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When You’re in A ‘Southern State of Mind’

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Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.
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I could be anywhere / In my heart I’m always there – “Southern State of Mind”

A Charleston native, Rucker’s love of the Lowcountry has influenced his entire musical career, from his days at the University of South Carolina where he and three friends formed Hootie & the Blowfish to his solo country albums. Songs like “Southern State of Mind,” “Lowcountry,” and “In a Big Way” provide a glimpse of that laid-back, no-need-to-rush lifestyle that keeps Rucker’s heart in South Carolina.

A coastal vacation is a great way to relax and unwind. Let the laid-back charm of South Carolina’s small coastal towns set the tone of your next getaway. Immerse yourself in a slower way of life, whether its relaxing in a hammock on Pawley’s Island, strolling Harborwalk in Georgetown, or exploring the enchanting world of Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet. From riding a bike under a canopy of trees to whiling away an entire afternoon and sipping sweet tea on the front porch, this is the slow unwind Darius Rucker croons about in “Low Country.”

Around here, fishing is a way of life, and no trip to the coast would be complete without enjoying some of the fresh, local seafood South Carolina is known for. You can cast a line yourself or snag the catch of the day straight from the dock.

If you love oysters, you’ve come to the right place. South Carolina’s oyster season runs from October through April, with the coldest months being the best for enjoying these tasty delicacies. Whether you’re overlooking the Atlantic Ocean from a rooftop restaurant in Charleston or docking-and-dining along the shores of the state’s “Great Lakes,” rest assured you’ll dine on some of the tastiest seafood you’ve ever had.

Cypress trees tower above the murky black waters of Cypress Gardens, a 175-acre swamp and garden featuring four miles of walking paths, a walk-through Butterfly House with free-flying butterflies, and a reptile habitant aptly named the Swamparium. The word “swamp” may not conjure up images of a secluded wonderland with an abundance of wildlife, but if you’ve ever watched Noah and Allie in that iconic Notebook boat scene, you already know just how stunning cypress swamps are.

Speaking of that boat scene, it was filmed right here at Cypress Gardens along with several other well-known movies, including The Patriot, Cold Mountain and Swamp Thing. Visitors can paddle along a marked trail in one of the famous flat bottom boats for truly unique views of the gardens and wildlife.

Located just outside of Columbia is Congaree National Park, a designated Wilderness Area, International Biosphere Reserve, Globally Important Bird Area and National Natural Landmark. Home to the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland forest remaining in the southeastern United States, Congaree encompasses over 20,000 acres that that visitors can explore by either foot, kayak or canoe. Get an in-depth look at the park on a ranger-guided walk that will take you past the stunning bald cypress trees, some with circumferences as big as 26-plus feet and "knees" reaching 7.5 feet.

Southern hospitality is a point of pride in South Carolina, and there’s no better way to experience true Southern hospitality, complete with some front porch rockin’, than at a bed-and-breakfast.

Clevedale Historic Inn and Gardens offers a quiet, peaceful escape just minutes away from the bustle of Spartanburg. Enjoy your morning coffee at Clevedale’s Roman Bath, one of the most serene spots on the property, and your evening relaxing on the spacious porch of this elegant 1913 estate.

Experience the pleasure of an English country hotel at Abingdon Manor in Latta, a small luxurious inn and restaurant known for its award-winning culinary arts. In addition to their already luxurious amenities, Abingdon Manor offers plenty of ways to enhance your stay, from massage services to gift baskets and champagne.

If you’re looking for a front porch that offers stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, head to Table Rock State Park. Nine of Table Rock’s 14 cabins were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a work relief program established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression. The cabins are all fully furnished with bath and bed linens, basic cooking and eating utensils, and an automatic coffee maker, plus they have heating and air conditioning, so they’re perfect to stay in year-round.

The Palmetto State’s culinary scene is famous for its quality ingredients, originality and thriving farm-to-table movement. Bring classic Southern dishes like shrimp and grits, boiled peanuts and Frogmore stew to your table with some help from these recipes.

No matter what you’re making, there’s no better accompaniment to a good Southern meal than a flaky, buttery biscuit still warm from the oven. In South Carolina, you’ll find biscuits on the menu with every meal, served up with eggs at breakfast, chicken at dinner and gravy anytime in between. Whether you top them with butter, honey, jam or event pimento cheese, there’s no wrong way to enjoy biscuits. The ideal biscuit is a matter of personal preference and there’s a recipe to suit every palate. Bring a taste of South Carolina to your table with Chef Sarah Simmons’ recipe for buttermilk biscuits. Once you learn how to make them, you’ll want to make (and eat) them all the time.

No matter what state I'm in, I'm in a southern state of mind. – “Southern State of Mind”
Discover Writer
Discover Writer
More from "Discover Writer"
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.