It's Not the Heat or Humidity, it's Romance
Don't let the Palmetto State's famously oppressive summertime humidity dissuade you from booking a romantic excursion. Humidity is a way of life in South Carolina, especially along the coastal Lowcountry and even in the hilly Upstate region. Wintertime is a fine time to come because freezes are rare, but spring and fall are prime for a getaway when the temps are more manageable, and the moist air doesn't seem to weigh so heavy on the skin.
Historic Elegance in Greenville
Main Street in downtown Greenville is one of the great success stories of urban revitalization. What was once a four-lane eyesore of a thoroughfare in the 1970s is now a tree-lined, two-lane oasis in the heart of the city filled with all manner of shopping, dining and nightlife options along its sidewalks. Stay at the historic Poinsett Hotel (120 S.Main St., Greenville, SC) which opened in 1925 and is now a luxurious Westin property. All the amenities of Main Street are just outside the Poinsett's door. Reedy Falls, a beautiful, cascading waterfall on the Reedy River that flows through the middle of town, is only two blocks away. The park surrounding the falls makes a great picnic and people-watching spot.
Thoroughbred County makes up a wide swath of the southwestern part of the state. The best place to experience it is the charming town of Aiken. It's the heart of horse country, and you'll see horse crossing signs all over town. Book a room at the Willcox (100 Colleton Ave. SW, Aiken, SC) for its historic elegance. This is the place in Aiken for pampering, with an on-site full-service spa and a restaurant that's one of the top dining spots in town. Polo season is in the fall and spring months, so plan to come during this time to take in one of the many matches around town.
Heart of the Lowcountry
Founded in 1711, Beaufort's entire downtown and surrounding neighborhoods are part of a National Historic District. The town's small enough that couples can walk everywhere, but horse-drawn carriage rides are also popular for those willing to spring for one. Check-in at the Beaufort Inn (809 Port Republic St., Beaufort, SC), an idyllic property two blocks from the waterfront with rooms in the main house or cottages for more privacy. Stroll the waterfront and choose from an array of dining options overlooking the water. Hop in the car to see the Old Sheldon Church ruins 16 miles outside of town (Old Sheldon Church Road), one of the most scenic spots in the Lowcountry.
Charleston exudes enchantment along its centuries-old streets, many still lined with cobblestone. Surrounded by water on three sides, true waterside accommodations are hard to come by in the city proper. Head across the water. The Cottages on Charleston Harbor (16 Patriots Point Rd., Mt. Pleasant, SC) sit directly on the water across from downtown and within view of the ocean in the distance. Surrounded by palm trees, the cottages are a near-perfect blend of coastal ambiance and city allure. Plus, downtown is only a ten-minute water taxi ride away.
The Red Horse Inn
The Red Horse Inn (45 Winstons Chase Ct., Landrum) makes for a great children-free escape because the property caters to couples, not families. Spring for a cottage, not an inn room. They'll bring breakfast to you. Beyond the large property with its own private hiking trails, explore the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway that cuts through the Blue Ridge foothills of the Upstate region. Along the way, you'll see some of the best scenery South Carolina has to offer.
Blake Guthrie covers travel, entertainment and outdoor recreation for many outlets, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he is a regular contributor. With years of experience as a professional cook, Guthrie also relishes writing about food and beverage topics. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications from Auburn University.