Spanning the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Atlantic coast, South Carolina has a lot to offer in the way of National Parks. Whether you’re looking to have the adventure of a lifetime, a fun family vacation, or a little history and culture, this state offers the perfect backdrop. Don’t forget to book for a South Carolina vacation rental, because once you see one of these sites, you’ll want to stay for more.

1. Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

Charles Pinckney was a principal author and a signer of the United States Constitution and is now known as a “forgotten founder” of the United States. What remains of his coastal plantation is preserved to tell the story of his life of public service, the lives of enslaved African Americans on South Carolina Lowcountry plantations and their influences on Charles Pinckney. When you visit the park, you can enjoy films, exhibits, archaeology displays, walking the grounds and nature trail, picnicking, photography, Jr. Ranger programs, and ranger programs.

2. Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park is the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. An astonishing amount of biodiversity exists here thanks to water from the Congaree and Wateree Rivers that carries nutrients and sediments to nourish and rejuvenate this ecosystem and support the growth of national and state champion trees. There are many recreational opportunities here with canoeing, hiking, fishing, and camping being just some of your options.

3. Cowpens National Battlefield

This Revolutionary War site commemorates the place where Daniel Morgan and his army turned the flanks of Banastre Tarleton’s British army. It’s known as the only successful double envelopment in the American Revolution. Try to schedule your visit during one of the three main special events at the park: Anniversary in January, Celebration of Freedom in July, and the Revolutionary War Weekend in October. No matter what time of year you visit, you can always walk The Green River Road, the site where the Americans and the British fought the Battle of Cowpens.

4. Fort Sumter National Monument

The American Civil War Began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery opened fire on this Federal fort in Charleston Harbor. Fort Sumter is located on an island in Charleston Harbor and is only accessible by boat. You can schedule a tour boat with Fort Sumter Tours. Tours last about 2 hours and 15 minutes and depart from two different locations, Liberty Square, and Patriots Point.

5. Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor

The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor extends from Wilmington, North Carolina in the north to Jacksonville, Florida in the south and is home to one of America’s most unique cultures. Throughout the corridor today, there are many Gullah Geechee communities that are still made up of direct descendants of West and Central Africans who survived the Middle Passage across the Atlantic Ocean and were enslaved for almost two centuries to labor on coastal plantations in the Corridor. The Corridor is made up of many historically and culturally significant places with the majority of them in South Carolina.

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6. Kings Mountain National Military Park

The battle of Kings Mountain fought October 7th, 1780, was an important American victory during the Revolutionary War. Thomas Jefferson even called it “The turn of the tide of success.” The battle was the first major patriot victory to occur after the British invasion of Charleston, South Carolina in May 1780, and the park preserves the site of this important battle. Best of all, Kings Mountain National Military Park is free to enjoy!

7. Ninety-Six National Historic Site

At Ninety-Six National Historic Site, settlers struggled against the harsh backcountry to survive, Cherokee Indians hunted and fought to keep their land, two towns and a trading post was formed and abandoned to the elements, and two Revolutionary War battles that claimed over 100 lives took place here. There’s a lot to see here, so start at historic Star Fort which has a visitor center, interpretive trail, periodic archaeological digs and insightful restorations.

8. Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail stretches 330 miles through four states. It traces the route used by patriot militia during the pivotal Kings Mountain campaign of 1780. You can follow the Commemorative Motor Route which uses existing state highways marked with the distinctive trail logo, or you can explore 87 miles of walkable pathways.

9. The South Carolina National Heritage Corridor

The South Carolina National Heritage Corridor was designated by Congress in 1996 as a National Heritage Area in order to promote and preserve the cultural, natural and historic resources of South Carolina. It stretches 17 counties and 320 miles across South Carolina. There are many destinations throughout the corridor including places to eat and shop, opportunities for outdoor recreation, and places to learn about military history and African American Heritage. Don’t forget about the available campsites and vacation rentals!

10. Francis Marion National Forest

The Francis Marion National Forest offers visitors a unique opportunity to glimpse the wild landscape as it might have appeared earlier in history. There are four wilderness areas showing you a lush landscape of pine stands and wildlife-filled swamps and marshes shaded by towering bald cypress trees. Spanning nearly 259,000 acres, there are amazing recreation opportunities available here ranging from hiking, biking, motorcycle and canoe trails to rifle ranges and a boat launch.

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