14 Of The Best Songs About South Carolina: Palmetto State Playlist

Written by Laura Macmillan
Last updated

With blue skies and warm weather for most of the year, South Carolina is a beautiful place. However, the main attraction is the friendly and welcoming people who populate the state.

Although there are quite a few songs written about “Carolina,” it’s not always easy to know whether these are talking about North or South Carolina. Some of them mention it outright in the title, but others require a little consideration. Sometimes, there are clues, like mentions of specific towns or beaches that any South Carolina native – or frequent traveler – will recognize.

Either way, South Carolina is a unique state that has inspired many songs. So without further ado, let’s jump right in and explore some of the best songs about South Carolina, to the Palmetto State!

1. “Waltz for a Girl From South Carolina” – Brett Shady 

Brett Shady may not be a big star, but his songwriting and performing skills speak for themselves.

His song, “Waltz for a Girl From South Carolina,” is a sweet ballad with a steady waltz beat and covers universal themes of heartbreak and longing.

He sings about a girl from South Carolina standing on the sand with the wind blowing in her hair. He loves her and misses her, but unfortunately, he will never see her again.

Their relationship is over, and all he’s left with is her memory, which is tied together with his memories of S.C.

2. “South Carolina Blues” – Junior League Band

The Junior League Band is an independent country band with a unique sound. Their song “South Carolina Blues” is a fun, energetic tune with a slight bluegrass sound. It was released in 2008 when the alt-country scene was hot.

The lyrics are your typical blues song. Life is challenging, love is complex, and you’re always left looking for something more.

But with the lead singer’s youthful, clear voice and her band backing her with jug band instruments, this song doesn’t seem like a repeat of anything that came before it.

3. “Dancin’, Shaggin on The Boulevard” – Alabama

The band Alabama is known for their heartfelt country love songs and odes to southern living. But, their song “Dancin’, Shaggin on The Boulevard” is a little different from their other material. It has a light, summertime sound that’s perfect for beach days.

The song refers to The Shag, a popular dance in the South during the 1940s. It mentions a long list of restaurants and bars in the Myrtle Beach, SC area and paints a picture of summer nights where people were dancing on the boulevard, socializing, and having fun.

4. “Beers and Sunshine” – Darius Rucker

Former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker took a risk when he switched gears and became a country musician, but his bet paid off. His voice is perfect for country, and he’s shown himself to be a true star in the genre.

“Beers and Sunshine” is the quintessential summertime chill song. It talks about letting go of all the world’s craziness, surrounding yourself with loved ones, and living in the moment.

5. “South Carolina Low Country” – Josh Turner 

Josh Turner is a country crooner with an impressively rich baritone voice.

“South Carolina Low Country” is a play on words that references both the literal low country of that region and Turner’s low vocals.

The song talks about how Turner’s South Carolina upbringing formed his musical style.

He mentions his memories of his hometown and the places he liked to sing growing up, as well as the sunny weather and Atlantic breeze that make the state such a pleasant place to live.

6. “Charleston, South Carolina” – Lovie Austin and Her Blue Serenaders 

Have you ever seen footage of people doing the famous dance “The Charleston” in the 1920s? This is its accompanying song.

The dance was first noticed in the city of Charleston, SC, in the early ’20s. As with many dance trends, ts difficult to know their exact origins, but the Charleston has its roots in the African-American dance scene.

Recorded in 1925 by jazz musician Lovie Austin, this swinging tune was a huge hit, and it eventually became synonymous with the Roaring 20s.

If you watch movies or TV shows set in that time, you’re probably heard this song.

7. “Carolina Girls” – by General Johnson

There have always been songs about New York girls and California girls, but girls from the Carolinas never had their own anthem.

That is, until 1980 when the band General Johnson and the Chairmen often Board released Carolina Girls.

The song was written quite a few years before, in 1873, by a  barber college student named JD Shropshire. He must have liked what he saw in the local area because he was inspired to write a song declaring the praises of women from the Palmetto State.

It became one of General Johnson’s most popular songs, especially when played live at local South Carolina venues.

8. “Coast of Carolina” – Jimmy Buffett 

Jimmy Buffet is America’s beach bum troubadour. His songs deal with emotional topics like love, loss, aging, and change, but they all have a common thread: the stories are told from the perspective of someone living a laidback, tropical lifestyle. 

His song “Coast of Carolina” follows the same pattern. Buffet sings of someone who is lost to him for the time being, but he has hope that they can rebuild their relationship.

He says they can “decorate or climb or find a way to get around” the walls that stand between them. As he sails off the coast of Carolina, he thinks of ways that he can make things right. 

9. “Just a Little Bit South of North Carolina” – Dean Martin 

This cute song, “Just a Little Bit South of North Carolina,” is about long-distance love and describes “a little brown shack in South Carolina” where the weather is fine, and the garden grows. Someone special lives there, and the man in the song can’t wait to go back and visit her.

Dean Martin released this song on his 1955 album “Swingin’ Down Yonder.” The album was a compilation of songs dedicated to the American South.

It was Martin’s second studio album and helped him continue to grow in popularity as one of the world’s biggest singing stars.

10. “She’s Carolina” – Cody Webb 

“She’s never met a stranger in her life; she’s flip-flops and tan lines, in the wintertime kind, Soaking up the sunshine.”

These opening lines introduce the South Carolina girl of Cody Webb’s dreams. The rest of the song describes her further as a passionate, fun, loyal, welcoming person who embodies southern ideals.

With mentions of the Gamecocks and Tigers sports teams, Palmetto trees, and other distinctly SC things, this is a love song to both a girl and a state.

11. “South Carolina” – The Outlaws 


“South Carolina” by the Outlaws describes a man who comes in from Texas by train to see his lady in South Carolina.

By the sound of the lyrics, it sounds like he’s ready to settle down and put his traveling days behind him.

This song was penned by Outlaws member Henry Paul. He had his wife in mind when he wrote it.

She was born in South Carolina, and Henry drew on his experiences as a musician in a traveling band to evoke the feelings of loneliness that come from always being on the road.

12. “Carolina Can” – Chase Rice

In the nostalgic song “Carolina Can” by country singer Chase Rice, he shares his memories of a Carolina upbringing are tools that ground and guide, giving perspective to the rest of life.

Rice begins by describing experiences like drinking his first beer, being baptized, and high school football’s emotional ups and downs.

He goes on to sing about the here and now. His dad passed on, and his own career is on a crazy course. Through it all, he finds that his home state brings him back to the reality of his values and his heritage.

13. “Gone to Carolina” – Shooter Jennings 

Shooter Jennings, the son of country legend Waylon Jennings, has had a respectable career of his own for many years. He carries on his father’s legacy of outlaw country style with rock-influenced and soulful music.

“I’m gone to Carolina where I know I have a home” is the last line in the chorus to his song “Gone to Carolina.”

It’s about a man who wants to return to Carolina, where he feels at home. He has been engaging in hard living, and he’s tired of the life of excess. He wants to go where he knows he’s wanted and be with the one he loves.

14. “Sumter County Friday Night” – Lee Brice 

Lee Brice is one of those country stars who have been around for a while but whose career has surged in recent years. For example, in 2020, he had a song spend three weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay Chart.

But it’s his song “Sumter County Friday Night,” which we care about in this post as it’s is a full-on country party song about being in Carolina.

It tells a story of Carolina guys and girls getting together for target practice, skinny dipping, joy riding, and general hell-raising.

It’s sure to bring back memories for anyone who was a teenager in a small town, especially one in the South.

Summing Up Our List Of South Carolina Songs

South Carolina seems to evoke a lot of emotions in singers and songwriters.

There are so many themes of love and returning to their home. It’s not all that surprising, though. After all, there’s something about this southern coastal state that calls people back.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down south. What are some of your favorite songs that we might have missed off this list? Let us know and we’ll add them in!

Photo of author

Laura has over 12 years experience teaching both classical and jazz saxophone and clarinet. She now resides in California where she works as a session and live performer.