Riverbanks Zoo & Garden named Best South Carolina Attraction

Greenville County Museum of Art, Middleton Place, Brookgreen Gardens and Falls Park on the Reedy also winners

Known for its subtropical beaches, stately plantations, sea islands and "low and slow" barbecue, South Carolina gives visitors plenty to be excited about. While many travelers stick to the state's coastal regions, the inland areas offer a wealth of attractions as well.

  • Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
    Columbia

    Columbia's 170-acre Riverbanks Zoo & Garden houses more than 2,000 animals in naturalistic habitats free of bars and cages. Throughout its 40-year history, the zoo has earned many awards and recognition for its breeding programs for animals like the Toco toucan, Bali mynah and black howler monkeys. The zoo also participates in 70 of the Species Survival Plans of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
    Photo courtesy of Scott Jennings / Flickr

  • Greenville County Museum of Art
    Greenville

    Ranking among the best American art museums in the South, the Greenville County Museum of Art is most notably home to the largest public collection of watercolors by American painter Andrew Wyeth in the world.
    Photo courtesy of Ser Amantio di Nicolao / Wikimedia Commons

  • Middleton Place
    Charleston

    Middleton Place, a former rice plantation and current National Historic Landmark, is home to the nation's oldest landscaped gardens. Visitors can tour the House Museum to learn about life on a plantation in the 18th century or watch blacksmiths, potters, carpenters and weavers perform the daily tasks of the period.
    Photo courtesy of Matt Howry / Flickr

  • Brookgreen Gardens
    Murrells Inlet

    Founded in 1931, the 300-acre Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet is part sculpture garden, part wildlife sanctuary occupying the site of four former rice plantations. The National Historic Landmark houses one of the best figurative sculpture collections in the world.
    Photo courtesy of anoldent / Flickr

  • Falls Park on the Reedy
    Greenville

    Mayors visit from all over the country to study Greenville's redeveloped riverfront. The small but scenic Reedy River passes through the heart of downtown, its surprising waterfalls best viewed from an award-winning pedestrian suspension bridge which spans the falls within Falls Park. 
    Photo courtesy of VisitGreenvilleSC

  • South Carolina State Museum
    Columbia

    South Carolina's largest and most comprehensive museum holds a lot within its newly expanded walls, including a 1894 textile mill, one of the largest planetariums in the southeast, a 4D theater and a vintage telescope.
    Photo courtesy of Melissa Wilkins / Flickr

  • Fort Sumter National Monument
    Charleston

    This fort is where it all started – where the first shots that sparked the Civil War were fired. Today, Fort Sumter National Monument includes the original Fort Sumter, an education center (where visitors can see exhibits and learn more about the conflict that led up to the war) and Fort Moultrie. On the anniversary of the Civil War, thousands of people reenacted the historic events that happened here. To make this site even more intriguing, visitors access Fort Sumter via ferry.
    Photo courtesy of NPS Photo

  • USS Yorktown
    Mount Pleasant

    Just across the bridge from downtown Charleston, Patriots Point preserves naval history in its centerpiece: a World War II aircraft carrier named the USS Yorktown. Thirteen of its decks are open to visitors, as is the USS Laffey, the only surviving U.S. World War II destroyer that saw action in the Atlantic.
    Photo courtesy of Mr.TinDC / Flickr

  • BMW Performance Driving School
    Greer

    At the BMW Performance Driving School, visitors can get behind the wheel of several BMW models and put the pedal to the metal, driving them fast on a high adrenaline lap around the track.
    Photo courtesy of Nan Palmero / Flickr

  • Myrtle Beach Boardwalk & SkyWheel

    The largest ferris wheel on the East Coast offers scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the entire Grand Strand, but it's the area right around the SkyWheel that shines the most. A 1.2-mile wooden walkway spans the beachfront on one side and open-air cafes and shops on the other in this revitalized area of downtown Myrtle Beach.
    Photo courtesy of Danielle Golon / Flickr

We asked a panel of South Carolina travel writers and photographers to nominate their favorite attractions in the state, and for the past four weeks, 10Best readers have been voting for their favorites.

The top 10 winners in the category Best South Carolina Attraction are as follows:

  1. Riverbanks Zoo & Garden - Columbia
  2. Greenville County Museum of Art - Greenville
  3. Middleton Place - Charleston
  4. Brookgreen Gardens - Murrells Inlet
  5. Falls Park on the Reedy - Greenville
  6. South Carolina State Museum - Columbia
  7. Fort Sumter National Monument - Charleston
  8. USS Yorktown - Mount Pleasant
  9. BMW Performance Driving School - Greer
  10. Myrtle Beach Boardwalk & SkyWheel - Myrtle Beach

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Katie McElveen, Renata Parker, Ramsey Qubein (RamseyQ.com), Lynn and Cele Seldon (www.seldonink.com), Travis Seward, Kristy Tolley and Maggie Tuten Tyner were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of travel in South Carolina.

Congratulations to all these winning attractions.

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Katie McElveen

Katie McElveen

Renata Parker

Renata Parker

Ramsey Qubein

Ramsey Qubein

Lynn and Cele Seldon

Lynn and Cele Seldon

Travis Seward

Travis Seward

Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley

Maggie Tuten Tyner

Maggie Tuten Tyner