Folly Beach, S.C. — Here at the “Edge of America,” as locals know it, the New World merges seamlessly with the Old. Surfers carve waves up and down the coast of the delightfully named Folly Island, an irreverent moniker borrowed from Old English to describe the densely treed coastline the British found centuries ago.
The barrier island, which holds such appeal to active millennials and families alike, serves as an ideal complement to the historic cobblestone streets and antebellum architecture 10 miles to the north in Charleston, recently voted the country’s best small city for the 10th consecutive year by Condé Nast Traveler’s readers.
South Carolina’s topography, ranging from its 187-mile-long coastline to the Blue Ridge Mountains, guarantees visitors never will run out of things to do. Here’s how your next Palmetto State adventure might play out.
For golfers, there’s nowhere better to enjoy that coastline than at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Only a handful of name-brand resorts around the country pair a major-championship venue such as the Ocean Course, ranked No. 9 among Golfweek’s Best Resort Courses, with the Five Diamond, oceanside luxury of The Sanctuary.
If you’re not intent on trophy-hunting, consider a loop around one of Kiawah’s other four courses, such as watery Oak Point, a target-golf layout that will require precise shotmaking off the tees and into greens. Post-round, drop by the Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House at Kiawah’s
Osprey Point clubhouse, a stop on the South Carolina BBQ Trail, where the premium beef is paired with more than 60 craft brews.
Back at Folly Beach, consider testing your skills on the paddleboard or taking a surfing lesson. “The Washout” – so named because Hurricane Hugo washed away some homes, creating a wind tunnel that roils the surf – is a great place to learn on the north end of the beach.
If you want to understand what the South Carolina Midlands region is all about, consider a visit Old McCaskill’s Farm in Camden, a charming B&B where guests can immerse themselves in the lifestyle of the Southern farm. Midlands residents are connected to the land, and that fact infuses the region’s farm-to-table ethos.
At McCaskill’s, guests can enjoy the farm animals and savor dishes prepared largely with homegrown ingredients. Visitors can even purchase blankets made from the wool sheared from the farm’s sheep each spring.
Continue this down-home adventure through the Midlands at Hermitage Farm Shooting Sports, where visitors can test their marksmanship along a 1,500-acre ridge that presents sportsman with an array of challenging hillside shots. Hermitage’s founder and owner, Joe Cantey, is a six-time world champion of sporting clays.
Camden’s restaurant scene is headlined by Sam Kendall’s, where the region’s biggest wine list complements an eclectic and ever-changing menu.
(The Red Horse Inn)
Autumn is a lovely time to make this trip. As you move west into the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’ll arrive at The Red Horse Inn in Landrum, which AAA ranks among the 10 Top Places to View Fall Colors. The Inn has six beautifully appointed rooms and six private cottages, allowing visitors to enjoy the 50-mile views from Table Rock to Tryon Peak in North Carolina.
The long views are almost as good in Travelers Rest, at Cherokee Valley, a P.B. Dye design with sweeping panoramas of the Upstate region.
After your round, make the short drive to Whistle Stop at the American Café along the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The Whistle Stop, which offers seasonal rooftop dining, specializes in wood-fired pizzas and Southern staples.
If time allows, visit Table Rock State Park, where the most ambitious hikers can make the trek to the top of Table Rock and Pinnacle mountains. Or consider a more leisurely stroll along the streams and past the waterfalls. It will give you an even greater appreciation of those Blue Ridge vistas.