20 Interesting And Fun Facts About South Carolina [Explained]

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Situated in the southeastern part of America, South Carolina is an attractive state that captures the spirit of US history, showcases amazing natural scenery, and hosts a vibrant cultural tradition. From ancient Native American civilizations to the Revolutionary War and through the Civil Rights Movement, South Carolina has seen pivotal moments that have shaped this nation’s story. Keep reading to learn more fun and interesting facts about South Carolina.

Quick Statistics And Facts About South Carolina

  • Capital: Columbia  
  • Population: 5.29 Million (23rd Populous State in the U.S) 
  • Land Area: 32,030 sq mi / 82,931 km² (40th Largest in the U.S) 
  • Nickname: The Palmetto State
  • Abbreviation: SC 
  • Statehood: May 23, 1788 (8th U.S State) 
  • State Bird: Carolina Wren
  • State Flower: Yellow Jessamine

Historical Facts About South Carolina

The State History Dates Back To Its Beginning As A British Colony

The English settlers founded Charles Town, later known as Charleston, in 1670, which became a major trading port. It rapidly developed into a prosperous city with a multicultural composition of traders, farmers, and artisans. The region’s fertile soils were ideal for growing profitable cash crops like rice, indigo, and cotton, thus creating the foundation for the plantation system based on slave labor. 

Moreover, ships from Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean were frequent visitors to this bustling center of commerce during that time. As tension between Britain and the colonies escalated, South Carolina was a prominent player in this struggle for independence. 

South Carolina Played A Huge Role In The Civil War 

South Carolina seceded from the union on December 20th, 1860. State legislators have debated seceding from the union since the 1820s to protect their rights and maintain slavery. When Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, it raised fear among Southerners that he might ultimately abolish slavery, leading to a surge in public support for secession. 

A bonus fact about South Carolina is that the war officially started in South Carolina on April 12, 1861, when Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor. After two days of hostilities, Major Robert Anderson surrendered to his opposition on April 14th. This caused President Lincoln to recruit troops, leading to more states leaving the Union.

In 1786, Columbia Was Appointed The Capital of South Carolina, replacing Charleston

The decision to change the capitol from Charleston to Columbia is based on Columbia’s geographic location in the center of the state. Placing the capitol in the center of South Carolina was strategic as it allowed unity. Additionally, the city’s location along the Congaree River favored transportation and trade, improving its needs. 

The First Black Student Was Admitted to Clemson University

In 1963, Harvey Gantt courageously became the first African American accepted into Clemson University in South Carolina, a historically white university. His enrollment was a significant milestone in the fight against racial segregation and the push for integration within higher education. Harvey’s bold admission helped set a precedent for other black students throughout South Carolina and beyond. 

In addition, his enrollment at Clemson University highlighted advances within the civil rights movement significantly too.

A South Carolina Submarine Made History When It Sunk An Enemy Warship

The H.L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine during the American Civil War, set a record in history on February 17, 1864 as the first submarine to successfully sink an enemy ship, the USS Housatonic, off the coast of Charleston. Regrettably, it also sank due to this mission, and its entire crew perished in the incident. 

The remains of the submarine were recovered in 2000 and restored before being displayed in Charleston to commemorate its milestone in naval warfare. 

Cultural Facts About South Carolina

South Carolina Has A Rich Cultural History When It Comes To Jazz and Gullah Music 

Jazz, a sound unique to the United States, has seen abundant growth in the state, with notables such as Dizzy Gillespie and Eartha Kitt emerging from its lively clubs. 

Another genre popular mainly along the coasts of South Carolina is Gullah music. Laden with West African origins and featuring instruments like banjos, resonator guitars, and hand drums, the music imparts a soulful quality that pays homage to this culture’s legacy.

The Palmetto Tree Has Cultural And Historical Significance

Of iconic character to South Carolina, the palmetto tree symbolizes the state’s strength, independence, and unity. Its incorporation into the state flag, seal, and emblems shows how deeply ingrained it is in South Carolina’s culture and history. 

Another evidence of its historical importance is Fort Moultrie, which was built using Palmetto logs during the Revolutionary War to resist British attacks. 

Beyond its symbolism, however, this beloved species has an ecological purpose in providing shelter for wildlife and working as a natural barrier along coastlines; additionally, it brings beauty to South Carolina’s landscape.

South Carolina Is Recognized For Its Culture Of Southern Hospitality

People from South Carolina are well known for having a friendly and gracious demeanor, as well as considerate behavior and sincere kindness. South Carolinians take pride in providing a sense of home for travelers, going out of their way to provide aid, pass on local customs, and engage in polite conversations. 

South Carolina’s Culturally Southern cuisine Is Renowned For The Rich Flavors And Diverse Influences

The state boasts dishes such as shrimp and grits, Hoppin’ John, fried green tomatoes, she-crab soup, and barbecue. The dishes attest to its merging African, Native American, European, and Caribbean roots and can be found across the state. Every region in South Carolina has something special to offer regarding food. 

Southern cuisine in South Carolina tells stories of the area’s past while delighting visitors from near and far. When you go to South Carolina, be sure to try some of the delicious food. 

The Spoleto Festival USA In Charleston Is An Internationally Renowned Event

Launched in 1977, the Spoleto Festival USA has become a renowned global event that draws creators and spectators worldwide and lasts 17 days. Various disciplines are presented at the festival, including theater, opera, dance, and music. It focuses on uniqueness and exceptionalism in classic and experimental pieces. 

There are also lectures and workshops to expand cultural appreciation further. The Spoleto Festival USA helps maintain Charleston’s prosperous artistic history and is worth attending even if you aren’t a huge fan of art.

Simple Facts About South Carolina For Kids

Riverbanks Zoo And Garden Is One Of The Best Zoos In America

Situated in Columbia, the renowned Riverbanks Zoo and Garden features a wide collection of over two thousand animals from around the world and is dedicated to preserving wildlife through active participation in breeding programs for endangered species. It also features educational programs and interactive exhibits to create increased awareness for conservation efforts. 

Furthermore, botanical gardens present varied plant species, and you will find many exciting activities that showcase excellence in animal care, making for an unforgettable experience.

Sweet Tea Is A Popular Beverage In The South With Strong Origins In South Carolina

Known for its hot and humid climate, South Carolina became a hub for the development and popularity of sweet tea. The state refined the recipe by adding sugar or syrup to brewed black tea, creating a refreshing and sweet iced beverage. 

Sweet tea is deeply ingrained in South Carolina’s culinary traditions and cultural identity and is often served at home, restaurants, and social gatherings. 

A Monkey Colony Lives in South Carolina

While South Carolina is not home to native monkey species, some monkey colonies have formed due to escaped or released primates. One notable example is the monkey colony on Morgan Island. Also known as Monkey Island, this area serves as an asylum for rhesus macaques, the monkey species.

The colony, which is under the control of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, has flourished in its natural environment. Although they are not native, the presence of monkey colonies in South Carolina draws interest and is carefully monitored to protect the monkeys and maintain ecological balance. 

Angel Oak Tree, The Oldest Tree In The US, Is In South Carolina

The Angel Oak Tree is estimated to be between 400 and 500 years old. The southern live oak on Johns Island near Charleston is a testament to the state’s natural heritage. With its sprawling branches, moss-draped canopy, and impressive size, the Angel Oak attracts visitors from across the globe. 

It symbolizes strength, resilience, and the passage of time, serving as a reminder of South Carolina’s rich history and the importance of preserving and appreciating the ancient wonders of nature.

“While I Breathe, I hope,” Is The State Motto

The state motto captures the resilient and optimistic nature of the state and its people. Originating from the Latin phrase “Dum spiro spero,” the motto signifies the belief in the potential for positive change as long as one is alive. It has been the state motto since the colonial era, embodying the spirit of hope and determination that has defined the state throughout its history. 

“While I breathe, I hope” serves as a powerful reminder of the enduring optimism and unwavering resolve of the people of South Carolina.

Useful Facts About South Carolina For Travelers

South Carolina Hosts Festivals And Events Through The Year

South Carolina is famous for their exciting events and festivals. The renowned Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, mentioned above, is just one of the events and festivals the state hosts. 

Another one is the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia, which offers thrilling rides, agricultural exhibits, and live entertainment. The Charleston Wine + Food Festival is for adults, but it celebrates the region’s culinary delights with tastings, cooking demonstrations, and wine seminars. 

Other notable events include the Beaufort Water Festival, Myrtle Beach Bike Week, and Fall for Greenville. These festivals showcase the state’s vibrant culture, entertainment, and culinary offerings, ensuring visitors have memorable experiences in South Carolina. People travel from all over the world to attend some of the events, so it must be worth it.

South Carolina’s Coastline Is Full Of Popular Beach Destinations

There is no shortage of beautiful beaches in South Carolina to enjoy a fun time by the waters.

Myrtle Beach boasts a vibrant scene with its thrilling boardwalk, water parks, and recreation facilities. For those in search of luxurious retreats, golf courses, and aquatic pursuits, Hilton Head Island provides a perfect destination. Kiawah Island is the ideal location if you’re looking for a haven of peace and quiet surrounded by immaculate beaches where you can observe wildlife and play world-class golf.

All of the beach locations offer a selection of activities, such as swimming, beach sports, and water sports. 

The Congaree National Park is One Of The Many Wildlife Areas In South Carolina

Congaree National Park offers a mesmerizing experience in an old-growth floodplain forest. Visitors can walk the park’s well-maintained boardwalk trails, immersing themselves in the lush surroundings and spotting a diverse range of bird species. The park also provides opportunities for canoeing and kayaking along its serene waterways. 

Exploring the wildlife areas allows travelers to appreciate the state’s rich biodiversity, enjoy birdwatching, and embark on peaceful water-based adventures amidst South Carolina’s natural wonders.

South Carolina Is Home To Stunning Water Falls

Some of the stunning waterfalls are Whitewater Falls, Rainbow Falls, and Raven Cliff Falls. These natural wonders provide breathtaking beauty and offer opportunities for hiking and photography. 

Whitewater Falls impresses with its dramatic drop, while Rainbow Falls showcases colorful rainbows in the mist. Raven Cliff Falls, with its 400-foot plunge, creates a captivating scene. Hiking trails lead visitors through scenic forests to reach these cascades, rewarding them with awe-inspiring views. 

South Carolina Has A Humid Subtropical Climate

Summers are hot and humid, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-80s to the low 90s Fahrenheit. Winters are mild to cool, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-40s to the mid-50s Fahrenheit. The state experiences moderate rainfall throughout the year, with precipitation evenly distributed. 

Spring and autumn offer pleasant temperatures, while summers can be hot. South Carolina’s climate makes it a popular destination for outdoor activities and exploring its coastal beaches, historic sites, and lush plantations. 

Discovering More Fun Facts About South Carolina

These are just some of the interesting South Carolina facts that give you a glimpse of what the state has to offer. Whether you are a history buff, foodie, or nature lover, there is plenty to explore.

South Carolina is an amazing state full of lush scenery, many activities, events, and festivals, beaches, great food, and a long history. It is definitely worth a visit, and you are sure to discover more incredible facts about South Carolina through your adventures. 


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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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