South Carolina is home to waterfalls, swamps, mountain views, wildlife, and more. On this page we’ll take a look at some of the best locations in South Carolina for landscape and nature photographers. The interactive map below shows the location of each spot mentioned on this page.
This page will continue to be a work in progress, so please feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions of great places to photograph.
Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park is located along the Congaree River, about 20 miles southeast of Columbia. This park protects old growth bottomland hardwood forest. This swampy floodplain makes Congaree unique among national parks. One of the main features of the park is the boardwalk loop, a 2.5 mile elevated walkway that protects the environment while still giving visitors great access. From here you can easily photograph the landscape. The park also includes several other trails, including a 20-mile canoe trail.
Myrtle Beach is a very popular vacation destination with miles of beautiful beaches. There are several piers here that also can serve as subjects for your photographs. The photo below is of the Cherry Grove Fishing Pier in North Myrtle Beach. Other piers include the Second Avenue Pier and the Springmaid Pier.
Brookgreen Gardens is a sculpture garden about 20 miles south of Myrtle Beach. There are several different gardens linked by walkways. The sculptures and surrounding landscape are great subjects for photos. Brookgreen Gardens also includes a small zoo that is included in the entrance fee for the sculpture garden. The most picturesque part of the zoo is the aviary. If you’re in Myrtle Beach for vacation, taking a day trip to Brookgreen Gardens is a nice option.
Angel Oak is a 500-year-old oak tree in Angel Oak Park on Johns Island, near Charleston. The tree is so large that it gives 17,000 square feet of shade.
Table Rock State Park is in northern South Carolina at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In addition to Table Rock, the park also includes Pinnacle Mountain, which is the tallest mountain totally within South Carolina. The park includes a few trails, including the 3.5-mile Table Rock Summit Trail. The 2-mile Carrick Creek Nature Trail provides views of several small cascades and waterfalls.
Caesars Head State Park
Caesars Head State Park is only about 12 miles northeast of Table Rock State Park, right along the North Carolina state line. Caesars Head is a rock outcropping that provides a stunning view of this mountainous area. The park also includes several waterfalls, including Raven Cliff Falls.
Jones Gap State Park
Jones Gap State Park is adjacent to Caesars Head State Park. This forested wilderness park includes several trails and many beautiful waterfalls. Some trails connect Jones Gap and Caesars Head State Parks.
Kiawah Island is a barrier island south of Charleston. This beautiful island has a popular golf resort and plenty of sandy beaches to photograph.
Hunting Island is a barrier island in southern South Carolina, just a short distance north of Hilton Head Island. The island is home to a popular state park, a picturesque lighthouse, and beautiful beaches. The park has several hiking trails, including a 6-mile loop trail.
Hunting Beach State Park
Despite similar names, Hunting Beach State Park is not associated with Hunting Island State Park. They are actually about a 3 or 4 hour drive apart from each other. Hunting Beach State Park is south of Myrtle Beach, right by Brookgreen Gardens. This park features beautiful beaches, marshes, and a lot of birds.
Poinsett Bridge in northern South Carolina is the oldest bridge in the state. It was built in 1820 and is now part of the Poinsett Bridge Heritage Preserve. It features a 14-foot arch over the Little Gap Creek. It is believed to have been designed by Robert Mills, the designer of the Washington Monument.
Old Sheldon Church Ruins
The ruins of the Old Sheldon Church are about 35 miles northwest on Hunting Island. This church that was built in 1826 sits beautifully surrounded by oak trees and graves. Access to the ruins is by way of Old Sheldon Church Road, which connects to U.S. Highway 17.
Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is in southern South Carolina, right next to Hilton Head Island. The refuge consists of salt marshes, tidal creeks, ponds, and forests. Wildlife includes shorebirds, wading birds, herons, egrets, alligators, and deer. There are no roads in the refuge. After parking in the lot at the edge of the refuge you can walk or bike the trail into the refuge. The main trail throughout the refuge is gravel, other travels are grass.
In northern South Carolina, Brasstown Falls is a very picturesque waterfall. There are several different drops that add up to about 120 feet in total. There is a short hike (about half a mile) to the base of the falls.
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is in southern South Carolina and northern Georgia. There are 38 miles of river and 25 miles of streams within the refuge, as well as wetlands and bottomland hardwoods. The refuge is home to abundant plant life, many types of birds, and alligators. Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive is a 4 mile loop that provides easy access and views. There are also 40 miles of hiking trails.
Falls Park on the Reedy
Falls Park on the Reedy in Greenville provides easy access to some scenic waterfalls. The park has a pedestrian bridge that provides nice, unobstructed views of the falls.
Want to learn more about neighboring states? Please see: