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Ten of South Carolina’s Most Walkable Downtowns

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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Who says you need a dirt path or rocky trail to go hiking? City sidewalks have become a favorite in-town option for traveling trekkers.

Instead of gazing upon scenic waterfalls, mountains and rivers, you can ooh and aah at historic architecture, cascading fountains and public works of art. And the fare you'll find in the local eateries will certainly beat the smashed peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich in your backpack.

Sally forth, urban hikers! Here are 10 wonderfully walkable downtowns:

1. Abbeville

People walking past shops in downtown Abbeville
Abbeville’s walkable Court Square is a hub of shopping and dining.

Settled in 1758 by a group of French Huguenots, Abbeville is a quintessentially Southern town featuring a lovely town square and a restored turn-of-the-century opera house.


2. Aiken

People walking past horse mural downtown Aiken
Walk - don't ride - through Downtown Aiken and enjoy the public art.

Once an equestrian winter colony for well-to-do northerners, Aiken has an inviting downtown filled with art galleries, shopping and dining. The town's Gilded Age is still evident at the grand Willcox Hotel, which honors the town's horse history and culture.


3. Beaufort

Couple looking at boats and walking Beaufort's waterfront
Take a scenic walk along Beaufort's Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

One of the few U.S. cities to have its entire downtown designated as a National Historic Landmark District, the seaport city of Beaufort boasts oak-shaded streets lined with stunning pre-Civil War homes and a picturesque waterfront park with walking paths.


4. Bluffton

Two women with shopping bags walking past antebellum house
Take a walk past Seven Oaks on Calhoun Street, one of eight antebellum homes in Bluffton.

Built on the banks of the pristine May River, the quirky tidewater town of Bluffton features eight antebellum homes and the colorful Calhoun Street with its eclectic mix of shops, cafes and art galleries.


5. Charleston

Colorful row houses and sidewalk with autumn trees
Stroll past the colorful homes of Rainbow Row in Historic Charleston.

There's a reason Charleston has consistently been named one of the "Best U.S. Cities" by Condé Nast Traveler. Its rich history, well-preserved architecture, narrow cobblestoned streets and award-winning restaurants will knock your socks off.


6. Columbia

University buildings and brick walkway lined with trees
Get a sense of USC’s storied past when you walk the historic Horseshoe.

Columbia's downtown is home to the State House, along with the University of South Carolina's famed Horseshoe, a lush quadrangle surrounded by 19th century buildings. You've also got Main Street and The Vista - capital city hot spots for shopping, dining and art.


7. Georgetown

Couple walking on boardwalk as children look at boats
Georgetown's Harborwalk runs between the shops and restaurants of downtown and the Sampit River.

Georgetown, the nation's third oldest seaport, has a charming downtown lined with historic homes, grand old churches and museums. A grassy waterfront park and the recently renovated Harborwalk add to the ambiance.


8. Greenville

People on suspension bridge looking out at park with trees, a river and waterfalls
Enjoy gorgeous views of Greenville when you walk the suspension bridge at Falls Park.

Greenville's revitalized downtown is ranked among "America's Ten Best" by Forbes. The centerpiece of the shopping and entertainment district is beautiful Falls Park and its signature pedestrian suspension bridge – a favorite of downtown walkers. 


9. Spartanburg

People sitting around the fountain at Morgan Square
Mosey around Morgan Square in Spartanburg, site of Music on Main and other events.

At the heart of Spartanburg's downtown is Morgan Square, a gathering spot since 1787 and site of the iconic 19th century town clock. Many of the area's historic buildings date back to the textile and railroad boom that occurred between 1880 to 1920.


10. Summerville

Historic white home with azalea garden
Summerville's azaleas and gracious homes make for a breathtaking walk.

Some 700 buildings in Summerville's azalea-rich downtown district are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Among the most notable is a three-story Victorian house where cosmetics executive Elizabeth Arden once lived.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.