Giant oyster shells have popped up like daisies throughout historic Bluffton. The Shell Art Trail is a fun public art trail that both entertains and educates. The cultural exhibit has 21 giant oyster shells placed throughout Bluffton. The shells have been uniquely painted by local artists. While hunting for shells, you will learn interesting oyster facts along the way.
Visit downtown Beaufort’s historic John Mark Verdier House Museum for a step back in time. The impressive Federal-style mansion was built around 1804 by John Mark Verdier, a successful merchant and planter.
Verdier acquired significant wealth by trading indigo. He then purchased over 1,000 acres which he used to grow sea island cotton. The house on Bay Street was a highly visible statement of his wealth and status as a member of Beaufort’s planter class.
The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge is home to a vast array of waterfowl, fish, shellfish and many other animals. It is also the home of Oak Grove Plantation House. Since 1992, the former rice plantation has been under the protection of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge
According to the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge’s website:
The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge helps protect the largest undeveloped estuary along the Atlantic Coast, with rich bottomland hardwoods and fresh and saltwater marsh offering food and cover to a variety of wildlife. ACE Basin stands for the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers, which form the estuary and parts of the Refuge boundary. The entire basin encompasses more than 350,000 acres, of which the Refuge comprises just less than 12,000 acres.
There is a beautiful wildlife sanctuary located in the middle of the historic and picturesque city of Walterboro, SC.
Easily reached from I-95, the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to leave the traffic behind, stretch your legs and enjoy nature. The sanctuary contains a network of boardwalks, hiking, biking and canoe trails that are perfect for viewing a diversity of a black water bottomland habitat.
Ridgeland and its surrounding villages are home to many beautiful and historic churches. They are close enough in proximity to make a day trip to visit these special houses of worship.
Located in the Grahamville area you will find both Church of the Holy Trinity Episcopal and its neighbor Euhaw Baptist Church.
One of the lowcountry’s most photographed sites recently gained several feet of protection. In an effort to preserve and protect the Old Sheldon Church, a locked fence has been placed around the ruins. Visitors can still visit the site but cannot pass through the iconic columns and brick arches.
The church is owned by the Parish Church of St. Helena. They have been researching ways to preserve the ruins from rapid decay. The historic structure has fallen victim to vandalism by way of desecrating tombstones, graffiti, brick removal and destruction.
The Parish Church of St. Helena has plans to bring in docents on site to lead tours through the beautiful ruins. Restoration work will shortly begin first. Walking paths will be placed within the interior portion of the ruins. Walking through the brick archways will only be possible with professional supervision to ensure damage is not done to the structure.
St. Helena is home to many beautiful roads. A turn onto Lands End Road puts you right in the heart of the Penn Center. This historically significant landmark is the site of the former Penn School, one of the first educational sites for formally enslaved individuals. Their website says it best, “Opened in 1862 the Penn School tutored freedmen out of slavery and into freedom. After the school closed in 1948, Penn became the first African American site in the state whose primary purpose was to safeguard the heritage of the Gullah Geechie community.
Lake Warren State Park is located just outside Hampton. The park provides many opportunities for outdoor recreation. A wide variety of wildlife can be found in the floodplain forest, wetlands and woodlands of the park. While walking in the park look for deer, armadillo, turtles, raccoons, squirrels… Be on the lookout for alligators, snakes and birds along the shores of the lake.
If you are looking for a dog-friendly beach adventure that aims to please, look to Fripp Island. This easternmost barrier island in South Carolina is located at the end of Highway 21 in Beaufort County. Just a stone’s throw from Hunting Island State Park, Fripp provides private island vacationing (and living) at its finest. Amenities abound and nature delights. If your furry friend is a part of your vacation plans, this is the destination for you.
Many travelers enjoy driving Highway 17, between Charleston and Savannah. The naturally beautiful landscape of Yemassee is located between the two cities. A simple turn off Hwy 17 onto Old Sheldon Church Road is like stepping back in time. Travel up the road for about two miles and see the church ruins on the right. Parking is located across the street. This church was burned during the Revolutionary War, rebuilt and then destroyed again during the Civil War. There is a debate as to whether the church was burned or disassembled during the Civil War.