What is the meaning of Lowcountry? Merriam Webster defines it as “: a low-lying country or region especially: the part of a southern state extending from the seacoast inland to the fall line.” South Carolinians define it as a geographical location and cultural mindset. But for me… It is more than that!
It’s Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper, the four counties that make up the SC Lowcountry Tourism area. These four counties offer a myriad of unbelievable experiences for all.
On any given day in lowcountry you can:
Take a walk under the old oak trees covered in Spanish moss.
Feel the sand between your toes as you enjoy our gorgeous beaches.
Pedal your way around our lush naturescapes.
Soak up some history at one of our many museums, former plantations, or historical churches and structures.
Become one with nature as you spy an alligator, deer, or Great Blue Heron paddling down a lazy Lowcountry river.
Stroll along our beaches as you scavenge for shark teeth.
Immerse yourself in the hunt for the next big fish.
Step off the beaten path to find our numerous hidden gems.
Window shop our local boutiques and stores.
Spy an array of birds in our Wildlife Refuges and Wildlife Management Areas
Meander along our waterfront parks.
Savor a bounty of renowned local cuisine fresh from the sea and our nearby farms.
Unwind and relax as you revel in a lowcountry sunset.
Welcome our lowcountry culture into your heart and mind as you are transported back in time.
Come along and we’ll explore this region, south of Charleston and north of Savannah, to find what makes the SC Lowcountry NATURALLY AMAZING!
South Carolina is a beautiful state. Our landscape includes beaches, mountains, and everything in between. Much of our natural beauty is preserved in state parks. These destinations are meticulously maintained for your enjoyment. Whether your visit is for a day, or an extended holiday, the SC Lowcountry has five state parks that each hold special treasures.
Hunting Island State Park
Hunting Island State Park is the most popular park in the state. Over one million visitors visit each year. The Lowcountry barrier island contains five miles of beautiful beaches, a saltwater lagoon along with 5,000 acres of maritime forest and marsh. Hunting Island is also home to the state’s only publicly accessible lighthouse. Visitors are encouraged to climb the 167 steps to the top and observe the breath-taking views of the maritime forest and beach from 130 feet above.
Hunting Island State park also has a 100-site campground that sits directly on the beach. Amenities include water and electrical hookups, shower and restroom facilities, beach walkways and a playground. There is also one cabin near the lighthouse. Visiting the park’s nature center should be on your list of things to do. There you can see interesting creatures and regularly scheduled programs for you to enjoy.
Every time you visit Hunting Island, visitors notice change. This barrier island is a temporary stop for many migrating birds as well as those who stick around all year. The ocean forces have been known to wreak havoc on the coastline, which is ever-changing. The saltwater lagoon was created by sand dredging in 1968. This beautiful waterway is a great area for kayaking, crabbing and fishing. Seahorses and barracuda have also been spotted in the lagoon. This area is also a great backdrop for a picnic on a sunny day.
Higher inland areas of the park contain some of the state’s best examples of semi-tropical maritime forest and ancient sand dunes. The dunes are now covered in slash pines, cabbage palmetto and live oaks. Nature trails are interwoven throughout this area for closer inspection. Look for deer and raccoons when traveling through the forest. Alligators can be spotted in the freshwater ponds. The island is also a great spot for bird watching. Painted buntings, tanagers and orioles can be spotted in the trees. Pelicans, oystercatchers, skimmers, terns, herons, egrets and wood storks can be seen along the shores and in the sky.
The beaches on Hunting Island are important habitat for shorebirds and sea birds. They use the beach to feed, and nest. Migrating birds use the beach as well. Some areas of the beach designated for birds only. Guests are always encouraged to keep out of posted areas and keep dogs on a leash to protect these important birding grounds. The beaches of Hunting Island are also important nesting areas for loggerhead sea turtles during the summer months.
The park has several hiking trails that make their way across the island. These trails are easy and can be combined to lengthen the experience. The trails wind along the lagoon and through the maritime forest through various wildlife habitats. They can also take you deep into the interior of the maritime forest where the habitat supports a population of deer, raccoon, owls, hawks and squirrels. The Marsh Boardwalk Trail is a designated National Recreational Trail. It is a wooden boardwalk that leads to a dock that provides a great area for viewing life in the salt marsh. The dock is also the perfect spot for observing beautiful sunsets. There is even a hiking trail from the campground to the lighthouse so campers can walk to the iconic landmark without getting into traffic or dealing with the effects of high tide. More experienced hikers will enjoy the Diamondback Rattlesnake Trail. This moderately strenuous trail is for experienced hikers and mountain bikers only.
Climbing to the top of the historic Hunting Island Lighthouse should be on the bucket list of anyone visiting the island. Anyone over the height of 44” can climb the 167 steps to the top where the views are worth the trip. From the top you can see a panoramic view of the maritime forest and Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse is open daily, except for Christmas day and in the event of inclement weather. The original lighthouse was built in 1859. It was destroyed during the Civil War, then rebuilt in 1875. It was built of interchangeable cast-iron sections so it could be dismantled if it ever needs to be moved. This proved beneficial because that is exactly what happened in 1889. The lighthouse was moved 1.3 miles inland due to beach erosion. In 2003 cracks were discovered in several of the cast iron steps leading up. A crew spent more than 18 months making repairs and installing steel braces beneath the stairs for reinforcement. The braces were left unpainted, which creates a contrast with the original structure which protects the lighthouse’s historic integrity.
If you haven’t already, make plans to visit Hunting Island State Park. Climb to the top of the lighthouse. Enjoy the sunrise as you walk along the beach. Search for shells and shark’s teeth along the surf. Stop at the nature center and view the alligators. Experience the sunset from the Marsh Boardwalk and explore the eight miles of walking and biking trails. Come to the place where time stands still, and memories last a lifetime.
Hunting Island State Park 2555 Sea Island Pkwy Hunting Island, SC 29920 843-838-2011
If you are in search of a great oceanfront campground, look no further than Edisto Beach State Park. The park is rich in Native American history, wildlife, hiking and biking opportunities, as well as two campgrounds, cabins and 1.5 miles of pristine shell-covered beachfront. The park is made up of 1,255 acres of maritime forest along the beautiful SC coastline. There you will find the environmental learning center, ranger station, and welcome station.
Edisto Beach, along with its neighboring Botany Bay, is famous for its seashells. While Botany Bay does not allow the collection of shells, Edisto Beach State Park does. The Edisto Beach State Park also has 4 miles of ADA accessible trails for hiking and biking. These trails take you through maritime forest, historic monuments, and a Native American shell mound. These trails are also great for bird watching. Many shore and wading birds can be seen here. The park is a nesting area for loggerhead sea turtles. You can also spot white-tailed deer, raccoons, alligators, bobcats, and opossums.
Furnished cabins sit nestled in the woods, and campsites can be found along the Edisto Island oceanfront or in the shaded maritime forest. There are 120 campsites that accommodate RVs or tents. There are seven cabins located on the salt marsh.
While visiting the environmental learning center you can learn about the ACE Basin and more, featuring interactive displays including a touch tank. The ACE Basin is an estuary that is made from the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto Rivers. This is the largest undeveloped estuary along the Atlantic Coast. Mornings at Edisto State Park can be spent hunting for turtle tracks. You can also cast a line and enjoy some of the island’s best fishing in Scott Creek Inlet. If you’re a boater, launch into Big Bay Creek and enjoy a day of fishing or exploring the waters of the ACE Basin.
The park also includes picnic shelters and a park store. The park offers a mile and a half of beach where surf fishing is allowed. Other locations include Steamboat Landing, Old bridge replaced by the McKinley Washington Bridge, and along the banks of Scott’s Creek along the Spanish Mount trail. There is also a small dock in the cabin area for cabin guests only.
Edisto Beach State Park 8377 State Cabin Rd Edisto Island, SC 29438 843-869-2156
Lake Warren State Park
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. The 200-acre lake is perfect for freshwater fishing and boating. The park also has a 2-acre fishing pond. There are two boat ramps that provide access to the lake. Motors are limited to 10-horsepower. Jon boats are also available for rent.
If you enjoy hiking, the park has three nature trails. Trail locations can be found on the park MAP. The Nature Trail is a 1.25-mile loop that travels through the woods and ends at the fishing pond. Interpretive signs are placed along this trail to increase your knowledge of local wildlife. The Fit Trail has 10 exercise stations. This .0-mile loop is located among the wildlife in a mixed pine forest. The Yemassee Trail skirts along the bank of Lake Warren. Watch for birds and other wildlife including snakes and alligators.
Pets are welcome at the park. The trails are a great place to walk your dog. Dogs must always be kept under physical restraint or on a leash. The park also has picnic shelters and a playground. It’s a great place to spend a sunny day. If you’re looking to fish, hike, play or relax, Lake Warren State Park is the perfect destination for you.
Lake Warren State Park 1079 Lake Warren Road Hampton, SC 29924 803-943-5051
Colleton State Park
The Colleton State Park is a paddlers paradise. The 35-acre park is conveniently located off I-95 at Exit 68. The park provides easy access to the Edisto River, one of the longest free-flowing, blackwater rivers in the country, and serves as the headquarters for the Edisto River Canoe and Kayak Trail. Although it is the smallest of South Carolina’s state parks, it connects to Givhans Ferry State Park 23 miles away via the Edisto River.
If you are interested in camping, fishing, picnicking, boating, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, birdwatching, geocaching or biking, this park is perfect for you. Other amenities at Colleton include an easy nature trail, a campground, picnic shelters and ballfields. There is also an air-conditioned cabin that is available that overlooks the Edisto River. This rustic cabin sleeps six and includes two sets of bunk beds, heating and air conditioning, a fireplace, indoor lights, electrical outlets small refrigerator and microwave. The 25 campsites come complete with water and electricity.
The Cypress Swamp Nature Trail runs along the bank of the Edisto River. This easy trail has a self-guided nature brochure, and the trail has numbered signs to help identify a variety of trees and plants including cypress, poplar, hickory, sweetgum, maple, dogwood, birch, and magnolia. You can follow the canoe dock boardwalk spur trail to the dark water of Edisto River. Watch for a variety of birds, deer, turtles, snakes, and other wildlife.
Pets are allowed in most outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. Owners will be asked to remove noisy or dangerous pets or pets that threaten or harass wildlife. Pets are not allowed in or around lodging facilities.
Whether it’s boating, fresh-water fishing or just sharing stories around the campfire, you’ll find everything you need to at Colleton State Park.
Colleton State Park 147 Wayside Ln Walterboro, SC 29488 843-538-8206
Givhans Ferry State Park
Givhans Ferry State Park is nestled along the Edisto River. It’s the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Camping spots and cabins are available for rent. Four cabins with screened back porches overlook the river. Separate sites are available for tent, RV and primitive camping. There’s even a riverfront hall that’s available for events. The hall was built during the Roosevelt administration during the Great Depression as a part of the New Deal Program. As a matter of fact, the entire park was created by the Civilian Conservation Corps, which provided jobs during the 1930’s which addressed the need for the country to conserve natural beauty and create recreational spots to enjoy nature.
Once upon a time, this site was the crossing point for a ferry to move travelers across the Edisto River on the road from Augusta to Charleston. It was named after Phillip Givhan, the area ferry master during the late 1700’s. His granddaughter’s burial site is located on park property. The park’s riverbanks are protected as a Heritage Trust Site.
Givhans Ferry State Park is a part of the Edisto River Canoe and Kayak Trail. Bring your gear and have someone drop you off at the Colleton State Park for the 23-mile paddling adventure that will bring you back to the park. The Edisto River is the longest free-flowing blackwater river in North America. View rare plants that thrive along the limestone bluffs as you paddle along the riverbanks. Plan on this trip taking between seven and nine hours.
A hike along the 1.5-mile River Bluff Nature Trail is another good way to see the flora and fauna found at Givhans Ferry State Park. Hike across moderately steep slopes and a canal and overlook the river from the bluffs. View Cypress trees that grow majestically from the river floor. Don’t forget to look for local wildlife along the trail. The trail is an excellent spot for birdwatching.
If you enjoy casting a line, fishing gear can be obtained at the park office. The park participates in the Park Loaner Program sponsored by the SC Dept. of Natural Resources. A valid SC fishing license is required. Fish for flathead, catfish, red breast, channel catfish, largemouth bass, striped bass, shellcrackers, blue catfish and eels. Fish from the riverbank or bring along the boat. Access to a boat ramp can be found just a few miles away from the park.
Swimming is permitted at the park. No lifeguard is on duty and all swimming is at your own risk. Geocaching is also permitted. Several are located throughout the park. Souvenirs are available at the park store. There you will find t-shirts, caps, mugs, patches and other goodies.
The park encompasses 988 acres of natural habitat. Amenities include 35 campsites with electrical and water hook-up, four 2-bedroom cabins, and a site for primitive group camping. Two picnic shelters and a playground are also available. The park also has volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and games that are available for check-out at the park office. A Wi-Fi signal can be found at the park office. Make your reservations today to enjoy all that nature has to offer at the Givhan’s Ferry State Park.
Givhans Ferry State Park 746 Givhans Ferry Rd. Ridgeville, SC 29472 843-873-0692
Reservations for all South Carolina State Park Campgrounds can be made by calling 1-866-345-7275. Visit the South Carolina State Parks Website for more information on these, and other parks in the Palmetto State.
Fall is the perfect time for a camping trip to the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Fall temperatures in the South Carolina Lowcountry are perfect for spending time in nature. The cool mornings, mild days and campfire-worthy evenings are ideal for camping. Spending time outdoors is a wonderful way to escape the grind and recharge the batteries!
Is summer heat too much for you? Do mosquitoes and no-see-ums send you running for the door? Fall is the perfect time for you! Reservations are easier to find after Labor Day when schools are back in session. Temperatures cool, humidity drops, and pesky biting insects begin to disappear.
Three state parks in the Lowcountry have camping facilities. Private campgrounds are also located across the area. While some are designed as destinations, others are perfect for a short stop during a long haul. Campgrounds located along I-95 are great for using as a hub to visit all the major attractions across the Lowcountry.
Hunting Island State Park is the South Carolina’s most popular state park. The campground is located at the northern end of the island. The campground has 100 campsites with water and electrical hookups, shower and restroom facilities, beach walkways and a playground.
Enjoy the many miles of walking trails that wind throughout the park. Climb the state’s only publicly accessible lighthouse. Ascend the 167 steps for a panoramic view 130 feet above the beach and maritime forest. The park also has a fishing pier and visitors can borrow gear from the Nature Center.
Hunting Island State Park camping reservations must be made for a minimum of two nights. To make a camping reservation or view current rates, call toll-free 1-866-345-7275, or visit our reservations page by clicking here. Rates vary by season and demand and are subject to change. The campground is pet-friendly, but there are restrictions. 2555 Sea Island Pkwy., Hunting Island, SC 29920
Tuc in the Wood Campground and RV Park is located not too far away on St. Helena Island, one of the Lowcountry’s most beautiful islands. The campground has 80 RV and tent sites with water and electrical hookups. There’s also a bathhouse with hot showers and restroom facilities.
Cast your line in the stocked, freshwater fishing pond. Visit nearby Penn Center, Chapel of Ease, and Fort Fremont. Travel 12 miles to Hunting Island State Park or drive to downtown Beaufort. Cable TV hookup and Wi-Fi are available. The campground is also pet-friendly. Make your reservations by calling 843-838-2267. Questions and inquiries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort & Marina is a luxury RV resort located on the north end of Hilton Head Island. The 200-site waterfront, pet friendly resort offers landscaped sites with concrete pads, excellent dining, top-notch amenities, on-site water sports activities and more. The resort has two swimming pools, hot tubs, sun deck, gazebo, saunas, and tennis courts.
The on-site marina is the perfect spot to book water sports including jet skis, kayaks, paddle boards, dolphin tours and more. Fish on the pier or launch your boat from the ramp. The property also boasts a 5-Star restaurant. Call 843-681-3256 or visit Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort & Marinafor more information. 43 Jenkins Rd, Hilton Head Island, SC
Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resortis aluxury camping destination located on the south end of the island. Guests are provided with the ultimate getaway experience. 400 spacious and charming sites are available to accommodate most motorcoach needs, with full hook-ups, cable TV, Wi-Fi, and excellent amenities. The Resort has spots available to rent or own, including scenic lake front sites, private shaded forest sites, and clubhouse sites that place you steps away from the excitement. The resort is located just one mile from beaches, popular restaurants, and unique shops.
The resort offers an array of amenities including a pool, spa, tennis courts, pickleball courts, dog park and full laundry facilities. Between area attractions and resort events, you’ll always have something fun to do during your stay. Call 843-785-7699 or visit Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort for more information. 133 Arrow Road, Hilton Head Island, SC
Edisto Beach State Park has both oceanfront and salt marsh camp sites. There are 112 sites with water and electrical hookups. Tent campers can choose a site with hookups or a more rustic site at the park’s Live Oak Campground. All sites are conveniently located close to public restrooms with hot showers. The park also has furnished cabins that sit nestled in the woods. The Edisto Beach State Park Campground is pet friendly, but dogs are not allowed in the cabins or cabin area. Dogs must be always kept on a leash. Fishing is allowed along the ocean or salt marsh. Flounder, whiting, spot tail bass and other saltwater fish can be caught in the park. A boat ramp and dock can be found at the park for fishing in Big Bay Creek.
On warm fall days, spend the day at the beach. Walk along the surf to search for seashells and shark’s teeth. Hike, bike or bird watch along the trails, beach, and maritime forest. The trails are comprised of a series of short, mostly level paths that wind through Edisto Island’s maritime forest of live oak, hanging Spanish moss, and palmetto trees. During your walk you may see white-tailed deer, osprey, or alligators, and may even catch a glimpse of the wary bobcats. To make a camping reservation or view current rates, call toll-free 1-866-345-7275 or visit the reservations page by clicking here. Rates vary by season and demand and are subject to change. Camping reservations must be made for a minimum of two nights. 8377 State Cabin Rd, Edisto Island, SC
Colleton State Park is a paddler’s paradise This Lowcountry park sits a short distance from I-95 and connects to Givhan’s Ferry State Park via 23 miles of blackwater river. Colleton State Park provides easy access to the Edisto River, one of the longest free flowing, blackwater rivers in the country, and serves as the headquarters for the Edisto River canoe and kayak trail. Other amenities at Colleton include an easy nature trail, a campground, picnic shelters and ballfields. The main roads at the park and in the campground are paved.
Each site is packed sand and has individual water and electrical hookups. Some sites accommodate RVs up to 40 feet, others up to 25 feet. The campground is convenient to restrooms with hot showers. To make a camping reservation or view current rates, call toll-free 1-866-345-7275 or visit our reservations page by clicking here. Rates vary by season and demand and are subject to change. Camping reservations must be made for a minimum of two nights. 147 Wayside Lane, Walterboro, SC
If you are a true adventurer and want to get off the grid for a while, grab a canoe from Carolina Heritage Outfitters and paddle to your very own treehouse. Located on the halfway point along a 23-mile canoe trip, the Carolina Heritage Outfitters Treehouses are truly off the beaten path. Camp in style with no electricity. Oil candles and tiki torches light the night. Use the propane stove or grill to prepare your meals. The only running water you’re going to find here is in the river. Bring a cooler of provisions to put in the furnished kitchen. Bring a sleeping bag to place on the bed. An outhouse is provided for your convenience.
Meet the team in the morning to shuttle upriver. Paddle 13 miles to your treehouse. Each treehouse is constructed of local materials and tucked away along the riverbank. Swim in the river. Hike the woodland trails. Then warm yourself by the fire pit. After a good night’s rest, paddle the remaining 10 miles to finish off the trip at the outpost. While on the river, be on the lookout for Great blue herons, owls, egrets, wood storks, pileated woodpeckers, wood ducks, wild turkey, deer, muskrats and raccoon. Visit Carolina Heritage Outfitters website or call 843-563-5051 for more information. 1 Livery Lane, St. George, SC
New Green Acres is a full featured campground, able to accommodate the full range of RV dimensions or types. This is a great place to pull in and spend the night while on the way to other adventures. The campground is located on I-95 and has 106 sites with the longest and widest pull-thru sites east of the Mississippi. Water and electrical hook-ups are available, as well as cable and wireless internet.
Cool off in the swimming pool. Take the kids to the playground or play with your furry friend in the dog park. Visit New Green Acres website or call 843-538-3450, 800-474-3450 for more information or to book a stay. 396 Campground Road, Walterboro, SC 29488
Givhan’s Ferry State Park is a natural retreat in the Lowcountry woods. The park sits at the end of the 23-mile long stretch of Edisto River kayaking paradise known as the Edisto River kayak and canoe trail that begins at Colleton State Park. The Edisto River is the longest free-flowing blackwater river in North America. Rent a cabin, bring an RV or tent to this beautiful state park. Full-service camping sites are available with water and electrical hookup. Some sites are hike in only. They are also complete with water and electricity. Grills, fire pits, picnic tables and storage boxes are provided at each site. Clean restrooms with hot showers are centrally located. Hike the trails or bring a kayak and explore the river.
To make a camping reservation call toll-free 1-866-345-7275 or visit our reservations page by clicking here. Rates vary by season and demand and are subject to change. Camping reservations must be made for a minimum of two nights. Pets are not allowed in the cabins or the cabin areas. Pets are allowed in most other outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. 746 Givhans Ferry Road, Ridgeville, SC
Come to the Point South KOA. Unwind at this 5 star retreat located conveniently just off I-95, near Savannah, Charleston, Hilton Head and Beaufort. Visitors have the choice of RV, tent, or cabin sites. Explore the estates, museums, and beaches of the Lowcountry. You may even choose to stay on site and enjoy the many amenities and serene setting. Glamp in a fully stocked deluxe lodge. Some are even crafted from authentic railroad cars! Enjoy this walk in, walk out experience in place of a hotel. Family fun begins as you check in and check out our activities, like gem mining, backpacks to color, as well as kerchiefs for the pups, a large pool and good old-fashioned fun with tether ball, corn hole, horseshoes, life size chess set and Jenga game at the expanded playground.
There is a large dog walk plus a Kamp K9 for our 4-legged friends. Unwind with a glass of wine from regional wineries. Our newest addition is our own crafted beer from a local brewery. Our own Aria’s Ale is on tap at our full-line Swimming Mermaid Coffee House, which has a full selection of custom roast coffees, latte’s, iced coffees, hot tea and more. Relax and enjoy made-to-order pizza and wings, delivered to your site. Unwind in our Coffee House & wine bar, where we feature a full line of locally roasted coffees as well as a full array of wines. Book reservations by visiting koa.com. Call 843-726-5733 or 800-562-2948 for more information.
Experience the beauty, relaxation, and the perks of nature at The Oaks at Point South RV Resort. Within 45 minutes of this Lowcountry RV camp, you’ll find attractions like Hilton Head, historic Savannah, Georgia, and the Atlantic Ocean. This campground also boasts a convenient location near Interstate 95, allowing guests to enjoy everything the South Carolina Lowcountry has to offer.
Back at the resort, guests can look forward to an array of activities. Test your hand at mini golf, go for a swim, enjoy fishing, or hit the trails for a hike. Fall activities include Halloween trick or treating and a Thanksgiving potluck. They’re pet friendly as well, so don’t forget your four-legged friends! Call 843-726-5728, or 1-800-388-7788 or visit thousandtrails.com for more information and to book reservations. 1292 Campground Road, Yemassee, SC
Camp Lake Jasper is conveniently located just minutes off of Interstate 95 at Exit 8 in Hardeeville. This brand new resort is convenient to Hilton Head and the historic cities of Bluffton, Beaufort and Savannah. Wake to the sounds of nature beckoning you to explore the park. Hike the pristine trails, paddle the clear waters, play the challenging “Sarge” disc golf course, or simply relax in the lakeside pool and amenity center. Do as much or as little as you like.
Spend the day golfing, shopping, dining, or enjoying the beach and then return for a relaxing night by the campfire. Whether its adventure you seek or escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Camp Lake Jasper is the place for you. Reserve your site today and let the memories begin. 44 Camp Lake Drive, Hardeeville, SC
Nestled along the borders of Beaufort and Colleton County, just a stone’s throw south of Charleston and north of Beaufort is the Combahee River. This magnificent river is the spot where Revolutionary War hero Colonel John Laurens died, and Civil War hero Harriet Tubman led over 750 slaves to freedom. Paddling a kayak through this historic estuary is an experience to be savored. The trip is ripe with anticipation of the natural wonders that will be revealed around each bend. The sights, sounds and scents of this Lowcountry paradise never disappoint its visitors.
This nature enthusiast’s paradise is a part of the ACE Basin, one of the largest undeveloped estuaries along the Atlantic Coast. The best way to see this blackwater river is in a kayak. Whether you like to explore the river on your own or as a part of a tour, the Combahee has options for you. If you are the adventurous type, know how to read the tides, and have your own kayaks, Cuckhold’s Creek is a great option. If you would rather go with a guide that does all the heavy lifting, Sugar Hill Creek is the place for you. Both creeks provide stunning views of wildlife and evidence of historic rice cultivation.
Beaufort Kayak Tours leads a 2.5-hour excursion from Sugar Hill Landing. This spot is surrounded by former rice plantations just off River Road, via Highway 17. Guides provide a narrated natural and cultural history tour along the scenic waterway which passes rice trunks, and slave-dug canals that were used to flood rice fields. The guides provide everything you need to have a safe and enjoyable journey. Kayaks, paddles, and life jackets are waiting when visitors arrive.
The tour proceeds down the creek and into the Combahee River. Historic rice fields are pointed out. Rice fields, dikes and trunk systems that were first built in the early 1700s are still maintained and in use as wildlife management and conservation areas. The formerly cultivated fields are prime habitats to attract all forms of birds and other wildlife species.
If you are of a more adventurous type and like to kayak without a guide, Cuckhold’s Creek is the perfect spot for you! This peaceful creek is travelled by many who launch from Cuckhold’s Landing at the intersection of White Hall and Combahee Roads. If you head upstream, you will travel under a bridge used in the filming of Forrest Gump. This creek also shows signs of former rice plantation days. The creek habitat is home to many flowering plants and wildlife.
The very bravest of Lowcountry kayakers enjoy launching from Cuckhold’s Landing and travel into the Combahee, through the rice canals and end the trip at the Steel Bridge Landing. This is a very long trip and not for the faint at heart, especially if the tide changes. Have someone pick you and your gear up from the Steel Bridge.
Springtime trips down the Combahee will reward you with floral beauties, including pontederia and rare spider lilies. Butterflies are also drawn to the beautiful blooms along the banks. Water lilies fill the canals and tributaries that branch from the river. Osprey, anhingas and double-breasted cormorants can be spotted in the trees. Egrets and herons can be found wading along the riverbanks. It’s always a good idea to bring along a camera to capture wildlife images. Keep it stowed away in a ziplock bag until you need it. Also, plenty of water and bug spray are also good to pack for the journey.
As you travel down the Combahee River and its tributaries, it’s important to reflect on the history of the area. It’s also noteworthy to look for any straight waterways that can be found throughout the estuary. These canals were hand dug by slave labor to supply water to the ancient rice fields. The rice trunks control the flow of this water. Harriet Tubman was stationed in Beaufort with the Union Army for a time during the Civil War. Under the direction of Colonel James Montgomery, she led a scouting party of eight soldiers up the Combahee River to gain intelligence for the union. They burned plantations and liberated over 750 slaves along the river.
Directions for Kayaking Cuckhold’s Creek
The best time launch is on the early falling tide. The landing is accessible via Highway 17. In the Green Pond area, turn onto White Hall Road. Take the first left off White Hall. Launch your canoes then have someone pick you up at the Steel Bridge Landing (Harriet Tubman Bridge). Spring kayakers can get up close and personal with flowering plants, including white spider lilies. The creek travels through historic rice fields of the former Combahee Plantation.
Several bends into the trip, the creek seems to split into different directions. Keep to the right. Just after you pass the White Hall landing, (1.5 miles into trip) the creek splits and forms Folly Creek. Stay to the right to continue on Cuckold’s Creek. The creek will spill into the Combahee River. Stay to the left to continue downstream. The river winds through the marsh. The Steel Bridge Landing will be on the right, just before the Harriet Tubman Bridge.
Both landings can be accessed from Highway 17. Sugar Hill Landing is just off River Road. Cuckhold’s Landing can be found at the intersection of White Hall and Combahee Roads.
It all started with a mini horse named Tilly! Then along came Eddie the mini donkey, Cherokee the rescue horse, chickens, goats, and alpacas!
Herd it Here Farm is located in Cottageville, just off Highway 17A. It is a one-of-a-kind educational farm experience. Owners Bill and Sheryl Power established this farm to share their extensive knowledge and love of animals. Visitors get up close and personal as they learn about the unique traits and offerings of each of the farm animals. Activities, workshops, classes, and goat yoga are also in the works.
The tour starts at the barn where Tilly, the mini horse is introduced. She looks like she trotted out of the pages of a fairy tale. She was a birthday present for Sheryl while the couple were living in Pennsylvania. Eddie the mini donkey came along next when he was just a baby. He and Tilly are excellent pasture mates. These two share space with a horse named Cherokee that was found in Louisiana.
The alpacas are just next door on the other side of the barn. Alpacas are raised for their soft, luxurious fleece. They are related to camels and llamas, but they are much smaller. The Herd It Here Farm alpacas are very curious and friendly. They also enjoy a good sprinkle from the water hose on a hot day.
Alpacas are quiet, docile animals. They are safe and pleasant to be around. They each have a very distinct personality. Pearl is very patient and loved being a part of the educational process. Dennis the baby is curious and spunky. He likes to stay close to his mom Lucy. She’s a little shy but likes to pay attention to what’s going on. Valerie is new to the farm but likes to stay close to Pearl. The farm also has two other alpacas, Vickie and Gidget. They were off the property for the day.
Our next stop was to the chicken coop. Fancy chickens roam in their protected space. Silkie chickens have fluffy plumage that is incredibly soft to the touch. They also have five toes, where most other chickens have only four. This breed is very gentle. Cochins are friendly birds with lots of fluff and feathers. Polish chickens have a great crest of feathers that covers almost the entire head. Houdan chickens have a very distinct poofy crown of feathers.
The goats are the next stop after a visit with the feathered friends. Pigmy and fainting goats romp and play together in their pen. The pigmy goats ate a snack fed by Bill while we learn about and feed the fainting goats. They don’t actually faint. They have a characteristic that makes them freeze and tumble over when they get scared. Daryl the black and white fainting goat loves to eat treats and give kisses. Chuck the brown fainting goat is a little shy but will hand feed. Molly is almost solid black. She has mesmerizing blue eyes.
The tour ends at the Country Store where alpaca fleece items are on sale. Goats milk lotion and soaps from a neighboring farm are also available, as well as sweetgrass baskets and other goodies. Picnic tables with umbrellas are available for those that bring lunch.
The farm is currently open for tours on Saturdays and select weekdays by appointment only. Visit the Herd It Here website to schedule a tour or activity. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet all the animals up close and personally, and really learn about them. Tours must be pre-booked and are available at either 10 am, 11:30 am or 1:30 pm.
Downtown Beaufort’s John Mark Verdier House has recently undergone an extensive facelift. The home has served as a well-preserved museum since 1975, giving visitors a glimpse into the home of a wealthy Beaufort merchant and landowner. Master craftsmen have been working diligently since February to restore the exterior and return the house to its former glory. The work is now complete. A ribbon cutting and reopening ceremony will take place this Saturday, May 8th, at 10 am.
The house museum was built in 1804 by a successful merchant and planter. The house was visited by the Marquis de Lafayette on his southern tour in 1825, and later served as the Federal Headquarters by Union troops during the Civil War’s occupation of Beaufort. Luckily, the house remained in the Verdier family until the 1940s. It did, however, led a very colorful life in the early twentieth century. It served as a restaurant, telephone exchange and barber shop. These destructive uses put the house into disrepair. It was slated for demolition in 1944, but a committed group of citizens, that would later be known as the Historic Beaufort Foundation, acquired the house, renovated it, and opened it to the public in 1975.
The Verdier House was once called the Lafayette House because of the 1825 visit by the Marquis de Lafayette during his tour of the south.
Spend a day on the River with Coastal Expeditions South
If your idea of fun is getting out on the river to learn about native wildlife and history, Coastal Expeditions South has a tour for you! The highly skilled boat captains and their crew have four options in Beaufort: St. Phillip’s Island, Beaufort Dolphin and History, Hunting Island Dolphin Cruise, or a private boat charter. Coastal Expeditions has been in business in Charleston since 1992. In 2020 they decided to branch farther south to Beaufort and the Sea Islands. Let their experienced guides weave stories of local history and point out wildlife native to the Beaufort coast.
St. Phillip’s Island was recently acquired by Hunting Island State Park. For nearly 40 years, conservationist and cable television mogul Ted Turner and his family used this sea island as a retreat. During their ownership, trails were carved throughout the maritime forest and wildlife habitats were restored. St. Phillip’s Island is a nature-lover’s paradise. Walk under canopies of moss-draped live oaks in search of fox squirrels, bobcats, bald eagles, roseate spoonbills, and painted buntings. Stroll the pristine beach and look for loggerhead sea turtles and wading birds. Walk along the fresh-water ponds and spot alligators sunning along the banks.
This naturalist-led ecotour departs from the Hunting Island State Park Nature Center. Travel by boat along the Story River to the St. Phillip’s dock. A park ranger will greet visitors and provide a 3.5-mile tram ride to the beach. Ramble along the beach, hike the interior trails and enjoy all the island has to offer. At the end of the trip, the park ranger will take visitors back to the dock for the return boat ride. It’s a good idea to bring a backpack with drinking water, lunch, camera, sunblock, and insect repellant.
Beaufort is a beautiful and historic city that is best viewed from the water. The Beaufort Dolphin and History Cruise departs from the downtown marina. As you cruise along the waterfront, your captain will tell stories from local history from early Native American s and Spanish exploration to French settlement and English colonization. As the boat travels along the river native wildlife will be pointed out and discussed. Many varieties of birds and marine mammals are sure to be spotted.
The cruise passes the ruins of Ft. Frederick, an early American fort made of tabby construction. During the Civil War, this fort was transformed into Fort Saxon and was the training facility of the first black regiment for the Union Army. The Emancipation Proclamation was also read here on January 1, 1862. This cruise is entertaining for all age groups. The boat is Coast Guard-certified, and a master captain is at the helm. Be sure to pack drinking water, binoculars, camera, and a wind breaker.
Monday/Wednesday/Saturday/Sunday, 11 am – 12:30 pm
Coastal Expedition South’s Hunting Island Dolphin Cruise is fun for kids of all ages. This is a family-friendly ecotour that explores the estuary of the Story River where bottlenose dolphin flourish. While searching for dolphin, the tour also searches for bald eagles, ospreys, and other native birds of prey. Often their nests can be spotted as well. Brown pelicans, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, herons and egrets are sure to be spotted as well!
The on-board naturalist will also entertain visitors with stories of local history dating from American Indians to European settlers. Be sure to pack drinking water, binoculars, camera, and a windbreaker.
Looking for a private charter on the river? Coastal Expeditions South has a fleet of three boats ready to take you on a tour of the Beaufort area. An outing with family and friends can be easily arranged. A trip can be tailored around the needs and interests of your guests. Private tours can revolve around dolphins, local history, St. Phillip’s Island and more. You can even schedule a sunset cruise.
Private tours are available for booking year-round. Boat captains and mates are trained naturalists and gifted storytellers. Their knowledge of local history and wildlife is extensive and entertaining.
The ladies of the Lowcountry Tourism Commission were treated to a private tour of the Beaufort River. We departed from the downtown marina and headed toward Port Royal Sound. Along the way we were treated to visits by dolphins, snowy egrets, oyster catchers, double-crested cormorants, and a nesting osprey. Along the way, we were delighted with stories of history and nature by the talented and gifted Captain Henry Brandt. He is a natural-born storyteller and comedian, all rolled into one! His knowledge of the Lowcountry shoreline habitat is second to none! His tour was educational and entertaining, and I would definitely recommend his tour services to anyone looking to explore the natural wonder of Beaufort and her surrounding sea islands.
The Congaree Golf Club is the home of this 2021 PGA Tour event!
The Palmetto Championship, a PGA Tour event, will be held June 7-13 in Ridgeland at the Congaree Golf Club. This one-time event will fill the spot left open when the 2021 RBC Canadian Open was cancelled. This official FedEx Cup event will field 156 golfers.
Governor Henry McMaster recently announced the event and said, “South Carolina is open for business and we are proud to have the opportunity to take advantage of this unique opportunity. This nationally televised, elite tournament will give people from around the world a chance to see all that South Carolina has to offer and will jumpstart our tremendous tourism industry. We are grateful to the PGA Tour and Congaree’s owner, Dan Friedkin, for this opportunity to highlight our great state.”
The Congaree Golf Club was built on Davant Plantation. The original Greek Revival home on this historic property was burned in 1865 by Sherman’s troops. The circa 1820 that we see today was dismantled and transferred piece-by-piece to this site from a neighboring property that was also owned by the Davant family. This property was also the principal backdrop for scenes in the 1995 movie Something to Talk About. The club launched the Global Golf Initiative to target underprivileged high school students who are passionate about golf and show academic promise. They even built a schoolhouse on the property to prepare students for college admissions. Congaree’s Palmetto Championship joins the list of other 2021 significant tournaments in the state including the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head Island, the PGA Championship on Kiawah Island and Greenville’s annual BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation.
The 2021 Palmetto Championship at Congaree will be broadcast on CBS, Golf Channel and PGA TOUR LIVE, and internationally on GOLFTV powered by the PGA TOUR.
SC Lowcountry state parks offer excellent fishing opportunities!
It’s always a good time to go fishing in the South Carolina Lowcountry! We offer a true sportsman’s paradise! Our unique landscape provides many spots for anglers to prove their skills in both fresh and salt water. Our state parks are a great place to “catch the big one”, but don’t forget to pick up a valid South Carolina fishing license before dropping a line into the water.
Hunting Island State Park has five miles of beaches to fish, along with Johnson Creek, a salt-water lagoon, and an ocean inlet. Fish for trout, redfish, and flounder. Head over to the fishing pier at the southern tip of the park to try your luck. The pier extends 1,120 feet into the Fripp Inlet, where snapper, grouper and bigger varieties are found. Bait, equipment and other supplies can be purchased at the park store in the campground. The park also has a tackle loaner program. Rods and reels are available at the nature center for use on the pier. The park has a boat ramp that has access to both Harbor River and Fripp Inlet. Bring the camper and stay for a while in the beachfront campground. Hunting Island State Park 2555 Sea Island Pkwy Beaufort, SC 843-838-2011
Fish along the surf at Edisto Beach State Park or head over to the salt marsh. Flounder, whiting, redfish, and other saltwater fish can be caught here. Want to bring the boat? A boat ramp and dock with access to Big Bay Creek can be found in the park. Edisto Beach State Park also has a beachfront campground. Edisto Beach State Park 8377 State Cabin Road Edisto Island, SC 843-869-2156
Colleton State Park connects to Givhans Ferry State Park to offer 23 miles of freshwater, blackwater fishing. The park is conveniently located off Interstate 95 at Exit 68. A boat ramp is just ¼ miles away, with easy access to the Edisto River, one of the longest free flowing blackwater rivers in the country. Fish by boat or along the shore for bream, redbreast and catfish. The park is also the headquarters for the Edisto River Canoe and Kayak Trail. This park participates in the tackle loaner program. Rods and reels are available for loan at the park office. Colleton State Park also has a campground. Colleton State Park 147 Wayside Lane Walterboro, SC 843-538-8206
Lake Warren State Park is located in Hampton, SC. Lake Warren is a 200-acre lake that offers freshwater fishing and boating. Fish this freshwater lake for largemouth bass, brim, redbreast, crappie, and catfish. The lake has two different boat ramps for boats with 10 horsepower motors. Jon boats are also available for rent year-round. Boats come complete with trolling motor, life jackets and paddles. Rentals are available through the park ranger. The lake also has a fishing dock. Lake Warren State Park 1079 Lake Warren Road Hampton, SC 803-943-5051
Looking for more fishing opportunities? We have marinas, and multiple charter fishing services. Have your own boat? We have 31 boat ramps in both fresh and salt water, fishing piers and artificial reefs. Fishing in South Carolina is popular year-round for fresh water, large mouth, red-breast, and catfish. The salt-water species vary from trout, redfish and flounder inshore to marlin, dolphin, king mackerel, snapper, grouper and much more offshore. Choose from a half dozen rivers, a beautiful little lake, or a great big ocean. Like shell fish? Catch your own shrimp and crabs, or dig clams and harvest oysters.
Looking for a dog-friendly place to commune with nature? Widgeon Point Preserve is Beaufort County’s newest passive park. Here you’ll find 162 acres of mixed pine-hardwood forest, maritime forest, and salt marsh along the Broad River. Located on Lemon Island, off Hwy 170, the preserve is co-owned by Beaufort County and the Beaufort County Open Land Trust.
Sidewalks lead from the paved parking lot to a picnic pavilion, a bird blind, and an event barn. A 0.7-mile hiking loop travels the perimeter of the adjacent hummock island. The loop is a wide, flat nature trail that travels through pines, palms, and oak trees. Views of the river can be seen from several different vantage points.
The preserve is a great spot for picnicking, hiking, and wildlife viewing. There’s even a water fountain that is equipped for dogs. While hiking, keep a keen eye for white-tailed deer, bald eagles, fox squirrels and wading birds. Alligators have also been seen in the fresh-water ponds, so be careful to keep the dogs away from the water’s edge.
The various coastal habitats of Widgeon Point Preserve support a rich diversity of wildlife and plants. Visitors have extraordinary opportunities to observe the natural beauty of the Lowcountry. The preserve is open daily, from dawn to dusk.
Widgeon Point Preserve 43 Okatie Hwy, Beaufort, SC
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The Lowcountry & Resort Islands Region of South Carolina includes the four, southern-most counties in the state, Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, and Colleton, which are bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the Savannah River and the state of Georgia.