The United States of America attracts a lot of foreigners, both in the form of immigrants and tourists. While all 50 states have unique destinations, the southeastern states have a certain charm. In particular, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. These states are known for their laid-back attitude, pristine beaches, and rich history. Such features make it an ideal spot for domestic and foreign tourists to detach themselves from their daily grind.
The state was named in honor of King Charles the First of England and was formed in 1712. South Carolina is famous for its beautiful beaches, golf courses, and historic districts. However, South Carolina, in particular, often gets overlooked. It can be either due to being overshadowed by Florida or the state does not contribute significantly to the U.S. economy. Let us understand South Carolina in detail and why visiting the state should be on your bucket list.
On average, tourism generates $24 billion for the state. Some important cities include Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Myrtle Beach. The airports in South Carolina can assist travelers in visiting these interesting cities. In total, there are six commercial airports in the state. Each of these airports belongs to a major city for tourism. While some tourist spots may not have airports, travelers can use other modes of transportation (rail, road) to reach their destinations. Let’s take a look at South Carolina’s airports.
Airports In South Carolina
1) Charleston International Airport
Charleston is the largest city in South Carolina, with a population of about 150,000. The city was founded in 1607 and named after King Charles the Second. Initially, the city was named Charles Town but was renamed in 1783. The city was once a major slave trading port during the 19th century; however, in 2018, the city apologized for slave trading. Charleston’s culture blends English, French, Southern U.S., and West African influences. The city has a good deal of music, art, fashion, and local cuisine.
Charleston International Airport is the busiest airport in South Carolina, handling over 2 million passengers annually. The airport offers flights to major cities like Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Charlotte, and Atlanta. Major airlines that operate out of Charleston International Airport include Silver Airways, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United, and Delta, to name a few. Even though the airport is not located in a major city, it provides all the amenities for a traveler. Some basic inter-city/state travel amenities include parking lots, car rentals, ride-sharing services, bus services, hotel shuttles, and taxi shuttles.
The airport has a lounge that goes by the name Club CHS. The lounge spans 4,000 square feet, and about 83 passengers can be seated there. While passengers wait for their flight, they can finish work, enjoy a meal, or freshen up. Club CHS has a membership program called the ‘Priority Pass Membership Program’; it can be accessed through premium credit cards like American Express. Even members who are not a member can get a day pass for $45.
Plenty of dining options are available at the airport if you don’t fancy sitting in a lounge or find it too expensive. If you want to sit back and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed cappuccino, you can visit ‘Caviar & Bananas and ‘Harvest & Ground.’ If you are a fan of stakes, then visit Jack Nicklaus Grill. Pizza fans can dine at ‘Desano Pizza Bakery.’ If you want a pint of beer, you can visit Charleston Beer Works and Samuel Adams Brewhouse. Some popular fast-food chains include Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Cinnabon.
There are plenty of shopping options in the airport if you want to purchase last-minute gifts or are a fan of shopping. These include Veranda News Discover Charleston, Hudson Stores, Low-Country Harley-Davidson, Eddie Bauer, and Tech on the Go.
Other popular amenities the airport offers include card-to-card kiosks, animal relief areas, free Wi-Fi, and USB port charging.
2) Columbia Metropolitan Airport
Columbia is the capital and second-largest city of South Carolina. As you can guess, the city got its name from the famous traveler Christopher Columbus. Some popular places to visit in Columbia include the South Carolina State House, Fort Jackson, and the University Of South Carolina.
The Columbia Metropolitan Airport is a major South Carolina airport spread across 2600 acres. The airport connects major cities like Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Fort Worth. The airport caters to chartered flights, jet freight carriers, and scheduled airlines. Major airlines that operate in the airport include Delta Air Lines, United Express, American Eagle, and U.S. Airways Express. There are plenty of ground transportation facilities, like taxis, car rentals, shuttle services, and a parking area catering to about 3505 vehicles.
Suppose you are visiting the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. In that case, it is advised that you visit the airport 3 or 4 hours before your boarding time, as there are plenty of dining and shopping options. Some popular eateries include The Sky Bar & Café, Runway Food Court, and Red Eye Express Coffee. The terminal also has a large shopping complex called ‘Paradies Lagarde Travel Retail.’
It consists of various retail, dining, and everyday essentials. Some popular brands under Paradies Lagarde include PGA Tour Shops, Hugo Brothers, store, 7-Eleven, Trip Advisor, Wendy’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, and many more. In 2020, the airport launched the “Art in the Airport program.” The program’s objective was to include artwork created by South Carolina natives. Other popular airport facilities include Free Wi-Fi, lost and found facilities, and USB port charging.
3) Greenville Spartanburg International Airport
Greenville is the sixth most populated city in South Carolina and the seat of Greenville County. The city has many prominent companies, including Michelin, Duke Energy, ‘Bon Secours’ and Prisma Health. Over the past few years, Greenville has received many awards, which include The South’s most ‘Tasteful’ small towns’ and “Best Places to Live” and ranked 22 in the best places to live in the U.S. for the year 2019.
Spartanburg, on the other hand, is located in the seat of Spartanburg County and is the 11th largest city in the state. The city headquarters is Denny’s and is home to popular colleges like Converse University, Spartanburg Community College, and Wofford College.
Located mid-way between Greenville and Spartanburg, the Greenville Spartanburg International Airport served over 2.6 million passengers in 2019. This makes it the second-busiest airport in South Carolina and the second-fastest growing small airport in the U.S. Some important cities the airport connects to include Philadelphia, Charlotte, Houston, Newark, Atlanta, and Chicago. Some popular airlines include Southwest, Delta, and American Airlines. If travelers want to leave or go to the airport, they can avail themselves of car rentals from companies like Alamo, taxi services (Atchison Transportation), and hotel shuttles.
While passengers wait for their flight, they can avail themselves of the dining and shopping options in the airport terminal. The shopping options provide all the requirements a traveler would need before they board their flight. This may include gift shops, electronic devices, or even everyday essentials. Some popular shops include Hudson gift shop (3), Kylie Cosmetics kiosk, Pharmacy PPE, Tech on the go, and Upstate marketplace. If passengers want a quick bite or enjoy a full-fledged meal, they can visit Baskin Robins, Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts( 2), Escape Lounge, Flatwood Grill, QDOBA Mexican eats, R.J. Rockers Flight Room, Thomas Creek Grill, The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck.
Other Popular facilities include business workstations and an escape pod for passengers who want to work, ‘fuel rod,‘ i.e., portable charging devices, free Wi-Fi, massage chairs, a museum that showcases the history of South Carolina, and ‘Ready Credit’ a kiosk for turning cash into prepaid cards.
4) Hilton Head Airport
Hilton Head Island, or Hilton Head, is a resort town in Beaufort. Located southwest of Charleston, the island is a hub for cultural opportunities like the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and annual outdoor and wine tasting. The island is also home to Harbor Town Golf Links, a large golf course that hosts the RBC Heritage, a PGA tournament.
One of the primary airports of South Carolina, the Hilton Head airport, is managed by Beaufort County. There are three airlines: United, American, and Delta Air Lines. They offer flights to Dallas, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, and Philadelphia.
The airport has a fixed base operation outsourced to Signature Flight Support, HXD. Some of the services offered by the company include rental cars, a passenger lounge, free Wi-Fi, conference rooms, vending machines, and many more services. The company also offers specialized services like satellite T.V., complimentary magazines, a Starbucks outlet, and valet parking.
5) Myrtle Beach Airport
Located in Horry County, Myrtle Beach is a major tourist destination in South Carolina. Many visitors can be attributed to miles of beaches, the warm subtropical climate, 86 different golf courses, more than a thousand restaurants, and miles of beaches.
The Myrtle Beach airport is the most popular method for visiting Myrtle Beach. The airport connects to important cities like Baltimore, New York, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto, and many others. Important airlines outside the airport include U.S. Airways, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines. The airport serves as the base for Spirit Airlines.
The airport offers many dining and shopping options for its passengers. Some of the most beloved restaurants include Pavilion Bar & Grill, Starbucks, salt and Tide, Steak ‘n Shake, Subway, aviators, Chick-fil-A, and many more. In case travelers want to shop, they can visit Hudson news outlets. These outlets mainly sell magazines, books, and electronics. As a bonus, the airport also offers Free Wi-Fi.
6) Florence Regional Airport
The tenth largest city in South Carolina, Florence, was named the ‘All American City‘ by the National Civic League in 1965.
The Florence Regional Airport is a few miles east of the city and an hour’s drive from Myrtle Beach. The Florence City-County Airport Commission handled the airport governance from 1928 to 1999; post-1999, the airport was handled by the Pee Dee Regional Airport district created by the state legislature. The airport provides car rental services and a parking area with about 500 vehicles.
Some of the popular amenities provided by Florence Regional Airport include a conference room that can accommodate 20 people, a business center equipped with computers, Wi-Fi, and comfortable workstations, a vending facility that provides a variety of food items, a reading center called ‘Flybrary’ and free Wi-Fi across the terminal.
We talked about the major South Carolina airports that generate the most air traffic in South Carolina. Other types of airports include reliever airports, general aviation airports, and commercial airports. The primary purpose of these airports is for commercial uses or carrying cargo. Such airports include York County Airport, Jim Halton – L.B. Owens Airport, Anderson Regional Airport, and many more. So, if you plan to visit South Carolina soon, consider exploring some of these designated airports.