Travel

10 Road trip-worthy South Carolina destinations and attractions that won't break the bank

Caesars Head State Park offers some of the best views of nature in the state.

Photo courtesy of Discover South Carolina

There's a lot of wide open America to fall in love with between your home and your destination. Taking the long way or the road less traveled isn't a bad thing. It can lead to new adventures that end up as fond memories.

Almost as important as the destination itself is the vehicle you choose to road trip in. Click here to see AutomotiveMap's picks for best road trip SUV and here to see the best road trip cars. Click here to see AutomotiveMap's advice for planning the perfect road trip.

The next time you're planning a road trip to South Carolina, consider the following destinations, which are not on the usual tourist roster.

Swamp Rabbit Trail

Reedy Falls Park Greenville SC

Photo courtesy of Discover South Carolina

The Swamp Rabbit Trail features 22 miles of greenway path for cycling, walking, and running. It winds along the Reedy River from Travelers Rest to Greenville, South Carolina via an old railroad corridor. While some parts of the trail are rural, one of the best gems of the path is its span along Reedy Falls Park in downtown Greenville. In addition to recreation, there are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops that serve as a good destination for your recreation adventure.

Lake Murray

South Carolina's Lake Murray offers recreation and relaxation. In-town, enjoy antiques shopping to exploring history, to eating your way through all the Souther cuisine and barbecue you can handle. Head out on the lake to enjoy boating, fishing, rowing, paddle boarding, and more. Accommodations surrounding the centrally located lake aren't pricey compared to what you'll find in South Carolina's other tourist areas.

Huntington Beach State Park

Atalaya Castle at Huntington Beach State Park\u200b

Photo courtesy of South Carolina State Parks

Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet is one of the grandest of the Grand Strand state parks. It is home to Atalaya, the former winter home of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington, 173 campsites, over 300 species of birds, and three miles of beaches. There is an admission fee to enter the park and a separate fee to tour Atalaya.

Hopsewee Plantation

Hopsewee Plantation was built 40 years before the America Revolution. It was one of the most important rice plantations in the South and the birthplace of Thomas Lynch, Jr., one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The main house still stands and is used as a private residence, however, tours are offered, as are basket weaving classes and dining.

South Carolina State House

South Carolina State House Columbia

Photo courtesy of Discover South Carolina

Free and self-guided tours are available of the Greek Revival-style South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina during typical business hours, Monday through Friday. Arrangements for guided tours can be arranged in advance. Before you go, check out the State House's tour brochure here for more info. You can also take a virtual tour here.

Cypress Gardens

Cypress Gardens is full of things to do. There are 3.5 miles of hiking trails, swamp boat rides (extra $5.00/person), a reptile center called the Swamparium, butterfly house, and wildlife galore (be on the lookout for alligators) at the Monocks Corner attraction. A long list of movies have been shot at the location including "The Patriot" (2000) and "Cold Mountain" (2003).

Supernatural Walking Tour of Charleston

Downtown Charleston

Photo courtesy of Discover South Carolina

It's always fun to tour a new place, or learn more about a town you love by seeing it from a whole new perspective. A ghost tour will tick both of those boxes. Charleston is chock full of hundreds of years of history, just waiting to be explored as part of this 90-minute walking tour, which begins and ends at Marion Square.

The Avian Conservation Center & Center for Birds of Prey

Awendaw is home to The Avian Conservation Center & Center for Birds of Prey, an attraction that wins praise from wildlife activists as well as visitors. There are 50 species represented at the Center including eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, kites, and vultures. Visitors can partake in a guided tour and flight demonstration, a two-hour event that costs an additional $18/person. In the autumn they also offer an owl discovery program in the evening.

Caesars Head State Park

Caesars Head State Park

Photo courtesy of Discover South Carolina

The Blue Ride Mountains in northwest South Carolina give visitors a visual feast for thier eyes delivering sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, lakes, and vast swaths of trees that extends into Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina. Caesars Head State Park features over 60 miles of hiking trails, including one that take visitors across a suspension bridge that goes above Raven Cliff Falls (the tallest water fall in South Carolina). There are 18 primitive campsites. The park is part of a natural migratory path for hawks three months of the year along the Atlantic Flyway.

Myrtle Beach Pinball Museum

Reconnect with your youth at the Myrtle Beach Pinball Museum. There are over 25 pinball museums at the attraction, where visitors pay a $12 flat rate for the ability to play for a full hour on any of the machines. To gain entry, you must buy your tickets online ahead of time. The museum limits the number of tickets to help alleviate overcrowding.

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The F-Type P450 cars replace the P300 and P380 as part of the Jaguar lineup.

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

Two new versions of the Jaguar F-Type are on the horizon. New versions of the model have been created to further the car's luxury proposition and both are powered by a roaring V8 engine. The new P450 variants replace the P300 and P380 models currently in the lineup. Jaguar is keeping the F-Type R around.

2022 Jaguar F-Type P450

The 2022 Jaguar F-Type P450 will be available as a coupe or convertible in P450 RWD or P450 R-DYNAMIC AWD grades. All varieties come with a 444-horsepower supercharged V8 under the hood that achieves 428 pound-feet of torque. An electronic active differential is standard. In all configurations, the car gets from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and has a top speed of 177 mph.

2022 Jaguar F-Type P450 The car has received minor exterior updates from the 2021 model.Photo courtesy of Jaguar

In a nod to its suburban buyers, the F-Type has a Quiet Star mode that allows a more subtle roar out the back side of the car upon startup. Drivers who don't care about keeping quiet can switch the car in to Dynamic mode and let the rumble out.

Each F-Type P450 rides on 20-inch wheels, has larger brakes than traditional F-Type models, and has the switchable exhaust. Double J-Blade daytime running lights feature up front while new slender rear lights allow the body of the car to speak for itself.

Buyers who get the F-Type P450 R-Dynamic AWD get bespoke badging; a gloss black front splitter, side sills, valance, and venturi; auto-dimming, power- folding, heated door mirrors with memory; and 20-inch Style 6003, split-spoke, gloss Dark Grey with Contrast Diamond Turned Finish Wheels.

2022 Jaguar F-Type P450 The interior sports a refined appearance.Photo courtesy of Jaguar

Monogram stitch patterns on the car's seats and interior accents in Windsor Leather and satin-finish Noble Chrome enhance the interior. Additionally, there are "Jaguar Est.1935" markings on the center console finisher, glovebox release button surround, and seatbelt guides. Six-way electric power seats are standard on F-Type P450 RWD, while F-Type P450 R-Dynamic AWD adds 12-way electric memory front seats, electrically adjustable steering column with memory, Delta Aluminum Center Console, and R-Dynamic branded metal treadplates as standard equipment.

A 12.3-inch driver information display is standard.

F-Type P450 is available in 11 standard exterior colors, and can be ordered in over a dozen custom SVO paint finishes. It starts at $69,900 for the P450 RWD Coupe and $79,900 for the R450 R-Dynamic AWD Coupe.

2022 Jaguar F-Type R

The F-Type R is the pinnacle of the Jaguar lineup with torque on-demand all-wheel drive, Jaguar Intelligent Driveline Dynamics control technology, a double wishbone front and rear suspension, and electric power-assisted steering.

It can get from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 186 mph thanks to its 575-horsepower supercharged V8 engine. All-wheel drive is standard.

This model starts at $103,200.

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The 2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade is a fresh edition for the company's lineup.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

One of Toyota's most efficient cars is getting the blackout treatment. Like other Nightshade editions Toyota puts out, the 2022 Prius Nightshade has all the requisite black accents while maintaining its heralded powertrain.

The 2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade is available in front- and all-wheel drive. Buyers can add the treatment to Prius L Eco, LE, LE AWD-e, XLE, XLE AWD-e and Limited grades. It comes in the buyer's choice of Midnight Black Metallic, Super White, or Silver Metallic paint job. Front-wheel drive models ride on standard 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels while AWD-e cars get 15-inchers with black insert and lug nuts.

The exterior of the car also gets black headlight accents, mirror caps, door handles, color keyed rear deck spoiler and shark fin antenna.

2022 Toyota Prius Nightshade

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

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Each of the models is powered by the Prius's 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, which is paired with two electric motors. A continuously variable transmission is standard. All-wheel drive models get an EPA-estimated 51 mpg in the city, 47 mpg on the highway, and 49 mpg combined. Front-wheel drive versions do a slightly better 54 mpg in the city, 50 mpg on the highway, and 52 mpg combined.

Inside there are standard SofTex-trimmed trimmed, heated, power adjustable front seats and a SofTex-trimmed heated steering wheel and semi-gloss black center console. A 7-inch infotainment touch screen is standard, as is a six-speaker JBL sound system. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa come on every model, as are an auxiliary jack, three USB ports, a wireless phone charger, and one 12-volt outlet.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard and includes a pre-collision system with low-light pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, bicyclist detection, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, and road sign assist.

All Prius models come with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and 60-month/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Toyota's hybrid battery warranty is for 10 years or 150,000 miles from the vehicle's in-service date, whichever occurs first. The hybrid system warranty is for eight years or 100,000 miles from the vehicle's in-service date.

This latest member of the Nightshade family means that there are 11 Nightshade editions in Toyota's stable. The Prius is the first hybrid to get the treatment.

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