S. Carolina

South Carolina – A State of Mine

An Introduction to South Carolina for Active Adults

Whether considering a move to one of South Carolina’s beautiful active adult or retirement communities or just in the planning stages of a leisurely vacation getaway, PlannedSeniorhood has included interesting facts along with useful website links to help make your retirement move easier or plan a memorable vacation. Come explore some of the many activities available for the active adult lifestyle and see why so many active adults are now choosing South Carolina as an ideal vacation and retirement haven.

South Carolina


(The Palmetto State)

  • Directory of Active Adult & Retirement Communities: PlannedSeniorhood

  • State Location – Southeastern coastal state with North Carolina bordering to the North, Georgia bordering to the South and West, and the Atlantic Ocean bordering to the East.

  • State Size – Covering 32,007 square miles, South Carolina is 260 miles long and 200 miles wide. South Carolina ranks 40th among the 50 U.S. states in size.

  • State Capital – Columbia

  • State Motto: Dum Spiro Spero (While I breathe, I hope)

  • Climate – Mid-latitude location allows for four distinct seasons. Winter temperatures average from mid-30s in the mountain areas to low-50s in the coastal low country areas. Summer temperatures average from upper 60s in the mountains to the mid-70s in the coastal low country areas.

  • Rainfall – Mountain region receives between 70 to 80 inches of rainfall annually; Foothills region receives from 60 to 70 inches of rainfall annually; Southern and Eastern portion of the Piedmont receives from 45 to 50 inches of rainfall annually; Midlands receive between 42 to 47 inches annually; Coastal Plain averages 50 to 52 inches.

  • Snowfall – Percent chance of snowfall fluctuates from 30 percent and lower in the Southeastern portion of the state to upwards of 80 percent in the Northwestern portion of the state. (See table.)

  • Topography – The Blue Ridge Mountains, which are in the northwest portion of the state cover about 500 sq miles. The highest elevation in the state is Sassafras Mountain at 3,560 feet above sea level. The lowest elevation in the state is at sea level, along the South Carolina coastline.

  • Major Waterways – Edisto River, Savannah River, Santee River, Pee Dee River, Lake Marion, Lake Moultrie, and Lake Greenwood.

  • Plant Zone Northwestern portion of the state is in the 7a-7b zone; Southeastern portion of the state falls within the 8a-8b zone. Peach trees are in abundance in South Carolina. The Palmetto tree is the state tree, so expect to see numerous numbers of these trees throughout the state. The state flower is the Yellow Jessamine. The South Carolina Festival of Flowers takes place each year in Greenwood during the month of June.

  • South Carolina Wildlife – With the varied topographical makeup of South Carolina, there also exists equally varied and abundant wildlife. From the deer, black bear, feral hogs, coyote, fox and other wildlife often found in mountainous and forested area are abundant in South Carolina. Alligators, marine turtles, and numerous bird nesting grounds can be found in coastal areas. The Hammock Islands, a sanctuary to a number of plant, wildlife, and bird species, has been observed as a breeding ground to some 59 bird species. (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources)

  • Taxes – South Carolina does not tax Social Security benefits or railroad retirement income and allows special exemptions for retirees and seniors. Retirement income for service in the National Guard and Reserve are not taxed. Further tax benefits include:

    • No tax payable in South Carolina for the sell of property in another state.

    • Disability retirement income is deductible for permanently and totally disabled persons.

    • A $300 annual credit is allowed for in-home nursing care or care provided in a licensed institution.

    • There are no intangibles tax.

    • There is no estate or gift tax.

    • Additional tax information can be found at the Department of Revenue web site.

  • Airports – Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE), Spartanburg International Airport (GSP), Hilton Head Airport (HHH), Myrtle Beach (MYR), Charleston International Airport (CHS), Augusta Regional (AGS). There are numerous smaller private and public airports across the state including airports accommodating helicopter and seaplane aircraft.

  • Education – Numerous universities, colleges, and technical schools throughout the state. Some of the larger and better known include: Clemson University, College of Charleston, Furman University, South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, and the University of South Carolina, which has multiple locations. Section 59-111-370 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina states that SC residents 60-plus years of age are permitted to attend classes on a space available basis without paying tuition.

  • Mass Public Transportation – Transit agencies boarding 2-million plus passengers include: Charleston Area RTA (CARTA), and Central Midlands RTA out of (CMRTA) Columbia. Additional information regarding transportation in the state of South Carolina can be found at the South Carolina Department of Transportation web site. (SCDOT)

  • Resources for Seniors – Lots of useful information available to senior citizens of South Carolina including: South Carolina Senior Citizens Handbook available in PDF format; South Carolina Office on Aging, Social Security office locator.

Active Adult Activities

Sightseeing Interests for the Active Adult

Hilton Head Area – Ride a bicycle on the beach or take tennis lessons at the Van Der Meer Tennis Academy. The Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce web site offers details about visiting or even retiring in the Hilton Head area.

Charleston Area – One of the first U.S. cities to pass a historic preservation ordinance, Charleston is a great city to explore some of the beautiful historically significant architecture and grounds of plantations dating back to the 1600s: Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston Harbor, Cypress Gardens, Boone Hall Plantation, Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, Hampton Plantation, Drayton Hall Plantation, Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, Nathaniel Russell House, Middleton Place, Philip Simmons Gardens, Charles Pinckney national historic site. In June, enjoy the Spoleto Festival which has featured art, music, theatre, opera, and dance since 1977. Visit WWII historic ship, USS Yorktown.

Myrtle Beach – Get to know the Myrtle Beach area on a Carolina Safari Jeep Tour. Visit the 9,100 acre Brookgreen Gardens. Visit the Huntington Beach State Park, claimed to be one of the East Coast’s finest bird watching sites.

Columbia – Riverbanks Zoo and Garden


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