With its Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina’s coastline boasts some of the country’s best beaches, top resorts and unforgettable golf courses. But as you’ll see when moving to South Carolina, the Deep South’s smallest state is a giant when it comes to history and culture.
Keep the following tips in mind when moving to South Carolina.
Check traffic conditions before driving, especially if you’re operating a moving truck yourself. Roads get congested around Columbia and Charleston, especially during busy commute times, as well as along coastal areas and resort towns between May and late September. Highways and other roads can also be heavily littered in South Carolina, and there are numerous fatalities each year from litter and debris-caused accidents. Be extra careful when driving.
You won’t need a moving permit when moving to SC, but the cities are generally busy during weekdays. Contact your local city ahead of time to find out if any parking restrictions apply.
Summers get very hot, so try to avoid heavy lifting during the heat of the day.
Springtime is the rainiest season, so try to avoid moving to South Carolina during this time of year. However, all of the seasons bring quite a bit of rain, so make sure to have an extra tarp handy to cover any stuff you might have to leave outside.
If you’re moving an oversized or overweight load (such as a prefab home), apply for a permit well ahead of time and map your route carefully to avoid problems on the roads.
Change your address online with USPS before moving to SC. It’s easy, convenient and ensures you get your mail on time at your new address.
Cities and Metro Areas
Moving to South Carolina means moving to a state with rich traditions that can still be seen and felt in its cities today. There’s the state capital, Columbia, with its large US Army presence, many colleges and revitalized downtown; Charleston, with the oldest historic district in the nation; and North Charleston, the state’s manufacturing hub.
In addition, you can move to Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach, both famous beach resorts, or to Sumter, with the Shaw Air Force Base. There’s Greenville, with its many festivals and events, and if you’re looking for a pleasant commuter community, try Mount Pleasant, Rock Hill or Summerville.
Cost of Living
Compared to the US average, the cost of living in South Carolina is almost 13 percent lower, and compared to the most expensive states such as Hawaii, New York, Alaska and California, costs are lower by approximately 30 percent! Because agriculture and manufacturing are some of the state’s main industries, prices of locally produced food and consumer goods remain relatively low, as they don’t have to be imported from elsewhere. In addition to a relatively low cost of living, South Carolina has an average household income of $39,454, so it’s clear that if you have a reliable source of income and manage your finances responsibly, you should be able to attain a comfortable lifestyle here.
Highways and Public Transport
You don’t have to worry about accessibility when moving to South Carolina, as it has an extensive infrastructure consisting of roads, railroads and air travel. There’s also intercity and intracity public transportation in the form of buses, which can be very convenient for commuting after moving to SC.
- Roads: There are 12 Interstate highways (the busiest are I-20, I-26, I-77, I-85, I-385 and I-95), as well as 12 US routes and a network of county roads.
- Railroads: There are four Amtrak lines that provide passenger transportation throughout the state, serving all of the major cities.
- Public Transport: All SC counties operate public transit buses, which are both dependable and affordable.
- Airports: There are a number of major airports, including Charleston International Airport, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, Myrtle Beach International Airport, Columbia Metropolitan Airport and Hilton Head Airport.
If you’re serious about moving to South Carolina, you’ll need a dependable source of income. At 9.5 percent, the unemployment rate here was higher than the US average at the beginning of 2012, so your job search might take a little longer than in other areas. However, with a diverse economy that includes agriculture, manufacturing and tourism, as well as professional services, there is still as wide variety of available jobs in South Carolina.
If you’re moving to South Carolina, be prepared for hot, humid summers, as the state has a humid subtropical climate. Winters are cooler, with inland and mountainous areas getting colder temperatures than the coast. Daytime temperatures are around 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, while in the winter they vary from 60 degrees Fahrenheit on the coast to 32 or lower inland.
The entire state gets a lot of precipitation, particularly in springtime, with snow being reserved for inland and mountainous areas. You’ll most likely experience some severe storms after moving to SC, as thunderstorms occur relatively frequently. Tropical cyclones, hurricanes and even tornadoes (though not as commonplace as in more southern states), still hit South Carolina regularly.
There are a number of renowned educational institutions that students of all ages can attend when moving to South Carolina. What follows are some of the top-ranked elementary and high schools, as well as some notable colleges:
- Elementary Schools: Buist Academy in Charleston, Sterling Elementary in Greenville and Mount Pleasant Academy in Mount Pleasant are some of the top-ranked elementary schools.
- High Schools: Three of the top ten high schools are Greenville Tech Charter High School in Greenville, Charleston School of the Arts in North Charleston and Wando High School in Mount Pleasant.
- Higher Education: The College of Charleston, Furman University, The University of South Carolina and The Citadel are just a few of the renowned higher educational institutions you can attend when moving to SC. The state also features the South Carolina Technical College System with 16 campuses.
If you want the most current information about moving to South Carolina, visit The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina.
- Excise Taxes: After moving to SC, you’ll have to pay an excise tax of 5 percent on any vehicle you own that has not been taxed in a different state.
- Toll Roads: There are currently no toll roads in South Carolina, but there are plans to turn a number of Interstate routes such as I-22, I-26 and I-385 into partial toll roads in order to relieve traffic congestion. If these plans go forward, so-called “hot lanes” (where you pay a toll to drive in a less congested lane) would be added.
- Voter Registration: You can register to vote when you apply for your SC driver’s license or by completing a form at your county’s board of voter registration.
- Trash & Recycling: Within city limits, trash and recycling are usually handled by the municipality and paid for as part of your property taxes. However, this is not always the case. The best person to ask about this is your realtor.
- Driver’s Licensing: After moving to South Carolina, you have 90 days to apply for an SC driver’s license, which you must do in person at your local DMV. It costs $12.50 for a five-year license and $25 for a 10-year license.
- Vehicle Registration: You have 45 days to register your vehicle after moving to SC. Costs are $24 for passenger vehicles, $15 for a title and there’s no fee to record any lien.