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11 Best Inexpensive, Romantic Getaways in South Carolina

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Looking for a sweet getaway for you and your boo? Don’t worry, I’ve got you. South Carolina is teeming with romantic getaways perfect for any couple. Embrace the various romantic getaways, from dolphin watching to swan lakes to horseback riding. 

It’s not limited to animals either. There are plenty of places for an evening stroll on uninhabited beaches and exploring some of the finest nature preserves in South Carolina. 

Although I’m currently unattached, I look forward to the day I can bring my own partner to some of these wonderful retreats. 

I’ve rounded up some of the best inexpensive, romantic getaways in South Carolina, and you’re in for a treat. 

My Favorite Romantic Getaways in South Carolina

Here are some of my favorite recommendations for anyone interested in a romantic and inexpensive weekend getaway in South Carolina.

Make Way for Love at La Belle Amie Vineyard

Formerly a tobacco plantation, La Belle Amie Vineyard belongs to the Bellamy family. The Bellamy family has owned the plantation since the 1800s, passing it down in their family. 

This 40-acre vineyard is the home and originator of “Twisted Sister” wines. La Belle Amie Vineyard hosts music festival concerts every Saturday, barring weather events. Be sure to check out their website to see their lineup. 

You can enjoy cellar tours and tastings of some of the finest wines, all combined with the sweet tunes of music. 

If you’re up for the drive, you can take a 40 mile drive down to Brookgreen Gardens. Named one of the top 10 gardens in the US by TripAdvisor, Brookgreen Gardens is a sculpture garden and wildlife preserve. 

Brookgreen Gardens is no stranger to romance. It’s seen many engagements and makes an excellent venue for weddings. 

Across the street from Brookgreen Gardens is Huntington State Park. It’s more intimate than its Myrtle Beach counterpart, and it’s home to Atalaya Castle. 

Atalaya was a winter home to philanthropist Arthur M. Huntington and his sculptor wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington. The living quarters consisted of 30 rooms around three sides of the perimeter, while the studio opens onto an enclosed courtyard. 

The castle provides a look back in time and is a beautiful place for couples to explore. 

Where to stay

When you’re done exploring, cozy up at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes in a room overlooking the waterway. This top luxury resort resides inside Grande Dunes and exudes an elegant, casual ambiance. 

See the Sunrise on Seabrook Island

There’s nothing like the beauty of seeing the sunrise on the beach. The first ray of sunlight rising over the water, casting golden hues on the waves is magical. Seabrook Island is a barrier island in Charleston County and used to be known as Simmons Island. 

If you’re looking for romance, look no further than Seabrook Island. The island’s sandy shores have inspired some of the greatest love stories.

Don’t believe me? As chance would have it, Nicholas Spark’s famous novel, “The Notebook”, was set in this idyllic location. The 2,200 acres serve as a lovers’ and birders’ paradise. 

Visit this beautiful, private community and enjoy seclusion, beauty, and excitement all in one place. Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty. 

Seabrook is known for having some of the best sunset views in the Lowcountry. Grab a seat at Bohina Marina and Market or head over to Bohicket’s Lounge to see the sunset from a higher vantage point. 

Catch Feelings in Charleston

Pink building in Charleston, South Carolina
Photo by Maggie Kelly

Charleston is a beautiful city to experience romance in. Founded in 1670, Charleston is rated as one of the top destination cities in the country. 

With deep Southern roots and a long history, It offers plenty for you lovebirds to enjoy. 

A few things to do

Charleston serves as a backdrop for dozens of things to do together. 

Up for taking a stroll? Take a walk down the Battery promenade and you’ll be astounded by some of the beauty. The Battery overlooks the Charleston Harbor, making it a wonderful stroll by the water. 

Make sure to walk by Rainbow Row to see all the colorful houses. Once you’re down by the Battery, you can experience the iconic Charleston Pineabpple Fountain. 

The Charleston Pinapple Fountain has seen many celebrations as it’s a fan favorite for photography sessions. 

Once you’re done, enjoy walking along the waterway. It’s serene and makes the perfect backdrop for a romantic walk along the water. 

If you’re looking for other romantic things to do in Charleston, consider getting on a carriage ride. Explore historic downtown Charleston by mule or horse drawn carriage. You can book a public or private carriage ride, and even have one for your wedding. 

Another to consider is exploring the wonderful French Quarter. Walk the historic cobblestone streets of the Charleston French Quarter, home to the 19th century Charleston City Market. 

Or maybe you’re a little bit spooky and would do better with some ghost tours. With a storied past, Charleston has many ghost stories of ghosts that still walk the premises today. 

The Angel Oak on Johns Island is also worth mentioning. It’s estimated to be over 400 years old and spans a 28 feet circumference. It’s another place to get incredible pictures together that you can look back on for decades to come. 

One last thing to experience is the Folly Pier. Walk the Folly Pier and catch the legendary painted skies. This sunny, sandy sanctuary offers many quaint establishments for eating and drinking in view of the sea with a sweet breeze.  

Where to stay

There are plenty of places to stay in Charleston, but here are a couple of my favorites. 

The John Rutledge House Inn was built in 1763 and continues standing today. It’s a nice little inn where you can enjoy a more intimate stay. 

You can also choose to stay at the French Quarter Inn. This is a wonderful location if you’re looking to wander the Charleston French Quarter. The intimate inn is tucked away just off Market Street in downtown Charleston. 

Take in the Stunning Views at Edisto Beach

Photo: Sara Dean from Charleston, SC, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A hidden gem, Edisto Beach is an uncommercialized beach town in Colleton County. It sits at the North and South of the Edisto Rivers, and it’s perfect for any couple to enjoy. 

Edisto Beach originally belonged to the Edistow Indians, but in the 16th century it was rediscovered by the Spanish. This small, eclectic town packs a powerful punch. 

A few things to do

The Mystery Tree is a must-visit. A small and unassuming bare tree in a local field is consistently decked out with decorations. It’s a festive and quirky town institution of no clear origin.

For those who enjoy pristine nature, Edisto Beach is the place for them. 

Check out the wildlife refuge where the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers converge to create the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge. 

Looking for a scenic walk? Try out Edisto Beach State Park. Along the 1.5-mile stretch of the beach, you can find its famous historical fossils, shelling, and majestic sunrises. Get away from all the hustle and bustle of the cities and fall in love with the unobstructed views of the ocean. 

If you’re into walking, find the Indian Mound Trail. Walk hand-in-hand through the lush greenery, where you will find plenty of live oak and palmetto trees. 

Before you leave, see Botany Bay. Botany Bay has more than 4,000 acres of maritime forest, beach, freshwater ponds, and historical buildings to wander.  

The beach is famously called “Boneyard Beach” for its sun-whitened fallen trees. Botany Bay Plantation originated as Sea Could and Bleak Hall Plantations. 

Edisto Beach is a wonderful place for an intimate nature-filled escape. 

Image by Maggie Kelly

Stroll Through Kalmia Gardens

These mature botanical gardens are open to all in Hartsville, SC. Kalmia Gardens is 35 acres and is public to its visitors. It’s a peaceful refuge full of fantastic flora and fauna. 

Kalmia Gardens was established in the early 1930s by Mrs. David R. Coker and gifted to Coker College. Mrs. Coker overhauled the grounds from a neglected dump to a beautiful garden. She made trails, dug a pond, and planted species such as azaleas, camellias, tea olives, and wisteria. 

The centerpiece of the gardens is the Thomas Hart House, built in the 1820s, which is part of the gardens. Fun fact: the gardens are on the National Register of Historic Places.

When you’re done with Kalmia Gardens, Prestwood Lake is another fabulous park in Hartsville, only a mere five minutes away. 

Prestwood Lake is a 300-acre reservoir with lily-covered waters, swamps, and beautiful sunsets. It ranks as one of the most scenic lakes in South Carolina. Rent a kayak and explore the dark waters of Prestwood Lake. 

It’s close to HB Robinson Lake and both lakes impound the waters of Black Creek. A romantic walk through the garden will stimulate the senses and remind you that love is in the air. 

After you walk, try skating at Hartsville Skating Arena. It’s the perfect place to show your moves and have fun with each other. If more gardens are what you seek, you can continue your journey through Lawton Park, Burry Park, and Byerly Prark Recreation Complex. 

A little outside of Hartsville, you can find Fryar’s Topiary Garden. The garden has been around since the 1980s and is a great date option. Garden visitors can see more than 300 plant sculptures, fountains, and more. 

Where to stay

After knocking yourselves out at the gardens and skating arena, cuddle up at one of the best B&Bs in the city. 

The Oak Manor Inn is set in a 19th century mansion and tree-lined gardens. The small inn feels comforting and you can cuddle up with your partner in their warmly decorated rooms. 

If you’re outdoorsy, you may choose to rent a cabin for the weekend. There’s a fantastic selection of cabins in Hartsville, from luxury log cabins or rustic hideaways by the water. 

Fall In Love at Swan Lake Iris Gardens

Swan in Swan Lake Iris Gardens, South Carolina
Photo: Judy Gallagher, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Imagine this: you’ve put together a nice, little picnic to enjoy at the gardens. You and your partner sit down, all spread out, and watch as swans swim on by. It’s not a dream, it’s a reality. 

In Sumter, SC, you’ll find Swan Lake Iris Gardens. Yes, it’s an actual place. At Swan Lake Iris Gardens, you can find all eight species of swans: Bewick’s, Black (Australian), Black-Necked, Coscoroba, Mute, Trumpeter, Tundra, and Whooper Swans. 

Swan Lake Iris Gardens is the only public garden in the entire United States to feature all eight species. The land was specifically designed in mind to be a haven for all swans alike. 

You’ll be enchanted by the gardens, experiencing tranquility. 

Dating back to 1949, the park was gifted by the Bland and Heath families to the town under the condition it would remain free to visit. If anyone were charged, the gardens would revert to their previous ownership. 

Swan Lake Iris Gardens is also home to numerous sculptures, including several by famed artists like Zan Lee Wells and Grainger McKoy. It houses more than 100 different species of trees and a total of 172 plants. 

After walking around, you may be ready to catch a show at Sumter’s Opera House. Known as one of Sumter’s crown jewels, the Opera House has a rich past spanning 125 years. Today it is home to City Hall, City Council Chamber, and a 550 seat theater. Check out their schedule here

Explore the Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Mountains are estimated to be some of the oldest mountains in the world. At over 1 billion years old, they are only preceded by South Africa’s Barberton greenstone belt. 

They are part of the larger Appalachian Highlands range. The Blue Ridge Mountains have been weathered to be a lover’s paradise by time.  There are so many things to explore. Here are just some of them. 

A few things to do

For hikers and lovers alike, Table Rock State Park is a beautiful place to explore together. Climb the 2,000 foot granite dome to get an unforgettable background for a romantic selfie. 

In Salem, you can find several underrated romantic gems. For one, take a trip to Lake Jocassee. The 7,500-acre reservoir is 300 feet deep. It’s widely known for the clean and cold Appalachian mountain rivers that flow into it and the undeveloped coastline. 

Plan a couple’s adventure to cruise the lake via motorboat, kayak, standup paddleboard, or stroll by foot. 

If you hike the Oconee Bells Nature Trail mid-March through mid-April, you might get the chance to see the rare Oconee Bell in bloom. 

Nearby is Walhalla, located in northwest South Carolina. Walhalla is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Top-rated date spots include Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel and Issaqueena Falls. The Issaqueena Falls is named after a Cherokee legend and is an alluring natural attraction. It’s considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state, so don’t miss your chance to enjoy it with your partner. 

The longest bike and hike trail in the state, The Palmetto Trail, finishes right in Walhalla. Also check out the Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel. It’s a railroad tunnel dug with hand tools in the 1850s and was never completed. 

Where to stay

Enjoy a romantic getaway in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Experience a lover’s retreat at The Red Horse Inn in Landrum. Considered one of the best romantic getaways in South Carolina, it’s a bed and breakfast perfect for a weekend getaway. 

If you’re looking for more intimacy, you can book a couple’s massage. 

Who knows? You might even decide it’s wedding-worthy. The Red Horse Inn is a popular wedding venue for a reason, especially because you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains right from your room. 

Watch the Dolphins Play at Taylor’s Creek

Nicknamed “Little Charleston,” Beaufort is a lovely historic harbor town. WIth a salty breeze, stunning view, and an intriguing array of fresh oysters, it makes for an intimate, quiet getaway. 

One of the best things to do in Beaufort is watch bottlenose dolphins play in Taylor’s Creek and go paddleboarding on Beaufort River. Seeing the dolphins play will make your heart swoon. 

Nearby you can find wild horses living on Carrot Island. 

The Cypress Wetlands are a thriving natural sanctuary perfect for bird watching. 

If you’re up for it, make the climb to the top of Hunting Island Lighthouse. Experience the magnificent views and maybe catch a sunset or two. It’ll make your visit special. 

Beaufort offers many wonderful experiences for couples. 

Visit Hunting Island State Park for scenic views of the beaches and marsh. Hunting Island State Park received the Travelers’ Choice for 2023 by TripAdvisor. The park is a large secluded barrier island with a historic 1859 lighthouse as a centerpiece. 

Behold Bluffton’s Beauty

Bluffton is a tranquil getaway for those interested in a cool and calm coastal destination. The Lowcountry landscape is made up of marshes, rivers, and moss-draped oak trees, adding a distinctive beauty to Bluffton. 

Bluffton is nestled on the banks of the May River and is a romantic reprieve for couples. 

A few things to do

Any art lover will appreciate the sculptures and plants at Palmetto Oaks Sculpture Garden. The one acre sculpture garden allows visitors to enjoy at their own pace the nature pathways in a low country woodland garden. 

If you’re into art, check out Calhoun Street as well. Calhoun Street is home to a successful arts district. 

Another intimate option is to book a couple’s massage at Inner Peace Massage and Spa. They will take care of you and get you all loosened up for a night on the town. 

When you’re done, go ahead and take in Southern Barrell Brewery. You and your partner will love the experience and getting to try all they have to offer. 

Hilton Head

Hilton Head is a luxury beach island, but if you can afford it, it’s worth it. Known for its world-class golf courses and incredible beaches, Hilton Head has been voted one of the top vacation destinations in the world. 

A few things to do

Schedule a date night on one of the many dinner cruises. Picture dinner on the water, eyes on each other, and you’ll never go back. 

While you’re at it, do a wine tour. Start at the Hilton Head Island Winery, a family-owned winery. They offer tastings of their local wines and guided tours of their facility. You could also try Silver Dew Winery on Daufuskie Island.

Silver Dew Winery is considered one of the first wineries to open in South Carolina. Visit the popular winery and taste their incredible brews. 

If you’re looking for something more adventurous, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to ride horseback on Daufuskie Island. Daufuskie Island is a small sea island between Hilton Head and Savannah and has much to offer. 

Long pristine beaches allow you to gallop along with your partner. Other options include going to Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. The 4,000 acre coastal refuge is home to birds, deer, alligators, and other wildlife. 

It’s a beautiful retreat from the hustle of modernity. For an alternative, there’s the Sea Pines Forest. Protected since 1970, this wildlife habitat makes an excellent place for outdoor exploration. 

As your days winds down, take a tour with Hilton Head Sunset Dolphin Watching Cruise. You go out on the water, watch the dolphins, and enjoy the sunset together. Sounds romantic to me. 

Love Is in the Air

If you’re looking to fall in love, South Carolina is a great place to do it. There’s no shortage of romantic events, both spooky and fun. 

The natural landscapes make a beautiful background to enjoy time with each other, and it can all be on budget. 

Just because you want romance doesn’t mean it has to be over the top. Parks are an excellent option because many don’t charge admission. Pick up a spread at your local store and have a picnic at the park. 

Romance is simple. It’s about being with the person, not what you’re doing. You could do anything and it would be romantic because you’re doing it together. And that’s what matters, right?

Spending time with each other, whether at a park, the movies, horseback riding, or walking on the beach, is what counts. 

When it comes down to it, all that matters is that you have each other. 

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