Sumter, in the center of the state, is a small typically Southern town and county seat. Shaw Air Force Base and agriculture are the economic mainstays, but recent employment statistics and projections are weak. Downtown is nondescript but tidy with small areas of attractive housing mainly to the north.
Outdoor recreation is available nearby, notably at large Marion Lake to the south. There is little in the way of cultural amenities, intellectual stimulation or entertainment, but Sumter is 45 miles from Columbia and 100 miles from Charleston and Myrtle Beach. The area offers a low cost of living, a slow pace of life, and quality healthcare facilities, but not much else.
Sumter is located along the banks of the Pocotaligo River in an area of level and gently rolling terrain with pine forests and agricultural land. The climate is humid temperate influenced by mountains to the northwest and water to the southeast. Summers are consistently warm and humid, and nearby swampy areas breed large insect populations. The mountains and prevailing wind patterns block cool air masses from the northwest, although local afternoon thundershowers do occur. Winters are mild with brief cold outbreaks and rain. Fall is the most pleasant season.