Food is a huge part of the culture of South Carolina. Proclaimed as the birthplace of the barbecue, don’t come without your appetite! Keeping in line with the southern lifestyle of taking it easy, juicy cuts are cooked ‘slow and low’ over hot coals and dressed in its famous combination of sauces – mustard, vinegar, light tomato and heavy tomato. Cooking sits at the heart of family and communities in South Carolina, so expect to take your time as you dine – you may even see one of the renowned ‘pit master’ barbecues, as chefs compete to serve the best meat! Oysters are also everywhere in the Lowcountry, which have been enjoyed in the state since Native Americans owned the land, and are usually topped with lemon juice or hot sauce. To wash it down, try one of the craft beers from the growing brewery scene or a jar of moonshine. For those with a sweet tooth, sweet tea is the beverage of choice – South Carolina had the first tea plants in America and this syrupy drink is the taste of home for many.
The story of South Carolina is not complete without the African slaves who worked the fields that built the foundations of America. The Gullah people from West Africa were brought to these shores to work the rice plantations as they had in their home country. During this time, they kept their own traditions strong, resulting in one of the most authentic African cultures in the USA to this day. When you hear their singing of ‘spirituals’ and see their hand-woven sweetgrass baskets, once produced to carry fruit and vegetables in the fields, you will understand the importance of the Gullah way of life in the history of South Carolina. Trail Heritage Tours are available on Hilton Head for those who want to learn more.
South Carolina is one of the best beach destinations in the south, with warm sands and fresh Atlantic breezes. Sullivan’s Island offers a wide stretch of sand with plenty of watersports to enjoy, plus boasts the claim of being a stop of the infamous pirate, Blackbeard, and the setting of Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, ‘The Gold Bug’. Folly Beach is laid-back and a popular spot for surfing, while if you drive out to Edisto Beach, you can visit the beautifully preserved Botany Bay. Most of the beaches are brilliantly catered with plenty of places to eat and things to do, such as fishing, cycling and seeking out historical sights, with an array of sandy shores across Hilton Head Island and a perfect pier for fishing at Myrtle Beach, too.
South Carolina has played a huge part in the history of the South. Speckled with Civil War forts and lined with cobbled streets in Charlestown, the state is brimming with fascinating tales of its heritage, from the American Revolution to the Civil Rights Movement. Visit the Charles Town Landing to see where the city was founded in 1670 and follow the history trails back to the present day. In the historic downtown district, visit the White Point Gardens to stroll amid the charming oak trees, which sits at the south of a defensive battery. Browse the exhibitions at the Charleston Museum and Old Slave Mart Museum, which is set in a former slave auction house, to learn more, or take a tour around the historic houses, including the home of one of the founding fathers of the United States. Along the Ashley River, you will find an array of plantation houses with stunning gardens, while on Hillton Head Island you can visit the Coastal Discovery Museum to learn about the natural history from the Native Americans to present day.
There are hundreds of golf courses in South Carolina, making it perfect for golf fans. Charleston is home to an array of world-class courses, including Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, which was the site of the 1991 Ryder Cup and 2012 PGA Championship, plus two further options at Seabrook Island and Isle of Palms. There are courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio and Gary Player across the Lowcountry – you will truly be spoiled for choice with an array of immaculate courses, where you can enjoy the stunning scenery of the area. At Hilton Head Island, Harbour town is highly sought-after, while the renowned courses at Myrtle Beach includes Pine Lakes Country Club, established back in 1927.
The Charleston area is not just about its city. Set in the Lowcountry area along the scenic coast, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure. Boasting breathtaking natural beauty, this watery 100-mile strip is lined with lush greenery and palmetto trees, which give South Carolina its moniker, the ‘Palmetto State’. Here, you can head out to Edisto River, which is the longest free-flowing blackwater river in America, to take a paddleboat down the waterways and admires the scenery and wildlife, or kayak around the surrounding passageways. Edisto Island is also great for cycling, while the nearby Francis Marion National Forest is rich in beautiful wildlife with plenty of forest trails for walking, bikers and kayakers – interestingly, it was also the site of battle in the Revolutionary War, where General Francis Marion was known as the ‘Swamp Fox’.
Fly into Charleston via Washington or Atlanta.
Approximately 9 hours 30 minutes to Atlanta followed by a 1 hour 10 minute connecting flight to Charleston.
Approximately 8 hours 10 minutes to Washington followed by a 1 hour 40 minute connecting flight to Charleston.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.