in Dillon for some great fishing, boating and hiking.
Union's downtown is chock full of history, including wonderful architecture representing several styles. In 2009 the Union County Carnegie Library was named the
#1 Best Small Library in America by Library Journal. Side note: The "list of worst cities to live in" taunted readers by pointing out that Union (population about 9,000) "doesn't even have a Facebook page yet." So what.
Life in the "prettiest town in Dixie" (population about 5,800) seems like a Norman Rockwell painting. St. David's Episcopal Church, an historic landmark, is a must-see if you visit. You may also want to stop by the town square for a selfie with the bronze of one of Cheraw's most famous natives, jazz artist Dizzy GIllespie.
Chester? Really? Have you started to notice a pattern in the towns and cities that made that list? They're all small, but not tiny. Chester, population approximately 5,800, is located about an hour to the north of Columbia and just off I-77. Folks here look forward to the annual HILLarity Festival on the Hill, held each October in Downtown.
You'll find much charm awaiting in Chester's historic district, including within the walls of City Hall (shown here). Built 1890-91, the third floor was originally an opera house but the opera house was destroyed in a fire in 1929 and wasn't restored/rebuilt after.
Marion, South Carolina is a quiet little city with about 7,000 residents. Town Square boasts a statue of Gen. Francis Marion, who fought in the Revolutionary War.
Be sure to visit the Marion County Museum, built in 1886 as a school and now filled with artifacts.
Beautiful and charming Abbeville should never be on a list of "worst places to live." This quaint small city of about 5,000 people takes pride in the history here. Known as both the birthplace and deathbed of the Confederacy, Abbeville is steeped in pride over the title.
Many notable historic buildings and homes line the streets of Abbeville. Check out the Opera House if you get an opportunity.
Lancaster, South Carolina (population estimate 9,000) is the perfect place to head to if you love gawking at gorgeous old houses. Plus, you'll find 12 commercial buildings downtown that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
While you're here, you'll want to visit Andrew Jackson State Park, built in 1952 to honor the only South Carolina-born president. Be sure to grab a photo with the big bronze statue of Jackson on a horse, sculpted by Anna Hyatt Huntington of Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, SC.
8. Lake City
Once known as the bean capital of the world, Lake City, South Carolina is now wrapped in a shroud of pride for being the birthplace and home of Ronald McNair. McNair worked for NASA and was one of the astronauts who lost their lives when the space shuttle Challenger disintegrated shortly after takeoff in 1986.
Downtown Lake City has much character and is worthy of a visit. While you're in Lake City you should also stop by Moore Farms Botanical Garden, a must-see in the Palmetto State.
The pleasant city of York, South Carolina is less than 30 miles from Charlotte and has a population of about 8,000 people. The proximity to Charlotte means many things for this small city, among them the advantages that come with being part of such a large metro yet still living in a small place. Compared to Charlotte, York almost feels rural.
The charismatic streets of historic downtown York will take you back in time.
There's a lot of "upside" to living in Darlington. Firstly, there's the speedway, the city's most well-known attraction. But for the roughly 6,200 people who live in Darlington, the city has much more to offer than just NASCAR.
The city of Darlington is actually home to FIVE Historic Districts. You can explore them all by way of your computer at the links provided
Or, get in your car and head to South Carolina's Race Capital and see them in person.
These small cities and towns in South Carolina are nothing short of spectacular. If you love history, charming old neighborhoods and streets lined with old buildings that are well-maintained and have much character, then you’ll love all 10 of these wonderful small cities in the Palmetto State.
To set the record straight: they’re all great places to live.