The sound of an alarm clock is the last thing you want to hear when you’re on vacation—unless you’re getting up to experience a South Carolina sunrise.
There’s no better way to start your day than watching the sun paint the sky a fiery palette of yellow, orange and red. You’ll find great spots all across the state to watch nature’s morning miracle.
Here are 11 of the best places—and ways—to see a sunrise in South Carolina:
1. Lake Wateree State Park in Winnsboro. Enjoy a beautiful sunrise from the boat dock or along the shore at the end of the park’s nature trail.
2. Kayak tour of Capers Island. Coastal Expeditions’ tour to the remote barrier island at the edge of the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge often leaves just before daybreak, offering paddlers the opportunity to sit in the still water and soak in the beauty of the sunrise over the salt marsh.
3. Turtle Walk at Myrtle Beach State Park. Join a park ranger for the 7 a.m. sea turtle patrol offered Fridays from June through the first week of August.
4. Florence Veterans Park. You can’t help but be moved watching the sun rising above the park’s centerpiece—an obelisk featuring a bronze eagle created by internationally renowned sculptor Alex Palkovich. If you’re lucky, you may catch the soulful music of a bagpiper who often plays in the park in the early morning.
5. Sunrise hike to Table Rock. Climbing 2,000 feet of mountain in the middle of the night might seem crazy—until you get to the top of Table Rock and see the sun beginning to rise above the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you’re up for the challenge, sign up for one of the park’s ranger-guided sunrise hikes.
6. Campsites at Dreher Island State Park outside Columbia. You’ll get a great view of the sunrise over Lake Murray from tent campsites 11 to 14 or RV sites 51 to 60.
7. Boyd Pond Park in Aiken. The best spot to watch the sun rise over the forest is from the pond’s shoreline near the paved trail.
8. Fly fishing in Beaufort. Experience the break of day from one of Beaufort’s beautiful tidal rivers and creeks. Fishing guides, like those at Bay Street Outfitters, get out early when the redfish are biting.
10. Chattooga Belle Farm in Long Creek. From the rolling hills of this u-pick plantation, you’ll get a panoramic view of the sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Stay until the farm store opens and pick up a couple of jars of jam for breakfast.
11. Fishing for catfish in Lake Marion. Book a trip with Inky Davis or one of the other Santee Cooper fishing guides and take in a spectacular sunrise while you try to reel in one of the lake’s famed monster catfish.