South Carolina, the Palmetto State, is filled with beautiful nature, vibrant cities, rich history, and Southern charm. With 180 miles of coastline on the east and hiking trails with waterfalls to the west, this is an outdoor family’s ideal destination!
We embarked on a southern road trip in December and had the pleasure of visiting three South Carolina towns – Walterboro, Georgetown, and Pawley’s Island. Our family was overwhelmed by the history and culture that our state to the south held. Living in North Carolina, we have visited South Carolina several times but never immersed ourselves in it. This road trip gave us that opportunity, and we are so thankful to have shared the experience together!
We have compiled a list of the three A’s: Accommodations, Adventures, and Appetite for each city visited! If you have any questions about South Carolina or our trip please shoot us an email!
Located in Colleton County, this small town is a great stop directly off I-95! This town is the definition of a charming small town, with a population of just over 5,000 and friendly smiles around every corner. If you have any interest in antiques, this is the place for you. We came across several antique stores downtown that are sure to peak your interest.
Our family had the pleasure of dining at Old Bank Christmas & Bakery for lunch. This place was totally unexpected as one of the largest Christmas and gift shops in the Southeast with 2700 square feet unique items! Tucked in the back corner is a bakery and restaurant. This is one of those places you hope to find, with kind people and delicious food. Try the cookies – ahhhh-mazing.
After lunch we strolled downtown, admiring the Christmas decor near the Fountain at the War Memorial, local shops with rocking chairs out front, and even witnessed a few random acts of kindness.
Next was the Colleton County Museum! We had an amazing tour with Matt, who really knew all the fun facts and history about the area. The mission of the museum is to preserve and promote the historical, natural and cultural heritage of Colleton County – and they have succeeded! I highly recommend stopping by – they even have a farmers market on select days of the week.
Our evening ended with dinner at Castillos Pizzeria. The pizza was absolutely delicious and our waitress took the time to chat with our littles, a nice touch! Highly recommend if in the area.
We stayed one night at the Hampton Inn – it was located directly off I-95. The staff was very kind, there is delicious free breakfast, and it was very clean!
Our next stop was to Georgetown, named “America’s Best Coastal Small Town” in 2018 by USA Today. It is easy to see why they received such a title, this beautiful small town as all the charm and none of the crowds.
We arrived at lunchtime, stopping at Ball & Que Restaurant. Trust me – you will want to stop here to eat. This place was something out of a movie (in a great way), where everyone knew one another, southern comfort food, and a staff that went above and beyond. Seriously, we had maybe 3 different people stop at our table to chat and one even sat with us while cutting up our daughters chicken nuggets (she offered, and our daughter was filled with joy from all the attention).
After that wonderful lunch, we ventured to the waterfront downtown area filled with museums and local shops. Everything is local – and there is a sense of pride you can sense from everyone we met. The South Carolina Maritime Museum was a great stop with a lot of information and models of ships to hurricane history in the area (this was particularly interesting).
Our girls brought their scooters and were having a ball going up and down the roads of downtown, until they stopped in front of a window with cats in it! We stumbled upon Purr & Pour Cat Cafe. Their mission is to revolutionize the cat adoption process and they are succeeding! We paid a fee to get in, which helps them care for the cats, and gets you a beverage (coffee, tea, soda, wine, beer!). There is also a bakery which has yummy sweets. Our kids didn’t want to leave and now we need to get a cat apparently!
Our final stop in South Carolina was the beautiful beach of Pawley’s Island. Located 70 miles North of Charleston and 25 miles south of Myrtle Beach, this charming beach town is the perfect getaway. We had been to Myrtle Beach several times, and can tell you that this area was a much quieter pleasant surprise. From the laid-back lifestyle to untouched beaches, it was amazing to be there with the little ones on New Years Eve!
Upon arrival we checked in to Oceanfront Litchfield Inn (free breakfast!), our view was unbeatable (I mean can you get better than an ocean view?!). After a quick stroll on the beach during sunset we headed to dinner at Bistro 217. This restaurant offers fine dining from seafood to steak, and the candlelit atmosphere was warm and welcoming. This was the place to be – and we were thankful to have reservations! We were given festive New Year’s Eve hats for the kids (amazing!) and enjoyed a delicious dinner of filet and seafood to send off 2019! Hats off to chef Adam Kirby, a chef ambassador of South Carolina!
Next was by far one of the highlights of our road trip – the Brookgreen Gardens Light Up the New Year event, with thousands of hand-lit candles, holiday lights, and music. I am not sure if words can convey the beauty and history of these gardens, but here we go… I cried. Yes, thats right, I sure did. If you are a fan of Christmas and candlelight – this is a must add to your bucket list! Brookgreen Gardens is a 9,100 acre sculpture garden and wildlife preserve that will leave you feeling elated and full of appreciation. It was the absolute best way to top off 2019!
We rang in the new year in our hotel like typical parents, with both kids asleep at our sides and us asleep by 11:30! Our morning started at Huntington Beach State Park with a 2 mile hike lead by a park ranger. There was a huge turnout and we learned so much about South Carolina wildlife and nature. Next we headed to Atalaya Castle, winter home of industrialist and philanthropist Archer Huntington and his wife, the sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington.
Atalaya was an amazing adventure. The volunteer there was so passionate and filled with knowledge that we stayed to listen to her stories for over an hour. The castle grounds are stunning, be sure to listen to the audio tour, it will help you appreciate it even more. We also would recommend visiting Atalaya before Brookgreen Gardens, as the owners donated that land and a lot of Anna Hyatt Huntingon’s sculptures are there (you will have a newfound sense of appreciation!).
Before we headed back to Raleigh we stopped at the Hammock Shops to eat lunch, and this was such a cute shopping! We loved all the local shops here, and the setting is so picturesque. Lunch was at BisQit, a rustic cafe with delicious burgers!
We had such an amazing time on our road trip, and were thrilled to end it on such a high note in the beautiful state of South Carolina! To plan your vacation here, visit http://bit.ly/DiscoverSC_DP 🙂
I haven’t explored Much of S Carolina yet at all – a road trip seems like a great way to explore 🙂
Yes it sure was! So many gems here 🙂
What a beautiful place to explore, Pawleys Island looks amazing!
What a great itinerary! My girls would flip over that cat cafe!
Our girls didn’t want to leave!
I’ve been to a few cities in South Carolina, but Pawley’s Island sounds great!
Oh it is a perfect getaway!!
I love South Carolina! I grew up vacationing there as a kid in the south, so it holds a special place in my heart, but I’ve actually never been to Pawley’s Island!
THANKS for your kind words! My dream for opening Purr & Pour Cat Cafe is to benefit homeless cats, the community and to provide a fun place where folks can connect with each other and with our adoptable cats. I’m so glad that my vision translated into a fun outing for y’all. Your visit helped socialize our kitties, bringing them one paw closer to adoption! If you want to visit cat cafes in other states/countries, http://www.theneighborscat.com is a great resource. THANKS again and MEOW.
We had SO much fun! All the staff was so attentive and kind, you are doing great work!