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Free activities in South Carolina

You don’t have to spend big bucks to have a good time in South Carolina! These activities are completely free, but still tons of fun.

Charleston Gateway Walk

Location: Archdale Street to Philadelphia Alley, Charleston, South Carolina

The Charleston Gateway Walk is an almost hidden pathway that wanders behind churches and past cemeteries from Archdale Street to Philadelphia Alley in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. You’ll think you’ve stepped inside of the Secret Garden as you stroll through narrow pathways and under awnings of trees and flowers. Download a map from the website before you go, as the direction you should take isn’t always clearly marked.

Edisto Beach State Park

Location: 8377 State Cabin Road, Edisto Island, SC 29438
Phone: 843-869-2156
Rates: Free in most areas

This whole island is a state park, and it’s a great one! It’s a lot less pretentious than most of the islands. There are hiking trails leading from the beach to the maritime forest, and the beach is always filled with families. If you’re into shell collecting stop here, because they are everywhere. If you want to stay overnight, grab a beachfront camping spot and pitch a tent!

South Carolina Botanical Garden

Location: 102 Garden Trail, Clemson, SC 29634
Phone: 864-656-2458

The South Carolina Botanical Garden is huge at almost 300 acres in size. There are miles of streams, gardens, natural landscapes, a butterfly garden, specialty gardens and nature trails. Learn about what you’ll see outside and pick up a map at the Fran House Discovery Center before you start roaming the gardens.

South Carolina State House

Location: The intersection of Gervais and Main Streets, Columbus, South Carolina
Phone: 803-734-2430

Learn about the history of the government in South Carolina, as well as how it’s run today. The State House gives free tours every Monday through Friday, and every tour starts with a short DVD. Call ahead to schedule your tour and they’ll send you an info packet before you go. Park at the meters on the street — most of them can be used for several hours at a time.

Greenville County Museum of Art

Location: 420 College St., Greenville, SC 29601
Phone: 864-271-7570

The Greenville County Museum of Art has a very wide range of pieces, so there’s something here that everyone will enjoy. The exhibits are always changing, so stop by frequently if you don’t want to miss anything. Stop by every Sunday at 2 p.m. for the Sundays@2 program, which is usually a family-friendly activity, craft or presentation.

Pickney Island National Wildlife Refuge

Location: Pickney Island, Corn Island, Big and Little Harry Islands, and Buzzard Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina
Phone: 843-784-2468

The Pickney Island National Wildlife Refuge will show you some of South Carolina’s most beautiful landscapes, as well as a glimpse of some of the state’s most treasured wildlife. As you wander these islands by foot, car or bicycle, you may see several protected birds such as raptors, waterfowl, tropical migrants and much more. You’ll also see white-tailed deer and American alligators. The best time of year to go is in the spring and fall, when the weather is tolerable and the animals are most active.

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