Your South Carolina Guide
A handy guide to holidaying in South Carolina. From where to spot dolphins, the best golf courses and weather we have it all covered.
It should come as no surprise that the state of South Carolina is an extremely popular holiday destination. Located just to the north of Florida, its warm southern hospitality, great weather, white sandy beaches and outstanding food, make it an easy choice for families, friends and couples alike.
The state is also synonymous with the game of golf, big-ticket destinations such as Kiawah Island, Myrtle Beach, and Hilton Head Island can all be found along the Carolina coastline. With over 95 courses in Myrtle Beach, to the likes of Kiawah’s famous Ocean Course and Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, the offering is both endless and superb.
Central to all three of these golf destinations is the vibrant city of Charleston, regularly voted the No. 1 place to visit in the US by Travel + Leisure magazine. Culture, history, dining and nightlife are in abundance, and with its international airport now offering a direct service to the UK, Charleston is the perfect place to start or finish your South Carolina golf holiday.
Fly direct into Charleston International Airport or connect into Charleston through major US airports such as JFK, Miami, Philadelphia or Atlanta. British Airways will run direct flights from Heathrow, London to Charleston from Spring to Autumn. Alternatively, there are a number of one-stop options connecting into Charleston through major US airports such as JFK, Miami, Philadelphia or Atlanta to name a few.
Kiawah Island is a 50-minute drive south of Charleston Airport. Hilton Head Island is a 2-hour drive south of Charleston Airport, alternatively, you can choose a flight route that connects to Savannah / Hilton Head Airport and from there it is a 45-minute drive.
For those heading towards Myrtle beach, embark on a 2-hour journey north from one of the major airports. Alternatively, fly into Charlotte or Atlanta and connect to Myrtle Beach Airport.
When to go
The best time for golf is late March to early June before the summer’s heat and humidity start to kick-in.
P.S don’t forget you can add a trip to the Masters to your next South Carolina visit…
With Augusta National Golf Club situated just on the Georgia side of the Georgia / South Carolina border, it is only a 3-hour drive from the key golfing areas of South Carolina, meaning you can build a truly memorable trip in early April. Why not walk the grounds of Augusta National watching the world’s best players in action, then head east to play on some of the finest courses the US has to offer?
With reasonably mild winters, especially along the coast, South Carolina can be visited year-round. The best time for golf, is late March to early June before the summer’s heat and humidity start to kick-in. High daily temperatures from 20 to 27 degrees C make it perfect for golfing in the morning and sight-seeing, water-sports or just relaxing by the pool in the afternoon.
Indulge in southern hospitality
Experience a genuinely warm welcome in this charming state, which combines grand architecture with incredible scenery and a subtropical climate. Relax along the coastline and sample southern barbeques, try their famous Low Country Boil and experience a wealth of history, all whilst surrounded by first-class golf courses.
We share our top four holiday hotspots in South Carolina below. Hopefully, you will discover somewhere new for your next golf vacation.
Charleston is the oldest city in South Carolina, with many historic buildings, preserved plantation homes and gardens dating back to 1672. Stroll through Charleston’s Historic District to experience a different era. Or explore the arts scene, visit the Charleston Music Hall and Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, and don’t forget the Charleston City Market. There are culinary tours and trails where you can sample typical southern fare and local craft beer, perfect for the foodies!
You are never far from the water in Charleston, the opportunities to take a sunset boat tour spotting dolphin, to go deep-sea fishing or simply do some kayaking in the local waterways, are very accessible and fun for all.
With the international airport, just minutes outside of town, it’s a great place to begin or end your golf tour. Courses such as Charleston National, RiverTowne and Wild Dunes are all on the edge of town, meandering their way through the low-country’s unique scenery and on occasion offering stunning views of the ocean.
Charleston has so much to offer and should be part of everyone’s visit to South Carolina.
50 minutes south of Charleston is Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean it’s bursting with golf courses, miles of beach, sand dunes and sea grass.
You’ll find five courses onsite, the most famous being Pete Dye’s Ocean Course – a must-play for all golf enthusiasts. The Ocean Course has hosted some the game’s biggest tournaments, most notably the 1991 Ryder Cup (the ‘war on the shore’) and Rory McIlroy’s emphatic 8-shot PGA Championship victory in 2012, a Major that returns to Kiawah in 2021. Simply put, it oozes championship golf.
If you enjoy an active holiday explore the waterways by kayak, take the kids fishing or discover the abundant wildlife by hiking or biking.
Hilton Head Island
Heading further south (approximately a 2-hour drive from Charleston) is Hilton Head Island. At only 60 square miles in size, it still packs a punch when it comes to golf, with non-other than 24 courses on the island.
The most famous is Harbour Town Golf Links, situated at Sea Pines Resort and home each year to the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage tournament (always played the week after the Masters). With an 18th hole that is known around the world due to the positioning of the red and white hooped Harbour Town Lighthouse as its backdrop.
Hilton Head is synonymous with chilled summer holidays, with 12 miles of beaches - from secluded coves to those perfect for water sports. One of South Carolina’s most beautiful locations, it also has historical importance and offers a number of cultural activities, including the Coastal Discovery Museum, Harbour Town Lighthouse Museum, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina and the local WineFest - all excellent activities if you want to get to know the area better.
Often referred to as golfing mecca (and rightly so), Myrtle Beach has an unbelievable density of golf courses, that can often be played at incredible value. It’s particularly good for groups looking to experience golf in the USA, whilst working to a budget, and with over 95 courses in a 60-mile stretch, choice is certainly not an issue!
You can create your own Myrtle Beach tour by staying centrally in a hotel or self-catering villas and take a short drive to the likes TPC Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach National and Grande Dunes. Travel a little further south in Myrtle Beach to find two of the best – True Blue and Caledonia Golf & Fish Club.
Alternatively, choose an all-encompassing golf resort such as Legends or Barefoot where a multiple of onsite courses are just a few steps from your hotel door.
Myrtle Beach also has much to offer in the form of entertainment – from Ripley’s Aquarium, the beachfront SkyWheel, great nightlife, to a stroll along the boardwalk, there is plenty to do in this fun-loving beach town.
Explore Charleston through a two-hour walking tour of the city exploring secret gardens, hidden alleys, and amazing views of Fort Sumter.
Visit places off the beaten track such as the historic district where you can visit old homes, churches and gardens through Charleston Strolls's tours.
The current state sales tax rate in South Carolina is 6%.
South Carolina is awash with national forests, museums, beaches, historic towns and beaches so be sure to bring suitable clothing for all kinds of activities.
Tipping is customary throughout the service industry. 15% to 20% in bars and restaurants is the norm.