Students from the University of South Carolina are near some of the best spring break destinations on the East Coast. Rich with American history and located on the Atlantic coast, South Carolina has a lot to offer, such as beaches, cultural festivals, and historical landmarks. Some of the most popular places to go for spring break include Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Hilton Head, Folly Beach, and Columbia. USC’s spring break occurs in mid-March. To find out the exact dates for spring break this year, visit the official USC academic calendar. With the dates and our destination overviews below, you can plan the best South Carolina spring break vacation ever!

 

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach specializes in beachfront entertainment and is one of the most popular destinations for spring break in the U.S. It’s best known for the Grand Strand, a sixty-mile stretch of beaches extending from Little River to Georgetown. Spring breakers love to spend their day lazing on the beach and their evenings exploring the nightlife. A popular dance club, Señor Frog’s, is known for throwing the best spring break nightlife events, such as foam parties, bikini contests, glow paint parties, and more. When it’s time to recuperate from all the excitement, vacationers can enjoy laid-back activities like shopping, live music, and visits to the Apache Pier.

While you’re in Myrtle Beach, be sure to check out these local hot spots:

  • Beaches:
    • 60 miles of beaches along the Grand Strand
    • Apache Pier
  • Nightlife:
    • Señor Frogs
    • House of Blues
    • Malibu’s Surf Bar
  • Attractions:
    • Rock Smith Farm
    • Family Kingdom Amusement Park
    • SkyWheel
    • Myrtle Waves Water Park

 

Charleston

If you’re desiring a picture-perfect beach town with pastel-colored beach houses, Charleston has it. The cool spring breeze will feel amazing as you walk through the cobblestone streets of the French Quarter or along the sand of the beautiful beaches. The feeling of complete relaxation this city brings may be why it was ranked number one seven times on Condé Nast Traveler’s list of best small cities in the U.S. The food scene is another attraction of the city, featuring comforting Southern cooking and fresh seafood right from the Atlantic coast.

While you’re in Charleston, be sure to visit these favorite local spots:

  • Beaches:
    • Charleston Harbor
    • Isle of Palms
    • Sullivan’s Island
  • Nightlife:
    • The Rooftop Bar at The Vendue
    • Honky Tonk Saloon
    • The Charleston Pour House
  • Attractions:
    • Fort Sumter National Monument
    • Rainbow Row
    • Charleston City Market
    • Waterfront Park

 

Street lined with colorful houses and green trees

Rainbow Row in Charleston, SC. Photo by Ken Lund via Flickr.

 

Hilton Head

Get a large group of friends or family together and spend your spring break in one of Hilton Head’s cozy vacation rentals. This is a family-friendly location, so if you’re looking forward to reuniting with family over the break, this small island could be the best choice. There’s a great mix of family-fun and college-aged group activities. The island off South Carolina’s coast features 12 miles of beaches where you can spend your time sunbathing on the sand or participating in water sports like snorkeling, boating, and jet skiing. On land, there are bike trails, golf courses, shops, restaurants, and more.

During your vacation in Hilton Head, be sure to stop by these locations for some spring break fun:

  • Beaches:
    • Coligny Beach
    • Driessen Beach Park
    • Burkes Beach
    • Hilton Head Island Beach
  • Nightlife:
    • The Jazz Corner
    • Corks Wine Co.
    • Coco’s on the Beach
    • The Electric Piano Bar
  • Attractions:
    • Hilton Head Distillery
    • ZipLine and Aerial Adventure Park
    • Sea Pines Forest Preserve

Folly Island

Folly Island is the perfect getaway destination for spring break. It’s home to the Folly Beach Pier, stretching more than 1,000 feet into the ocean. From the pier, take in stunning ocean views or cast your fishing line. There is a bait and tackle shop on the pier in addition to a seafood restaurant, Locklear’s Beach City Grill. If you want to take a souvenir home, visit Center Street, where you will find surf and souvenir shops. On Folly Island, you’ll also find a few other hallmarks of a beach town — parks, picnic areas, wildlife habitats, and even a lighthouse!

While enjoying spring break on Folly Island, be sure to visit these locations:

  • Beaches:
    • Folly Beach County Park
    • Sunset Cay Marina
    • The Washout
    • Folly Ocean Park
  • Nightlife:
    • You won’t find any dance clubs on Folly Island, but you can stop into one of the many restaurant bars to enjoy a drink and a nightcap.
    • Folly Island is only 10 miles from Charleston, where many vacationers will go for more nightlife options.
  • Attractions:
    • Morris Island Lighthouse
    • Folly Fishing Pier
    • Porgy & Bess House

 

Bright orange sunset behind the Folly Island pier

Folly Beach. Photo by Visit Folly, Media Kit.

 

Columbia

If you’re a student at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, you don’t have to travel to get to this amazing spring break destination. Columbia has plenty to offer spring breakers already immersed in the college scene. Take the time off from classes to really get to know the city. As the state capital, there are dozens of cultural and historic sites to explore, such as the Columbia Museum of Art and the South Carolina State House. You could also use the vacation time to get in touch with nature by hiking on the Saluda River trails or the Three Rivers. For some fun in the river, rent tubes, canoes, or kayaks from Adventure Carolina. The fun continues on late into the night with Columbia’s energized nightlife scene.

During spring break, check out these popular entertainment and activity options in Columbia:

  • Outdoor Activities:
    • Congaree National Park
    • Sumter National Forest
    • Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park
    • Sesquicentennial State Park
  • Nightlife:
    • Hunter-Gatherer Brewery & Ale House
    • Gervais and Vine
    • The Skyline Club
    • Pinch
  • Attractions:
    • Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
    • Finlay Park
    • Columbia Museum of Art
    • South Carolina State House

 

Spring break is a right of passage. Sometimes that can come with pressure to plan something grand and over the top. We don’t typically imagine that we can have an exciting spring break within our own state. But if you’re lucky enough to live in South Carolina, there are many exciting destinations within the state lines just waiting to be explored and enjoyed!