The relatively small state of SOUTH CAROLINA remains, with Mississippi, one of the most impoverished and rural in the USA. Politics in the first state to secede from the Union in 1860 have traditionally been conservative, particularly following the Civil War during the tumultuous period of Reconstruction and Jim Crow segregation. The region’s main fascination lies in the subtropical coastline, also called the Low Country, and its sea islands. Wild beaches, swampy marshes and lush palmetto groves preserve traces of a virtually independent black culture (featuring the unique patois, “Gullah”), dating back to the start of the Civil War when enslaved Africans stayed put but area plantation owners fled the scene. There are no interstates along the coast, so journeys take longer than you might expect, the views are pretty and the pace of life definitely feels slower. Beyond the grand old peninsular port of Charleston – one of the most elegant towns in the nation with its pastel-coloured old buildings, appealing waterfront and Caribbean ambience – restored plantations stretch as far north as Georgetown, en route toward tacky Myrtle Beach.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

How to get your hippie on in San Francisco

How to get your hippie on in San Francisco

Born in California, the Summer of Love movement aimed at nothing less than transforming American society. And for a window of time, San Francisco was the centre…

26 May 2017 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
20 places to embrace the great outdoors in the USA

20 places to embrace the great outdoors in the USA

Whether you're dreaming of a week-long expedition or an afternoon spent in the sun, the USA is ripe with possibilities for an outdoor adventure. From hiking to…

16 May 2017 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
The best weekend getaways in the USA

The best weekend getaways in the USA

The USA is a big place – but no matter where you’re based, it’s easy to hit the road for a couple of hours or hop on a plane or train for a total change …

04 May 2017 • Rebecca Hallett insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month