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Top 10 hidden gems in the Carolinas that locals and tourists alike should visit

180 degree panorama of South Carolina coast
  1. Atalaya Castle, Huntington Beach State Park, Murrells Inlet, SC Description: A Moorish-style castle nestled within the picturesque Huntington Beach State Park. Special Feature: Home to Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington, this historic residence offers a unique glimpse into the life of this philanthropic couple. Visitor Information: Open daily for self-guided tours. Admission fees apply.
  2. Craggy Gardens, Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, NC Description: A breathtaking mountainous landscape near Asheville along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Special Feature: Known for its rhododendron blooms in June, Craggy Gardens offers stunning panoramic views, hiking trails, and picnic areas. Visitor Information: Open seasonally, free admission.
  3. Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC Description: A serene sculpture garden and wildlife preserve showcasing American figurative sculptures amidst manicured landscapes. Special Feature: Features over 2,000 works of art and a Lowcountry zoo showcasing native wildlife. Visitor Information: Open daily, admission fees apply.
  4. Carolina Raptor Center, Huntersville, NC Description: A bird of prey sanctuary and rehabilitation center situated in Latta Plantation Nature Preserve. Special Feature: Offers educational programs, live bird presentations, and a chance to see raptors up close. Visitor Information: Open daily, admission fees apply.
  5. Old Sheldon Church Ruins, Yemassee, SC Description: The remains of a historic church dating back to 1753, surrounded by picturesque moss-draped oaks. Special Feature: The site offers a serene atmosphere and is a popular spot for photography and quiet contemplation. Visitor Information: Open daily, free admission.
  6. Sliding Rock, Pisgah National Forest, Brevard, NC Description: A natural waterslide formed by a smooth, sloping rock face in Pisgah National Forest. Special Feature: Visitors can slide down the 60-foot rock face into a refreshing pool below. Visitor Information: Open seasonally, lifeguards on duty during peak season. Admission fees apply.
  7. Angel Oak Tree, Johns Island, SC Description: A massive Southern live oak tree, estimated to be over 400 years old. Special Feature: With a height of 65 feet and a circumference of 25.5 feet, the Angel Oak is an awe-inspiring sight. Visitor Information: Open daily, free admission.
  8. Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, Wilson, NC Description: An outdoor park showcasing the whimsical wind-powered sculptures of local artist Vollis Simpson. Special Feature: The park features 30 of Simpson’s vibrant and imaginative whirligigs. Visitor Information: Open daily, free admission.
  9. Botany Bay Plantation, Edisto Island, SC Description: A secluded 4,600-acre wildlife preserve with pristine beaches, maritime forests, and salt marshes. Special Feature: The undeveloped beaches are strewn with shells, driftwood, and other natural treasures. Visitor Information: Open daily, free admission.
  10. Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury, NC Description: A scenic park in the Sauratown Mountains featuring hiking trails, waterfalls, and stunning rock formations. Special Feature: The park offers over 20 miles of trails, including the Hanging Rock Trail, which leads to a breathtaking overlook. Visitor Information: Open daily, free admission.

 

 

    1. Atalaya Castle, Huntington Beach State Park, Murrells Inlet, SC – https://www.southcarolinaparks.com/huntington-beach
    2. Craggy Gardens, Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, NC – https://www.romanticasheville.com/craggy.htm
    3. Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC – https://www.brookgreen.org/
    4. Carolina Raptor Center, Huntersville, NC – https://www.carolinaraptorcenter.org/
    5. Old Sheldon Church Ruins, Yemassee, SC – https://www.scpictureproject.org/beaufort-county/old-sheldon-church-ruins.html
    6. Sliding Rock, Pisgah National Forest, Brevard, NC – https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nfsnc/recarea/?recid=48114
    7. Angel Oak Tree, Johns Island, SC – https://www.angeloaktree.org/
    8. Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, Wilson, NC – https://www.wilsonwhirligigpark.org/
    9. Botany Bay Plantation, Edisto Island, SC – https://www.southcarolinaparks.com/botany-bay-plantation-heritage-preserve
    10. Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury, NC – https://www.ncparks.gov/hanging-rock-state-park/home
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