Published: Jun 03, 2020 | Updated: Jul 06, 2020

Moving to South Carolina? An Introduction to Our Southern Hospitality!

We'd like to welcome you to the South properly with a fun tour of a few of the most important things you'll want to know about living in South Carolina.

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(Photo—Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens Botanical Gardens Columbia, SC)

In South Carolina, southern hospitality is still alive and well. Overall, we are a rather friendly bunch. We like to make people feel welcome. Here, we still believe in kindness, generosity, family, and community. 

From our decor to our landscaping, home cooking, expressions, and wide front porches—we invite people to enjoy life with us.

If you are moving to SC, we thought you may appreciate a little info on what to expect when you arrive.

Southern culture 101

Greeting people

In South Carolina, it’s common for people to make eye contact, smile, wave, and offer a verbal greeting like;

  • “Hey!” or "Hey, y'all!"
  • “How are you?”/ "How are y'all?"
  • “Hello!”
  • "How's it goin'?"

Or, the men may just tip their hat or give a friendly nod.

Meeting new neighbors

Don’t be surprised if your neighbors bring a cake, baked goods, or even a casserole to them to welcome you to the neighborhood. You, as the new neighbor, are not expected to return the favor. 

Of course, if you are the new neighbor, and you want to introduce yourself first, that is totally fine, as well.

Many neighbors are friendly and glad to help out when people are in a bind. People here tend to try to have each other’s backs.

Common southern expressions

If you are not from this area, certain expressions may surprise you. Here are some of the more common ones that may be different from what you are used to:

  • Y’all—means “you all” and is the same as “you guys.” It is a plural of “you.”
  • Ma’am/Sir—are terms of respect not an insult. People are not saying they think you are old! 
  • Coke—can often mean any kind of soft drink, soda, or pop.
  • Dinner—often refers to the largest meal of the day. Sunday dinner could be at lunchtime.
  • Supper—the evening meal between 5pm-7pm.
  • Bless your heart—an expression of gratitude, sympathy, or sometimes exasperation.

Southern nature

The great outdoors can be a bit different here in the South. Here are a few things to look out for.

Pine straw is mulch here

In South Carolina, pine needles are plentiful and people often use it in place of mulch in flower beds, around trees, and under bushes.

Those are Loblolly pine trees

Our pine trees look different from the ones in other areas. And they are everywhere! They don’t look Christmas tree-shaped but are very tall with long trunks, with branches and needles at the top.

They are the source of massive yellow clouds of pollen in the spring that cover your house, car, driveway, porch, and everything else for weeks.

Yes, the dirt is red

If you live to the west of Columbia, most likely your yard’s soil will be red clay. This area can be fairly hilly, too. Red clay is tough to clean out of pale-colored carpets or white clothing.

If you live more to the east of Columbia, you’ll find mostly sandy soil. It’s easier to clean when it tracks through the house. The topography in these areas tends to be flatter. These areas may not work for basements.

Fire ants are not your friends

We have plenty of fire ants here. If you are from up North, you don’t see them because the ground freezes there and they can’t survive that. But here, be cautious about ant hills in the grass. 

Fire ants are smaller than most other ants, besides sugar ants. And they have a very painful bite. Your skin will look a lot like a mosquito bite but the itching is more intense and lasts longer. If you get enough bites, it can actually be dangerous. So try not to step or sit in one of their mounds.

Sujeeth Potla Bsi0o6a4rn0 Unsplash

Southern food

We love our food! And we are happy to share the experience.

Sweet tea

In South Carolina, most people who drink tea drink it very sweet with lots of ice. If someone offers you tea, it is most likely sweet tea. If you prefer unsweetened tea or hot tea, it’s important to specify your request upfront!

South Carolina food and southern cooking

We have some local favorite southern comfort foods in Columbia, SC that you’ll want to try like:

  • Fried okra
  • Boiled peanuts (Yes, they are wet. And salty!)
  • Cornbread
  • Shrimp and grits
  • Homemade southern baking powder biscuits
  • Mustard-based BBQ (Yes, it is supposed to look yellowish, not red.)
  • Banana pudding
  • Poundcake
  • Elephant ears (fried dough with sugar at the South Carolina State fair)
  • Pecan pie (here pecan is pronounced, “pea’-can”)

Southern charm

You don't have to be from the south to embrace southern living. We welcome everyone to enjoy life in the South with us.

Southern decor

Many homes in South Carolina have pineapples around the front door or front porch. The pineapple historically symbolizes welcome, hospitality, and luxury from the Colonial days. 

Some other ways South Carolinians love to decorate their homes include:

  • The SC flag with its palmetto tree and crescent moon
  • Plants inside the house to add life and greenery.
  • Fresh cut flowers on the table.
  • Decorative, seasonal wreaths on the front door.
  • Family china on display on the wall, in built-ins, or in a china cabinet.
  • Coastal decor.

Southern architecture is popular

Some of the favorite architectural features in the Midlands of South Carolina include:

  • Wide front porches
  • Wide back porches or screened-in back porches
  • Big decks
  • Porch swings
  • Flowers around the front porch
  • Heavy molding
  • Craftsman houses
  • Tall ceilings
  • Formal dining rooms
  • Transom windows
  • Coffered ceilings
  • Shiplap/pine plank walls
  • Exposed beams
  • Plenty of windows to let in the natural light  
  • Furniture-style kitchen cabinets and islands
  • Butler’s pantry
  • Colonial houses

Outdoor living is in high demand

South Carolina boasts mild winter weather and plenty of sunshine that makes it possible to enjoy an outdoor living space all year-round. Many families enjoy creating outdoor living rooms, dining rooms, fireplaces, or fire pits.

The only thing you really have to watch out for is pine pollen season in the spring. You may want to put your cushions in storage during that time or prepare to hose things down a lot!

Beautiful Southern Front Porch Home Builder Sc

Are you ready to build your dream home in the Lexington, SC area?

Please contact us today!

We are a custom builder in areas like:

Lexington, Irmo, Ballentine, Chapin, Columbia, Blythewood, West Columbia, Forest Acres, Pinewood, the Lake Murray area, and more.


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