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    14 Beautiful South Carolina Destinations To Visit Before You Die

    Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places!

    1. Charleston Historic District

    Sean Pavone / Getty Images
    Sean Pavone / Getty Images

    Strolling through the Charleston Historic District is like stepping straight into the past. Downtown Charleston has become known for its remarkable array of 18th century homes, churches, and businesses, while a new generation of entrepreneurs offer exciting new shopping and dining experiences. Don't forget to stop by the Charleston City Market during your stay to pick up a traditional sweetgrass woven basket!

    2. Myrtle Beach

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    Myrtle Beach offers world-class resorts and entertainment for those looking to escape their every day routine. Over 60 miles of this beach are lined with restaurants, water parks, shopping, and one gigantic ferris wheel known as the "tallest wheel east of the Mississippi River."

    3. Historic Downtown Beaufort

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    Founded in 1711, Beaufort is a quaint waterfront town just north of Savannah, Georgia, and is the second oldest city in South Carolina behind Charleston. Situated underneath a gorgeous canopy of spanish moss, Beaufort boasts approximately 304-acres of intertwining city streets that are officially designated as a National Historic Landmark.

    4. The USS Yorktown at Patriot's Point

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    AP Photo

    During World War II, the USS Yorktown played a significant role in the Pacific Offensive against the Japanese foothold on Southeast Asia, which earned the vessel 11 battle stars for its service. Today, the ship is permanently located at Patriot's Point on the Charleston Harbor, and serves as a museum offering a fascinating look into the past, present, and future of our nation's honorable service members.

    5. Caesars Head State Park

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    Caesars Head State Park comprises 7,467 pristine acres of beautiful southern wilderness located at South Carolina's northwest border with North Carolina. From an easily-accessible trail, visitors are granted a breathtaking view of its forest and the iconic granitic gneiss outcrop splitting its landscape atop the Blue Ridge Escarpment.

    6. Fort Sumter National Monument

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    In 1861, after years of rising tensions between the North and the South, Fort Sumter became the Civil War's ground zero. It was then that Confederate artillery opened fire on this Union garrison, forcing the Union Army to surrender the fort to Confederate hands until the end of the war in 1865. Today, the Fort Sumter National Monument offers a fascinating look into the history of the region and the events that shaped this nation.

    7. Hunting Island State Park

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    Hunting Island State Park features thousands of acres of beautiful South Carolina beaches, marshlands, and forest, as well as the only publicly accessible lighthouse in the entire state! You might also recognize the exotic landscape as the place where Tom Hanks filmed his iconic Vietnam scenes in the 1994 film, Forrest Gump.

    8. Angel Oak Tree

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    While there is no official consensus on the actual age of the Angel Oak Tree, estimates place it well within the range of 400 to 1,500 years old! Standing at almost 70 feet tall, the Angel Oak Tree is an absolute must see when passing through Charleston.

    9. Hilton Head Island

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    While Hilton Head Island only spans a mere 12 miles, its peaceful beaches and world class resorts have established it as the perfect vacation getaway for South Carolinians and international travelers alike. Aside from its breathtaking scenic views of the Atlantic, the island also boasts 24 top-tier golf courses, 350 tennis courts, and over 250 restaurants.

    10. Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area

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    In 1977, the state of South Carolina acquired this remarkable location to preserve and ensure the appreciation of its beaches and inhabitant species. Since then, Botany Bay has become a favorite tourist destination for those looking to escape the bustle of daily life. This preserve is also home to 21 officially registered historic sites that provide a fascinating insight into the state’s rich and sometimes sobering history.

    11. Old Sheldon Church Ruins

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    Just north of Beaufort is the Old Sheldon Church Ruins, a place frequented by scenic day trippers and shutterbugs alike. Built in 1757, the church was burned to the ground in 1779 by British troops during the Revolutionary War. After being rebuilt during the 1820s, it was burned to the ground once more by Union troops towards the end of the Civil War. Unfortunately, it was never rebuilt again.

    12. Swan Lake Iris Gardens

    Visiting Swan Lake Iris Gardens is like stepping into The Notebook. Its beautiful dark waters are the only public park in the U.S. to contain all eight species of swan, while every spring, the park can be found bursting with color as the Japanese iris begins to take bloom.

    13. Brookgreen Gardens

    Kelly Verdeck / Via Flickr: rain0975

    Located on Pawleys Island, just outside of Myrtle Beach, Brookgreen Gardens holds accreditations from the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and is even designated as a National Historic Landmark. Its wide array of gardens, wildlife, and sculptures make this spot not only a beautiful scenic day trip, but also a world class art destination.

    14. Congaree National Park

    Congaree National Park was the state's first national park, and offers plenty of outdoor activities to reconnect with the natural South Carolina landscape. The park contains over 20,000 acres of hiking amongst the wilderness, as well as an opportunity to canoe down the beautiful and peaceful Cedar Creek.

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