Darius Rucker crisscrossed the nation in a rousing 2022 summer tour, but there is another tour a bit closer to home he thinks you are going to love. The South Carolina native and country music great knows all about the state’s most iconic locales and wants to share all the excitement, flavors and scenic allure. Queue up your favorite Rucker playlist for the ultimate soundtrack as you navigate this circuit of his most treasured stops.
Start in Greenville
Rucker recommends beginning at the top, and that means Greenville. "It’s got that small town thing that brings out the goodness in people," says Rucker.
Sights to see: Downtown’s Falls Park on the Reedy distinguishes this burgeoning city as one of the most scenic in South Carolina with its serene waterfalls.
Things to do: Just 6 miles from downtown, Paris Mountain State Park offers easy access to hiking, biking, fishing, swimming and paddling on the 8-acre Lake Placid.
Where to eat: Get a real taste of Greenville when you dine at one of its many farm-to-table restaurants. Standouts include Fork & Plough and Carolina Bauernhaus.
103 miles: Columbia
An alumnus of the University of South Carolina, Rucker thinks of Columbia as his second home. "I lived in Columbia for a long time. I go back all the time for the games, and I go back for the people."
Sights to see: The South Carolina State House rises in all its blue granite glory. Take a free tour to see its unique architectural features, including the grand dome, Corinthian columns and six bronze stars that mark where General Sherman’s cannonballs hit.
Things to do: Explore eclectic Five Points, the city’s first village neighborhood and Rucker’s college stomping grounds. See the Hootie & the Blowfish Monument on the corner of Harden Street and Santee Avenue, a small stretch of which was renamed “Hootie Boulevard.”
Where to eat: Housed in a former RC Cola bottling plant, Cola’s defines the concept of casual fine dining with a menu brimming with fresh seafood, cool salads, and juicy burgers slathered in pimento cheese—Columbia’s signature dish.
Sights to see: Take in the beachy vibes of the Atlantic Ocean or drive to nearby Murrells Inlet for the botanicals of Brookgreen Gardens.
Things to do: A huge floating playground, Shark Wake Park in North Myrtle Beach is an obstacle course and cable park for wakeboarding and water sports.
Where to eat: Myrtle Beach’s Hook & Barrel is a must for beachgoers dreaming of the ultimate seafood feast. Think towers of succulent crustaceans, briny oysters on the half shell, flaky corvina and tender shrimp.
99 miles: Charleston
Now that you’re in Rucker’s hometown, devote a day (or more) to experiencing his Lowcountry favorites. "It’s such a small town but it’s also such a big city. You’ve got the beaches, you’ve got the history, the people—and the restaurants are second to none."
Sights to see: Sightseeing cruises by Charleston Tours & Events offer sweeping perspectives of the Holy City, from the Battery’s gracious homes to the steeple punctuated skyline to the majestic Arthur Ravenel Bridge.
Things to do: Book a trip with Gullah Tours to see Catfish Row, the Sweetgrass Market and other notable points of interest, giving a unique glimpse into Lowcountry culture.
Where to eat: Belly up to Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ for lip-smacking smoked meats, crusty-good catfish and melt-in-your-mouth ribs.
98 miles: Hilton Head Island
Unwind like Rucker on one of Hilton Head Island’s beaches—the grand finale of your “mountains to the sea” journey. "Hootie & the Blowfish started playing Hilton Head probably since ’86 or ’87. I’ve seen it grow into this great beach place."
Sights to see: Pedal the bicycle paths of Hilton Head Island for access to tucked away places like Fish Haul Creek Park, a remote 16-acre park marked by wetlands, a beach, salt marshes and a magical maritime forest.
Where to eat: Head to The Old Oyster Factory where you can slurp fresh oysters while basking in the panoramic views of Broad Creek.
Get in a Southern state of mind when you uncover more of Darius Rucker's favorite stops.
Want to learn what makes South Carolina so special? Here’s a hint: It’s not only the places, it’s also the people who call South Carolina home. Listen along to Discover South Carolina’s Devyn Whitmire as she travels through the state interviewing locals who share their unique perspective on places to visit, foods to try and insider travel tips on the Palmetto Porch Podcast. SCPalmettoPorch.com