A Traveler’s Guide to South Carolina: Where To Go When You’re Off The Clock

Excitement awaits no matter where you decide to go. That’s the bonus about being a travel nurse! So are you ready for another adventure?

South Carolina has a rich culture and fascinating history that will give you plenty of things to do. From haunted ghost tours to visiting the last remaining Yogi Bear’s Honey Fried Chicken restaurant, you’re bound to have an unforgettable experience. Here are a few must-see destinations in South Carolina when you have time off.

Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach welcomes over 13 million annual visitors and is a must-see destination in South Carolina, especially during the summer months. There is no shortage of activities to enjoy and try with 60 miles of shoreline, 90 quality golf courses, and 14 unique beach communities.

Besides soaking in the sun and swimming in the azure blue waters, there are numerous local shops and boutiques for some relaxing retail therapy and restaurants to find that perfect bite of seafood or a mouthwatering steak. If you want more of an adventure, try WonderWorks, the upside-down laboratory-turned-amusement park. Or journey through Ripley’s attractions that bring the bizarre and unique to light in museums, aquariums, and other enjoyable outlets.

And don’t forget to take a spin on the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel. The 187-foot attraction gives you a 10-minute ride in a lovely gondola to view the stunning panorama of the city’s skyline.

The Angel Oak
One of the oldest oak trees still living on this side of the Mississippi River, The Angel Oak looks like it came right out of a fairytale. This Southern live oak, flora native to the coastal Carolinas’ lowland country area, is believed to be between 400 and 500 years old! It has survived numerous hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes and continues to grow. With a 28-foot circumference, 6-story height, and its biggest branch spanning 187 feet, The Angel Oak casts a 17,000-square-foot shaded area around itself and is a sight to behold. It’s a bit of a hidden gem but a fun must-do that will take your breath away.

Alligator Adventure
Just north of Myrtle Beach, Alligator Adventure isn’t just the biggest reptile zoo in South Carolina; it’s also one of the world’s largest! Spanning 15 acres, visitors learn and discover everything there is to know about these deadly reptiles, from how they’re fed to even getting to pet one in a controlled environment.

Aside from alligators, this large park surprisingly holds over 200 animal species, ranging from tropical birds to mammals, from other reptiles to amphibians, and even an array of exotic creatures such as the rare albino alligator. Alligator Adventure has a variety of experiences to enjoy.

South Carolina State Museum
Opened in 1988, this museum is South Carolina’s largest and features four floors of exhibitions dedicated to South Carolina’s history and modern lifestyle. The exhibitions fit within one of the museum categories: art, cultural history, natural history, or science and technology, and showcase excavated artifacts, life-size replicas, art from local artists, and multimedia displays that even kids can enjoy. Some of the most fun and popular exhibits are the megalodon shark sculpture and a life-sized replica of the Best Friend of Charleston, the first entirely American-built locomotive. The museum facilities also include a 4D interactive theater, an observatory, and a digital dome planetarium. Don’t forget to stop at the gift shop and bookstore before leaving!

Congaree National Park
The Congaree National Park earned its designation in 2003 and is recognized as the country’s largest tract of old-growth forest. This park contains 20,000 acres of lush wilderness,  some of the tallest trees east of the Mississippi River, and has the highest canopy of deciduous trees. More than 100,000 annual tourists explore the Congaree National Park, and favorite activities in the park include hiking, walking tours, boating, and birdwatching. Visitors can also experience backcountry camping in the park’s wilderness area and may even see bobcats and synchronous fireflies along the way. The entire region is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and one of the many points of pride of the state.

Brookgreen Gardens
The name “gardens” may lead you to believe this place is a small area, but it’s actually a mass of land stretching 9,100 acres with many exciting places to check out within it. Initially opened in 1932, the award-winning Brookgreen Gardens is the first U.S. sculpture garden and now features more than 1,500 pieces from over 430 different American artists. Visitors can walk the paths throughout the gardens to see smaller themed gardens, ponds, and other sights to enjoy the decorative scenery and outdoor landscape.

In addition to touring the sculptures, the garden grounds also include the Lowcountry Zoo and the nature exhibition center. Brookgreen Gardens serves as a wildlife and nature preserve, showcasing a variety of plants and animals native to South Carolina. This is a great way to sample a taste of the local culture and ecosystem.

With so many options to explore and experience, your off days will be filled with adventure one after another. Go ahead and start planning now. Safe travels!

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