South Carolina is one of the smallest states of America. In terms of land size, it is the 40th biggest state, but it has the 23rd largest population, resulting in a relatively high population density. South Carolina is situated in the southeastern part of the United States, on the Atlantic Coast, and has borders with the states of North Carolina and Georgia. South Carolina covers an area of 32,030 square miles and has an estimated population of 5 million people.

The state capital of South Carolina is Columbia, but its largest city in terms of population is Charleston. The biggest urban area in South Carolina is the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin metropolitan area, and the state was named after King Charles I of England, with the Latin word 'Carolius' being the equivalent of 'Charles'. Here are some key facts, statistics, and details for the biggest cities of South Carolina. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Charleston

Charleston
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Charleston is considered to be the largest city in South Carolina, although the estimated population of this is very close to the estimated population of the state capital, Columbia. An official census will therefore need to determine which city is truly the biggest in the present day, but Charleston is currently considered to be the biggest as it has an estimated population of close to 135,000 people.

The city covers an area of 127.5 square miles and is located in Charleston County and Berkeley County. It was named after King Charles II of England and was founded in 1670, originally called Charles Town, on the shores of the state. It is the oldest city in all of South Carolina and is well-known for its unique historic architecture, long beachside promenades, and friendly locals.

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2.Columbia

Columbia
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As previously mentioned, Columbia may technically be the largest city in South Carolina as its population is very close to that of Charleston, but it is currently ranked as the second biggest city in the state. The estimated population of Columbia is a little over 134,000, but more than 810,000 people live in the city's surrounding metropolitan area.

Columbia is the state capital of South Carolina and was named after the explorer, Christopher Columbus. The city is located in the central part of the state in Richland County, with a small part of it entering Lexington County too. Columbia is located on the confluence of the Broad River and Saluda River and is home to several key South Carolina institutions like the University of South Carolina and Fort Jackson, the biggest United States Army base used for combat training.

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3.North Charleston

North Charleston
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North Charleston is the third biggest city in South Carolina and is spread out across three separate counties: Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley. North Charleston covers an area of 76.6 square miles and has an estimated population of 108,000 people, with more than 744,000 living in the surrounding metropolitan area, which also includes the state's biggest city, Charleston.

North Charleston is a key industrial center for South Carolina, being home to a large Boeing facility that is one of the biggest job-providers in the city. Many other large companies have built offices and factories in North Charleston, giving the city a strong economy overall.

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4.Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant
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Located in Charleston County in the southeastern part of South Carolina, Mount Pleasant is seen as the state's fourth biggest city, despite technically being classed as a suburban town. Mount Pleasant has an estimated population of 81,000 people and covers an area of 52.6 square miles, with 7.5 square miles of water due to the town's marshes and location on the Wando River, Cooper River, and other bodies of water like Shem Creek.

Mount Pleasant has close connections with the city of Charleston, with many of Mount Pleasant's residents commuting into the city for work each day via the Ravenel Bridge, which connects the two locations.

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5.Rock Hill

Rock Hill
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Rock Hill is the fifth biggest city in South Carolina by population. This city is located in York County, in the northern part of South Carolina, close to the border with North Carolina. Rock Hill is part of the Charlotte metropolitan area and has an estimated population of 72,000 people.

Rock Hill covers an area of 43.16 square miles and the area was settled in the 1830s, but wasn't officially founded until 1852 as key services like a post office and railroad station arrived in the area. Rock Hill is situated on the Catawba River and is known as a popular outdoor recreation spot, with over 30 parks and many different scenic hiking trails.

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5 of the Largest Cities in South Carolina


  • Charleston, Photo: susanne2688/stock.adobe.com
  • Columbia, Photo: Kevin Ruck/stock.adobe.com
  • North Charleston, Photo: davide bonaldo/stock.adobe.com
  • Mount Pleasant, Photo: william/stock.adobe.com
  • Rock Hill, Photo: digidreamgrafix/stock.adobe.com
  • Cover Photo: Courtesy of f11photo - Fotolia.com

More Ideas: South Carolina State Museum

Located in Columbia, South Carolina, the South Carolina State Museum is known for their extensive display of permanent and special attractions. Of their permanent and special attractions, the South Carolina State Museum is especially famous for their 4D theater, which is also interactive, and their digital planetarium.

The South Carolina State Museum was founded on October 28, 1988, with the intent to preserve, promote, and educate people about science, art, natural history, and cultural history. One of the most historic features of the South Carolina State Museum is the building it’s housed in. The Museum is located within the Columbia Mills Building, which is officially recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. The Columbia Mills Building is known as the world’s first textile mill that was completely electric. Building on its recognition, the Building was also General Electric’s first large-scaled industrial facility.

Although majority of the Columbia Mills Building has been renovated to adequately house the South Carolina State Museum and keep the foundation of the building in great condition, some areas in the Museum still have the Building’s original flooring.

The South Carolina State Museum has over 70,000 objects and documents within their permanent collection. Although only a select number of objects from the Museum’s permanent collection are showcased at any given time, the Museum has a display of iconic objects from their collection that is displayed at the front of the main lobby.

South Carolina Art showcases how art has contributed to South Carolina’s cultural and historical significance. A wide variety of artists and mediums are showcased in the Museum’s collection, from decorative arts to traditional portraits, and even recent modern art.

History is the Museum’s largest concentration, and tells the story of South Carolina’s history.

Natural History captures the biology, geology, and paleontology history within South Carolina. Some of the artifacts within this collection date back to over 500 million years ago.

Science and Technology features a diverse collection of tools, media innovations, and transportation. Each display showcases how the technological and scientific industries have been important in South Carolina’s history.

Boeing Observatory is a 2,500 square foot facility built with a historical 1926 Alvan Clark telescope and a designated area for outdoor viewing.

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Planetarium is a 55 foot dome that allows visitors to explore a variety of entertaining and educational programs from one of the 145 available seats.

Rev. Dr. Solomon Jackson, Jr. 4D Interactive Theater allows visitors to experience a 3D educational and entertaining film, with the added dimension of physical experiences. Within the theater, guests can expect to feel vibrations, different weather and environmental conditions, and smell different scents.

In addition to their extensive display of permanent attractions, the South Carolina State Museum allows displays a wide variety of special attractions throughout the year. Check out the Museum’s official website to obtain an updated list of special attractions.

Savage Ancient Seas transports visitors to an era when marine life was comprised of a variety of carnivorous reptiles and dinosaurs roamed around. With over 50 marine fossils that date back to approximately 80 million years ago, Savage Ancient Seas will give you a perspective of what life was like back then.

South Carolina and the Great War gives visitors an in-depth experience of what life was like in South Carolina during World War I, and how World War I had a large impact on the state.

ART: A Collection of Collections showcases a small collection of art from artists that are based within South Carolina. Each of the objects displayed within this attraction are truly one of a kind and have been rarely displayed, yet alone seen.

App4That allows visitors to explore how smartphones and apps have changed almost every aspect of society.

There is a wide variety of educational opportunities available at the South Carolina State Museum. Most of the Museum’s educational programs are completely free. Schools and general visitors are encouraged to participate in one of the Museum’s specialized guided tours. These guided tours allow visitors to get the most out of their visit to the Museum.

Another popular educational opportunity is the Museum’s overnight stay program. The overnight stay program is available for Boy and Girl Scouts. During the overnight stay, participants have the opportunity to explore the Museum, interact with accomplished special guests, observe space through the 1926 Alvan Clark telescope, enjoy an interactive experience in the 4D theater, and participate in many more activities.

For more information about any of the educational opportunities at the South Carolina State Museum, visit the Museum’s official website, or contact them during their hours of operation.

Back to: Things to Do in South Carolina, Things to Do in Columbia SC

301 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC 29201, Phone: 803-898-4921

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More Ideas: Coastal Discovery Museum

The Coastal Discovery Museum was established in 1985, and since then it has moved to several different locations before finally settling in 2007 on Hilton Head Island at a location called Honey Horn. The site stretches across 68 acres of land and is the location of some of the island's oldest and most treasured buildings.

The mission of the Coastal Discovery Museum is to inspire its visitors, teaching them the knowledge on how to care for their environment and providing people with a better understanding of how to create a sustainable future.

The museum offers many walking tours, activities, and programs that follow vast trails, taking you on a journey through different environments, breathtaking landscapes, and historic structures. Your visit will begin at Discovery House, one of Honey Horn's historic buildings, built in 1859. There are several exhibitions within this building that explore the history of the Lowcountry. You may also want to pick up a map of the site at Discovery House, as beyond this building the trail begins.

Investigate the island’s wide range of different habitats and get the chance to watch birds at the lagoons, in the forest, and in the salt marsh, although it depends on the time of the year as what you might see changes with the seasons. You can take the nature tour across the local beaches and learn all about the many different creatures that inhabit the coastal line of the island. You may even be lucky enough to come face to face with creatures, such as the fascinating horseshoe crab, beautiful shorebirds or, if you are really lucky, sea turtles.

The grounds are home to a large variety of trees, including the largest red cedar tree in the state of South Carolina. The tree dates all the way back to approximately 1595. Other trees you can expect to see include giant live oak trees, Southern magnolias, bald cypress, dogwood, and toothache trees. More information on several of these trees can be found all over the site.

The Smithsonian Institution recognised the Coastal Discovery Museum as a part of its Affiliations division in 2015. This partnership better equips the museum with resources to engage and enrich its community.

With so much to explore, learn, and experience, the Coastal Discovery Museum is a fantastic fun-filled adventure for the whole family to enjoy.

Address

70 Honey Horn Drive, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926, Phone: 843-689-6767

More Things to Do in Hilton Head SC

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More Ideas: Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Established in the 1970's, the Patriots Point Development Authority was created to develop a maritime and naval museum along the Charleston Harbor. The USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier from WWII, was to be used as the museum's centerpiece. It is also the home of the Patriots Point Museum, the country's only Vietnam Experience Exhibit, several National Historic Landmark ships, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and its museum, and the Cold War Memorial. The aim of the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum in South Carolina is the preservation of the living history of the some of the bravest women and men in the United States while sharing their stories in engaging, educational, and honorable ways.

Since the Patriots Point Museum first opened its doors to the public, it has been one of South Carolina's most popular attractions among tourists, with over two hundred and seventy thousand visitors every year. The USS Yorktown hosts one of the country's largest overnight, educational camping programs. Every year, over forty thousand youth attend these programs to learn more about naval and maritime life. There are several ways for visitors to explore everything Patriots Point has to offer. Guests can listen to first-hand accounts straight from veterans, follow a knowledgeable tour guide, or simply explore on their own.

General admission to Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum includes entrance to the museum, the USS Yorktown, the USS Clamagore, the USS Laffey, the Medal of Honor Museum, and the Vietnam Experience. Visitors are welcome to explore all of these on a self-guided tour. There are five different tour routes on the USS Yorktown, and on-site navigation and maps help guide visitors as they walk in the footsteps of the officers and sailors of the ship.

Visitors can also tour Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum at their own pace on a self-guided audio tour. Guests can hear first-hand accounts on an audio device from veteran of World War II. With over one hundred points of interest along the tour and over three and a half hours of content, visitors can choose which sites they want to explore and which one they want to hear more about. There is a small fee for the personal audio player.

Visitors can also choose to participate in a guided behind-the-scenes group tour at Patriots Point, during which they'll be led by their own personal guide. The VIP tours are only offered to group of ten or more people, and are required to be booked at least two weeks before the group's visit. Guests can choose from several different private tours.

During a ghost tour of the USS Yorktown, guests can explore the unexplained mysteries about parts of the ship that are normally not available to visitors. Guests can listen to legendary tales of bravery and sacrifice as they learn about tales of startling and strange sounds and sights on the ship. The USS Yorktown has been featured on the show "Ghost Hunters" on the Syfy channel, and is also called a "must-do" Charleston ghost tour by Family Circle and The Today Show.

40 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Phone: 843-884-2727

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