Best Places to Live in South Carolina for Young Adults and Professionals
South Carolina is also called the Palmetto State. The unique combination of natural beauty, historical richness and vibrant cultural life with economic opportunities makes this state an attractive place for young adults and professionals. No matter where you are in your young adult life, whether a fresh graduate, an aspiring business owner or a seasoned professional looking to take advantage of more options, South Carolina always has something to offer. From the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains shining their way down to the sparkling ocean coast, let’s take a journey highlighting the 14 best places to live in South Carolina for young adults and professionals.
Here’s another article on the best places for young adults to live in Long Island.
Spartanburg, fondly called Sparkle City, is a mixture of Southern charm and modernity, thus making it the ideal starting point. It hosts eight colleges and universities that lend youthful energy to the city. It’s a fast-growing hub for automotive manufacturing companies like BMW and Michelin, offering ample job opportunities. The downtown comprises a great number of restaurants, shops as well as cultural venues like the Chapman Cultural Center. For people who love spending time outdoors, they will appreciate the nearby Croft State Park which offers some good hiking and camping options. In general, Spartanburg possesses a broad diversity of economic opportunities, educational institutions, and leisure activities.
Next up, Aiken is a little hidden gem located near South Carolina’s western border. Because the town holds mild weather, affordable cost of living concerns, and high quality of life for young adults, many are attracted to live here. The city boasts a thriving equestrian culture and rich history, plus a strong job market in healthcare, education and nuclear sciences because of the presence of the Savannah River Site University of South Carolina Aiken. The downtown area, filled with charming shops and top-rated restaurants, is among the favorites of locals. One can also explore the Hopelands Gardens or the Hitchcock Woods for a leisurely day outdoors.
12. Rock Hill
Moving east, you’ll find Rock Hill, a growing city that perfectly balances the hustle and bustle of city life with a tight-knit community feel. Located just south of Charlotte, North Carolina, Rock Hill offers the advantages of lower living costs without sacrificing proximity to the central metropolitan area. The city’s strong job market focuses on sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, and education while also focusing on its sturdy job market. One standout feature within walking distance of Riverwalk is its mix of residential and business recreation spaces, which offer wide-ranging amenities in close proximity to those who enjoy taking advantage of all these facilities have to offer.
11. North Charleston
As we head closer to the coast, North Charleston becomes an increasingly compelling option. As South Carolina’s third-largest city, it houses a variety of major employers, including Boeing, Joint Base Charleston, and the Medical University of South Carolina. With its buzzing arts scene and cultural institutions like the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, this city’s proximity to various beaches and outdoor activities makes it an excellent choice for those who value work and life-balance.
Next on our list of the best places to live in South Carolina for young adults is Beaufort, a pretty coastal city. Not only does this town have beautiful natural beauty but also has such an interesting history and welcoming community that it stands out as an outstanding choice. Tourism, military bases, and a developing tech industry all contribute to the local economy. It’s worth mentioning the arts scene in Beaufort has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as having one of the best arts scenes in South Carolina. Between downtown’s lively restaurant scene, the Waterfront Park, along with gorgeous beaches, there is surely never a shortage of activities to do.
Summerville, called “The Flower Town in the Pines,” is a suburb of Charleston that is known for its lovely azalea blooms and charming historical village. Summerville’s cost of living is lower than the state or national average. New job growth was seen as being attracted to the town over the last several years. Currently seeing an increase in population, it continues this trend with its proximity to the larger city of Charleston but with a smaller-town feel.
8. Fort Mill
Fort Mill is a popular place for young professionals with families or who are thinking of starting one. Safe neighborhoods and excellent schools make Fort Mills an attractive potential relocation location for young people looking to settle in the fast-growing suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina. Major employers include Red Ventures and LPL Financial, and nearby economic hub Charlotte just requires a short drive. Recreation abounds in Fort Mills. From the Anne Springs Close Greenway to Carowinds Amusement Park, there is much to see and do in this outdoorsy community.
Next one the list of the best places to live in South Carolina for young adults is Lexington. Lexington is a suburb of Columbia, the state’s capital. The robust school system and safe neighborhoods make for a draw for young professionals planning for their future. There are very good job markets in the area: Lexington Medical Center and School District One see themselves among the top employers. Leisure opportunities also abound, with Lake Murray nearby for boating and fishing.
Columbia, the state’s capital and largest city, embodies big-city amenities coupled with southern charm. It is home to the University of South Carolina. The city retains a lively, youthful demeanor while offering many opportunities for jobs in government, healthcare, and education. Also, the city is known for its affordable cost of living. The residents usually enjoy the thriving food scene, numerous festivals, and access to outdoor activities along the Congaree River.
5. Mount Pleasant
Mount Pleasant is a great suburban city located just across the Cooper River from Charleston. The area has an appealing mixture of affordability along with access to downtown—it really makes it so that if you are looking for a hipster paradise for young professionals, look no further than Mount Pleasant. Throw in an excellent school district, the charming Old Village area, and plenty of outdoor activities, and you have everything else anyone could ever want in life.
4. Daniel Island
Daniel Island is one of South Carolina’s most beautiful, natural-looking outdoor communities. It has a vibrant job market, and companies like Blackbaud and Benefitfocus are headquartered there. It has easy access to water activities, with miles of trails and numerous parks; this is a place where outdoor lovers’ dreams come true. Daniel Island has strong community ties and top schools, making it the perfect place for work and leisure balance.
3. Greenville – Best Place to Live in South Carolina for Young Professionals
A boom-town in the state’s Upstate region, Greenville perfectly balances urban sophistication with hometown charm. Its revitalized downtown and thriving arts scene, as well as its culinary delights, have made it immensely popular nationwide. Greenville boasts a robust job market—huge opportunities exist in the healthcare, manufacturing, and education sectors too. Proximity to mountains allows for outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking, which enhance the appeal of the place for young professionals.
Our runner-up city is Charleston, known for beautiful architecture, rich history, and hospitality. The diverse economy of the city offers ample job opportunities in sectors such as tourism, information technology, aerospace, and healthcare. This is a bustling and vibrant city for young adults because of Charleston’s vibrant food scene, numerous festivals, and cultural institutions like the Historic Charleston Foundation. Plus, the beach is never more than a short drive away.
1. Hilton Head Island – Best Place to Live in South Carolina for Young Professionals
Finally, Hilton Head Island earns the top spot as the one of the best places to live in South Carolina for young adults and professionals. This beautiful island offers a laid-back lifestyle without sacrificing professional opportunities. The local economy is dominated by tourism and real estate, but the healthcare and education sectors are also very strong. Hilton Head Island’s natural beauty, from its pristine beaches to its world-class golf courses—and the way it melds these two aspects of life together—further adds up to a lifestyle that is difficult if not impossible to beat. This balanced blend of work and play makes Hilton Head Island the top pick for young adults and professionals seeking a balance of professional growth as well as a high quality of life in South Carolina.
We’ve also written an article on the best places for young adults and professionals to live in Missouri.