The summer roadtrip is a time-honored tradition in the Land of the Free. It’s as American as the Bay City Rollers, the Bee Gees, and Mott the Hoople. (Oh, wait, those guys aren’t from the U.S. of A.? Our bad.) Anyhow, when summer rolls around, it’s time for you and your besties to pack your short-short covered butts into the station wagon and head, well, somewhere — whether it’s a trip to bat country or a ride to Amity Island for their annual Fourth of July bash and great white feeding. Sometimes you just don’t have enough gas in the tank for a long haul. You just need a little day trip. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of few spots that might be worth your while.

Edisto Beach State Park
8377 State Cabin Road. Edisto Island
(843) 869-2156,

Fifty miles south of Charleston, Edisto Beach State Park offers visitors one-and-a-half miles of beach with scenic sunsets, picnic shelters, and an interactive learning center. The state park is also home to Big Bay Creek, which is a prime fishing spot. Loggerhead turtles can also be found roaming their nesting ground. Admission is $5 for adults, $3.25 for seniors, and $3 for children ages six-15. Admission is free for kids six and under. Pets are welcome in the outdoor areas of Edisto Beach, although they are not permitted in the cabins or the areas near the cabins.

Buck Hall Recreation Area
Francis Marion National Forest
2967 Steed Creek Road. Huger
(843) 336-3248,

If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of our ever-growing city, hop in the car and take the 45-minute drive to Buck Hall Recreation Area at Francis Marion National Forest; admission is $5 per vehicle. The forest spans 260,000 acres over several counties. Enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, horseback riding, picnicking, and more during your day trip. If you’d like to stay the night, bring a tent and set up camp for $15.

Givhans Ferry State Park
746 Givhans Ferry Road. Ridgeville
(843) 873-0692,

With the legendary beaches surrounding our city, we often forget that the Lowcountry is home to some other magnificent water systems. Just 45 minutes up Highway 61, you’ll find Givhans Ferry State Park surrounding the Edisto River, the longest free-flowing black water river in North America. The river is great for kayaking and canoeing, but college kids often just bring an inner tube and float their way down stream. Technically this is prohibited, but you know how kids are. Admission is $2.

Myrtle Beach

If it’s the swarm of tourists that you want to escape, then Myrtle Beach is not the destination for you. Then again, what better way to escape the masses than to join them? Just two hours north on Highway 17, the Dirty Myrtle (which has earned its nickname honestly) is hardly a home to anyone. The city is largely stuffed with over-the-top tourist attractions. There’s really nothing scenic or beautiful about the city, but it is excellent for anyone who wants to abandon their worries and rage all night by the beach. There are also some noteworthy beaches and towns on the drive up to Myrtle that may be worth exploring, such as Pawley’s Island, Litchfield Beach, and Garden City.


If the outdoors isn’t really your thing, or if you’d just rather experience the scene of another city, be sure to check out Charleston’s little sister Savannah, just a two-hour drive down the coast to Georgia. Savannah is a lot like Charleston but with to-go cups. One of the major differences between the cities is the drinking laws. The Hostess City allows open containers within the city limits. You can take your drinks almost anywhere in town, making it a prime destination for party-goers with class. Savannah has an array of daytime activities as well, with gorgeous parks, an eccentric shopping district, an arts scene led by the renowned Savannah College of Art and Design, legendary historic homes, and historical landmarks. Tybee Island, which may be a bit less crowded than the popular Charleston beaches, is just minutes away from downtown and is a serene escape.

A Few More Ideas

• Head to Riverbanks Zoo to get your monkey fix and enjoy the park’s beautiful new garden.
• Stroll Main Street in downtown Greenville and grab a bite or beer at one of the many restaurants on the strip.
• Hike to the top of Table Rock and ponder your own insignificance.
• Rest a spell at South of the Border for a truly strange — and politically incorrect — truck stop experience.
• Catch an Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field, but be sure to swing by Little Five Points first.
• Grab a chili cheeseburger a’plenty at the Beacon Drive-In in Spartanburg.
• Unleash your wild side at the York County Museum, which boasts a truly impressive collection of taxidermied African wildlife.
• Straddle the North Carolina-South Carolina border at Carowinds.
• Practice a little voodoo at Oyotunji African Village in Sheldon.
• Discover a new reason to be embarrassed to be a South Carolinian at the World Famous Redneck Shop and Klan Museum in Laurens.

View Road Trippin’ in a larger map

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.