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7 Most Underrated Cities In South Carolina

Boasting gorgeous beaches, rich American history, and the distinct twangs of that infamous Southern charm, South Carolina is among the most beautiful states in the country. Whether prospective visitors are keen to explore the historic sites that shaped the nation’s past or indulge in the flavors of Southern cuisine, South Carolina has it all. Take a stroll along the pristine beaches, or take some time to learn about the unique Gullah culture. However tourists decide to spend their time, South Carolina has something for everyone!

Goose Creek

Exterior of St. James Goose Creek Chapel of Ease Historical Site
Outside St James Goose Creek Chapel of Ease. Image credit Lost_in_the_Midwest via Shutterstock.

Located just a short drive from Charleston, Goose Creek invites visitors to experience its hidden treasures. Nature lovers will be enchanted by parks such as Central Creek Park, with its tranquil waterways and scenic trails, it is the perfect spot for outdoor adventures and relaxation. Engage in the rich history of the area by exploring historic sites and landmarks, such as the St. James Church which dates back to the early 1700s, or the famous Crowfield Plantation. Take a leisurely stroll through the charming downtown area, where visitors will find local shops, eateries, and friendly faces. Be sure to check out the Stones Throw Brewing, or the authentic Mexican restaurant Taqueria La Mexicana. From its welcoming community to its serene natural beauty, Goose Creek is a true hidden treasure, inviting visitors to explore and uncover the underrated allure of this South Carolina gem.


The ruins of bell tower at the Colonial Dorchester State Historic Park in Summerville, South Carolina
Ruins of Bell Tower in Summerville, North Carolina. Image credit Joseph Creamer via Shutterstock.

Known as the “Flowertown in the Pines,” Summerville’s claim to fame lies in its picturesque streets adorned with blooming azaleas creating a beautiful and vibrant atmosphere. The small city exudes Southern hospitality and a relaxed pace of life, making it a welcoming destination for visitors. Summerville’s historic downtown area showcases its rich heritage through beautifully preserved architecture, boutique shops, and locally-owned restaurants. Beyond its quaint streets, Summerville serves as a gateway to natural wonders, including the serene Ashley River and the renowned Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Whether travelers are captivated by the town’s floral beauty, intrigued by its history, or seeking a simple and peaceful retreat, Summerville offers a one-of-a-kind experience that will delight all the senses. 


Swamp Rabbit Trail during autumn in downtown Greenville South Carolina SC
Trail near Greenville, South Carolina in autumn. Image credit Kevin Ruck via Shutterstock.

Known as “America’s Friendliest City”, Greenville is a hub of both adventure, as well as arts and culture. Tucked in the foothills of America’s stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, the city is replete with boutiques, one-of-a-kind art shops and galleries. For the book lovers, Greenville boasts a number of unique and vintage literary outlets, including M. Judson Booksellers, and Angel’s BookShoppe. For a more nature-focused experience, there is the stunning Chimney Rock, a 315-foot tall monolith surrounded by hiking trails and lookouts. Furthermore, the Jocassee Outdoor Center which serves not only Lake Jocassee, but also Lake Keowee, offers boat rentals and other outdoor opportunities! Whether it is a quiet day drinking coffee in a cozy reading nook, or a day of rugged outdoor adventure, Greenville is a city not to be overlooked.

Rock Hill

A view looking down stream on the Catawba river with forest on each side in Rock Hill, South Carolina
Catawba River view in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Image credit Joe Herlong via Shutterstock.

A true center of culture, Rock Hill is the perfect stop for those looking to be enriched both spiritually and intellectually. With stops like the Catawba Cultural Center, the Museum of York County, and the mural-filled Freedom Walkway, the city is abundant with places to learn about the historical and biographical lineage of the region. Rock Hill is also home to a burgeoning arts and culinary scene, featuring exciting locales such as Old Town Kitchen & Cocktails and the Power House Food Hall. Lush parks such as the Glencairn Garden and Fountain Park round out all that there is to do in Rock Hill with pleasant, verdant atmospheres. Additionally, the city offers outdoor enthusiasts access to the beautiful Catawba River and its recreational opportunities. From its thriving cultural scene to its scenic landscapes, Rock Hill offers a refreshing and underrated experience that is worth exploring.

Mount Pleasant

Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens in Mount Pleasant, USA. The House was built in 1933 in colonial revival style and is listed in the Register of Historic places.
Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens in Mount Pleasant. Image credit travelview via Shutterstock.

Located along the picturesque South Carolina coastline, Mount Pleasant lives up to its name by providing a captivating blend of historic charm and modern amenities. This town is also home to a thriving arts and culinary scene, with local galleries, boutiques, and a diverse range of restaurants serving up delectable lowcountry cuisine. Stops like the Sweetgrass Basket Pavilion, which is centered around the history of basket making, and the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, focused on one of the principal authors of the Declaration of Independence, offer a taste of the history of the area. Mount Pleasant also boasts stunning natural beauty, with access to pristine beaches, lush marshlands, and waterways that are perfect for water recreation. The Memorial Waterfront Park is a great way to experience all that the coast has to offer. Despite its many offerings, Mount Pleasant remains underrated, allowing visitors to experience a quieter, and perhaps more authentic side of the South Carolina coast.

North Charleston

Wooden pier in South Carolina low country marsh at sunrise with cloudy sky
Wooden pier in lowcountry North Charleston, SC. Image credit david bonaldo via Shutterstock.

North Charleston offers a distinctive and rewarding experience for visitors. Known as a vibrant and diverse city, it sets itself apart through its authentic blend of history, culture, and modern attractions. Explore the city’s rich past at the H.L. Hunley Submarine Museum, where visitors can learn about the history of this Civil War-era vessel. North Charleston also hosts the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center, which showcases a variety of concerts, shows, and events throughout the year. The city’s dynamic culinary scene offers an array of flavors, from traditional Southern cuisine to international delights. Additionally, North Charleston is home to gorgeous parks, such as Riverfront Park and Wannamaker County Park, which provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation. With its thriving arts community, historical landmarks, diverse dining options, and recreational offerings, North Charleston presents a unique and engaging destination that stands apart not just in South Carolina, but the whole country.


The Boyd Plaza and Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, South Carolina, USA
Boyd Plaza and Columbia Museum of Art. Image credit Wirestock Creators via Shutterstock.

While it is true that Columbia is the state capital of South Carolina, there is a lot about it that truly sets it apart from the cities that surround it. The city’s rich history is showcased through its diverse architecture, including antebellum homes, historic landmarks like the South Carolina State House, and the renowned University of South Carolina. Columbia’s cultural scene is vibrant, with numerous museums, galleries, and theaters that host a wide range of performances and exhibitions. Chief amongst these are the Town Theater, a live stage venue that has been in operation for nearly one hundred years, and the Nickelodeon Theater, a old-style arthouse movie theater which hosts repertory screenings and film festivals. Columbia’s natural beauty shines through its lush parks, including the scenic Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden, offering a serene escape within the city. With its blend of history, culture, culinary delights, and natural attractions, Columbia is a hidden gem that deserves more recognition and exploration.


South Carolina is home to several underrated cities that offer unique and enriching experiences for visitors. These cities, which can sometimes be overshadowed by some more popular destinations, hold their own charm, history, and attractions. From the cobblestone streets of historic Charleston to the vibrant art scene in Greenville, each city offers a distinct flavor and charm. With each city boasting its own unique character, exploring the cities of South Carolina guarantees a captivating journey filled with history, culture, natural beauty, and warm hospitality at every turn.

Source : World Atlas