The Essential Southern Road Trip: Coastal SC

Just on the cusp of summer, the warm May weather in the South makes it the perfect time to grab the car keys and go on a road trip adventure. If you’re driving through South Carolina, here are some essential stops you should be making along the way.
Take a Southern road trip along the South Carolina coast Southern Travel Southern Lifestyle Southern Vacation

First, here’s what you should pack for your Southern road trip: Bathing suit, sunglasses, flip flops, camera, sun screen, bug spray, breathable clothing, and a tourist sensibility.

Visit Rainbow Row in Charleston on a southern road trip
Rainbow Row

1. Charleston

Begin your trip with a visit to Charleston. Amble along King Street for shopping and sunshine. Hook a left on Market Street to check out the Historic Charleston City Market, where handmade baskets and spices can be found. Continue on toward Waterfront Park and Rainbow Row, a series of colorful historic houses and one of the most photographed parts of Charleston.

2. Beaufort

Head out of Charleston on Route 17 south and take Route 21 to Beaufort. You can stay in one of the town’s many bed and breakfasts if staying the night. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride to learn the history of Beaufort, or visit the kazoo factory, which houses one of the largest collections of kazoos in the world. Take a food break at Moon Doggies for some fried pickles.

3. St. Helena Island

Just five miles east of Beaufort, St. Helena offers a glimpse into the more rural part of the Lowcountry. At Dempsey Farms you can pick fruits and vegetables in season for a small fee. Strawberry picking starts in April. View local art at Red Piano Too Gallery or in the colorful shops in downtown Frogmore. End with some authentic food at Gullah Grub.

forsyth-park-courtesy-visit-savannah
Forsyth Park, courtesy of Visit Savannah

4. Savannah

Many people don’t realize how close Savannah, Ga. is to this area. Head back up Route 21 toward SC-170. Turn left onto US-17 and head into Savannah. Stroll through the beautiful Forsyth Park, stopping for coffee at The Sentient Bean. Take a gander at Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on East Harris Street. It’s the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Georgia. Eat a big family-style meal at Mrs. Wilkes. In the evening, hop on a ghost tour and ride around town in an old Hearse, listening to the city’s spooky tales. For late-night munchies, grab some pizza at Vinnie Van Go-Go’s (cash only).

hilton-head-sunset-ss
Hilton Head

5. Hilton Head

Return to SC-170 and May River Road to get on US 178 toward Hilton Head. Drive to the south end of the island and park your booty on the beach! Enjoy sand and relaxation, and maybe an ice cream cone at The Frozen Moo in Coligny Plaza.

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