South Carolina Small Towns January 12, 2023
Visit These 12 Incredible Charming Small Towns In South Carolina, One For Each Month Of The Year
Over 70% of South Carolina’s cities and towns are small towns, based on a total population of less than 5,000. When you’re looking for someplace new to explore more of our great state, consider visiting the following 12 incredible charming small towns in South Carolina, one each month of the year. If you’d like to take some fun day trips over the course of the year, you might be surprised by all that these towns offer.
January – Smyrna
We're starting our small town adventure with
South Carolina's smallest town, Smyrna
, which has a population of only about 58 people as of 2021, up slightly from 45 at the 2010 Census. Being so tiny, there isn't a whole lot to see or do here. You may like to drive by the tiny post office building on Main Street, where you'll also see a historical marker for the town. Grab a bite to eat about three miles away at Hwy 5 Grub & Pub. Some menu favorites are the homemade burgers, delicious mac 'n cheese, and the hamburger steak plate. It's also a wonderful breakfast spot. The experience here alone makes your drive worthwhile to see this tiny town.
February – Westminster
Westminster is located in the upstate region (northwestern) of the state and has a population of 2,363 as of 2021. The charming old Southern Railway Passenger Station on East Main Street is a historical landmark, commemorating the strong railroad history of the area. Also on East Main, you can visit the
Oconee Heritage General Store Museum
, which will feel like a step back in time. Farther along on East Main Street, stop by Yousef's Kitchen for a delicious home-cooked meat-and-three meal. If you'd like to stay overnight, check out the historic Magnolia Manor Bed and Breakfast. It's a popular, award-winning wedding venue in addition to its overnight accommodations.
Westminster, SC 29693, USA
March – Yemassee
If you've never been to see the Old Sheldon Church Ruins in Yemassee, here's your chance to see this stunning historical landmark. Yemassee is in the lowcountry area of the state and has a population of 1,115 as of 2021. You may also like to visit the Lowcountry Living Room (also pictured here), a 4,000-square-foot meeting and events venue, coffee shop, and antiques boutique. There are so many
fun things to do in Yemassee
, including the Le Creuset Clearance Store for a little shopping, the Marine Barracks at Yemassee (another historical landmark), and more!
April – Lake City
While not technically a small town, the population of Lake City has been on the decline, down to 5,929 in 2021 from 6,675 in 2010. It's located in Florence County which is in the PeeDee region of the state. Nature lovers will enjoy the
Moore Farms Botanical Garden
which covers 65 acres. Be sure to check details on planning a trip there, as it does not have regularly scheduled visiting hours. During the month of April, an 11-day arts festival called
takes place in Lake City. You'll want to plan accordingly if you want to visit the town during this festival.
The Olio Studio downtown is a great place to explore your own artistic abilities or visit the Jones Carter Gallery if you'd just like to look at art rather than create it. And then head to Slabs for wood-fired BBQ while enjoying a natural setting where bald eagles are commonly spotted. The restaurant has binoculars available while you eat. There's also a 1935 Dodge Brothers antique automobile on display, a store, and art gallery. Check out the Inn at Crossroads boutique hotel if you'd like a place to stay overnight.
May – Cheraw
Cheraw, located in Chesterfield County in the PeeDee region (northeastern) of the state, is one of the larger small towns in this list at a population of just under 5,000. Here you can visit the beach without going to
Cheraw State Park
. There are many other things to do at the Park including a golf course. Also in Cheraw, check out The Vintage Dandelion to shop for all kinds of treasures, Theatre on the Green for live entertainment, and Rivers Edge Restaurant for classic American fare.
June – Ridgeville
Ridgeville, a small town in the lowcountry of South Carolina with a population of 1,548 as of 2021, has a unique treat awaiting you. You're going to want to stop by Hutch's Kuntry Kookin to fill your tank, meaning your stomach, not your car. And here is where you definitely don't want to judge a book by its cover, so to speak, or it will be your loss! It's a secret local gem where daily specials are said to go fast, so you may want to get there early for more options.
Once you've filled up, head to
Lane Tiny Farm
for a goat social! Yes, you read that right. This is a homestead raising Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf goats, among the friendliest goats around! Their pint-sized stature makes them ideal for cuddling and petting, and they love to play and socialize. People of all ages are welcome ... the goats have never met a stranger and love everyone they meet! It's a ticketed event that sells out quickly, so visit the website for more information and to purchase your ticket. You can also stay overnight on the farm if you'd like and there's availability.
Ridgeville, SC 29472, USA
July – Wagener
Wagener is another one of the tiny towns in South Carolina, with just 645 people in 2021. It's located in Aiken County, which is part of the midlands region. Have a delicious lunch at
The Little Bake Shoppe and Deli
downtown on Main Street North. Then head over to the Wagener Museum, which is a featured stop on the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor, for a journey back in time to the era of the family farm and "The Swamp Rabbit" train. The Museum displays artifacts and documents telling of the life and times of community residents since 1887 when the railroad reached the area. History buffs will especially enjoy a look at the Bicentennial Wagon. In 1976 all 50 states were represented in the Bicentennial Wagon Train Pilgrimage to Pennsylvania. Wagener was honored to receive the official South Carolina Conestoga Wagon in 1977.
August – Mountain Rest
The mountains are often sought during the warmest times of the year and the town of Mountain Rest is just the place for this. Take a getaway trip to the
Mountain Rest Cabins and Campground
. Here you can bring your RV or tent to camp out or go glamping in one of its cabin, chalet, or cottage rentals. The area is full of recreational activities such as fishing, hiking, whitewater rafting, and mountain biking. There is a gift shop on site for a little shopping. This upstate area small town's population comes in at 1,808.
Mountain Rest, SC 29664, USA
September – Aynor
The little town of Aynor, with a population of 1,021 in 2021, is known as "The Little Golden Town" because of its friendliness and pride. Like so many of South Carolina's small towns, it started out as a railroad town and then became a major producer of cotton, tobacco, and turpentine. In Horry County, part of the PeeDee region of the state, you'll want to visit in September so that you can participate in the famed
annual Harvest Hoe-Down Festival
, held on the third Saturday in September. If you like burgers, you'll also want to stop by Ned's for a famous Ned's Burger, possibly the largest burger in the state! Next to Ned's, you can't miss the Aynor Train Mural, which is a part of the 60-mile Myrtle Beach Arts and Gallery Trail. The mural depicts the town's railroad and tobacco-producing history. And as you can see above, on the side of Ned's restaurant is a mural devoted to its locally-famous burger, also a part of the arts trail.
October – Daufuskie Island
The tiny town of Daufuskie Island has a population of only 533 people, but it's one of the most charming areas of South Carolina. It's only accessible by ferry, but well worth a visit. In October, the Island holds its most anticipated event of the year, the Daufuskie Fall Fest at
. The marina also has a restaurant you can enjoy any time of year.
If you'd like to stay overnight on the island, you'll need to keep in mind that you won't have a car. You can rent a golf cart at the marina to make traveling around the island more convenient. Check out these cute,
Colorful Cottages of Daufuskie Island on Airbnb
as an option for your overnight stay. You may also enjoy taking a Guided Daufuskie Island History and Artisans Tour, where you can delve into its rich, fascinating history.
Daufuskie Island, SC 29915, USA
November – Ridgeway
Ridgeway is the second tiniest town on our list, coming in at only 267 residents. Yet, here you may be surprised to find some really unique attractions, including the historic
World's Smallest Police Station
, which has been featured in a movie and was an official rest stop in the 2006 Centennial Olympic Torch Relay! Also in Ridgeway, enjoy a some of the best food you can find at the
Olde Town Hall Restaurant and Pub
, just next to the tiny police station landmark in a charming circa 1901 brick building.
And if you time your visit right, you can also participate in the state's largest barbecue cookout, Pig on the Ridge, which usually attracts about 70-75 teams from both the Carolinas and Georgia as well as over 3,000 visitors and community volunteers. It's held the first weekend in November. For such a tiny town, Ridgeway sure packs a mighty powerful punch!
December – Winnsboro
And last but certainly not least, we recommend a visit to the small town of Winnsboro, located in the Midlands region in Fairfield County just north of Columbia with a population of 3,163 in 2021, for a fun
Christmas train ride at the South Carolina Railroad Museum
. All aboard .... with who else but Santa Claus?!
Head over to the Barn Express after your train ride for a delicious all-you-can-eat country buffet! Next, stop by the Artists CoOp for a delightful experience shopping for all types of unique artisan treasures, a variety of classes offered, and a really special atmosphere. If you've got any Christmas shopping to do, this is a great place for knocking some of that out, too!
Which of these small towns would be first on your bucket list and why? Please tell us in the comments section below!
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