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Moving to South Carolina: The Ultimate Guide 2023

Considering a move to South Carolina? Our guide covers everything you need to know, from the best places to live to the cost of living and the job market.
Moving to South Carolina The Ultimate Guide

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If you’re planning a move to South Carolina, you’re not alone. The Palmetto State is home to nearly 5 million people and counting, and more people are making the move every day.

South Carolina has a (usually) mild climate, beautiful beaches, and a rich history, so it’s a popular destination for retirees, families, and professionals alike. But what should you expect when you decide to make SC your new home?

In this guide, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know to make your South Carolina move a success, including some of the best places to live, and the best movers in the state. Read on, and get packing.

Why Move to South Carolina?

South Carolina has a little something for everyone. There’s a unique combination of urban and rural living, and history buffs will find plenty to do and plenty to see.

Of course, if you’re more into natural beauty, there’s no shortage of the great outdoors.

Here are a few more reasons why people make the move to the Palmetto State:

  • Mild climate: South Carolina has a subtropical climate, with mild winters and warm summers. If you want to avoid harsh winters, this is a great reason to move to South Carolina.
  • Beautiful beaches: South Carolina’s coastline stretches for 187 miles, and in those 187 miles, you can find some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast. From Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head Island, there’s no shortage of sandy shores to explore.
  • Rich history: History lovers rejoice! South Carolina played a major role in the American Revolution and the Civil War, so it’s a treasure trove of historical landmarks and museums. There’s plenty to see and plenty to learn.
  • Southern hospitality: South Carolinians are known for their friendly and welcoming nature, so it’ll be easy to feel at home in this southern state. Get in good with the locals, respect the way they do things, and they’ll be happy to have you.
  • Affordable cost of living: Housing and rent are expensive everywhere, but in South Carolina, it’s slightly more affordable. The Palmetto State has a lower cost of living than many other states, with a median home price of around $240,000.

How Much Does it Cost to Move to South Carolina?

A move to South Carolina will cost you between $1100 and $12500, and sometimes a bit more.

Your final price depends on a variety of factors, including the distance of your move, the number of belongings you’re transporting, and whether you choose to hire professional movers or handle the move yourself.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the costs you can expect:

  • Distance: One of the biggest factors behind your price is the distance you’re traveling. More miles means more time and more gas, so your movers will adjust your final price accordingly.
  • Weight: Aside from distance, the weight of all your stuff is the second-biggest factor behind your moving price. Local movers charge per hour, and long-distance movers charge by weight and distance. Whatever kind of move you’re doing, bigger is pricier.
  • Moving containers: Want a bit more flexibility with your move? Rent a moving container and load it yourself. Just be advised: if you choose to rent a moving container, you can expect to pay around $2,000 for a long-distance move.
  • Full-service movers: Full-service movers handle everything, from packing to disassembling furniture and more. Hiring professional movers will cost more, with the average cost of a long-distance move around $5,000.
  • DIY move: If you choose to handle the move yourself, more power to you. You’ll save on moving costs, but you’ll still need to factor in the cost of gas, truck rental, and packing supplies.

Our Most Recommended Long-Distance Movers in South Carolina

The right movers can help you relocate while reducing your stress. Here are our top recommendations for long-distance movers in South Carolina:

Adams Van Lines - Best Long Distance Movers

Adams Van Lines

Native Van Lines - Best Long Distance Movers

Native Van Lines

Pricing Van Lines - Best Long Distance Movers

Pricing Van Lines


Cons of Moving to South Carolina

Like any state, South Carolina has its advantages and disadvantages. Before you pack your bags, keep the following in mind:

  • High humidity: When people talk about the South, they’ll tell you about the humidity. South Carolina is no different. The subtropical climate means really humid weather, especially during the summer.
  • Hurricanes: If you’re moving up from Florida, this won’t be a big deal, but for folks from other parts of the country, hurricanes may be cause for concern. South Carolina is at risk for hurricanes and tropical storms, which can worry some homeowners and renters.
  • Traffic: On the other hand, if you’re moving in from Los Angeles, this one’ll be a walk in the park. Some areas of South Carolina, such as Charleston and Columbia, can experience heavy traffic congestion.
  • Limited job opportunities: South Carolina’s job market is not as strong as some other states, especially in certain industries. While it makes up for it in cost of living, South Carolina can be a bit tough for work.

Cost of Living in South Carolina

South Carolina has a lower cost of living than many other states, making it an attractive destination for those seeking an affordable place to live.

Here are some of the costs you can expect:

  • Housing: Housing is pricey across the United States, but South Carolina is a breath of fresh air. The median home price in South Carolina is around $290,000, which is lower than the national average.
  • Utilities: Utilities in South Carolina are also slightly lower than the national average, with an average monthly bill of around $140.
  • Transportation: Gasoline prices in South Carolina are among the lowest in the country. Depending on the time of year, you can expect an average price of around $3.20 per gallon.
  • Healthcare: Compared to other states, South Carolina also has a lower healthcare cost. Monthly premiums hover around $380 on average, but your exact price depends on your health and wellness.

Best Places to Live in South Carolina

South Carolina offers a wide range of living options, from urban to rural. Here are some of the best places to live in the Palmetto State:

1. Greenville

Situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville is a charming city known for its picturesque scenery and friendly community.

The downtown area has a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, and there are excellent schools, too.

Greenville is an attractive choice for families, and you’ll always find plenty to enjoy in the great outdoors.

2. Charleston

Charleston is a city steeped in history and known for its well-preserved architecture.

You’ll find a unique blend of old-world charm and modern amenities, alongside a treasure trove of beautifully preserved homes, cobblestone streets, and historic landmarks.

Charleston also boasts a thriving culinary scene, with renowned restaurants serving up Lowcountry cuisine.

3. Mount Pleasant

Located just across the river from Charleston, Mount Pleasant provides a different pace with a peaceful and scenic environment.

Mount Pleasant has a small-town feel and a strong sense of community – all while still having convenient access to the amenities and attractions of Charleston. Beautiful neighborhoods, good schools, and close to beaches. What’s not to love?

4. Columbia

As the state capital, Columbia serves as the political, cultural, and economic hub of South Carolina. The city is home to a diverse population and a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere.

You’ll also find excellent educational institutions, including the University of South Carolina. Columbia has a thriving arts and culture scene (museums, galleries, theaters, and more), as well as a wide range of outdoor activities, including parks, rivers, and trails.

Job Market in South Carolina

South Carolina’s job market is not as strong as some other states, but there are still plenty of opportunities available.

Some of the top industries in South Carolina include healthcare, manufacturing, and hospitality. As for major companies that are based in South Carolina, there are a few that you might recognize. Michelin is a major employer, as is ZF Group, Techtronic, and more.

The unemployment rate in South Carolina is currently around 4%, which is slightly higher than the national average.

What is South Carolina Known For?

South Carolina is known for its beautiful beaches, rich history, and southern hospitality. Some of the top attractions in the Palmetto State include:

1. Myrtle Beach

Renowned as one of South Carolina’s top tourist destinations, Myrtle Beach boasts expansive stretches of sandy shores that attract sun-seekers. The area is also teeming with family-friendly activities, including amusement parks, water parks, miniature golf courses, and live entertainment theaters.

2. Charleston

Charleston’s allure lies in its historic architecture, where cobblestone streets wind through a charming downtown area. Visitors can explore well-preserved homes, visit historic landmarks like the Battery and Rainbow Row, and indulge in a vibrant culinary scene that highlights traditional Lowcountry cuisine.

3. Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is a coveted beach destination renowned for its upscale resorts, pristine golf courses, and stunning natural landscapes. With beautiful beaches, picturesque bike trails, and abundant wildlife in nature preserves, visitors can enjoy outdoor activities like golfing, biking, kayaking, and wildlife watching.

4. Fort Sumter

As a significant national monument and historic site, Fort Sumter holds great importance in American history. It was the site of the first battle of the Civil War, and visitors can tour the fort, learn about its role in the conflict, and take in panoramic views of Charleston Harbor.

5. Congaree National Park

Nestled in central South Carolina, Congaree National Park is a haven of ancient trees and biodiversity. The park is home to some of the largest and oldest trees in the country, including towering bald cypresses. Visitors can explore its wilderness by hiking trails, kayaking, and joining guided tours to appreciate its unique ecosystem.

Best Schools & Universities in South Carolina

1. Clemson University

Situated in beautiful upstate South Carolina, Clemson University consistently ranks among the top public universities in the nation.

The school offers a diverse range of academic programs, as well as renowned research opportunities. You’ll also find a vibrant campus community that fosters intellectual growth and school spirit in equal shares.

2. University of South Carolina

As the state’s flagship university, the University of South Carolina provides a wide array of undergraduate and graduate programs. It’s also located in Columbia, South Carolina’s state capital.

This combination means plenty of vibrant on-campus and off-campus student life, and an educational experience to remember.

3. College of Charleston

Nestled in the heart of historic Charleston, the College of Charleston is a highly regarded liberal arts college. Its beautiful campus exudes a captivating blend of historical charm and academic excellence. Aside from the gorgeous campus, you’ll also enjoy a diverse range of majors, small class sizes, and a supportive community.

4. Furman University

Located in Greenville, Furman University is a distinguished private liberal arts college known for its exceptional academic programs and scenic campus.

With a focus on providing a well-rounded education, Furman offers a close-knit community, starting with small class sizes, internships, and community engagement. There are also numerous opportunities for research.

South Carolina FAQs

What is the sales tax rate in South Carolina?

South Carolina imposes a sales tax rate of 6% on most retail purchases. This tax applies to a wide range of goods and services, including clothing, electronics, and dining out. Keep in mind, some cities in South Carolina may have additional local sales taxes. Your mileage may vary.

What is the median household income in South Carolina?

The median household income in South Carolina stands at approximately $56,000. Remember, this figure represents the midpoint, so half of South Carolinian households earn more and half earn less. This income is influenced by various factors, including the state’s diverse industries, economic conditions, and regional disparities.

Does South Carolina have a state income tax?

South Carolina does impose a state income tax on its residents. This income tax rate ranges from 0% to a top rate of 7%, depending on your taxable income. It’s important to consider these tax obligations when evaluating your financial situation or planning a move to South Carolina.

Is South Carolina a good state for retirees?

There’s a mild climate, an affordable cost of living, and close proximity to beautiful beaches. South Carolina is a great place for everyone – including retirees. There are also numerous retirement communities, cultural amenities, and recreational activities that cater to the needs and interests of folks enjoying their golden years.

What is the average commute time in South Carolina?

On average, residents in South Carolina experience a commute time of approximately 24 minutes. However, it’s important to note that commute times can vary depending on factors such as location, traffic conditions, and distance to work. Urban areas like Columbus and Charleston have longer commute times, while rural areas generally offer shorter commuting distances.

Making Your Move to South Carolina

Moving to South Carolina can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Whether you’re looking for beautiful beaches, rich history, or friendly southern charm, there’s plenty to love about the Palmetto State.

You’ve seen what South Carolina has to offer, and if you’re ready to move down south, we can help you get started. Get in touch with some of the best South Carolina movers today, and we’ll see you down in Myrtle!

Harrison Gough

Harrison Gough

Harrison has spent the last three years writing for real estate and moving companies, but his moving experience goes beyond sitting behind a keyboard. He’s had to move more than a dozen times (sometimes with pros, and sometimes DIY) and he’s learned the hard way about what makes a move easy, and what makes a move stressful. When he’s not writing, he’s researching how to make his next move easier.
Green Group

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