5 attractions to visit in South Carolina when you need a mini-vacation

CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD)- 2022 just started, but you may be feeling like you already need a vacation. According to the US Traveler’s Association, 81% of Americans are excited to plan a vacation in the next six months, but just one-quarter of Americans used all of their earned time off in 2021. “National Plan for Vacation Day” was started to encourage people to plan their time off early.

So if you’re in need of a vacation, but don’t want to travel too far from home, check out these 5 attractions in South Carolina that make for the perfect day trip.

  1. Walk around Charleston’s historic district

While there are many reasons to visit the coastal city of Charleston, chief among those is the chance to explore the history of one of the oldest cities in the United States. Charleston is home to more than 30 places on the National Register of Historic Places, but each street is brimming with culture, history, and a glimpse at Southern life. You can visit historic homes like the Aiken-Rhett House or Rainbow Bow, learn about the Gullah tradition of sweetgrass weaving at the Charleston City Market, step back into Civil War times with a visit to the Battery and Fort Sumter, and so much more.

2. Explore South Carolina’s ecosystem at Congaree National Park

Did you know South Carolina is home to the largest intact expanse of old-growth floodplain forest remaining in the southeastern United States? Congaree National Park in Hopkins, SC has an astonishing display of biodiversity and some of the tallest trees in the Eastern US. The Congaree wilderness can be explored on foot or on the water with options for hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and camping. There are more than 26,000 acres of land complete with 25 miles of hiking trails and 2.4 miles of boardwalk that visitors can enjoy. In addition, Congaree National Park is a sanctuary for many plants and animals including the endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, bobcats, wild pigs, foxes, opossums, deer, and river otters.

3. Have some fun in Myrtle Beach

If the surf and sand aren’t enough to entice you to take a trip to Myrtle Beach, perhaps the state’s largest entertainment and shopping venue is. That’s right, Broadway at the Beach is a pedestrian-only area that has rides, miniature golf, Ripley’s Aquarium, shopping, dining, and so much more. You can see live musical shows at the Carolina Opry or take a 10-minute ride high above the beach and boardwalk on the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel.

4. Encounter wildlife at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

With more than 2,000 animals in its care, the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia is the state’s leading animal facility. The sprawling 170-acre site has creatures from every continent including Western lowland gorillas, African lions, koalas, sea lions, and more. In addition to the animals, visitors can check out the botanical gardens which has over 4,000 species of plants that bloom year-round. Plus Richland and Lexington County residents can get free admission every Friday during January and February.

5. Relax at a winery in the Upstate

Maybe you’ve been thinking of taking a trip to wine country, but turns out you may not have to travel too far from home to do so. South Carolina’s upstate region is home to several vineyards and wineries where visitors can relax. You could even get the chance to try mead (fermented honey water) as many of these places produce it. Some specific places to check out include Wellborn Winery in Travelers Rest, Lazy Bear Winery in Easley, and Wandering Beard