If you’re searching for the best places to go for fall in South Carolina, you have come to the right place! South Carolina comes to life in the fall with vibrant, colorful trees and cool temperatures. It is the perfect place for an exciting fall getaway or a wonderful stop on any southern road trip!
Fall foliage might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of South Carolina. Most visitors make a bee-line for charming Charleston or head to one of the sunny islands on the Atlantic Coast. However, this state has so much more to offer, especially in the fall!
I have been exploring South Carolina for the last 3 decades, and I can tell you that fall here is very underrated. I have visited some epic fall foliage spots here that you would not expect, which is why I am here to give you my secrets as a local Southern girl!
There is so much natural beauty to be seen in the Palmetto State from the incredible Blue Ridge Mountains to crystal clear lakes, stunning waterfalls, and everything in between! Combine that with the unbelievable amount of historical sites waiting to be discovered and you have a unique and memorable destination perfect for a fall road trip!
This guide outlines exactly where to find the best fall foliage in South Carolina and includes everything from popular state parks to hidden gems! Whether you are looking for an epic outdoor adventure or want to see the best fall scenery from the comfort of your car, this guide has you covered.
10 Best Places to Experience Fall in South Carolina
Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway
The Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway is one of the best road trips in South Carolina, especially during the fall! This 130-mile scenic road is the best way to see South Carolina in the fall and is a perfect way to combine many of the destinations in this guide and see some of the best views in the state!
This journey takes you past the best fall foliage in South Carolina, starting in either Clemson or Walhalla and ending in Gaffney. Along the way, you will pass many beautiful state parks and fascinating historic sites. The journey can range anywhere from a short weekend trip to an epic week-long road trip to visit South Carolina in the fall, depending on where you decide to stop along the way!
Lake Jocassee, Table Rock State Park, and Caesars Head State Park are just some of the notable stops along the way! Campbells Covered Bridge is a very popular detour and the perfect place to snap some fall photos with its bright red exterior surrounded by vibrant fall foliage. It is one of the cutest covered bridges in the south! Be sure to make a small detour to see the aptly named Pumpkintown, boasting a cute general store that is one of the most unique stops during fall in South Carolina!
Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area
This expansive 10,000-acre area of pristine wilderness consists of mountains, waterfalls, lakes, and hiking trails. While Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area is beautiful in any season, it one of the best places to see fall foliage in South Carolina!
Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area is located in the Northwest Corner of the State, right on the border of North Carolina. It connects Jones Gap State Park to Caesars Head State Park and offers ample hiking opportunities and some of the most scenic views in the south! Hike to Ceasar’s Head Overlook for expansive views all the way to Lake Oolenoy at Table Rock State Park with vibrant fall colors in South Carolina in every direction!
This is the best place to spend fall in South Carolina if you love waterfalls! Raven Cliffs Falls, Rainbow Falls, and Falls Creek Falls are just a few of the waterfalls waiting to be discovered! For a unique experience, visit the YMCA camp Greenville and take in the spectacular view from Symmes Chapel at Pretty Place.
You will be greeted with endless views for miles of foliage-covered mountains from a gorgeous open-air chapel. This is truly one of the Best Weekend Getaways In South Carolina!
Table Rock State Park
Table Rock State Park is a 3,000 acre protected natural paradise named after the mountain that towers over it. With breathtaking views and picturesque lakes, it is one of the best places for outdoor lovers to enjoy fall in South Carolina!
Featuring two pristine lakes and 12 miles of hiking trails, there is plenty to explore in this stunning state park! Hike the Table Rock Trail which leads hikers past a waterfall on a rocky trail to the top of Table Rock Mountain. The reward is stunning view of the surrounding mountains and reservoir below with vibrant South Carolina fall colors in every direction.
There are several shorter and less difficult trails at the base of the mountains that wind their way past lakes, streams, interesting historic sites, and of course incredible mountain views. History buffs will want to stay the night in one of the historic cabins available for rent while the more adventurous travelers may choose to pitch a tent under the stars.
Boone Hall Plantation
Located just 30-minutes from downtown Charleston, Boone Hall Plantation is a must on any Charleston itinerary! It is also one of the most festive places to be during fall in South Carolina!
Famous for the long, enchanting avenue of massive oak trees, Boone Hall is one of the oldest and most-visited plantations in the South. It is a wonderful place to visit any time of year to enjoy the lovely surroundings, brush up on history, and learn about the hardships of slavery.
During the Fall, Boone Hall hosts an annual pumpkin patch as well as an 8-acre corn maze. It is the perfect place to spend fall in South Carolina with children, with lots of exciting fall-themed activities. If you’re looking for a scare, you will want to check out Boone Hall’s annual fright nights!
There are so many incredible places to experience fall in South Carolina in and around Greenville! Located just south of the North Carolina border and set at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville is the perfect southern fall destination!
Visit Falls Park on the Reedy, a park so scenic, you will forget you’re in the center of town. This park features a waterfall, suspension bridge, and beautiful gardens. For an adventure, take a hike at the nearby Paris Mountain State Park or Table Rock State Park. The Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area is also just a short drive away and offers some of the best views of fall foliage in South Carolina!
Before you leave town, try to make it to one of Greenville’s many festivals! Fall in love with Greenville at a festival that is actually called “Fall for Greenville”. This exciting fall festival features the best food, beer, and music around. In October, visitors can attend Greenville’s own German-themed Oktoberfest if you are looking for what to do in South Carolina in the fall!
This incredible 200-foot cascade is steeped in legends and surrounded by stunning natural scenery. Issaqueena Falls is one of the most beautiful places to see in South Carolina in the fall!
The name Issaqueena comes from the legend of a young Native American woman who escaped her tribe by pretending to plunge down the falls to her death, while actually hiding on a ledge below, hidden by the falls. Today, you will find a short and easy trail leading to the waterfall where you can stop to enjoy the tranquil setting and enjoy the vibrant fall foliage all around.
After enjoying the view from the top, you can climb the rocky trail down to the base of the falls and enjoy the refreshing mountain water. Before leaving the area, hike or drive to the nearby Stumphouse Tunnel to see the remains of an unfinished railroad tunnel constructed in the 1850s.
Known for its strikingly clear waters and pristine natural scenery, the picturesque Lake Jocassee is one of the best places to experience fall in South Carolina! Visitors flock here in the summer to cool off in the clear water, but it is best seen in the fall when the trees surrounding the lake erupt in a stunning show of red and gold.
You can find a wide variety of outdoor activities here ranging from kayaking to paddle boarding and even scuba diving! Hop on a boat tour to explore some of the many waterfalls on the shore of the lake or soak up the stunning views from one of the many hiking trails in the area.
Alternatively, you can enjoy views of the lake and some of the best fall foliage in South Carolina without even leaving your car. Make the 10-mile drive up to Jumping Off Rock and enjoy unobstructed views of Lake Jocassee and the foliage-covered mountains.
Fort Mill is a quiet neighbor of bustling Charlotte, located just south of the state border. Surrounded by rivers, lakes, and beautiful natural scenery, it is one of the best places to experience fall in South Carolina for nature lovers!
Hike one of the many hiking trails in the area and enjoy the fall foliage all around. Take a stroll down the Riverwalk along the Catawba River, stopping to admire the view of the railroad bridge that crosses high above the river and reading the interesting historical markers along the way.
If you’re looking for a unique hike, go to the Twelve Mile Creek Greenway where a swinging bridge marks the border between North and South Carolina. There are also many hiking trails to enjoy around Lake Wylie or you can hop on a boat and get a glimpse of the autumn trees reflecting on the water. You can also take a day trip to Charlotte or nearby Kings Mountain State Park.
History buffs and nature lovers alike will not want to miss Kings Mountain! Both a beautiful state park and a historically significant National Military Park, Kings Mountain is one of the most interesting places to go for fall in South Carolina!
One little-known fact about South Carolina is that most of the battles of the Revolutionary War took place in this state! An important battle that changed the course of the war was won here on October 7, 1780. Visit the visitor center to learn about the battle and then explore the battlefield trail to step back into history.
For more history, stop by the Kings Mountain Living History Farm which is a replica 1800s farm with live animals and interactive demonstrations that take place throughout the year. Take in the scenic surroundings and fall foliage from one of the many hiking trails at Kings Mountain State Park or rent a boat and enjoy the views from the water on one of the two lakes.
This vibrant college town, home to Clemson University, is surrounded by picturesque lakes, beautiful natural scenery, and peaceful woodlands. It is one of the best places to see South Carolina in the fall and a perfect starting point for a road trip on the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway.
Visit the beautiful South Carolina Botanical Garden which features 294 acres of beautiful gardens, woodlands, sculptures, and streams. For stunning lakeside views with fall foliage, head to Abernathy Waterfront Park or Twelvemile Recreation Area. Chase waterfalls on the shores of Lake Keowee by boat or hike to the nearby Todd Creek Falls.
Tour one of the area’s beautifully preserved historic homes such as the Fort Hill Plantation, Ashtabula Historic House, or Hanover House. Learn about the city’s African American heritage at the Clemson Area African American Museum. For even more history, visit the neighboring town of Seneca and explore the beautiful historic district lined with some of the most beautiful fall foliage in South Carolina!
We hope this list inspired you to experience fall in South Carolina! With so many exciting things to do and so much incredible natural scenery to take in, you will not be disappointed! For more fall southern travel inspiration, find out where to find the best fall foliage in North Carolina!