From fragrant botanical gardens abloom in spring to sprawling forestlands dazzling in fall colors, South Carolina is a year-round wonder of natural beauty.
In May, paddle the Catawba River or hike the 1.5-mile Canal Trail in Landsford Canal State Park in Catawba to see the largest known stand of Rocky Shoals spider lilies. Or stroll through Swan Lake Iris Gardens—the country’s only public park to feature all eight swan species—in Sumter to see more than 120 varieties of iris.
Just 30 minutes from South Carolina's capital city, Lake Murray is a glittering jewel of deep-blue waters and more than 650 miles of coastline. Take in its beauty on a sunset cruise, and see swarms of purple martins fill the sky June through August.
Drive the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway (South Carolina Highway 11) for spectacular fall foliage and stop at Keowee-Toxaway State Park in Sunset and Table Rock State Park in Pickens along the way. Or perch on the Blue Ridge Escarpment overlook at Caesars Head State Park in Cleveland to watch migrating hawks.
With its mild winter temperatures, South Carolina is ideal for visiting year-round. Stroll through Charleston’s Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, the last large-scale romantic garden in the U.S., to marvel at 20,000 pink, white and red camellias in bloom.