Top 6 Best Places to Live in South Carolina

Top 6 Best Places to Live in South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at sunrise

South Carolina is known for its sandy shorelines and tropical beaches. What a lot of people may not realize is there is more to South Carolina than just vacationing at the beach. Whether you are looking for the best places to live in South Carolina near the beach or looking for a town to raise your family in, South Carolina has it all.

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The Best Places to Live in South Carolina Near the Beach

When looking at the best places to live in South Carolina, the first thing people look at is coastal towns. I mean, who doesn’t want to live on the beach? It’s important to realize though that not all places are as nice as they seem. We’re here to tell you some of the best places to live in South Carolina near the beach.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina is one of the best cities to live in near the beach. The town overlooks Charleston Harbor and has 6 different beaches that are open to the locals.

Cost of Living

The average cost of living in Charleston is 4% higher than the state average of $2,332. However, the cost of living is still 2% below the national average in the United States. Items calculated into the cost of living include rent and utilities. The average rent in Charleston is $1,989 a month with the average energy bill being $230.15.

In relation to the cost of living, the average salary is $50,000 per year with some of the higher-paying jobs being in medical fields such as anesthesiologist and physician.


Charleston is full of education opportunities, especially for people looking at secondary schools. There are six different colleges in the city with three of them being public and the other three being private universities.

The public colleges are the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina, which are 4-year colleges. They also have a 2-year college called Trident Technical College.

The private colleges are Charleson Southern University, Miller-Motte College, and the American College of the Building Arts. Since the colleges are private, their tuition prices are slightly greater, ranging from $17k to $29k per semester.

Unique Feature

Pineapple fountain at waterfront park in Charleston, SC

The Waterfront Park in Charleston covers over 1,000 feet of coastline and is well known for its landscape. The park is a mix of walking trails both near the water and through the large Palmetto trees that line the park. There is also a fountain in the park which has a statue of a Palmetto tree on top of it.

Throughout the park, there are benches and areas for people to sit and take in the scenery. On the north side of the park, there is a pier that people can walk out on over the harbor and enjoy the view of the waterfront.

Waterfront Park is a frequent location for picnickers, bike riders, joggers, photographers, and locals. The public location is a welcome site for people who just want to take in the beauty of a nice day.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach is a well-known city in South Carolina and is home to six different public beaches. These beaches are well-kept and a common tourist attraction throughout the spring and summer months.

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Cost of Living

Myrtle Beach has an average cost of living that is 8% lower than the national average. The average cost of housing is 32% lower than the national average, with rent prices around $929.54 per month.

An annual income of $53,542 is necessary to keep up with the current standard of living. The average salary in the city is $55,908 and the average hourly wage is $26.88. Some of the most common jobs in the city include bartender, personal trainer, and registered nurse.


Myrtle Beach is a part of the Horry County School District. The school district consists of 49 preschools, 31 elementary schools, 16 middle schools, 10 high schools, and 43 private schools. Some of these schools are in the same buildings and consist of multiple grade levels.

Having so many options for both elementary and secondary level education makes Myrtle Beach one of the best places in South Carolina for families to live. This gives families the opportunity to find a school that best fits the needs of their children.

Unique Feature

Sky Wheel at Myrtle Beach, SC

Myrtle Beach is home to the Sky Wheel attraction. This attraction reaches 200 feet in the air and overlooks the shores of Myrtle Beach. The structure is like a Ferris wheel, but you are in an enclosed clear box.

This attraction is open 7 days a week and can be ridden throughout the day, though most people try to ride it at sunset. While you can wait in line to ride the Sky Wheel it is recommended you buy tickets online ahead of time, allowing you to skip the long wait time.

Attractions such as the Sky Wheel make Myrtle Beach, South Carolina one of the best places to live near the beach.

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Mount Pleasant is a city that neighbors Charleston. This town is one of the best places to live near the beach in South Carolina. The town itself has two big public beaches.

Cost of Living

The average cost of living in Mount Pleasant is slightly higher than the national average. However, the average transportation and healthcare prices are lower. Transportation is 5% lower with gas typically averaging around $3.23 per gallon. Additionally, healthcare is 6% lower than the national average with doctors, optometrists, and dentist visits being a little over $100 per visit.

The average salary in Mount Pleasant is $44,000 and the average hourly wage is $21.15. Some of the highest-paying jobs in the city include software developer, automation engineer, and residential sales.  


Mount Pleasant is part of the Charleston County School District. This district is home to almost 50,000 students who are spread out through 88 different schools. The schools range from pre-schools to advanced-level education facilities.

The multitude of schools within the district help fit the needs of all children no matter their education level. The wide variety of schools makes Mount Pleasant one of the best places in South Carolina for families to live.

Unique Feature

Pitt Street Bridge view in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Mount Pleasant is the home of the Pitt Street Bridge. The Pitt Street Bridge started off as the only way to cross from Mount Pleasant to Sullivan Island. It was originally built before the Revolutionary War and the original build was used until part of it burned down.

The bridge is now more of a tourist attraction and a park for people to walk on and hang out near. At the end of the bridge, there is a fishing pier where people can fish for blue crabs, flounder, trout, and more.

The Best Places to Live in South Carolina for Families

When looking for a place to raise your family you may not want to live near the beach. Places near the beach in South Carolina are often big tourist attractions, especially for college students during spring break. We are here to help you find some of the best places to live in South Carolina to raise families.

Clemson, South Carolina

Clemson is a city with a population of a little over 17,000. This city is well known for being a place full of educational opportunities.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Clemson is 8% lower than the national average. This average cost is brought down by the fact that renting an apartment is 27% lower than the national average. With a 2-bedroom apartment coming in around $1,256 per month.

In addition to having a low cost of living, the average annual salary in Clemson is also higher than most cities in South Carolina. The average annual salary is $55,089 and the average hourly wage is $26.49. Some of the higher paying jobs include physician and principal.


Clemson is home to two different school districts: Pickens County School District and Anderson County District Four. Pickens County School District often ranks either 1st or 2nd for best district in the state of South Carolina.

The Pickens County District is home to a total of 23 different schools, ranging from elementary to high schools. Anderson County District Four has six schools with four of them being elementary level and the other two being middle school and high school.

When it comes to higher education, Clemson is home to Clemson University. Clemson University has an enrollment of almost 23,000 undergraduate and graduate students. They have over 80 different majors and 90 different minors for you to choose from. The college itself is well known for its research opportunities and they tend to get a lot of funding every year for students to conduct research projects.

The inclusion of so many different educational opportunities and schools makes Clemson one of the best places in South Carolina for families to live.  

Unique Feature

Botanical center building in Clemson, SC

If you are looking to be out in nature, check out the South Carolina Botanical Garden in Clemson. The botanical garden takes pride in being a teaching center where people can go to learn more about the plants and animals of the state.

Besides the gardens, the land itself has various hiking trails that visitors can walk on. These trails are surrounded by local plants and trees and some of them offer views of the creeks and lakes on the land. In addition, the Botanical Garden hosts multiple events each month to try to bring in more people from the public to learn about nature and conservation.

Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia is the capital of South Carolina and has a population of around 137,000 people. The city is full of different activities and buildings that allow people to get in touch with both the history of the town and nature.

Cost of Living

The average cost of living in Columbia is 6% lower than the national average. What really brings this average down is that the average housing costs are 25% lower than the national average with the average rent being around $1,395.

In addition to having a lower average cost of living, Columbia also has one of the highest annual salaries in the state. The average annual salary is $58,644 and the average hourly wage is $28.19. Some of the higher-paying jobs in the city include Pharmacist and Registered Nurse.


Colombia has 6 different colleges people can attend to further their education. The four private colleges include Columbia College, Benedict College, South University Columbia, and Fortis College. All the private schools, except for Fortis, are 4 years schools, and their tuition ranges from $12k to $23k.

The two public colleges are the University of South Carolina and Midlands Technical College- Airport Campus. The University of South Carolina has an average tuition of $21k and a graduation rate of 77%. The Midlands Technical College has a very low tuition of around $6,000.

Unique Feature

Riverbanks zoo sign in Columbia, SC

Columbia is home to the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. The zoo sits on 170 acres of land and consists of a zoo, a botanical garden, and an aquarium.

The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has been around since 1974. The zoo is home to over 3,000 different animals and the botanical garden has over 5,700 different kinds of plants. The goal of the zoo and botanical center is to help inspire people to create a positive impact in conservation.

Fort Mill, South Carolina

Fort Mill is a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina and lies right near the state border. The town has a population of almost 28,000 and is known for its large suburban neighborhoods.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Fort Mill is only slightly higher than the national average. There are multiple sections used to calculate the cost of living where the city ranked lower than the national average. This includes average utility costs, transportation, and miscellaneous bills.

When it comes to the average salary of residents, Fort Mill tends to be on the lower side. The average annual salary is $40,922 with an average hourly wage being $19.67. While this may be a lower average salary, the city itself has a fairly high starting salary for entry-level jobs of around $30,000.


Fort Mill is a part of the Fort Mill School District. The district has a total of 19 different schools with around 17,000 students.

While the district may be on the smaller side, they are very well known for their academic success. High school students score higher than the national average on both the ACT and SAT. Their high school students also are offered a variety of different AP classes. 85% of their students who take AP classes score passing scores of 3, 4, or 5 on the AP exams.

Having a school district with such high academic standards makes Fort Mill one of the best places in South Carolina to raise your family. It will help to ensure your children’s academic success and academic opportunities.

Unique Feature

Strawberries in a box at the South Carolina Strawberry Festival

Fort Mill is home to the South Carolina Strawberry Festival. This festival is held annually on the first full weekend of May.

This festival is full of events for people of all ages. They have events such as pageants, scavenger hunts, races, golf tournaments, strawberry-eating contests, and more. You can also get food from a wide variety of vendors, especially strawberry-inspired dishes, and desserts.

This event is a local favorite but brings in crowds from all over the state to participate in some strawberry-loving fun.


Whether you are looking for the best place to live near the beach or the best place to raise your family, South Carolina is the state for you. When looking for places to live in the state remember to consider important factors such as the cost of living, education opportunities, and what the city offers for fun activities. Take your time and find which city best fits your wants and needs.

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Jessica will be attending the University of Northern Iowa in the fall as a English Education student, with the intent of minoring in journalism. In her free time she loves to read books of every genre, write short stories, and to spend time with friends. In the future she hopes to share her love for reading and writing with her future students.

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