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Beaches -- The South Carolina coast is the true gem of the state. Along more than 280 miles of seashore are white-sand beaches shaded by palms, stretching from the Grand Strand to the mouth of the Savannah River. Myrtle Beach offers a carnival atmosphere and emphasizes family entertainment. Edisto Beach is a secluded spot. Fripp Island and Hilton Head are luxury resorts.

Biking -- South Carolina's basically flat terrain offers some of the country's best biking. The hard-packed sand of the beaches is particularly good for riding. Resorts such as Hilton Head have extensive paved bike trails, and many rental outfits operate just off the beaches.

Camping -- Many of South Carolina's lakes have lakefront campsites. Reservations are not necessary, but you are strongly advised to book ahead for big weekends such as Memorial Day or Labor Day. Campsites are also available in 34 of South Carolina's state parks. For more information, contact South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, 1205 Pendleton St., Columbia, SC 29201 (tel. 866/224-9339 or 803/734-0156; www.southcarolinaparks.com).

Canoeing -- The Broad and Saluda rivers, which flow near Columbia in the center of the state, provide excellent canoeing. Contact the parks department, above, for more information.

Fishing & Hunting -- On the coast, fish for amberjack, barracuda, shark, king mackerel, and other species. In South Carolina's many lakes and streams, fish for trout, bass, and blue and channel catfish. No license is required for saltwater fishing, but a freshwater license is needed. The Upstate is a mecca for waterfowl and wild turkey. The season stretches over fall and winter and sometimes into spring. Hunting on public lands is illegal, but many hunting clubs will allow you to join temporarily if you provide references. For information, write the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, 1000 Assembly St., Columbia, SC 29201 (tel. 803/734-3833; www.dnr.state.sc.us).

Golf -- Some of the best golf in the country is available in South Carolina, at courses such as the fabled Harbour Town at Hilton Head. For information, contact the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, 1205 Pendleton St., Columbia, SC 29201 (tel. 866/224-9339 or 803/734-0156; www.southcarolinaparks.com). Ask for the South Carolina Golf Guide.

Horseback Riding -- Without question, Aiken County is king of the equine industry in the area. The Carolina Cup and the Colonial Cup steeplechase races are held in Camden each year. For information, contact Thoroughbred Country (tel. 888/834-1654 or 803/649-7981; www.tbredcountry.org), or the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, 121 Richland Ave. E., Aiken, SC 29802 (tel. 803/641-1111; www.aikenchamber.net).

The Lakes -- South Carolina's rivers feed lakes all over the state, offering boating, fishing, and camping. With 450 miles of shoreline, the lakes are a magnet for commercial development. While lakeside resort communities are booming, 70% of the lakeshore is slated to remain in a natural state. Many operators and marinas rent boats and watercraft. For information about staying lakeside, contact the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, 1205 Pendleton St., Columbia, SC 29201; or call tel. 866/224-9339.

State Parks -- Camping, fishing, boating, and extensive hiking are available in South Carolina's many state parks. Cabin accommodations are rented all year in 14 of the parks. All cabins are heated, air-conditioned, and fully equipped with cooking utensils, tableware, and linens. Rates range from $48 to $172 per night. Cabins can accommodate from 4 to 12 people. Advance reservations are necessary for summer. For full details, get in touch with the South Carolina State Parks, 1205 Pendleton St., Columbia, SC 29201 (tel. 866/224-9339 or 803/734-0156; www.southcarolinaparks.com).

White-Water Rafting -- The Chattooga River forms part of the lower northeast border with Georgia and offers some of the best white-water rafting and canoeing in the country. Wildwater Ltd., PO Box 309, Long Creek, SC 29658 (tel. 800/451-9972; www.wildwaterrafting.com), schedules white-water trips on the Chattooga. Packages including instruction, meals, and lodging are available.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.