South Carolina has become one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, attracting residents with its strong economy, affordable housing, pleasant weather, and stunning natural landscapes. While Charleston may be the most famous vacation destination in South Carolina, there are plenty of equally beautiful and exciting places to call home in the Palmetto State. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best places to live in South Carolina according to real estate experts and online rankings.
Best Places To Live In South Carolina
Columbia: The Heart of South Carolina
Columbia, the capital city of South Carolina, is often referred to as the heart of the state. Its central location provides residents with easy access to both the ocean and the mountains, making it an ideal choice for outdoor enthusiasts. The city boasts several natural landmarks, including the lush Congaree National Park and Lake Murray.
Columbia has recently gained popularity among Generation Z, and it was named one of the top 10 housing markets positioned for growth in 2023. The city offers a pleasant climate, award-winning local restaurants, a lively craft beer and music scene, and a spirited festival schedule. With its youthful energy and vibrant university culture, Columbia is an attractive destination for young professionals and families alike.
The cost of living in Columbia is relatively low, and the real estate market is affordable. The median sales value in the city is $216,536, according to Zillow. Residents can enjoy numerous sports facilities and recreational opportunities, including 14 golf courses, 56 tennis courts, and Lake Murray, which provides 650 miles of shoreline for boating enthusiasts. Additionally, Columbia offers dedicated land for hunting, fishing, and equestrian activities.
Greenville: A Growing Suburb with Scenic Beauty
Located in the Upstate region of South Carolina, Greenville is a rapidly growing suburb known for its scenic beauty and vibrant downtown. The city is nestled at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering residents breathtaking views and easy access to outdoor activities.
Greenville has a diverse tapestry of cultures and races, making it a welcoming and inclusive community. The real estate market caters to a wide range of needs and budgets, from million-dollar properties to affordable homes. The city's neighborhoods are safe, and the area has a charming family-friendly atmosphere.
In addition to its natural beauty, Greenville boasts a thriving downtown area with a wide range of amenities. The city is home to two breweries, numerous restaurants, and a variety of entertainment options. Downtown Greenville frequently hosts festivals with live music and vendors, providing residents with plenty of opportunities for fun and socializing.
Fort Mill: A Family-Friendly Suburb with Top-Rated Schools
Fort Mill, located just south of Charlotte, North Carolina, is a family-friendly suburb that offers a low cost of living and top-rated schools. The area attracts professionals who work in Charlotte, creating a well-educated and diverse community in Fort Mill.
The downtown area of Fort Mill is quaint and charming, with two breweries and a few excellent restaurants. The town frequently hosts festivals with live music and vendors, providing residents with a vibrant social scene. Fort Mill is also known for its highly rated schools, which consistently outperform the state average and even the Charlotte Metro systems.
The real estate market in Fort Mill caters to a range of budgets, with options for both affordable homes and luxury properties. The low cost of living and low taxes make Fort Mill an attractive destination for families looking for a high-quality lifestyle without breaking the bank.
Forest Acres: A Suburb with Easy Access to Columbia
Forest Acres is a suburb of Columbia, South Carolina, known for its easy access to downtown and Fort Jackson. The neighborhood offers a safe and friendly community, making it an ideal place for families and individuals seeking a peaceful lifestyle.
One of the highlights of Forest Acres is its proximity to downtown Columbia and Fort Jackson, providing residents with ample opportunities for entertainment, dining, and employment. The neighborhood boasts a strong sense of community, and neighbors can often be seen enjoying evening strolls and feeling safe in their surroundings.
The real estate market in Forest Acres offers a range of housing options, from single-family homes to townhomes. The area is well-served by public schools, which have received positive ratings from residents. With its combination of convenience, safety, and community spirit, Forest Acres is an excellent choice for those looking to settle down in the Columbia area.
Tega Cay: A Lakeside Suburb with a Strong Sense of Community
Tega Cay is a lakeside suburb located in York County, South Carolina. It is known for its strong sense of community and abundance of recreational opportunities. Tega Cay residents enjoy a variety of activities, such as visiting the lake, hanging out at the Shore Club, and exploring the surrounding areas.
One of the major draws of Tega Cay is its close proximity to both the beach and the mountains. Residents can easily access either destination, making it an ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts. The suburb is also conveniently located near Charlotte, providing easy access to additional amenities and job opportunities.
The real estate market in Tega Cay offers a range of housing options, from single-family homes to townhomes. The community is known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, with neighbors often gathering for social events and community activities. With its picturesque lake views and strong sense of community, Tega Cay is a highly desirable place to live in South Carolina.
Five Forks: A Growing Suburb with a Diverse Community
Five Forks is a growing suburb located in Greenville County, South Carolina. It is known for its diverse community and access to a range of amenities. The area offers a mix of residential neighborhoods, commercial developments, and recreational facilities.
The people who live in Five Forks contribute to its diverse tapestry of cultures and races, creating a vibrant and inclusive community. The real estate market in Five Forks caters to a variety of budgets, making it an attractive destination for individuals and families.
One of the highlights of Five Forks is its proximity to Greenville, South Carolina. The city offers a wide range of dining, shopping, and entertainment options, providing residents with plenty of opportunities for recreation and socializing. The area is also well-served by public schools, ensuring that families have access to quality education for their children.
Pendleton: A Historic Town with a Rich Heritage
Pendleton is a historic town located in Anderson County, South Carolina. It is known for its rich heritage and strong sense of community. The town offers residents a glimpse into the past, with several historical plantations open for public viewing.
Pendleton has a storied history, with notable visits from influential figures such as John C. Calhoun's wife and her driver, Jack Washington. The town hosts the Fall Festival, which is filled with pumpkins, scarecrows, and a celebration of local traditions.
The real estate market in Pendleton offers a range of housing options, from historic homes to modern properties. The town's small size and tight-knit community make it an attractive destination for those seeking a close community atmosphere.
Irmo: A Suburb with Easy Access to Downtown Columbia
Irmo is a suburb of Columbia, South Carolina, known for its easy access to downtown and Fort Jackson. The area offers a range of amenities, making it an attractive destination for families and professionals.
While Irmo may not be the most scenic area compared to the beach or mountains, it offers a strong sense of community and a range of entertainment options. The Columbiana Mall on Harbison is a popular spot for shopping, dining, and late-night snacks. Irmo is also conveniently located near Lake Murray, which offers a beautiful sunset view.
The real estate market in Irmo caters to a range of budgets, with options for both affordable homes and luxury properties. The area is heavily reliant on cars, so having access to a vehicle is essential for getting around. Despite this, Irmo offers a family-friendly atmosphere and a welcoming community.
Clemson: A College Town with a Strong Community Spirit
Clemson is a college town located in Pickens County, South Carolina. It is home to Clemson University and is known for its strong community spirit and college football culture. The town offers a range of amenities and recreational opportunities for residents to enjoy.
Clemson University plays a significant role in the town's identity, and the college football games bring the community together in a sea of orange and purple. The town also offers a variety of social events and activities for students and residents alike.
The real estate market in Clemson caters to a range of budgets, with options for both students and families. While the main entertainment in Clemson revolves around football and nightlife, the town is also home to several unique dining establishments and shops.
Mount Pleasant: A Charming Suburb with Coastal Charm
Mount Pleasant is a suburb of Charleston, South Carolina, known for its coastal charm and family-friendly atmosphere. The area offers residents access to beautiful beaches, award-winning restaurants, and exquisite shopping.
Mount Pleasant is an ideal destination for those seeking a small-town community atmosphere with easy access to Charleston's amenities. The area is known for its Southern hospitality and offers a range of recreational activities, including fishing from the Mount Pleasant Pier and walking the Arthur Ravenel Bridge.
The real estate market in Mount Pleasant offers a mix of single-family homes, large apartment buildings, and townhomes. The town prioritizes safety, and residents can enjoy a wide range of amenities, including parks, restaurants, and coffee shops.
South Carolina offers a wide range of attractive places to live, each with its unique charm and appeal. Whether you prefer the vibrant city life of Columbia or the scenic beauty of Greenville, there is a place in South Carolina that suits your lifestyle and preferences.
From the low cost of living to the top-rated schools, South Carolina provides residents with a high quality of life. Whether you are a young professional, a family, or a retiree, South Carolina's best places to live offer something for everyone.
Remember to do thorough research and visit each location to determine which place aligns best with your needs and preferences. With its strong economy, affordable housing, pleasant weather, and stunning natural landscapes, South Carolina is truly a great place to call home.