There is no better way to enjoy South Carolina in July than with some of the Fourth of July fireworks and patriotic celebrations around the state. Later in the month, there are festivals toasting our wonderful watermelon, sumptuous shrimp and, best of all, barbecue.
July Fourth Celebrations
Watch a spectacular fireworks display from the flight deck of the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Charleston Harbor. It's free to watch from the shore, or you can buy special tickets and watch on deck. Festivities landside of the historic World War II aircraft carrier include live music and food truck, with fireworks starting after sundown.
The highly celebrated Broadway at the Beach offers fireworks year-round, but the July Fourth celebration is one not to be missed. Stroll the boardwalk to watch the pyrotechnics over the 23-acre Lake Broadway and enjoy the lively atmosphere of this dining and entertainment complex.
Bring a picnic dinner and watch a fantastic fireworks display from the expansive lawn at Unity Park. Parking is limited at the park so guests are encouraged to park at one of the downtown garages and hop on the downtown trolley offering free shuttle service to and from the event. Events start at 6 p.m. with the fireworks show at 9:45 p.m.
You don't have to be on the water to enjoy the 4th of July Celebration on Lake Murray. This fun family event features dozens of boats cruising at noon from Bomb Island to the Dreher Shoals Dam. It can be viewed from the park sites at the Lake Murray Dam. The fireworks show - the largest in the state - takes place at dark from two locations: Spence island and Dreher Island. The show is choreographed to a patriotic concert that airs simultaneously on a local radio station. Watch the display from the dam parks or Dreher Island State Park.
If you're along the coast, check out the Murrells Inlet Boat Parade - which brings together more than 130 boats a mile long cruising by this beachside town. Docks along the marsh side also are festooned with patriotic flair, and one of the best viewing spots is the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk.
A folksy way to mark the holiday is Hillbilly Day, which celebrates the culture and crafts of Appalachia with arts and crafts, barbecue, a greased pig chase, clogging contests, horse-drawn wagon rides and bluegrass music. Festivities are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Other Fun July Events
Charleston City Marina's MegaDock has become a grand billfishing arena. Fisherman can enter to win prizes for top billfish release points, heaviest meat fish, youth anglers and lady anglers. Plus, every evening throughout the tournament, the day's catches will be on the docks for display. Get in on the action in person or through an online livestream of the event here.
For some real down-home flavor, check out the South Carolina Festival of Discovery in Greenwood. Meet some of the best barbecue cookers from all across the country and sample the goods from a barbecue and hash cook-off. The festival's "Blues Cruise" will feature blues artists performing at Uptown Greenwood restaurants and venues.
Georgia might be called the Peach State, but here in South Carolina, we grow way more peaches and salute the beautiful fruit with a celebration at the home of the most famous peach of all, the Peachoid in Gaffney. Celebrate peaches at the South Carolina Peach Festival, which starts off with dessert and live music followed by a road race, dog show, beauty pageant and tractor pull. The festival also features a new Talent Night and the always spectacular, SC Peach Festival Parade.
Beaufort Water Festival celebrates the river and ocean that define the area's culture, food and daily life. Kids and adults alike will enjoy water activities, a Lowcountry Supper and nightly concerts during this weeklong celebration.
The next-most Southern food on the festival menu is shrimp, and you will find that at the May River Shrimp Festival. Watch how the pros "head" shrimp, then enjoy their work with cocktail sauce or over grits. There's tons of local food, crafts and live music.
Most festivals in South Carolina celebrate our homegrown food and nothing says summer in the South like watermelon. The Pageland Watermelon Festival brings together so many Southernisms, you'll think you're in a movie. There's a beauty pageant, with contestants vying for the title of Watermelon World Queen, a seed-spitting contest, a watermelon-eating contest (with some pretty strict rules, mind you), as well as a parade, car show, food vendors, music and rodeo.