South Carolina is served by Amtrak via:
- Silver Meteor
- Silver Star
When traveling to central South Carolina via Amtrak, travelers might choose Florence over Columbia, particularly if they have someone to pickup/dropoff. This is because Amtrak Columbia, SC is served only by the Silver Star. Amtrak Florence, SC is served in the daytime by the Palmetto and in the early morning (3-4 AM) by the Silver Meteor. However, travelers to the immediate Columbia area might still stick with the Columbia, SC station naturally.
Northwest South Carolina is served by Amtrak Crescent
Amtrak South Carolina Timetable
This is for Summer 2017, check the current schedule
Amtrak SC northbound departures
- Columbia: 4:01 AM (Silver Star)
- Florence: 11:39 AM (Palmetto) and 11:12 PM (Silver Meteor)
current southbound departures:
- Columbia: 1:38 AM (Silver Star)
- Florence: 3:13 AM (Silver Meteor) and 5:44 PM (Palmetto)
In both Florence and Columbia, the issue with the nighttime arrivals & departures is that the car rental office is closed for at least a few hours before you can obtain or drop off the car. This requires some creative use of nearby spaces for a couple hours (perhaps a Starbucks) while you wait for the car rental office to open.
- Columbia: car rental is walkable, but NOT on Sundays! Sundays will require a pickup by the car rental office or taxi.
- Florence: car rental is NOT walkable, and you will need a $10 taxi ride to get to the car rental. If you schedule in advance, you may get a dropoff at the Amtrak station.
Again without being too specific so as to encourage overuse of adjacent facilities, you may find a reasonably comfortable place to wait before/after the Amtrak station is open. Be polite and inconspicuous.