81 Interesting Facts About South Carolina

Last updated on August 10th, 2022

55. Bomb Island is the first purple martin sanctuary in North America. Every summer 750,000 birds fly back to the island to roost in the trees. The island is uninhabited and is off-limits to human visitors in the summer when the birds come to roost.

56. Congaree National Park is home to more than two dozen champion trees or trees which are the largest of their kinds. The park is home to the largest concentration of champion trees in the country.

Cowpens National Battlefield Park
Cowpens National Battlefield Park. © Zrfphoto

57. The Cowpens Depot Museum was built out of donations made by crewmen and local citizens who donated memorabilia and historical artifacts from WWII naval history. Notable items include uniforms, equipment, and war artifacts donated by crewmen of the USS Cowpens.

58. The City of Little River is a small suburban community sitting at the northeastern tip of South Carolina and known as the gateway to the Grand Strand. This coastal community is also a desirable tourist destination in its own right, especially for those who wish to enjoy a quiet holiday in a small town.

59. The state tree displayed proudly on the state flag is the cabbage palmetto. Fort Moultrie was built out of palmetto logs mounted on top of sand walls. Due to the palmetto logs’ spongy consistency, the fort was able to repel cannon attacks because the cannonballs fired by the British simply bounced off the spongy palmetto walls.

Healing Springs Historic Marker
Healing Springs Historic Marker. Jimmy Emerson, DVM

60. God’s Acre Healing Spring: this spring is believed to provide healing benefits to bathers. Located behind Healing Springs Baptist Church, the spring is also unique in that it is the only spring that has been officially deeded to God.

61. Common law marriage is when a couple is considered to be legally married without obtaining a marriage license or going through a ceremony after they have lived together as if they were married for a specific period of time. South Carolina is one of the few remaining states that still recognizes common-law marriage. Most states in the U.S. outlawed common-law marriage many years ago, but South Carolina still honors them.

62. South Carolina is known for having a great deal of crimes, and this state recently placed 5th at the top of the list of the most violent states.

63. South Carolina is number 10 on the list of the most obese states.

64. South Carolina is the only state in America that owns and operates its own fleet of school buses.

65. The state of South Carolina has been popular for the filming of many Hollywood movies. Some especially notable movies are: “The Notebook,” “Forrest Gump,” “The Patriot,” and “Sleeping with the Enemy,” among others.

66. The state of South Carolina is home to many popular celebrities, such as Bill Murray, who co-owns a local minor league baseball team, “The RiverDogs,” “Darius Rucker, Stephen Colbert, and Reese Witherspoon.

67. There are no professional sports teams in the state of South Carolina, although the state does “share” the NFL team the Carolina Panthers with the state of North Carolina. It is questionable as to whether South Carolina will ever get its own professional sports team, whether it’s with the NBA, NFL, MLB, or something else.

68. The Palmetto tree is the official state tree of South Carolina. During the Revolutionary War, Palmetto trees were used to manufacture hats, flooring and hammocks.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. © Paul Lemke

69. South Carolina’s state butterfly is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. This butterfly species was chosen to be the state butterfly in 1994 by the South Carolina General Assembly. This particular insect was chosen due to the many beautiful gardens within the state that are pollinated by this butterfly.

70. The South Carolina state bird is the Carolina Wren. The Carolina wren is a colorful bird that loves to sing. They don’t do well in harsh winter weather, which is why they prefer living in warmer climates like South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Yellow Jessamine - South Carolina state flower
Yellow Jessamine. © Gerald D. Tang

71. The South Carolina state flower is the Yellow Jessamine. The Yellow Jessamine has been used historically for various medicinal purposes, and it’s been used to treat mental illnesses, the flu, sore throats, and much more. It continues to be used for medicinal purposes today, and people use it to treat headaches, as a sedative, and more.

72. The Shag is the state dance of South Carolina. The Shag is popular among tourists visiting Myrtle Beach. This upbeat dance was created by workers who worked in Myrtle Beach in the 1940s.

73. Located in Cleveland, South Carolina, Raven Cliff Falls is the highest waterfalls in the state. At an estimated 420 feet high, these falls are visited by many locals and tourists on a regular basis.

74. The tallest mountain in the state is the Sassafras Mountain, which stands an immense 3563 feet. The peak of the mountains in bordering states like North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee are much taller. However, Sassafras Mountain is located on the southern edge of the Appalachian Mountains, which many curious tourists visit on a regular basis. Though Sassafras Mountain is quite a challenging hike, determined hikers will often hike to the top so they can enjoy a stunning 360-degree view of the area.

Carolina Reaper Chili Pepper
Carolina Reaper Chili Pepper. Image credit – https://www.thechili.life/

75. South Carolina is home to the hottest pepper on the Scoville scale: the Carolina Reaper, which is considered to be the hottest chili pepper in the world. The Carolina Reaper has a heat level that is equivalent to police-grade pepper spray, which is quite strong.

76. The Charleston Sofa Superstore caught fire in June of 2007 and resulted in the death of nine firefighters. This 42,000 square foot warehouse was said to have caught fire by old furniture, and it is said to have possibly been started by a tossed cigarette, but it was never truly discovered. The Charleston Sofa Superstore fire was said to have been the deadliest disaster involving firefighters since 9/11.

77. An iconic Lowcountry dish, Beaufort stew is a one-pot stew of shrimp, corn, potatoes, and sausage. It is also known as Frogmore stew although frogs are not included in the list of ingredients. Beaufort stew is a popular outdoor summer dish best enjoyed in groups.

78. Riverbanks Zoo is one of the most impressive zoos and botanical gardens in the country. It is home to 2000 animals and interactive exhibits and consistently ranks among the top-rated zoos and botanical gardens on Trip Advisor.

79. Black River Swamp Preserve is a privately-owned nature preserve that runs eight kilometers along the Black River. It is home to endangered birds like the swallow-tailed kite. The Black River is named as such because of the tea-like color of the water derived from the tannins of the leaves of the hardwoods that grow in the forest and the banks of the river.

80. The State’s annual Arts Festival, known as Spoleto, is amongst the largest anywhere in the entire country. It is spread over a 17 day period and takes place in the Charleston, which is South Carolina’s biggest city. Theatre and different bodies of music are very much at the centre of a program of entertainment, which enriches the area and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, from far and wide.

81. The cost of living is below that of the national average, meaning it is increasingly popular as a place of residence. It also ranks amongst the lowest of the states when it comes to taxes on property, which is as a direct result of South Carolina’s progressive income tax system.

Facts about the largest cities in South Carolina

Charleston has a coastal location and is confirmed as the oldest city in the State, with some amazing historical architecture throughout. It was founded as far back as 1670 and was actually named after King Charles II of England.

Columbia is located in central South Carolina and is the state capital. It owes its name to the 15th century Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Fort Jackson, the United States largest Army base for combat training, has its home here.

North Charleston is the third city in the state with a population of over 100,000. It has a strong industrial influence on the economy thanks in a large part to the presence of Boeing in a massive complex, which provides high employment.

Mount Pleasant covers an area of just over 50,000 square miles, but as a consequence of its positioning on two rivers: the Wando and the Cooper; together with Shem Creek, plus significant marshland, 7.5 square miles of it is actually water.

Rock Hill is one of the most picturesque cities in the state, with an established reputation for outdoor activities. It has many spacious parks, plenty of hiking routes and its spot on the River Catawba lends itself to its calm and relaxed feel.

Greenville is South Carolina’s star attraction. The wonderful Liberty Bridge, the Reedy River Falls, perfectly manicured gardens in sprawling green spaces, together with a touch of history in the form of ruined mills, make this a hugely popular city to visit.

Goose Creek is thought to have gained its peculiar name from the shape made by the curves at its location in the Cooper River tributary, which resembled that of a goose’s neck. Early settlers were of European origin and there remains an identifiable influence throughout the city.

Hilton Head Island is very much a destination for a day out near, or on the water. Dolphin-watching is very popular as is a host of activities such as: kayaking, water-skiing and paddle-boarding. Warm currents make it an all year round pleasant location.

Sumter has a population of less than 40,000, but has developed significantly from its early origins when it was a simple small cotton plantation village. Nowadays it is regarded more as an industrial city, although cotton does still play a key role in its economy.

About the state flag of South Carolina

Flag of South Carolina.
Flag of South Carolina. Image in Public Domain. 

South Carolina’s legislature adopted their state flag on January 26, 1861 after the state seceded from the Union. The flag has a blue background and features a white crescent in the upper left corner and a white palmetto in the center. The palmetto was originally golden in color and surrounded by a white oval but this was changed to white and the oval omitted two days after the flag was adopted.

The origins of the flag go back to 1775 when anti-British forces first raised a blue flag that had a white crescent in the left corner at a fort in Charleston Harbor. After taking the fort they needed a symbol to signal to other patriots who they were.

This original design of the flag is said to have been created by the leader of the fort, Colonel William Moultrie, and is based on the blue color of the uniforms and the white crescent badges that were worn by his men guarding the fort. In his memoirs he states that this was the first uniquely American flag to be used in South Carolina.

The fort Moultrie’s men were protecting was built using palmetto logs which caused the cannon balls fired by the British to bounce off without causing any damage. Because of this the palmetto was not only adopted as the state symbol but was also used as a feature of subsequent state flag designs.

Various versions of the flag containing palmettos were used in the early 19th century and became particularly widespread in 1861 when South Carolina left the Union. There are examples of flag designs of the time featuring palmettos in their natural color, some containing stars and of flags colored red that featured a silhouette of the palmetto in white. Many of these were hand-painted and were used by troops, on ships and appeared on public buildings.

South Carolina – Quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationSC
State CapitalColumbia
Largest CityCharleston
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 32,020 sq miles; Land Only: 30,110 sq miles
Population
5,148,714
(Estimate July 1, 2019 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodMay 23, 1788
State rank by population23rd
State rank by date of formation8th
State rank by area40th
Number of Counties46
DemonymSouth Carolinian
Bordering StatesGeorgia, North Carolina
Official LanguageEnglish
Highest PointSassafras Mountain
3,560 ft (1,085 m)
Lowest pointAtlantic Ocean
Sea level
Mean elevation350 feet above sea level
Length 260 miles (420 km)
Width200 miles (320 km)
GovernorHenry McMaster (R)
Lieutenant GovernorPamela Evette (R)
Electoral Votes9
State MottoDum spiro spero Animis opibusque parati (While I breathe, I hope Ready in soul and resource)
State NicknamePalmetto State
% Water6
Nobel Prize WinnersCharles H. Townes (Physics, 1964)
Joseph L. Goldstein (Physiology or Medicine, 1985)
Robert F. Furchgott (Physiology or Medicine, 1998)
Famous peopleHarry Carson (Pro Football player)
Jim Rice (Baseball player)
Katrina McClain (Basketball player)
Jessica Stroup (Actress)
Lee Brice (Singer)
U.S. President Born in South Carolina1. Andrew Jackson.
State Flag

Flag of South Carolina

State seal

Seal of South Carolina.svg

State coat of arms

South Carolina state coat of arms (illustrated, 1876).jpg

ReptileLoggerhead Sea Turtle

A loggerhead sea turtle in an aquarium tank swims overhead.  The underside is visible.

AnimalWhite-tailed Deer

White-tailed deer.jpg

State FossilColumbian Mammoth

Columbian Mammoth
State fishStriped Bass

Morone saxatilis SI2.jpg

State BirdCarolina Wren

Carolina Wren1.jpg

GemstoneAmethyst

Amethyst. Magaliesburg, South Africa.jpg

State FlowerYellow Jessamine

Twins
State TreeSabal Palmetto

Spalmetto2.JPG

Butterfly
Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
AmphibianSpotted Salamander

Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)
State DogBoykin Spaniel

Jeepers (Boykin Spaniel)
State SpiderCarolina Wolf Spider

Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis).JPG

State ShellLettered Olive

Oliva sayana 02.JPG

Game birdWild Turkey

Gall-dindi.jpg

State fruitPeach

Illustration Prunus persica0.jpg

State heritage work animalMule

Juancito.jpg

State InsectCarolina Mantid

Stagmomantis carolina Kaldari 05 cropped.jpg

State marine mammalBottlenose dolphin

Tursiops truncatus 01.jpg

State GrassSorghastrum nutans

Sorghastrum nutans Tennessee.jpg

Longitude78° 32′ W to 83° 21′ W
Latitude32° 2′ N to 35° 13′ N
Time ZoneEastern Time Zone
Websitewww.sc.gov
Area Codes803, 843, 864
Table last updatedDecember 20, 2021