November in South Carolina brings much-welcomed cooler days and harvest celebrations. It's a great time to be outside and learn about the Palmetto state's history.
Nov. 5-6, Camden
Reenactors from more than 20 states gather in Camden Nov. 5-6 for one of the country's oldest Revolutionary War reenactments. Take a step back in time to experience the sights, smells and tastes of the 18th century at Revolutionary War Field Days, with campfire cooking competitions, Colonial games, craftsmen and activities for kids. A historically accurate battle between British and Continental camps starts at 1:30 p.m. both days. Get ready for the sounds of cannons and flintlock rifles - and the smell of gunpowder.
Nov. 5, Johns Island
In colonial days, families gathered each fall to celebrate the harvest with a day of eating, music and fun. That spirit is captured in Charleston County each fall at the Harvest Festival at the Mullet Hall Equestrian Center on Johns Island. Five local bluegrass bands will provide the entertainment for a day of hay rides, pumpkin decorating, archery, crafts, barbecue-eating and more. The winners in the youth archery competition will take home a frozen turkey - just in time for Thanksgiving.
Nov. 5, Charleston
If the food and drink is from south of the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Mississippi River, it's welcome at the Lowcountry Hoedown. Sample the work of dozens of distilleries, craft breweries and restaurants at this celebration of Southern fare set to bluegrass music. The fun runs from 7-11 p.m. at the Charleston Visitor Center Bus Shed. Tickets are $40 for this all-inclusive, 21-and-older party.
Nov. 10-13, St. Helena Island
Celebrate the Gullah/Geechee/Sea Island history, folk arts, food, music, crafts and cultural legacy during Heritage Days at the Penn Center. The event takes place Nov. 10-13 on the 50-acre grounds of the Penn Center, home to one of the South's first schools for former slaves and their descendants. The weekend includes demonstrations of West African and Gullah culture including quilting, basket and net making, Gullah storytelling, African drumming and dancing.
Nov. 11-12, Clover
The Scottish Games and Scotch-Irish Festival bring a taste of Gaelic culture to the town of Clover. It starts with a Friday night ceili (pronounced kay-lee, it's an Irish word for party), followed by a Saturday festival of arts, crafts, Scottish athletic competitions, games, music and traditions in New Centre Park in Clover.
Beginning Nov. 11, James Island
Holiday magic comes to life at the Holiday Festival of Lights Nov. 11-Jan. 1. Hop in the car and drive a 3-mile route through James Island County Park, illuminated with millions of multicolored lights and more than 700 light displays. Then park your car and explore. There's shopping, food, games and entertainment - even a sculpture made from more than 50 tons of sand. Or you can hop aboard the holiday train for an up-close look at the lights.
Nov. 19, Camden
Each spring and fall, historic Camden because the center of the steeplechase racing world. On Nov. 19, the prestigious Colonial Cup to the Springdale Race Course, offering a chance to enjoy the crisp fall weather and watch some amazing thoroughbred horses. Plus, the "Fall Cup" is a can't-miss social event for the thousands who show up for a day of tailgating. (Get there early so you don't miss the terrier races - a crowd favorite.)
Beginning Nov. 19, Columbia
Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in Columbia is one of the country's best and most popular zoos. During the holiday season, it shines at night, too. Opening Nov. 19 and running through Dec. 30, more than 1 million lights will twinkle on the zoo grounds, along with dozens of animated images lining the walkways at the Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks. Santa will be there for visits each night through Dec. 23, and you can sip hot chocolate around the jingle bell bonfire. Don't expect to see many animals at night, though-most will be off catching an evening nap.
Nov. 26, Little River
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, boats light up the water in Little River for the Intracoastal Christmas Regatta. Staring off at Little River Inlet at 5 p.m., the parade of boats travels south to the Dock Holidays Marina. Restaurants along the parade route plan special menus and events, while there are plenty of public landings and places along the shoreline you can gather to watch the colorful parade. Spectators are encouraged to donate a new toy to Toys for Tots, with collection points at marinas in Little River and North Myrtle Beach.