49 Facts About South Carolina State Worth Knowing About

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Buildings, trees, and sky reflected in a lake in the middle of a park
Columbia's Finlay Park lake reflecting nearby buildings and trees

South Carolina is a sunny, historic state on the East Coast, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. So, what is South Carolina known for?

South Carolina is famous for its ancient Angel Oak tree and its 'haunted' Old City Jail, situated near Charleston. It is also home to Congaree National Park.

Other facts about South Carolina state include that it produces the second most peaches and second most collard greens in the country.

Keep reading to learn more about this historic state and 49 of the most interesting facts about South Carolina.

  • 49 South Carolina facts

49 South Carolina State Facts

  1. Fun Facts About South Carolina
    1. The Angel Oak tree is famous in South Carolina
    2. South Carolina has lots of golf courses
    3. The official state hospitality beverage is sweet tea
    4. The South Carolina state bird is the Carolina Wren
    5. The South Carolina state animal is the whitetail deer
    6. The South Carolina state flower is the Yellow Jessamine
    7. The first South Carolina state motto is "dum spiro spero"
    8. The South Carolina state amphibian is the salamander
    9. The South Carolina state tree is the Sabal Palmetto
    10. The South Carolina state picnic cuisine is barbeque
    11. The South Carolina state vegetable is collard greens
    12. South Carolina is unique in that it has two official state songs
    13. South Carolina has a state stone and a state gemstone
    14. South Carolina produces the second most prolific harvest of peaches in the US
    15. The oldest minor league baseball stadium in the US is in South Carolina
  2. Funny Facts About South Carolina
    1. Morgan Island, South Carolina, is known as 'Monkey Island'
    2. The UFO Welcome Center is in South Carolina
    3. There is an annual South Carolina Poultry Festival
    4. The South Carolina state snack is a boiled peanut
    5. The shape of South Carolina is a triangle
  3. Interesting Facts About South Carolina
    1. The lowest point in South Carolina is the Atlantic Ocean
    2. South Carolina is the 23rd-largest state
    3. South Carolina derived its name from King Charles I of England
    4. South Carolina used to be part of Carolina
    5. The state fair is held in October every year
    6. The capital of South Carolina is Columbia
    7. There are many famous South Carolinians
    8. There are 90,000 acres of South Carolina state parks
    9. The South Carolina state flag has a Palmetto tree and a moon on it
    10. South Carolina's population is just over 5.19 million people
    11. The 20th century in South Carolina was a turning point in the state
    12. Native Americans still live in South Carolina today
    13. There are four regions in South Carolina
  4. Weird Facts About South Carolina
    1. Palmetto State is South Carolina's nickname.
    2. South Carolina is only bordered by two other states
    3. The Atlantic Coastal Plain makes up the eastern two-thirds of the state
    4. The Blue Ridge Mountains make up the western third of the state
    5. The South Carolina state insect is the Carolina Mantid
  5. Scary Facts About South Carolina
    1. The Old City Jail is in Charleston, South Carolina
    2. The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp is a mysterious resident of South Carolina
    3. Some South Carolina state symbols include the sword and a mace
    4. The highest point in South Carolina is Sassafras Mountain
    5. The highest cascade in eastern America is in South Carolina
  6. South Carolina History Facts
    1. The first Civil War battle was at Fort Sumter
    2. There were more than 200 battles in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War
    3. The first settlers in South Carolina were the English
    4. Andrew Jackson was born in South Carolina
    5. South Carolina became a state on May 23rd, 1788
    6. South Carolina was the first state to leave the Union during the Civil War

Show all

Fun Facts About South Carolina

A massive oak tree with its branches extending outward
The famous Angel Oak tree with its characteristic branch structure

The Angel Oak tree is famous in South Carolina

It's at least 400 to 500 years old, but some people think it's at least three times older. The tree is 66.5 feet tall and it is 28 feet in circumference. The tree is on John's Island near Charleston, and this location is why many people consider the tree to be in the city.

A manicured golf course borders a creek
Having a lot of golf courses is one of the fun facts about South Carolina state

South Carolina has lots of golf courses

There are hundreds of golf courses scattered throughout the state; in particular, Myrtle Beach alone has around 50.

The earliest records indicate that golf started in South Carolina in 1743 when a shipment of golf equipment arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, from Leith, Scotland. The South Carolina Golf Club opened around 40 years later, in 1786.

The official state hospitality beverage is sweet tea

It was designated as South Carolina's official hospitality beverage in 1995 as a way to symbolize South Carolina being the first state to grow tea. Although superseded in large-scale production by Asian blends, to this day there are tea plantations producing this popular beverage on Wadmalaw Island.

The South Carolina state bird is the Carolina Wren

It became the official state bird in 1948. Prior to this, the state bird was the Mockingbird. The Carolina Wren was subsequently chosen as it was found prolifically all over the state. The wren is a noisy little bird making sounds resembling "tea-ket-tle" if you listen closely, which is quite appropriate considering the fact above.

Deer taking shade in the forest
Whitetail deer in South Carolina's Hunting Island State Park

The South Carolina state animal is the whitetail deer

It was designated as the state animal in 1972. You can spot the animal by its reddish-brown color in the spring and summer. Then, in the fall and winter, their coat changes to a gray-brown color.

The state flower Yellow Jessamine is one of the fun facts about South Carolina state
The Yellow Jessamine has been the South Carolina's state flower since 1924

The South Carolina state flower is the Yellow Jessamine

It was adopted as the official state flower on February 1st, 1924. The flower is easy to recognize as it has small yellow flowers in clusters on its woody vine with evergreen leaves. You will be hard-pressed not to find the Yellow Jessamine flower as it grows all over the state.

The first South Carolina state motto is "dum spiro spero"

This motto means, "While I breathe, I hope." The other state motto is "Animus Opibusque Parati," meaning "Prepared in Mind and Resources." Both mottos were on the original state seal.

The South Carolina state amphibian is the salamander

A class of third graders in Spartanburg, South Carolina, petitioned for the salamander to be designated as the official state amphibian. And in 1999, the salamander was chosen as it is the only amphibian that is indigenous to South Carolina. You will find it living in forests and ponds, but strangely with no other fish.

The South Carolina state tree is the Sabal Palmetto

The tree was important during the Revolutionary War as its wood was used to build forts. The wood is soft and served as a good defense since it could absorb the impact of the enemy's cannonballs. The tree was officially designated as the state's arborial emblem on March 17th, 1939.

The South Carolina state picnic cuisine is barbeque

It was designated as such in 2014, and the state is referred to as the "Birthplace of Barbeque". The act of roasting animals on a grill over an open flame began when Spanish explorers brought pigs to South Carolina, and the Native Americans assisted them to cook the meat. South Carolina even has a Barbeque Trail.

The South Carolina state vegetable is collard greens

They were designated as the official state vegetable in 2011 when pushed by third grader Mary Grace Wingard. South Carolina harvests the second-highest amount of collard greens in the country.

South Carolina is unique in that it has two official state songs

The first is "Carolina," which was named the official state song in 1911. It was originally a poem by Henry Timrod, then set to music by Anne C. Burgess.

"South Carolina On My Mind" became the second state song in 1984. The song was composed by two men from South Carolina, Hank Martin and Buzz Arledge.

South Carolina has a state stone and a state gemstone

The state gemstone is the amethyst adopted by the state in 1969; it is found in a variety of purple hues. South Carolina is only one of three states where you can find good-quality amethysts.

The state stone, the Blue Granite, was adopted in the same act as the gemstone. South Carolina is one of the largest granite producers in the country. Despite its name, the stone is gray but can give off blue tones when polished.

Peaches for sale in wicker baskets
South Carolina is the 2nd largest producer of peaches, its state fruit

South Carolina produces the second most prolific harvest of peaches in the US

The only state that grows more is California. There are over 30 varieties in the state, and they have been commercially grown in South Carolina since the 1860s. The peach is also the official state fruit of South Carolina, adopted in 1984.

The oldest minor league baseball stadium in the US is in South Carolina

Duncan Park Baseball Stadium in Spartanburg, South Carolina, opened in 1926. It is the oldest baseball stadium in the state and one of the oldest in the country. The Spartanburgers play their home games here. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

Funny Facts About South Carolina

Aerial view of a city with colorful buildings and greenery on a sunny day
Aerial view of the city of Greenville, Carolina

Morgan Island, South Carolina, is known as 'Monkey Island'

The monkeys were sent here to protect themselves after a virus killed a lot of the monkey population in Puerto Rico. Today more than 4,000 monkeys live on the island, with approximately 750 born every year.

The UFO Welcome Center is in South Carolina

This attraction was constructed by Jody Pendarvis in Bowman, South Carolina. He created it as a way to welcome and accommodate aliens if (or when) they come to visit our planet. Two UFOs stacked on top of one other is what greets you when you visit.

There is an annual South Carolina Poultry Festival

The festival is in Batesburg-Leesville and it takes place in the second week of May every year. The festival features live music, carnival games, food, crafts, and a parade. It is a massive festival with more than 100,000 people coming to enjoy it every year. The festival pays tribute to the poultry industry, which thrives in the area.

The South Carolina state snack is a boiled peanut

The humble peanut was designated as the official South Carolina state snack in 2006. The people in the state started boiling peanuts in the 1800s as a way to not waste the runover on the harvest. You can find the snack all over South Carolina.

The shape of South Carolina is a triangle

Its unique shape is an inverted triangle, with one point to the south, one to the east, and one to the west. The state is not an equilateral triangle as the east-west side is around 285 miles long, and the north-south sides are around 225 miles long.

Interesting Facts About South Carolina

Aerial view of a city with houses set in greenery with a river in the background
Charleston was named after King Charles I

The lowest point in South Carolina is the Atlantic Ocean

The ocean borders the east side of the state. The coastline along South Carolina is 187 miles long. However, there are a few land masses next to the ocean that are above sea level.

South Carolina is the 23rd-largest state

It is just smaller than Minnesota, which has approximately 500,000 more people. And South Carolina is just bigger than Alabama, with about 150,000 more people. People are drawn to live in South Carolina thanks to its mild weather and climate.

South Carolina derived its name from King Charles I of England

The city of Charleston is also named after him. The city was originally called Charles Town. He was alive during the first half of the 1600s when the English settled in the area.

South Carolina used to be part of Carolina

The colony was split into two states in the early 1700s. The split was due to differing political ideologies. If the Carolinas were still one state, it would be the fifth most populated state in the country.

The state fair is held in October every year

The state fair is held in October every year. The state fair is a great place to enjoy the state's best food and enjoy entertainment like music and carnival rides.

The state-wide and government-sponsored state fair was officially founded in 1869, but fairs across the state of South Carolina have existed since as early as the 1720s.

A neoclassical building with a copper dome and monolithic columns
The South Carolina State Capitol in the state's capital, Columbia

The capital of South Carolina is Columbia

It is also the biggest city in South Carolina, with a population of nearly 140,000 people. That and being in the center of the state made it an ideal choice for its capital city.

There are many famous South Carolinians

Baseball player 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson was born in South Carolina. Some actors born in the state include Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. A lot of high-profile musicians lay claim to having been born and bred in South Carolina, including James Brown, Eartha Kitt, Chubby Checker, and Dizzy Gillespie.

A viewing ledge with a telescope overlooking mountains and valleys
The Caesars Head State Park is one of the state parks in South Carolina

There are 90,000 acres of South Carolina state parks

A vast landscape of parks covers a pretty large chunk of South Carolina. This feature contrasts with the mountainous land in the western part of the state and the coastal land and sand dunes by the Atlantic Ocean in the east.

The South Carolina state flag has a Palmetto tree and a moon on it

The flag was adopted by the state on January 28th, 1861, after the state seceded from the Union. It is similar to the state's original one, used in 1775 by Colonel William Moultrie, however, the tree was added to the emblem. The flag must be displayed inside every public school building.

South Carolina's population is just over 5.19 million people

Between 2010 and 2020, the population of South Carolina increased by nearly 500,000 people. And between 2020 and 2021, the population increased by another 1.4%.

The 20th century in South Carolina was a turning point in the state

The long-overdue civil rights movement was revolutionary in improving the lifestyles of enslaved people living in the state; enslaved people were freed and were given the same rights as others, and finally achieved recognition as being fundamental to South Carolina's development.

Native Americans still live in South Carolina today

Native Americans greeted the early French and Spanish explorers in the 1500s. The settlements of the English and other Europeans in the 1600s led to the decline in Native American populations in the state. However, there still are some federally recognized tribes in the state.

There are four regions in South Carolina

They are pretty evenly sized in terms of land mass. The first is Upstate in the northwest corner of the state. The Midlands region runs through the middle, and the Pee Dee region is in the northeast corner. The final one is Lowcountry in the southern part of the triangle.

Weird Facts About South Carolina

Picturesque view of mountains decked in fall colors
The Blue Ridge Mountains cover a third of South Carolina's land area

Palmetto State is South Carolina's nickname.

It is named after the state tree, the Palmetto tree, which is common throughout the state. The other names for the tree include the Saw Palmetto, the Sabal Palmetto, and the Cabbage Palmetto. The tree is in the center of the state flag.

South Carolina is only bordered by two other states

The north border of the state is shared with North Carolina. This border did not exist when the entire Carolina Territory still existed. To the southwest side, Georgia borders South Carolina. Then, the southeast part of the state is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean.

The Atlantic Coastal Plain makes up the eastern two-thirds of the state

The region is defined by its geography, which is heavily influenced by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. This geography is notable in parts of North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, and Maryland.

The Blue Ridge Mountains make up the western third of the state

There are many state parks in the area. These state parks are home to a lot of mountains and waterfalls. The South Carolina Highway 11 runs through these natural wonders making it one of the prettiest routes to drive in South Carolina.

A camouflaged brown mantid against a clear blue sky
The Carolina Mantid has been the state insect of South Carolina since 1988

The South Carolina state insect is the Carolina Mantid

It was designated as the official state insect in 1988. The bug is native to the state and is crucial in controlling harmful insects for the state's ongoing agricultural endeavors. It was also chosen as a way to represent and teach kids about the importance of entomology and science.

Scary Facts About South Carolina

Mountain view during sunset
Sassafras Mountain, at 3,560 feet above sea level, is South Carolina's highest point

The Old City Jail is in Charleston, South Carolina

It is considered to be the most haunted building in Charleston. It was used as the county jail from 1802 to 1939. A lot of people served time here for murder and robbery. It was also where a lot of pirates awaited their death in the 19th century.

The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp is a mysterious resident of South Carolina

The first sighting of him occurred in 1988 by a 17-year-old boy. Today there are lots of rumors and other supposed sightings of the lizard man. Real or not, he is a popular figure in the area.

Some South Carolina state symbols include the sword and a mace

There is a sword used in the state senate that is presented on a cradle whenever there is a session. The sword used today used to be Lord Halifax's, a British ambassador. He gifted it to the state on February 20th, 1951. The mace is used in the state House of Representatives.

The highest point in South Carolina is Sassafras Mountain

The mountain is part of the Blue Ridge Mountain Province. The highest point on the mountain is 3,560 feet above sea level.

A glorious waterfall in a picturesque setting
The 411 feet tall Whitewater Falls is the highest cascade in Eastern America

The highest cascade in eastern America is in South Carolina

Upper Whitewater Falls is 411 feet high, and the Lower Whitewater Falls is 400 feet high. The waterfalls are in a rugged area that is not easy to access, so not many people visit them. However, if you care to cross the rugged terrain, on arrival there is a walkway to overlook the falls.

South Carolina History Facts

A walled sea fort on an island displaying the American flag
The Fort Sumter National Monument is off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina

The first Civil War battle was at Fort Sumter

The war officially started on April 12th, 1861, when the Confederacy took the first shots at the United States. Fort Sumter is on an island off the coast of Charleston. No one was killed during the initial battle, but the Confederates had overtaken the fort just two days into the war.

There were more than 200 battles in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War

The state was one of the first 13 colonies and was important in helping to rid itself of British rule and create the Union.

The first settlers in South Carolina were the English

The Spanish and French had discovered the area previously but at the time did not settle there successfully. The English finally built a settlement in 1670, where Charleston is today. Subsequently, the British, the French, and settlers from other European areas began to settle permanently.

Andrew Jackson was born in South Carolina

He was the 7th president, serving two terms from 1829 to 1837. He was born in the Carolinas in 1767, as North and South Carolina were not states yet. He was a lawyer in Tennessee and, as was the custom, owned slaves. However, he was also considered a hero by many people since he was a successful general in the War of 1812.

South Carolina became a state on May 23rd, 1788

South Carolina was the 8th state and one of the 13 original colonies. The state was home to a lot of wealthy English people and also had a huge slave population. By 1730, around two-thirds of the state's population was African.

South Carolina was the first state to leave the Union during the Civil War

The state left the Union in December 1860. It was not long after Abraham Lincoln was elected president, before he even took office, that the Civil War officially began. The Confederacy surrendered the war in 1865, but South Carolina did not rejoin the Union till 1868.

Conclusion

South Carolina is known for being a desirable vacation destination, but many people are unaware of its important history. The first Civil War battle took place in South Carolina at Fort Sumter. There were also over 200 battles during the Revolutionary War that took place in the state.

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Sarah Hartness

Sarah_Hartness WRITER I am a Chicago-based travel writer who loves to explore the Midwest and beyond. I have traveled all over the US and Europe. I look forward to going to Latin America and Asia next!


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