Let’s face it, South Carolina is not the biggest state in the United States. There are so many more that would engulf us, but the fact of the matter is, South Carolina has so many crooks and crannies that it would take a lifetime to see all that it has to offer and you may still miss a spot or two. There are more hidden gems in South Carolina that anyone could know. Here are 17 of them that I assure you are worth taking a detour for.
1. Bluffton, SC
While many people flock to places like Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head, you can visit and become enchanted with Bluffton. There are delightful cafes, charming shops, and grand and glorious inns. There are antique shops, art galleries, as well as beautiful homes to see. Take you time and enjoy!
2. Reedy River Falls, Oconee Country
Just a bit off a 2-lane road you will find this beauty of nature. It's not that it is a secret, it's just that it's not marked well enough for most people to catch it before they have passed it by miles. Visitors are more than welcome and it's just a short walk to the destination. If you are ever up that way make sure you look for the tell-tale stone columns and a small placard that marks the spot.
3. Walhalla, SC
Walhalla, SC is a mountain city rich in history. It was settled by Germans in the 1800's and its name means "Garden of the Gods". It's not wonder considering the beauty of the area. Walhalla is also home to a few hidden gems including Kudzu Kabin Designs, Issaqueena Falls, and Stumphouse Tunnel. With so much to see, why not take a weekend to discover the "Garden of the Gods"!
4. Aiken Golf Club, Aiken, SC
When people come to South Carolina to golf they always seem to head straight for the coastal golf courses. They usually have to endure long wait times when they do this. However, in the heart of Aiken, SC, there is a golf course just a little bit down the road from downtown. It was first opened in 1903 and still holds that rustic charm as it did then. Many golfers find the course a challenge; more so than other courses in South Carolina.
5. Chattooga River and Pendleton, SC
It's hard for some to fathom that South Carolina is not just a state with beaches. We are so much more. The Chattooga River offers whitewater rafting and there are hiking trails, parks, and lakes to fish. There are waterfalls to discover as well. There is shopping to be done in Pendleton as well as quaint places to get a bit to eat.
6. ACE River Basin
The name itself is an acronym for Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers. More than 1.1 million acres of low islands separated by small rivers, marshes, swamps, and creeks.
The land is home to a horde of wildlife and you are welcome to visit most of it. It may sound like a huge task, but you don't have to do all of it. Go ahead and explore the land we love so much.
7. La Bastide des Lavendes, York, SC
It's the first official lavender farm in South Carolina and all the products are SC Certified Grown. The have tours there and you can buy their products on-line from their store. They have really great honey and soap products! For more information you can visit: http://www.sclavender.com/
8. Abingdon Manor, Latta, SC
This is truly a gem of a place. The manor was built 1902-1905 in the Greek Revival style. It is a mixture of opulence and bed and breakfast inn that has an award-winning chef on board. During the day you can play golf, go shopping for antiques and sundries, or explore the rich history that abounds in the area.
9. Ovis Hill Farm, Timmonsville, SC
Ovis Hill Farm is a working sheep ranch as well as so much more. They offer organic produce, cheeses, and meats such as lamb, beef, and chicken.
Every year they have a fall festival and have activities for young and old alike. You can make butter, paint your own gourd for bird nests, see sheep shearing, and learn to make your own yarn. Who could expected that this was right here in South Carolina?
10. Hatcher Garden, Spartanburg, SC
Hatcher Garden rests in the city of Spartanburg, SC and is a quiet and serene setting to get out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Why not visit now while the flowers are blooming and the trees are leafed out providing that much needed shade from the summer sun?
11. Moore Farm Botanical Gardens, Lake City, SC
Snugged in between fields of soybeans and cotton is the Moore Farm Botanical Gardens. It is 50-acres of pure tranquility.
You can go for a visit and just stroll among the flowers , shrubs, and trees or you can plan a day when they have activities available. Don't be shy...they love visitors.
12. The River Room & Keminski House Museum, Georgetown, SC
In among all the tourist spots you will find some places that are just magnificent. The River Room offers a respite from your shopping, great food, and a view of the river.
When you are done taking a rest at the River Room you can visit the Kaminski House Museum. Take a tour through the 18th century home that is filled with original antiques and splendor.
13. Hagood Mill, Pickens, SC
It is a water-powered grist mill that was originally built in 1826. Also on the grounds are a blacksmith shop, cotton gin, two restored log cabins, a gift shop, and so much more. Should definitely be on your to-do list!
14. Cooper's County Store, Salters, SC
The building has been restored over time, but it still offers the wide variety of things that you would never find anywhere else in one place. Cooper's offers everything from whole smoked hams to shotguns and everything in between. It reminds me of when I was growing up. There were more of these around then, but time and corporations have run most of them out of business. Take the time to visit and let them know you appreciate their hard work.
15. Thieves Market, Florence, SC
HIdden in plain sight on Palmetto Street is the Thieves Market. Walking in the door is like walking through time and space to 'when it used to be'. You can spend hours going through the isles and think you were there for just a moment.
16. Top Hat Specialty Teas, Florence, SC
They have been there for 15+ years and I only discovered them this year. I feel so cheated! This little shop is tucked away on Evans Street. When you walk in you are greeted by a delightful woman and you choose your seating.
You can choose from a variety of special teas. My favorite is the Russian Tea. I think I can drink a whole pot. The dishes that you order are delightful as well and they have a special of the day. They also have a "Tea" and a "Victorian Tea" you can choose which comes with all the goodness of what you believe a tea should be. I, myself, have a love affair with the scones that comes with lemon curd and Devonshire cream. Top Hat is the true definition of a hidden gem!
17. Jim Harrison Art Gallery, Denmark, SC
In the small town of Denmark, SC, there lives a painter who paints the landscapes of South Carolina. I know Jim and he knew my mother. He is a delightful man who never stops thinking or painting. The art gallery is worthy of that detour I am talking about. You will not believe you eyes. And, when you are done there you can go to the Wee Bake Bakery for a fresh baked dessert!
There is so much packed in this state! Rich in natural beauty and culture there’s no wonder the love I have for South Carolina. It is even better to know that I can find something new around every turn of the road. What are some other hidden gems that no one knows about? Would you like to share them? Please, do so in the comment section below.