The 9 Fastest Growing Towns in South Carolina Everyone Is Talking About

SC Towns Animals

Written by Joyce Nash

Published: November 28, 2023

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Also known as the Palmetto State, South Carolina has a rich history with cities that date back to the 1600s. The state boasts a geography that ranges from low-lying coastal areas and marshes to the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Although the state has been developed for centuries, it still has room to grow. Keep reading to learn about the nine fastest-growing towns in South Carolina, based on the most recent data available through the United States Census Bureau American Community Survey.

9. Fountain Inn

Cedar Falls at Cedar Falls Park, South Carolina Swimming Holes

Cedar Falls Park stretches for 90 acres near Fountain Inn and includes areas for hiking, swimming, and playing.

Part of the rapidly expanding Greenville metro area, the population of Fountain Inn grew by nearly 12% from 2020 to 2022 to just under 12,000 residents. Despite its small size, Fountain Inn features over 50 acres of green spaces throughout the city, with programs and activities for all ages.

Residents can explore the city’s history at the Fountain Inn History Museum or enjoy a show at the Younts Center for Performing Arts. For outdoor recreation, Fountain Inn is a short drive from Cedar Falls Park, which is a popular swimming spot with a 200-foot-wide waterfall.

8. Simpsonville

Sumter national forest

Sumpter National Forest is a short drive away from Simpsonville.

Situated among the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Simpsonville is located in South Carolina’s upcountry region, just a short drive from Greenville. Simpsonville is one of the fastest-growing towns in South Carolina, with a population increase of 13% from 2020 to 2022. It is currently a bustling city of over 26,000, with a variety of excellent restaurants, parks, and activities.

Simpsonville’s Heritage Park boasts a 15,000-seat amphitheater and is the site for several annual events. The city also has many popular restaurants, including an underground pub. In addition, Simpsonville is a short drive from South Carolina’s largest national forest. Sumter National Forest spans over 350,000 acres with countless opportunities for hiking, camping, biking, and rafting.

7. Moncks Corner

Lake Moultrie South Carolina

Lake Moultrie is the third-largest lake in South Carolina.

Located north of Charleston near Lake Moultrie, Moncks Corner is among the state’s fastest-growing cities, with population growth of almost 14% from 2020 to 2022. The city’s population has grown to just over 15,000.

Moncks Corner is a flourishing city that offers unmatched access to outdoor recreation and activities. Lake Moultrie is a popular fishing spot and a short distance from the town. Another nearby destination is Cypress Gardens, with miles of walking trails through native plant areas and gardens.

Established in 1949 on the site of a former plantation in Moncks Corner, Mepkin Abbey is home to a community of Trappist monks. Mepkin Abbey maintains the Nancy Bryan Luce Gardens, which are open to the public. The abbey’s gardens are an excellent spot to enjoy cherry blossom trees each spring, along with a wide variety of other flora.

6. Greer

Campbell's covered bridge in Greer, South Carolina, USA with fall foliage and smooth water in stream

Campbell’s Covered Bridge, located in Greenville County near the city of Greer, is the state’s last remaining covered bridge.

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greer is growing quickly due to its beautiful scenery, amenities, and easy access to Greenville, South Carolina. Greer’s population increased nearly 18% from 2020 to 2022, growing from 35,778 to 42,090.

Greer has a rich history that is preserved at historic sites like Greer’s Depot and Gilreat’s Mill. Presently, the city’s municipal calendar is packed with over 30 events that highlight local farmers, musicians, and artists. 

Residents can explore Campbell’s Covered Bridge, which is a short drive away. The bridge was built in the early 1910s and is the state’s last remaining covered bridge. Today, Campbell’s bridge is only open to pedestrians and is part of a park that includes a historic grist mill located downstream.

5. Blythewood

This railroad bridge, outside of Columbia, South Carolina, was constructed in 1890, which crosses the Broad River. The original bridge was intentionally burned by the Confederate troops during the Civil War to slow the advance of Sherman’s Union troo

Near Blythewood, the Palmetto Trail stretches for 500 miles from the South Carolina mountains to the coast.

Located in central South Carolina just north of Columbia, Blythewood — formerly known as Doko — is one of the state’s fastest-growing cities. The population in Blythewood grew 20% from 2020 to 2022, reaching nearly 6,000 residents. With plenty of events, activities, parks, and markets all just a short drive from Columbia, Blythewood is primed to continue growing.

Blythewood hosts an annual poetry festival in honor of Blythewood native and renowned poet J. Gordon Coogler. Additionally, in March, the city hosts the annual Doko Film Fest, which features student filmmakers from around the state. Doko Meadows Park serves as a central hub for residents with walking trails, a weekly farmers market, and an outdoor amphitheater. 

In nearby Columbia, the Capital City Passage Trailhead offers access to the Palmetto Trail. This is the state’s longest biking trail and spans 500 miles from Charleston County to Oconee County. 

4. Bluffton

Bluffton - South Carolina, South Carolina, Beauty, Beauty In Nature, Color Image

The May River, which runs through Bluffton, is a popular spot for crabbing, shrimping, and fishing.

The population of this coastal community grew by almost 22% from 2020 to 2022. Today, Bluffton has a population of nearly 35,000 people living in an area known as the “Heart of the Lowcountry.”

The May River has played a crucial role in the development of Bluffton’s history and culture. In the early 1800s, the river provided residents with cool breezes during the sweltering summer months, and it was an important route for trade with the nearby city of Savannah. Later, during the Civil War, Union soldiers used the May River to launch an attack in 1863 that nearly destroyed Bluffton.

Today, the city celebrates its past with museums, historic walking tours, and events. The annual Mayfest and the Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival highlight the area’s art, music, and culinary traditions. 

3. Fort Mill

Lake Wylie South Carolina

Lake Wylie was created by damming a portion of the Catawba River.

Although it is located in York County, South Carolina, Fort Mill is considered a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina. Fort Mill is one of the fastest-growing towns in South Carolina, with a population that grew from 25,187 in 2020 to 30,940 in 2022, an increase of nearly 23%.

Fort Mill is a thriving city with several locally-owned restaurants and shops along Main Street. Residents can explore the area’s past at the downtown Fort Mill History Museum or check out the PuckerButt Pepper Company, which purports to have the world’s hottest pepper.

Fort Mill borders the Anne Springs Close Greenway for outdoor recreation, with over 2,000 acres available for hiking, kayaking, and horseback riding. Additionally, the Fort Mill Access Area at Lake Wylie has a boat ramp, fishing platforms, and hiking trails for visitors to explore the lake and the Catawba River.

2. Hardeeville

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge near Hardeeville provides an important habitat for migrating birds and waterfowl.

This up-and-coming town is located in the southeastern corner of the state along the Georgia-South Carolina border. Hardeeville saw its population grow by 33% from 2020 to 2022 to reach a total of 10,283 residents. This city’s growth is not surprising, given its proximity to Hilton Head Island and Savannah. However, Hardeeville offers plenty of its own amenities, including historic destinations, parks, and nature trails.

Residents can access the Savannah River at Millstone Landing, a popular fishing spot. Additionally, Hardeeville borders the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge spans over 25,000 acres of freshwater marshes and hardwood forests with hunting, fishing, and hiking opportunities. 

1. Atlantic Beach

Sunrise along boardwalk over a sand dune in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

The beaches in Atlantic Beach remain largely undeveloped.

Known as “The Black Pearl,” Atlantic Beach is a small but quickly growing town situated between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach. The city’s population grew from 199 residents in 2020 to 283 residents in 2022. Although these numbers are small, the city’s population grew by 42% in two years, making it the fastest-growing town in South Carolina.

Atlantic Beach traces its history to the 1930s when segregation laws prohibited Black families from beaches and businesses in nearby Myrtle Beach. As a result, Atlantic Beach became a safe haven for the Black community, and today, it is the state’s only Black-owned coastal community. Many of the town’s residents are descended from the Gullah Geechee people, and the community celebrates its heritage through its culture, food, and events.

The city’s annual Black Pearl Cultural Heritage and Bike Festival draws over 200,000 visitors each Memorial Day weekend. This event features street festivals, parades, concerts, and events that showcase Atlantic Beach’s history and celebrate its future.

Summary of South Carolina’s Fastest Growing Towns

#1Atlantic Beach
#3Fort Mill
#7Moncks Corner
#9Fountain Inn

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About the Author

Joyce Nash is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel and geography. She has almost a decade of writing experience. Her background ranges from journalism to farm animal rescues and spans the East Coast to the West. She is based in North Carolina, and in her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two cats.

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