Get Your Free 2024 Vacation Guide

Start planning your ultimate South Carolina adventure with a free copy of the 2024 Vacation Guide. Request your free copy, view the guide online or download a PDF version below.

Vacation Guide Cover
View Our Other Guides

A Road Trip to Ignite Your Appetite

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
More from "Libby Wiersema"
Darius Rucker with people dining
When it comes to road trip food stops, Darius Rucker carries a torch for South Carolina.

Darius Rucker might have sampled all kinds of delicious delicacies across the country during his 2023 Starting Fires Tour, but when it comes to road trip food stops, he carries a torch for South Carolina. The three-time Grammy-winning superstar, big-hearted philanthropist and proud Charleston native has spent a lifetime dining all over the Palmetto State and is always adding to his list of favorites. Here, he shares some of his hottest picks, from upscale dining rooms to casual cafes to down-home dives.



top down image of a salad at CAMP in Greenville
CAMP offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience in Greenville.

Start in Greenville

CAMP, Greenville
This bistro distinguishes itself by serving a globally inspired menu in contemporary spaces (chef’s counter, modern dining room, sleek bar, pretty patios and rooftop bar) for a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

Hot Pick: Pork & shrimp dumplings with salsa macha (spicy, nutty salsa from Veracruz, Mexico), peanut, cilantro

Chicora Alley Restaurant & Bar, Travelers Rest
The sparks are always flying at this airy restaurant-bar-coffee shop operating in a former firehouse. Southern-Caribbean dishes, live music and its proximity to the Swamp Rabbit Trail make it one of the liveliest eateries in town.

Hot Pick: Shrimp & grits topped with jerk shrimp, roasted red pepper cream sauce, bacon and mango salsa

Bobby’s BBQ, Fountain Inn
Darius Rucker’s love for barbecue is no secret, so it’s no surprise this local icon landed on our list. Self-taught pitmaster Tay Nelson has put the town of Fountain Inn on the smoked meat map with his brisket, pulled pork, ribs, turkey, sausage and line of seasoning blends.

Hot Pick: Toss-up between brisket and housemade sausage



two people enjoying cocktails at Terra
The farm-to-table menu at Terra is chockful of fresh flavors.

Columbia is 103 miles from Greenville

DiPrato’s Delicatessen, Columbia
This neighborhood gem—just off the beaten downtown path—is part Southern cafe, part Italian bistro, part New York deli. Its luscious lunches and breezy brunches are renowned. Think gooey paninis, crisp salads, juicy corned beef, and benedicts with rich hollandaise.

Hot Pick: Smoked gouda and bacon pimento cheese with fresh-fried pita chips

Terra, West Columbia
Local producers get top billing on Chef Mike Davis’ farm-to-table menu chockful of fresh flavors. Dishes are creatively and expertly executed to impress guests—and you will be among them.

Hot Pick: Grilled Carolina Heritage Farms pork chop

Bernie’s Chicken, Columbia

Welcome to the fried chicken joint of choice for legions of locals. A University of South Carolina alumnus and Gamecocks fan, Rucker loves its proximity to Williams-Brice Stadium. Tailgating doesn’t get more delicious or convenient than that.

Hot Pick: Fried chicken with crinkle-cut fries, slaw and a side of baked beans


Grand Strand

eggs benedict at Johnny D’s Waffles and Benedicts
Johnny D’s Waffles and Benedicts serves up delicious breakfast treats at three locations.

The Grand Strand is 152 miles from Columbia

SeaBlue Restaurant & Wine Bar, North Myrtle Beach
Contemporary American cuisine meets classic French at SeaBlue, which showcases South Carolina’s coastal bounty plus expertly prepared steaks, lamb and duck.

Hot Pick: Pan-seared crab cakes with arugula, Dijon aioli, lemon and extra virgin olive oil

Big Mike’s Soul Food, Myrtle Beach
Big Mike Chestnut uses his mother’s original recipes to create meat-and-three plates that are generously laden and infused with Southern flavor. Don’t forget the cornbread and sweet tea.

Hot Pick: Toss up: collard greens or peach cobbler

Johnny D’s Waffles and Benedicts, North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach
Delicious benedicts, buttery pancake stacks, fresh egg platters and all the extras—home fries, grits, biscuits—get elevated treatment, thanks to proprietor Jamie Daskalis, a South Carolina Chef Ambassador.

Hot Pick: Red velvet waffle drizzled with cream cheese icing, topped with cinnamon sugar and butter



Top down table top view of a bowl and utensils at FIG in Charleston
Darius has made no secret of his affinity for FIG (an acronym for Food is Good) and lauds its use of locally sourced ingredients.

Charleston is 99 miles from Grand Strand

FIG, Downtown
Every dish served at this dining icon honors the Lowcountry’s unique culinary heritage. Darius has made no secret of his affinity for FIG (an acronym for Food is Good) and lauds its use of locally sourced ingredients. James Beard Award-winning Chef Mike Lata doesn’t just strive for excellence—he epitomizes it.

Hot Pick: Ricotta gnocchi alla Bolognese

Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ, Upper King
Named “Best Chef: Southeast 2018” by the James Beard Foundation, renowned pitmaster Rodney Scott keeps the whole-hog traditions of South Carolina alive and smoldering at his aromatic barbecue joint. Follow your nose and experience the magic of cooking low and slow.

Hot Pick: Whole hog pulled pork slathered in Scott’s signature vinegar pepper sauce

Bowens Island, Charleston
Heaps of freshly roasted local oysters, Frogmore stew (a.k.a. Lowcountry boil), and straight-off- the-boat shrimp served in rustic surroundings on the water’s edge create a laid-back, ultra-local dining experience at this James Beard American Classic eatery.

Hot Pick: Oysters, fried or roasted on the half-shell

Kaminsky’s Dessert Café, Downtown
End your night in Charleston the Darius way. Head to Kaminsky’s near the Charleston Market, where you’ll find a mind-boggling selection of decadent sweets, all made fresh daily. From cheesecakes and layer cakes to pies and cobblers to milkshakes and sundaes, indulge in your favorite or discover a new one.

Hot Pick: Coconut cake


Hilton Head Island

Darius Rucker with people at an oyster roast
Oyster roasts are a fall tradition along South Carolina's coast.

Hilton Head Island is 98 miles from Charleston

Annie O’s Kitchen, Hilton Head Island
Southern dishes, conscientiously prepared—that’s the calling card of this casual eatery, which uses all-natural ingredients, free-range chicken, grass-fed beef and wild-caught, sustainable seafood.

Hot Pick: Chicken n’ dumplings with pulled white and dark meat, biscuit dumplings and vegetables in a light, saucy base

The Crazy Crab, Jarvis Creek
From the menu to the views, the Lowcountry takes the spotlight here. Traditional oyster roasts, Lowcountry boil and fresh shrimp and fish are all part of the magic here, as are the stunning sunsets and marsh views.

Hot Pick: She-crab soup with a basket of hush puppies

Nectar Farm Kitchen, Bluffton
This farm-to-table spot fits in just right with historic Old Town Bluffton charm. Brunch is a special occasion here, so sit back, slow down and savor it all with a Farmhouse Bloody Mary.

Hot Pick: Lowcountry fried bird, a buttermilk biscuit, fried chicken breast and poached egg sandwich drizzled with sawmill gravy


Now that your appetite is fully involved and burning for a taste of South Carolina, go ahead and blame Darius Rucker. Fires might not start themselves (as he croons in his new hit song), but this one can easily be contained. So come on down and experience the time-honored culinary traditions of South Carolina.

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.