5 of South Carolina’s Best Kept Secrets

So what is worth seeing in SC, other than the popular Charleston Aquarium, Riverbanks Zoo, or the football stadiums? Quite a few places actually. But I have narrowed it down to the 5 that most people have never heard of (even the locals!).

1. Gaffney Premium Outlets

Because what Southern girl doesn’t love shopping? And ok, maybe this isn’t exactly a secret. But I feel like this gets way less attention than it deserves simply because of the remote location. However, these 75 stores are well worth the drive! And of course, you can’t miss the iconic marker for the area, commonly referred to as the “Peach butt” (the Peachoid Water Tower).

**Fun Fact: South Carolina is the nation’s leading peach producer and shipper east of the Mississippi River.

2. Campbell’s Covered Bridge

Constructed in 1909, Campbell’s Covered Bridge is the only remaining covered bridge in the State of South Carolina. It’s owned by Greenville County now, and is a great site for photography shoots and picnics!

3. The Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel

The Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel was started in 1856 by a railroad company and is bored for more than a mile into the granite heart of fabled Stumphouse Mountain. The coming of the Civil War in 1859 ended the work on the project. Some years ago, Clemson University made Blue Mold Cheese in the tunnel successfully for the first time in the South. The Tunnel is still owned by Clemson University, but is managed by the city of Wahalla.

4. Bomb Island, Lake Murray

Bomb Island on Lake Murray each spring and summer is the home of a very unusual event. Each year thousands of Purple Martins return to this island to roost for the summer. The island has been declared a bird sanctuary and it is quite a sight to watch these birds return to Bomb Island each day around sunset.

5. Atalaya Castle and Huntington Beach State Park

Located in Huntington Beach State Park, you’ll find Atalaya Castle, a stunning tribute to the Spanish Mediterranean built as a winter home by philanthropists Archer and Anna Huntington. Beyond indulging Mr. Huntington’s passion for all things Spanish, the beachfront hacienda included an atelier for Mrs. Huntington, who was an accomplished sculptor, as well as a stable for animals she used as models. Atalaya stretches some 200 feet on each side, with 30 interior rooms framing a spacious Andalusian-style courtyard. The structure’s eponymous tower—in Spanish “Atalaya” means “watchtower”—housed a 3,000-gallon water tank.

Personally, the beach and board walks located within the state park are my favorite. It is located just south of Murrel’s Inlet and Myrtle Beach, but is much less crowded and trashy. Check out some of my shots from the park here.

But let’s be honest, 5 places can barely begin to cover all the wonderful destinations in beautiful South Carolina. So I want to hear about your favorite spots bellow! Have you ever visited any of my top 5?  Are there any “secret” spots that you love to visit? Let us know!