Moving to South Carolina Guide: Discover the Palmetto State


We created this guide for moving to South Carolina to help those who are in their very early stages of researching where they’d like to move. So, what exactly do you need to know before moving to South Carolina? We’ve complied some of the most important items you should consider when making this big decision. According to 2020 Census data, South Carolina was in the top ten fastest growing states of the last decade, with an impressive 10.7% growth in population. So, is South Carolina the right state for you to move?

What You Need to Know about South Carolina’s Geography

Moving to South Carolina Geography

South Carolina is a southeastern state that borders North Carolina to the north, Georgia to the southwest, and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. Fun fact: South Carolina was named in honor of the English King Charles I, who first formed the English colony, with Carolus being Latin for “Charles!” If you love exploring the outdoors, South Carolina may be the right place for you.

In fact, with an area of 32,020 square miles, South Carolina can be divided into three distinct geographic regions: the Atlantic coastal plain, the Piedmont, and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the northwestern corner of Upstate South Carolina. Each distinct region has a unique charm and beautiful scenery, and South Carolina’s southeastern Lowcountry has portions of the Sea Islands, a chain of barrier islands along the Atlantic Ocean.

From the Atlantic Coastal Plain with sediments and sedimentary rocks that range in age from Cretaceous to Present, to the Piedmont’s metamorphic and igneous rocks, and not to forget the Blue Ridge area home to the Chattooga River and the Appalachian-Blue Ridge forests, you’re sure to be inspired by South Carolina’s natural beauty. The variety in the typography is just one of the many things to love about South Carolina.

South Carolina’s highest point is in the Sassafras Mountain, and it stands at 3,560 ft tall. By comparison, South Carolina’s lowest point is in the Atlantic Ocean, and that’s only 0 ft! Speaking of high points, the Sassafras Mountain is part of South Carolina’s most famous mountain range, the Blue Ridge Mountains, which in turn are part of the Appalachian Mountains!

Moving to South Carolina Guide on the Weather in South Carolina

Moving to South Carolina Weather

South Carolina’s climate is primarily a humid subtropical climate, with hot humid summers and mild winters. It may surprise you to learn that high-elevation areas in the Upstate area have fewer subtropical characteristics than areas on the Atlantic coastline.

This means that summer in South Carolina is hot and humid, but winter temperatures are not as uniform across the state! While precipitation is frequent all year, the coast tends to have a slightly wetter summer, but snowfall in the state is minimal.

This just means monthly normal high and low temperatures really depend on where in the state you live. Winters across the state can see low temperatures in the just above freezing all the way up to a high in the 60s. They can be chilly, but overall winters are mild. Summertime is when South Carolina really shines with lows in the seventies and highs all the way in the nineties!

The state has dangers associated with tropical cyclones and tornadoes, which should be something to consider if you plan to build a home after moving to South Carolina.

Moving to South Carolina Guide on Getting a Job in the Palmetto State

Moving to South Carolina Jobs

If you’re looking for a place to grow your career, consider moving to South Carolina! According to an article published by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, at the time of writing this article, the state of South Carolina has seen a steady job growth rate compared to the rest of the United States. Moreover, in 2021, South Carolina employers were adding jobs faster than expected!

As South Carolina’s job market continues grow, the resulting unemployment rate is a steady 4.3%. Industries showing solid job gains included agriculture, aerospace and aviation, and advanced manufacturing.

What’s the situation on buying alcohol in South Carolina?

Moving to South Carolina Alcohol
Who isn’t curious about how to toast moving to a new state! First, you must be 21 years old or older to be allowed to buy and consume alcohol. Second, liquor stores may only operate Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., and they must close on Sunday. Private clubs may sell alcohol Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 a.m., and beer sales for consumption off-premises are legal 24 hours a day Monday through Saturday.

What is there to do in South Carolina?

Moving to South Carolina Things to Do

Hopefully you like being outside! In fact, South Carolina’s nickname, the Palmetto State, references South Carolina’s fifteen species of palmetto palm trees native to the region. Looking to make every weekend an outdoor adventure? Check out Congaree National Park or the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Preserve. Looking for something a little wilder?

There are also multiple national wildlife refuges and wilderness and conservation areas that might pique your interest. What about something more historical? As one of the thirteen original colonies, South Carolina has multiple historical sites, including Cowpens National Battlefield and the Fort Sumter National Monument.

Another choice is to head over to Charleston for culture, food, and fun. A smaller big city, Charleston still boasts a variety of fun and interesting things to do including the Spoleto Festival USA and the Charleston Jazz Orchestra. However, if you’re like us, we’re sure you’ll agree that outdoor South Carolina is the best. You’ll be in awe each and everything you step outside!

Important State Symbols in South Carolina

Moving to South Carolina State Symbols

The state of South Carolina has over forty official state symbols; we’ve included a few of our favorites here. The first, and most important, is the state southern picnic cuisine – barbecue! South Carolina’s BBQ style is often called the best in the nation! The state fruit is the peach, and the flower is the Yellow Jessamine.

Another one of our favorite South Carolina symbols is the state music: the Spiritual. Probably the most unexpected state symbol is the state spider – the Carolina Wolf Spider! Hopefully you won’t encounter too many of those after moving to South Carolina!

Lesser-Known FAQs About Moving to South Carolina

Q: What is the capital of South Carolina?

A: The capital of South Carolina is Columbia. Charleston is the most populated city in South Carolina, and the Greenville-Columbia combined metro area is the largest metro and urban areas. If you plan to move to South Carolina, you’ll probably find yourself in one of these cities!

Q: How do South Carolina’s public schools rank nationally?

A: According to a study by US News, South Carolina public high schools rank 28/50 in a national breakdown tracking state-by-state high school performance. While education quality can vary widely depending on where in the state you live, this report takes the weighted average of the state’s high school performance into consideration.

Q: What kind of taxes can you expect to pay in South Carolina?

A: South Carolina’s general state sales and use tax rate is 6%. In certain counties, additional local sales and use taxes are imposed on top of the state rate. The general local sales and use tax collected on behalf of local jurisdictions is for school projects, road improvements, capital projects, and other purposes. Individual income tax rates range from 0% to a top rate of 7% on taxable income, and tax brackets are adjusted annually for inflation. That said, South Carolina does not impose an estate tax or a gift tax, but counties, cities, and school districts are authorized to impose ad valorem taxes on real and personal property. Local governments assess and collect most property taxes which support public schools and services.

Q: What’s it like to vote in South Carolina?

A: If you are a first-time South Carolina voter, you need to get registered! To register to vote in South Carolina, you must be a U.S. citizen; a resident of South Carolina and the county/precinct you plan to vote in; and at least eighteen years old on or before the next election. You must also not be confined in any public prison resulting from a conviction of a crime or convicted of a felony or offense against the election laws. You must remember to register to vote at least thirty days before the election you plan to vote in because South Carolina does not offer Election Day registration! Same goes for voting by mail – you must have an approved excuse to vote absentee. You can, however, vote early if your circumstances are part of those recognized by the state.

Q: What are the rules for switching your driver’s license after moving to South Carolina?

A: If you have a valid driver’s license from another state and permanently move to South Carolina, you must apply for an South Carolina license. You must turn in your out-of-state license when you get your South Carolina license. Any licenses previously issued by another jurisdiction (state or province) will be cancelled. If a license is later issued to you by another jurisdiction, your South Carolina license will be cancelled. To get your new license, you must visit a South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) branch and bring proof of identity, your social security number, and proof of current/physical South Carolina address. Additionally, you’ll have to pass a vision test and pay all applicable fees.

Q: When do you need to update your car plates after moving to South Carolina?

A: If you are a new South Carolina resident, you must register and title your vehicle with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 45 days. You must first get a South Carolina license and pay any property taxes with your new county treasurer. This part you can do in person or by mail and be sure you have all your paperwork in order before you start driving around your new home state!

Q: What’s it like driving in South Carolina?

A: Like most state, the driving conditions in South Carolina are very different in urban and rural areas. Surprisingly, South Carolina ranked at number 8 as the state with the worst drivers in America. Now, that doesn’t mean South Carolina drivers are all terrible – it just means you must pay attention!

Q: Does South Carolina have any walkable cities?

A: Of all cities in South Carolina, the best bet for having a walkable lifestyle is going to be in Charleston, but even that’s going to be difficult. The city has minimal public transportation and is somewhat bikeable, but it is still easier to get around with a car. The city of Greenville, in the upstate region close to the Blue Ridge Mountains, has a beautiful Main Street lined with lots to see and do, but you’ll still need a car to really make the most of your visit.

Is South Carolina the Right State for You to Move?

Moving to South Carolina

For those of you looking for outdoor adventure, while still enjoying the creature comforts of city living, South Carolina may be the right fit for you. The beautiful typography of South Carolina, manageable taxes, and booming economy all lend themselves into making life great in the Palmetto State.

However, natural disasters like tropical cyclones and tornadoes and middle of the pack schools prove that while exceptional, South Carolina isn’t perfect.

What do you think? Does South Carolina fit the bill, or do you need to research other moving guides? Let us know by leaving a comment below?

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