Why is a spottail bass called a red fish? Because it’s a fish of many names!

Fall is finally here and it’s the season for catching redfish in the South Carolina Lowcountry! These fish are available year-round but tend to move from shallow water to deeper inshore waters during the fall.

Photo by Neal Kendrick of Carolina Tails Charters.

The redfish, or spottail bass is the Lowcountry inshore fisherman’s most popular gamefish. This highly sought-after saltwater fish has many names, depending on the geographic location. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources refers to it as a red drum. Along with redfish and spottail and red drum, this fish is also known as a channel bass and puppy drum. Why did it get the name redfish? Some say it’s because of the copper color of its scales.

Image from C1 Films and Jon Halker.

Traditionally in the Lowcountry it was known as a spottail for the distinctive black spot on its tail. Sometimes the fish will have more than one spot. On rare occasions it will have no spot at all. What is the purpose of the spot? The spot resembles an eye. This trick of nature fools predators into attacking the fish from the tail, allowing it a chance to swim away from danger.

This popular gamefish is prized by inshore fishermen in the Lowcountry because it is a great fighter, and it can grow to incredible size. The South Carolina record was caught in 1965, weighing 75-pounds. Fish that size are required by law to be released. It’s the smaller fish that is the most delectable.

Even Georgia residents enjoy fishing for redfish in the South Carolina Lowcountry.

How did this fish get so many names? That is a great question. This fish has been a popular catch for anglers throughout our history. It even had more names in the 1930s than it does today. Prior to the 1930s, most Lowcountry anglers called it a channel bass. For some reason, the species was, and still is, known by one name in one locality and an entirely different one just a few miles away.

When in Edisto, get in touch with Edisto Watersports to show you the best spots to find redfish.

According to the “Woods and Waters” column from Charleston’s News and Courier,  “Along much of its coastal range the fish, which we know as channel bass, is the redfish,” explained one column written in 1938. “This is the name by which it goes along the southwest coast of Florida all along the Gulf and the Texas coasts … The outstanding characteristic of this fish is the black spot, just about at the base of the caudal fin, or tail … Seen in shallow water, the tail of this fish assumes a beautiful shade of blue. In body color, the reddish cast of the scales is plainly apparent.”

Anglers can catch redfish from Lowcountry riverbanks. Photo by John Holloway.

“Drum is another name, and it is known as the branded and beardless drum. The name ‘branded’ comes from the appearance of the black spot near the tail, which is always an infallible ‘field mark’ of the fish. The real drum is a different fish, and, as some of the natural histories put it, is possessed of ‘a much larger and more resonant musical organ.’ It is known that the drum can emit sounds which are heard at a considerable distance.”

Daily redfish excursions can turn into friendly competitions. This one is a tie because one is longer and the other weighs more! Photo by Charles Pinckney.

Angler Robert S. Barnwell, Jr. offered even more colloquial names for the spot-tail in 1933. “In Virginia the bass is called red drum; in Florida red fish; in South Carolina simply bass. We divide them into three classes according to size – school-bass, stag-bass and channel-bass … we fish for school-bass in the creeks, for stag-bass in the surf, and channel-bass in the rips of harbor banks. As a rule, the school bass are below 16 inches, stag or surf bass range from 20-22 inches, and the channel bass above 36.”

This one is a beauty. Photo by C1 Films.

It doesn’t matter what you call this fish, there is no doubt about its popularity in the SC Lowcountry, where today it is widely known as the redfish. It has become so popular that a strict catch limit was put in place to keep the species at healthy numbers. In 2018 a limit of two fish per day (per angler) and six fish per boat are allowed. A keeper can only be between 15 and 23 inches long. Most anglers, however, prefer to catch and release. Redfish are a designated state gamefish, therefor if caught in South Carolina waters, redfish cannot be sold. According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Update to Red Drum (Redfish) Regulations (effective July 1, 2018) they may only be taken by rod & reel and gig. Restrictions on both sport and commercial fishermen allowed the species to rebuild.

Neal Kendrick of Carolina Tails Charters holds a redfish with multiple spots.

According to WRDG Chief Meteorologist and avid fisherman Riley Hale, “Redfish reach maturity around 4 years of age and once that happens, they are able to spawn. Slot redfish between 15-23 inches are less than 4 years of age and are usually the ones caught in tidal creeks and rivers. The slot limit is capped at 23 inches to protect the mature fish that spawn. During the fall, redfish spawn and can usually be found off South Carolina beaches, which makes them a prime target for anglers.” Hale also has good tips for protecting redfish during catch and release. https://www.wrdw.com/content/news/Catch-limit-on-redfish-in-South-Carolina-changes-July-1-486850941.html

Kayaking is another way to catch redfish. Photo found on meateater.com.

Redfish like to feed on crustaceans and other animals that live in the seagrass of the shallow waters. When they do this, their tails have a tendency to extend above the water in a behavior called “tailing”. When they do this, their distinctive spot can be seen on the base of its caudal fin. This is just as exciting as watching a dolphin break the surface. To see an amazing video on fishing for redfish and the tailing behavior filmed by Salt Creek Outfitters visit www.youtube.com.

Taylor Horton of Salt Creek Outfitters enjoys catching redfish.

Redfish also go by the name drum, due to the low, croaking sounds made by the male to attract females during spawning. They make these noises by contracting the muscles attached to its “swim bladder”. Redfish spawn in August and September, then the female will lay around 1.5 million eggs at a time.

A day on the water is always a good idea when catching redfish like this one! Photo by Neal Kendrick.

Redfish can be found in the SC Lowcountry year-round. For the first three years of their lives they thrive in our marshes, bays, and inlets, feeding on shrimp, fiddler crabs and small bait fish. In the fall of their fourth year they migrate offshore with spawning populations. These fish are immensely powerful and fun to catch. Anglers like to look for them tailing around grassy marsh areas during flood tides when large schools begin to form in the fall.

Photo by C1 Films.

According to Wikipedia chef Paul Prudhomme made a popular dish of Cajun-style Blackened redfish. The seasoning was then sold commercially. The dish became so popular that redfish were overfished to the point of near extinction in the 1980s. Then, in a 2009 episode of Iron Chef America, redfish was the secret ingredient for competitors, who used the fish to prepare several dishes.

Photo by Charles Pinckney

Tony Royal and Tuck Scott from Beaufort’s Bay Street Outfitters had interesting ideas regarding the difference in terminology of our local fish. According to Tony, “The origin of ‘redfish’ most likely came out of the UK, in the 1500’s where they have had a history of referring to things in nature that are red as “Red”. Red Bird, etc. Red Hair as Redhead. Some salmon in Pacific are also referred to as redfish. There is a lake in Idaho called Redfish Lake due to migration of salmon there. The origin of spottail (or spot tail) bass appears to more local, used along the SC coast in particular. It is not a bass but a red drum. There are also black drum. Smaller pinfish are also called spots. They are along our shoreline in warm months.”

Anglers of all ages enjoy catching redfish. Photo by Neal Kendrick.

Here’s Tuck’s interpretation: “The term Redfish came from Louisiana just like the term Spot tail bass came from here locally, but it is Paul Prudhomme who made it popular enough for places to use “Redfish” over other names and the proper name of Red drum. As a member of the Drum family. Red drum are the only drum that only the male drums.”

Special thanks to Suzannah Smith Miles and Riley Hale for their wonderful articles that educated me on redfish and its many names. Thanks also to Tony Royal and Tuck Scott for their insightful thoughts and Erin Weeks –  Media & Communication Coordinator for the SC Department of Natural Resources – Marine Resources Division.

…..not at all confusing…..right?

Interest in planning a fishing trip to the South Carolina Lowcountry? Visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/fishing-and-hunting/.






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Forrest Gump’s Lowcountry | Film Locations

26 years ago, but just like yesterday!

Forrest Gump may have been filmed over 26 years ago (in and around Beaufort), but the movie has not diminished in popularity. We often get visitors into the welcome center at Frampton Plantation House that are eager to see the local movie locations. The movie was set in Greenbow, Alabama, but was actually filmed, for the most part, in the SC Lowcountry and Savannah. Several locations are not too far from our visitors center at I-95, Exit 33 and Hwy 17. MAP TO LOCATIONS.

During the movie, Forrest is compelled to go to the Four Square Gospel Church to pray for shrimp. These scenes were filmed in the tiny area of McPhersonville, at Stoney Creek Independent Presbyterian Chapel (155 McPhersonville Rd.) This church was built in 1833 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

From Frampton Plantation, turn right onto Hwy. 17 and proceed north for 1.4 miles. Turn left onto Hwy 21/ 17-A towards Walterboro. Travel 5 miles, then slow down when you see the Harold’s Country Club sign. Turn left just before this locally famous restaurant onto Pocotaligo Rd. Continue 4.2 miles until you see Sheldon Chapel on the right. (This isn’t the church from the movie, but it is also historically significant.) Turn just before it and proceed slightly farther. The road ends at the church.  

To visit the town where Forrest grew up, head to Varnville, SC. Return to Pocotaligo Rd. and turn left. Travel 11.2 miles miles, then turn right onto Main St. When the road ends, turn right onto Hwy. 278/Gray’s Hwy. Continue for 4.1 miles. The road merges with SC 68. Continue to the left. Once you enter Varnville, turn right onto Main St.

The Gump House is no longer standing. It was built specifically for the movie. Since it was hastily built (not to code) it was dismantled after production. The entrance is still visible. It is on the 8,000-acre Bluff Plantation property. It only took two months to build the house, and only a handful of rooms were finished for filming.  Turn left from Main St. and travel down SC Hwy. 68 for 15.1 miles. Take a slight right onto Connely St. in Yemassee for .2 miles. Turn left onto Hwy 17-A and follow it for 3.6 miles. Next turn right onto Combahee Rd. The entrance will be 5.3 miles further at 3547 Combahee Rd. This property is privately owned, so please be respectful. Jenny’s house was also built on this property but was destroyed for the film.

The setting for Greenbow’s elementary school is the former Walterboro Academy. It now serves as the Colleton Civic Center. (506 East Washington Street, Walterboro.) This was the setting for the principle’s explanation of Forrest’s intelligence testing scores.  From Bluff Plantation, return 5.3 miles to Hwy 17-A and turn right. Travel toward Walterboro for 11.5 miles. Take a slight right onto S. Jeffries Blvd. In 1.8 miles turn right onto Hampton St. The destination will be .4 miles away on the right.

After you leave this scene, head to Beaufort via Hwy 21/Carteret St. The Woods Memorial Bridge connects Beaufort to Lady’s Island. This is the scene for the running bridge interview. This is not the mighty Mississippi, but the Beaufort River. This historic swing bridge connects Beaufort to the sea islands. It is one of a handful of swing bridges that still exist in the state. It’s also the home of the annual “Run, Forrest Run 5K”.

The house where Bubba lived is next on the tour. Continue across the bridge and just over a mile. Turn left at the light onto Sam’s Point Rd. Keep going through the traffic circle (take the second exit). Stay on Sam’s Point Rd. for six miles. Turn left onto Alston Rd. 145 Alston Rd. will be on the right. This 1,240 square foot house was built in 1940. Bubba’s grave site was constructed in the back yard. This is a private residence. Please be respectful. The water adjacent to the house is the Lucy Point Creek. That’s where the majority of the shrimp boat scenes.

Bubba’s momma was played by Dr. Marlena Smalls. This classically trained soprano founded Beaufort’s Gullah Festival and the Hallelujah Singers. Her singers were also featured in the movie. She is well-known for using music and stories to educate others about Lowcountry Gullah customs and beliefs.

To visit the Vietnam war scenes, return down Sam’s Point Rd. and back to Hwy 21. Turn left onto Hwy 21/Sea Island Pkwy. As you drive toward Hunting and Fripp Islands, notice the march and waterways. They should look familiar. You will also pass Gay Fish Company on the right. They supplied all the shrimp for the movie.

Their dock is also where Forrest paints ”Jenny” on his boat. The Gay Seafood boat “Miss Hilda” can be seen in the background of that scene. Docked shrimp boats paint a beautiful scene. Travel for 16.8 miles. You will drive past the entrance to Hunting Island State Park.

The boardwalk will be on the right. Park and walk along the boardwalk while you’re here. The war rescue scene that earns Forrest a medal happened inside the park at the lagoon.

The Ocean Creek Golf Course at Fripp Island was also the location for war scenes. The mountains and larger palm trees were added by special effects.

For more information on fun attractions in the SC Lowcountry visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/.

Movie images are screen shots from the film.

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Point South’s KOA Campground

Looking for a fun place to camp this fall? Look no further than the Point South KOA Campground. Don’t have a camper? No problem! They have cabins as well as camp sites. The pool is available and wine is sold by the glass.

The Point South KOA is located in the heart of the SC Lowcountry, just off I-95, Exit 33. It is a great hub for visiting Beaufort, Bluffton, Hilton Head, Walterboro, Hampton, and Ridgeland. There are plenty of spaces for campers, or “glamp” in one of the cabins located on site. There’s even a cabin inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Point South KOA Campground is pet friendly. The large dog park and Camp K-9 make travelling with your pup more fun.

Wide open spaces and plenty of fresh air can be found in the surrounding counties of the SC Lowcountry. Donnelley Wildlife Management, Bear Island and the ACE Basin National Wildlife Area are located to the north of the campground and Savannah National Wildlife Management Area is just south. Bring the bikes and head over to Beaufort’s Spanish Moss Trail.

For old fashioned family fun, spend the day playing at the campground. Mine for gems at the playground. Play tether ball, corn hole, horseshoes, life-size chess or Jenga. Adults can unwind with a glass of local wine, craft beer or specialty coffee from the Swimming Mermaid Coffee House located at the campground. Leave the cooking to the staff, relax, and enjoy made-to-order pizza, wings and breadsticks around a campfire.

Camping is an experience that can be enjoyed by everyone, especially in these difficult times when families are reconnecting and spending more time together. Since most schools are operating remotely this fall, why not take a trip to explore nature, disconnect from technology and reconnect with those you love most.

Point South KOA is excited to announce they have won the Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Award for the sixth year in a row! Make your reservations and plan a trip to the Point South KOA.

Open All Year

Reserve: 800-562-2948

Info: 843-726-5733

14 Campground Rd (I-95 @ Exit 33) & US 17

Yemassee, SC 29945

koa.com/campgrounds/pointsouth

For more information on fun things to do in the SC Lowcountry visit southcarolinalowcountry.com.

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Beaufort Shrimp Festival

Beaufort’s Shrimp Festival celebrates the fall shrimp season and highlights the region’s culinary traditions. We invite locals and Southeastern visitors to restaurants, shops, and outdoor venues across the Beaufort region to enjoy the best of Lowcountry food and lifestyle.

Beaufort Shrimp Festival September 18 - October 4, 2020

Throughout Shrimp Festival season, participating restaurants region-wide feature a specially priced fresh shrimp dishes and local shops feature seafood themed promotions.

Visit our website link below for the latest information and up-to-date list of participating restaurants to sample the bounty of our Lowcountry waters and celebrate the long tradition of the shrimping industry right here in Beaufort!

Participating Restaurants:

Fat Patties – 831 Parris Island Gateway, Beaufort

Fishcamp on 11th Street – 1699 11th St, Port Royal

Madison’s – 925 10th St, Port Royal

Morgan River Grill – 100 Marina Dr, St Helena Island

Mr Seafood – 1281 Ribaut Rd, Beaufort

Old Bull Tavern – 205 West St, Beaufort

Plums – 904 Bay St, Beaufort

Salt Marsh Brewing – 831 Parris Island Gateway, Beaufort

Saltus River Grill – 802 Bay St, Beaufort

For restaurant links and more information visit https://beaufortshrimpfestival.com/.

For more information on Beaufort and the surrounding sea islands visit southcarolinalowcountry.com.

 

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Daufuskie’s Gullah History Trail

Daufuskie Island has a very rich Gullah history. “Gullah” refers to descendants of Africans who were enslaved on the rice, indigo and Sea Island cotton plantations of the lower Atlantic coast. After emancipation and the Civil War, the Gullah of Daufuskie Island were able to live an isolated life creating a unique culture with deep African retentions. They have distinct arts, crafts, food, music and language. According to the GullahGeecheeCorridor.org  “The Gullah language is the only distinctly, African creole language in the United States and it has influenced traditional Southern vocabulary and speech patterns.”

After the Civil War plantation owners abandoned Daufuskie Island. Former slaves that returned to the island bought parcels of land and built cottages. They worked in farming, logging and oyster canning. By the mid-1900s, these industries dried up and work had to be sought off the island. Many of their homes fell into disrepair. Through a grant from Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Daufuskie Island Endangered Places Program”, many of these homes and other structures have been restored. A tour on the island is like walking back in time.

To experience the Gullah history of Daufuskie Island, follow the Robert Kennedy Trail. The trail maps out 20 historic landmarks that depict the Daufuskie Gullah way of life that has been present for so many generations.  Download the map or pick up a copy at the Billie Burn Museum, then set out and see history come to life.

  1. The first stop is the Billie Burns Museum. Housed in the former Mt. Carmel Baptist Church No. 2, the museum contains artifacts illustrating periods of island history. This is the second church built on the site by the Cooper River residents. The first was destroyed by hurricane. The current structure was built in the 1940s. The church was abandoned when island population declined. It was restored in 2001 and repurposed as the island’s museum.

The Jane Hamilton School Gullah Learning Center is just next door. Cooper River children attended school at the first Mt. Carmel Baptist Church No. 1 until the hurricane destroyed it in 1940. The one-room Jane Hamilton School was built and used for ten years. When the students outgrew the school, they were transported to the southern end of the island to attend the two-room Mary Fields School. The building was restored in 2008 and now holds the Gullah Learning Center and community library.

2. Tabby ruins can be seen at the second stop of the tour. Oyster shells were ground, mixed with sand and water and used to construct the foundations of Haig Point Plantation. This very durable building material predated concrete and can be found throughout the Lowcountry.

3. The Cooper River Cemetery is a very important stop when learning about Daufuskie history. Gullah tradition places cemeteries near moving water so souls could travel home to Africa. Situated beside the Cooper River, the cemetery has grave markers dating back to 1917, but the hallowed grounds have been in use for burials since plantation days.

4. Haig Point is a developed community today. Access is for owners and guests only. The Haig Point lighthouse can be seen from Calibogue Sound at the northern tip of the island. This lighthouse was built in 1873 and remained operational until 1924.

5. Melrose was once a large self-sustaining plantation. After Union occupation of the island, the Gullah people either worked for the landowners or bought land of their own. They lived in former slave cabins or built cottages on their own land. Several examples of these cottages a have been restored and still stand strong today.

6. From the late 1800s to the 1950s, the primary economy of the island was oyster harvesting and shucking. The Oyster Union Society Hall was established in this 1893 building. The union society was a benevolent and burial society that held meetings and social events. Members joined by way of an initiation ceremony.  Pollution from the Savannah River ruined the oyster beds and the oyster industry on Daufuskie came to a close. The society dissolved after the oyster beds were closed. The building still stands as a reminder of a bygone way of life.

7. The next stop on the tour is the Hinson White House. This 1926 house represents Daufuskie Island Gullah architecture. Large screened porches provide cooling shade in the hot summer months. The house was restored by the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation in 2015. While the residence is private, it is listed on Airbnb for short-term rentals.

8. The Mary Field Cemetery is the largest Gullah cemetery on the island. The earliest wooden tombstones have disintegrated from age. The earliest date visible in the cemetery is 1926. The cemetery is still in use today.

9. Sarah Grant bought her home in 1910 for $15 and had it moved to its present location for an additional $25. She was a midwife, Sunday school president and PTA president. She was married to the island undertaker. When he died in 1962, she stepped in and took his place, making her the one who saw islanders come into the world and go out! This is a private residence, but is available for short-term rentals on Airbnb.

10. A Beaufort County public dock is located at the end of Haig Point Road. This is the former location of the Maggioni & Company Oyster Cannery. This facility opened in 1883, employing many of the islanders. The cannery closed in 1903, but the locals continued to harvest and shuck oysters, transporting them to nearby canneries. This continued until the 1959 pollution of the Savannah River closed the oyster beds.

11. White School House was built in 1913 for the white children of the island. It closed in 1962. The structure has since been used as fire department headquarters, island library and thrift store. It is now home of the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation’s archives.

12. Many islanders found themselves under live oaks after Sunday church service. Not wanting to discuss everyday problems on church grounds, men would move off church grounds and gather under the shade of a nearby live oak. Rumor has it, there was also a sister tree for the ladies.

13. First Union African Baptist Church was built in 1881 near the 1881 church that was previously destroyed by fire. This church has stood the test of time, serving the island since it was built. The church was restored in the 1990s. A replica of a traditional praise house is located behind the church.

14. Mary Field School was the biggest school on the island. This two-room facility was built in the early 1930s to educate the black children of the island. Leftover wood from construction was used to build student desks. Pat Conroy briefly taught school here. He was the first white and the first male to teach in the school.  He used his experiences on the island as the backdrop for his book The Water is Wide, which was made into the motion picture Conrack. Miss Francis Jones was the first teacher when the school opened in 1933. Her house is next on the tour. The school was integrated in 1962 and continued to educate island children until 1997. Currently it houses the School House Coffee Shop and Daufuskie Blues Indigo Textile Studio.

15. The most iconic house on Daufuskie is the Francis Jones Home. This Gullah home was built in the late 1860s. Additions were made over the years. Francis Jones was a much-loved teacher of the African American children of the island from 1930 – 1969. At times she was the only teacher, working with as many as 96 children in two daily sessions. The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation restored the house in 2014. It is available for short term rentals through Daufuskie Island Accommodations.

16. The Moses Fickling Cottage sits beneath an ancient live oak tree, which is covered in resurrection fern and dripping with Spanish moss. It is reported that this tree is so old it greeted the Spanish when they first came to the island in the 1500s. This classic Gullah cottage was built around 1925 for Mr. Fickling and his wife Grace. He was the island undertaker and a deacon at the First Union African Baptist Church. The old carriage that he used as a hearse has been restored and is on display outside the Billie Burn Museum. This beautifully preserved home is a private residence.

17. The Mary Dunn Cemetery is not too far away on Prospect Road. This is the only historic cemetery for white residents of Daufuskie Island. It dates to the 1700s. The cemetery borders the Mongin Creek and was donated by Mary Dunn. It is privately owned and still in use today.

18. Bloody Point is at the southern tip of the island. It got the name during 1715 when three different bloody skirmishes with the Yemassee Indians caused the water to run red. Bloody Point is the southernmost inhabited point of South Carolina.

19. The Bloody Point Cemetery is located near the beach. This Gullah cemetery was placed along the Mongin Creek and used for slave burials during the plantation era.

20. The Bloody Point Lighthouse and Silver Dew Winery are the last stops on the tour. This is not a typical lighthouse. In fact, it is similar to the lighthouse keeper’s cottage on Tybee Island. A large second-story dormer houses the light that guided ships into the Savannah River channel from 1883-1922. This well-preserved historic structure contains a collection of artifacts and documents telling the story of Daufuskie. There is also an interpretive garden on the grounds that includes cotton, rice and indigo.

Just out back of the lighthouse sits the Silver Dew Winery. This building was built as a “wick house” to store oil, wicks and other items needed to run the lighthouse. In the mid-1900s it was converted into a winery. Wine was made from grapes, scuppernongs, pears, elderberries, and other fruit grown on the island. Pat Conroy mentions the Silver Dew Winery in his 1972 book The Water is Wide.

If visiting Daufuskie Island is in your future, there’s only one way to get there – by boat.  It’s just thirty minutes from Hilton Head Island, and an hour from Savannah. The Daufuskie Island Ferry https://www.daufuskieislandferry.com/directions/ has departures throughout the day. Reservations are a must. Once on the island, a golf cart or bike rental is a must for getting around. The island is five miles long and two miles wide. The ferry office can assist you. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Along with the historic tour you can enjoy galleries, craft shops, restaurants, and a coffee shop. Plan to spend a day, a week or even longer! Accommodations can be found at https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/daufuskie-island-accommodations/.

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Daufuskie Island’s Rich and Diverse History

daufuskie island
The pristine beauty of Daufuskie Island is only accessible by boat.
Photo by Ruth Young.

Daufuskie Island has seen its share of inhabitants over the years and their influence can be seen across the island. This destination is only accessible by boat, so time moves a little slower here. Sandy dirt roads reveal an island that is rich in history and nature with one of the most beautiful beaches in the Lowcountry.

daufuskie island
When the Spanish departed the island, they left the Marsh Tacky horses behind. Photo found on Airbnb.

Native Americans lived on Daufuskie ten-thousand years ago, leaving many artifacts that tell their story. Indians remained on Daufuskie until the 1800s. Spaniards came to Daufuskie in the 1500’s, bringing the technique of tabby construction. Oyster shells were in abundance along the coast and could be combined with sand to create an early form of concrete. They also brought the marsh tacky horse to the island.

During the 1600s, land grants were issued to wealthy English families. Plantations were established, producing indigo and long-staple sea island cotton. By the Civil War, there were seven working plantations on the island, working many slaves. Union forces captured Daufuskie in 1861. Plantation owners and slaves abandoned the island during occupation. After the war newly freedmen returned to the island working and living off the land and sea in isolation. Their strong Gullah culture is still evident across the island today.

Cotton farming was a major source of income until the early 1900s cotton fields were destroyed by the boll weevil. The logging industry and the Maggioni Oyster Canning Factory provided jobs for the Gullah people after the cotton decline. As logging ended and oyster beds were closed due to pollution, the island’s population declined. (The caning factory moved to St. Helena Island, and is still in operation today.) Daufuskie’s population dropped from 2,000 to just 60. 

daufuskie island
Daufuskie Island’s sweetheart, Sallie Ann Robinson shows a book with images from the days when Pat Conroy was her teacher on the island. Sallie has gone on to lead a fantastic life, publishing cookbooks and sharing her love of the island with many. Photo by Southern Living Magazine.

Even Pat Conroy has ties to Daufuskie Island. He taught the at the island’s two-room schoolhouse in 1969. He went on to write The Water is Wide, based on his experiences on the island. The book was made into a famous motion picture Conrack.

Around this same time developers came to the island, building the communities of Haig Point, Melrose and Bloody Point, creating jobs and allowing islanders to come home. Even though parts of the island have been developed, the historic district has retained its natural beauty. Gullah architecture has been preserved or restored. In fact, the entire island is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

daufuskie island
Kayaking is a popular activity on Daufuskie Island, where life slows down.
Photo from Tour Daufuskie.

Daufuskie’s first marina was built in 1984.  Haig Point and Melrose developments soon followed. Much of the island has been able to maintain its natural splendor and Gullah influence. Visitors to the island can experience travelling dirt roads by golf cart or bike, as cars are forbidden to spoil this natural paradise.

While visiting the island, have a meal at one of the unique local restaurants. Old Daufuskie Crab Company entices visitors as they enter at Freeport Marina. Freeport. If you prefer beach views with your lunch, head over to the Melrose Beach Club. Lucy Bell’s Café is located in the heart of the historic district.  There’s even a coffee shop located in the historic Mary Fields School House.

Craftsman have even set up shop on the island. Local sculptures, pottery, wine, woodworks, textiles, soaps and rum can be purchased from one of the many shops on the island. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/daufuskie-island-shopping/

daufuskie islanf
Pottery is made on site at Silver Dew Pottery Studio. Photo by Holger Opderbeck.

To learn more about vacationing in the South Carolina Lowcountry, visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/.

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Daufuskie Island’s Haig Point Club

Haig Point Club has become a premier destination for members with its 29 golf holes, tennis and fitness facilities, swimming, and beach recreation.

haig point club, daufuskie, SC Lowcountry
Photo by Dennis Burnett Photography.

The Club boasts less than 300 homes situated on 1,050 acres making plenty of room for members to enjoy an active and outdoor low country lifestyle. By working with local contractors and builders Haig Point has been able to preserve the beauty of Daufuskie Island as well as many of the historical aspects for future generations.

haig point club, daufuskie, SC Lowcountry
Photo by Dennis Burnett Photography.

Haig Point offers a more intimate lifestyle with all the amenities you expect…and more unique features few private communities can offer; empty beaches, a fabulous top-ranked Rees Jones-designed golf course, an equestrian center, and a safe, healthy and secure family environment. Whether you croquet at the Strachan Mansion, fly fish, cast for shrimp or crab, take a sunset cruise or enjoy an event at the Club, Haig Point offers a rich and fulfilling lifestyle.  It’s not opulent, stuffy or fabricated, but welcoming and undeniably authentic.

haig point club, daufuskie, SC Lowcountry
Photo by Dennis Burnett Photography.

One of the many charms of Daufuskie Island’s Haig Point is that it is accessible only by boat. You arrive here from Hilton Head Island, SC by a scenic ferry ride from the private Haig Point embarkation center (18 round trips run each day) or a 24-hour water-taxi service from Harbour Town. The personal touch points of concierge services, like grocery and package delivery from the mainland, make island living second to none. Haig Point is a car-free island paradise that is blessed with natural beauty and void of noise pollution. When you live at Haig Point, you can be as active or laid back as you choose.  But know that the social scene is lively and has a magical way of engaging the entire family.

haig point club, equestrian center, daufuskie, SC Lowcountry
Photo by Dennis Burnett Photography.

Haig Point has 29 championship holes to challenge any level golfer. Prefer horses? Our equestrian center is outfitted to meet the needs of your horses, and lessons are offered to those looking to become riders. As for tennis enthusiast, we have six Har-Tru® tennis courts with USTA’s “Outstanding” rating. The opportunities for outdoor adventure are endless!

haig point club, daufuskie, SC Lowcountry
Photo by Dennis Burnett Photography.

Words and photos cannot fully describe the attraction of the Haig Point community.  It’s a connection you get from the moment you arrive. Something each of our members experienced first-hand. They were drawn to Daufuskie Island for its character and ultimately chose Haig Point for the magical bond.  But is it for you?  There’s only one way to know.

haig point club, daufuskie, SC Lowcountry
Photo by Dennis Burnett Photography.

The natural beauty of Daufuskie Island shines through each and every property in Haig Point. Our beaches showcase the glistening water of the Atlantic Ocean with a backdrop of South Carolina at its finest. We specially develop each plot of land to enhance its natural beauty and work with local companies who understand how to complement what Mother Nature has given us.

haig point club, daufuskie, SC Lowcountry
Photo by Dennis Burnett Photography.

Although there are a few cars on Daufuskie, golf carts are the main mode of transportation. Which is not only better for the earth, but also better for your soul. The lack of transportation noise only enhances the peaceful stillness around the island.

haig point club, daufuskie, SC Lowcountry
Photo by Dennis Burnett Photography.

If the outdoors is where enjoy spending most of your time, Haig Point offers fishing (deep sea and along the banks), crabbing, water sports, bike rentals, Bocce ball, and kids’ camp.
The lifestyle here on Haig Point on Daufuskie Island is truly what you make it. There are exceptional classes and lessons to mold a unique variety of activities which you enjoy participating.

haig point club, daufuskie, SC Lowcountry
Photo by Dennis Burnett Photography.

The Haig Point lifestyle is simply incomparable. There are less than 300 homes on 1,050 acres. Within the 1,050 acres of our private island community, there are three clubs, 29 holes of golf, tennis, fitness, swimming, and beach recreation. Haig Point Club is more than just a place to live, it’s a community of people who grow and truly share life together. Our community buildings allow you to build lasting relationships with other residents through a wide variety of activities. We invite you to visit and get to know more about our members.

haig point club, daufuskie, SC Lowcountry
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Bear Island Wildlife Management Area is a Birdwatcher’s Paradise

A bird-lover’s paradise

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American Bald Eagle hunts over the waterways of Bear Island WMA.
Photo by Jim Killian.

If birding is your passion, Bear Island Wildlife Management Area is the place for you! This Lowcountry barrier island is managed  to provide quality habitat for wintering waterfowl and other wetland wildlife including threatened and endangered species such as wood storks and bald eagles. Here you’ll find a vast array of waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds and songbirds. There are two observation platforms and miles of dikes that provide numerous wildlife viewing opportunities.

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Roseate Spoonbills are a favorite at Bear Island. Image by Kristin Baggett.

Bear Island is managed to provide quality waterfowl habitat and to protect local endangered and migratory non-game species. Public recreational opportunities are provided for hunting, nature observation and fishing. Explore thousands of acres containing managed impoundments at 27 different sites.

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An Osprey searches for her next meal. Photo by Jim Killian.

Bear Island is a major wintering area for waterfowl as well as an important shorebird area during migration. It is also an important nesting area for Bald Eagles and a foraging area for wading birds including Wood Stork, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Tri-colored Heron, White Ibis and Glossy Ibis. Concentrations of migratory shorebirds include Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Dowitcher and Common Snipe. Shorebird concentrations are noted during times of pond drawdown associated with the waterfowl management program.

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Canadian Geese and Tundra Swans have been spotted at Bear Island. Photo by Jim Killian.

Bear Island is part of the ACE Basin estuarine reserve area and is managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The area is open to the public from early February to late October and is a popular spot for hiking, biking, birding, and fishing. A wide variety of waterfowl species inhabit the area. The area shuts down periodically for special hunts.

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A Belted King Fisher waits patiently on its perch. Photo by Jim Killian.

Bear Island is one of the best birding areas in the state. Be on the look-out for Canada Goose, Tundra Swan, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Wood Stork, Osprey, Bald Eagle, and Roseate Spoonbill. In addition to common birds of the Coastal Plain and the specialties listed above there is a long list of rarities that have been spotted here, including—among others—Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Eurasian Wigeon, Cinnamon Teal, Common Goldeneye, Eared Grebe, Roseate Spoonbill, Black Rail, American Avocet, Hudsonian Godwit, White-winged Dove, Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl, Western Tanager, and LeConte’s Sparrow.

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Herons are a common sight at Bear Island. Photo by Jim Killian.

The main part of Bear Island is open to birders Monday through Saturday, from 1 February through 14 October. At other times birders are restricted to areas right along Bennett’s Point Road, including Mary’s House Pond, which is just south of the residences by the main entrance. Do not go in to closed areas, even if the gate is not locked, or you risk getting a ticket.

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This egret makes a successful catch. Photo by Jim Killian.

The best birding is usually along the main unpaved road east from Bennett’s Point Road, called Titi Road. A good strategy is to park along Titi Rd and walk in along any of the many side roads. If you have time you might also want to check one or more of the roads that lead west from Bennett’s Point Road. It takes at least a day to enjoy the entire area.

Bear Island is located off Highway 17, between Edisto Island and Beaufort in Green Pond. From Hwy 17, turn onto Bennett’s Point Rd and travel 13 miles. The entrance is on the left, approximately 1 mile after crossing the Asheepoo River.

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Wading birds of all sizes hunt and nest on Bear Island. Photo by Jim Killian.

 

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Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah

Just south of Charleston and north of Savannah, a natural paradise awaits your visit! The historic Kings Highway 17 travels through the beautiful SC Lowcountry and these protected treasures.

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Wood stork image captured by Ira Runyan at Donnelley Wildlife Management Area.

The area that lies between Charleston and Savannah is a nature lover’s paradise. Here you will find wildlife management areas, nature trails, church ruins and a welcome center located in a historic house.

1. Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
ACE Basin Oak Grove Plantation House photo by Carmen Pinckney.

The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge is located off Hwy 17, on Hwy 174 towards Edisto Island. The refuge is home to a vast array of waterfowl, and the Antebellum Oak Grove Plantation House.

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Stretch your legs and visit the trails of the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge.
Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

A walk behind the house leads visitors to the former rice fields. Rows, dikes, trunks, and gates are still visible today. The paths are marked and meander around the rice fields and wooded areas. Make sure to bring your camera and be on the lookout for wildlife. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/ernest-f-hollings-ace-basin-national-wildlife-refuge/.

2. Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Drive through the Lowcountry’s most photographed live oak canopy at Botany Bay.
Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

A venture further down Hwy 174 onto Edisto Island will bring you to the wildlife management area of Botany Bay Plantation. This is one of the most unique destinations on Edisto Island. The 4.000+ acre property boasts historical buildings, maritime forest, a boneyard beach and freshwater ponds. The property is covered in pine, palm and live oak trees, dripping with Spanish moss. Don’t be surprised to see deer, alligators, shore birds, crabs, raccoons and many other maritime forest creatures.

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Botany Bay’s boneyard beach is covered in shells.
Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

There are two sites listed on the register of historic places at Botany Bay. A set of three surviving 1840s outbuildings and the prehistoric Fig Island Shell Ring can be seen on the property. Explore the plantation house ruins, walk the forest trails, or stroll the beach on this South Carolina controlled wildlife management area. Botany Bay Wildlife Management Area is a great place to spend a day. Bring a picnic, beach chairs and kayaks. Explore the wonders of the South Carolina Lowcountry! For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/edisto-islands-botany-bay/.

3. Edisto Nature Trail

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Edisto Nature Trail photo by David Lucas.

Jacksonboro is the perfect spot to get out and stretch your legs on the Edisto Nature Trail. The trail is located on Highway 17, adjacent to the Edisto River. Jacksonboro is in the area known as the ACE Basin. This low-lying part of the state is full of former rice plantations with beautiful marsh and river views, and teaming with wildlife.

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Edisto Nature Trail photo by David Lucas.

The boardwalk trail meanders through the woods that change from pineland and maritime forests to cypress and tupelo swamp. Before and after the Revolutionary War, this area was rich in rice production. A 15-minute walk along the boardwalk will take you to a dock overlooking the Edisto River. You can also press on and take the 1.5-mile loop trail that can be completed in about an hour. It will transport you from the wetlands to higher upland forest area. Make sure to wear appropriate shoes. Be sure to bring bug spray if you come in the spring or summer. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/hiking-the-edisto-nature-trail/.

4. Bear Island Wildlife Management Area

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Bear Island image by Pluff Mudd Perspectives.

Bear Island Wildlife Management Area is located off Hwy 17 in the Green Pond area. This wildlife management area is managed to provide quality habitat for wintering waterfowl. It’s a great spot to view bald eagles, wood storks and roseate spoonbills.

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Bear Island is a great place to photograph birds. Photo by Jim Killian.

Drive through this area for many opportunities to spot wildlife. The forest, marsh and river views are beautiful. Bear Island is located between the Asheepoo and South Edisto Rivers. From Hwy 17, turn onto Bennett’s Point Road and follow for 13 miles. The entrance is on TiTi Road. (843)844-8957. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/explore-sc-lowcouontry-wildlife-preserves-and-nature-trails/.

5. Donnelley Wildlife Management Area

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Donnelley Wildlife Management Area drive image by Carmen Pinckney.

Donnelley Wildlife Management Area is a favorite spot for tourists and locals alike. It is located on Hwy 17 in Green Pond (between Yemassee and Jacksonboro) in the heart of the ACE Basin. This is a great place to glimpse Lowcountry nature at its finest. The property features a historic rice field system, which is now managed to attract waterfowl and migratory birds. The drive is pleasantly lined with beautiful old live oaks.

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Roseatte Spoonbills can be found at Donnelley, along with many other species of birds.

The driving tour covers about 11 miles and should take from an hour to half a day, depending on how many stops you make. The marked stops on the map serve simply as suggestions; feel free to stop anywhere along the way (although please park on the shoulder) and walk off the road at any point to get a closer look at wildlife or native plants. Take extra precautions when viewing alligators, especially during the spring mating season. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/colleton-countys-donnelley-wildlife-management-area/.

6. Old Sheldon Church Ruins

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Old Sheldon Church Ruins image by Carmen Pinckney.

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.

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Old Sheldon Church Ruins includes a historic graveyard.
Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Located just past the turn to Beaufort off Hwy 17, Sheldon Church has laid in ruin for more than 140 years. Its gable roof, pediment, windows & interior have disappeared, but the classic simplicity of its design still remains. Burned by British troops in 1779 and destroyed again during the Civil War it still serves as a religious center for special observances. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/experience-a-driving-detour-through-yemassee/.

7. Frampton Plantation House & Visitors Center

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Frampton House sits conveniently at the intersection of I-95 and Highway 17.
Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Historically speaking, the Frampton House property was part of an original King’s Grant to the Frampton family in the 1700s. The family oversaw the production of 4,000 acres of cotton, rice, and other crops. During the 1865 Campaign of the Carolinas, General Sherman’s troops burned the plantation house and all the farm buildings that stood on this site.

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Go back in time at Frampton House. Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

The house was rebuilt in 1868 and the property was probably used for share cropping and tenant farming. Once slated for demolition, the house has been restored and the ground floor is open to the public. The second story holds the offices of the Lowcountry Tourism Commission. Frampton House is open to the public seven days a week, from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Come see us for all your SC Lowcountry travel questions and insider secrets. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/history-is-preserved-at-frampton-plantation-house/.

8. Blue Heron Nature Trail

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Blue Heron Nature Trail travels along a pond and Lowcountry wetland. Photo by Lynn Boyles.

Blue Heron Nature Center & Trail offers relief for the road-weary, and it’s as easy to get to as any rest area. 

This 10-acre green space meanders around a three-acre pond and through forested wetlands. The property also includes a butterfly garden, picnic area, outdoor classroom, observation decks, and a 4,200-square-foot Learning Center. Permanent trail side displays help visitors learn more about the native flora and fauna of Jasper County and the Lowcountry.

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Look for turtles and fish from the docks at Blue Heron Nature Trail. Photo by Lynn Boyles.

The nature trail leads you around the pond with several scenic overlooks along the way. Along the trail you will find benches, swings, and an attractive butterfly garden. In addition to the herons, you may see ducks, turtles, fish, alligators, and other wildlife. Also, several boardwalks take you through the surrounding forested wetlands. Get out of the traffic and spend some time relaxing while you wander around this natural gem. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/lowcountry-activities-ridgeland-i-95-exit-21/.

9. Sgt. Jasper Park

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
The boardwalks at Sgt. Jasper Park are wheelchair friendly. Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Hardeeville’s Sgt. Jasper Park is conveniently located off I-95, at Exit 8. After exiting the interstate, point toward Hilton Head and turn left at the first traffic light. Follow the road around until you bump into the park entrance. Trails are located on both sides of the road. Some trails are wheelchair accessible. This is a great place to get off the interstate and stretch your legs. Dogs are welcome here, on a leash. A trail map is available in the park office.

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Lowcountry nature trails are great places to walk the family dog while travelling. This trail is at Sgt. Jasper Park. Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

The trails alternate between gravel, boardwalk and natural footing. The views around the lake are pretty, and the trails are relaxing. There are other opportunities at the part as well. There are canoes, kayaks, and a disk golf course. Information can be found in the park office. There’s a playground for the kids and plenty of picnic spots. There is also a covered picnic shelter. Grills can be found at the park as well. The disk golf course is located on the left side of the road. The park also has fishing opportunities. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/spending-time-at-sgt-jasper-park/.

10. Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge still operates a historic trunk system that controls water flow into the former rice fields. Photo by Allyson Jones.

The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of opportunities to explore and enjoy the great outdoors from sunrise to sunset every day. You can observe and photograph wildlife. Make the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center your first stop when visiting the refuge. The refuge is located on Hwy 17 between Hardeeville and Savannah.

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Drive through or hike the trails of the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.
Photo by Allyson Jones.

The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge protects old rice fields & numerous species of wildlife including ducks, birds, deer, & alligators. The 4-mile driving tour is free and open sunrise to sunset. Wildlife viewing is excellent for photography, especially during fall, winter, and spring, along the 4-mile Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive and adjacent hiking/bicycling trails. Many species of wading and marsh birds can also be spotted here throughout the year.

The trails adjacent to the Kingfisher Pond Recreation Area are great for watching woodland songbirds during spring and fall migrations. Summertime brings in an array of species that nest on the refuge. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/savannah-national-wildlife-refuge/. To explore the hiking trails visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/savannah-national-wildlife-refuge-hiking-trails/.

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
The unspoiled natural habitat of the SC Lowcountry is pristine breeding grounds for many birds. This bald eagle was spotted at Bear Island by Rhonda Epper.

Visitors could easily spend several days in the area exploring all the natural wonders located between Charleston and Savannah on Highway 17. Pick a few favorites or see them all. The choice is yours. Bring along the camera, a picnic and don’t forget the bug spray!

Top Ten Natural Wonders to See Between Charleston and Savannah
Pack a picnic and stop for lunch at Frampton House. Enjoy free wifi, picnic tables, clean restrooms and a friendly staff ready to help you on your journeys.

Visitors could easily spend several days in the area exploring all the natural wonders located between Charleston and Savannah on Highway 17. Pick a few favorites or see them all. The choice is yours. Bring along the camera, a picnic and don’t forget the bug spray!

If you’re looking for a more civilized picnic spot under the oaks, plan to have lunch at Frampton Plantation House. Our ground floor contains a visitors center, complete with restrooms, museum displays and a gift shop. The backyard has picnic tables and plenty of room to stretch your legs. As always, pets are welcome both inside and out! Our friendly staff can answer any questions or give suggestions for their favorite attractions in the area. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/ or call 843-717-3090.

To download a PDF version of the map, complete with addresses and phone numbers click HERE.

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Historic Houses of Worship in Beaufort

Stroll through history on these hallowed grounds.

The historic churches of downtown Beaufort are steeped in cultural history and refinement. Each structure tells its own story in the life of this important city.  Situated between Savannah and Charleston, this beautiful city by the sea retains much of its antebellum charm. The churches were used as stables during the Revolutionary War and hospitals during the Civil War. Others were used as schools for Freemen before, during, and after Reconstruction. Spending a day visiting these Beaufort landmarks is soothing to the soul.

The Parish Church of St Helena – 505 Church Street

historic churches beaufort sc
The steeple of the Parish Church of St. Helena can be seen above the treetops in downtown Beaufort. The church is surrounded by a brick wall that dates back as far as the church.

The Parish Church of St. Helena was founded in 1712, and built in 1724. It was rebuilt in 1769 and extended to the west in 1817. All but the westward extension was demolished in 1842 and new wings were added which would accommodate a larger congregation. The church was used by the British to stable horses during the Revolutionary War.

historic churches beaufort sc
Tabby construction was used in the construction of the wall surrounding the cemetery.

Union troops repurposed the church as a hospital during the Civil War uprooting headstone slabs to serve as operating tables. Union sailors stationed in Beaufort donated an alter for the church sanctuary after the war.

historic churches beaufort sc
The church is surrounded by a historic cemetery that predates the Revolutionary War.

The church graveyard is full of interesting and well-known Beaufortonians, including Colonel John Barnwell. He was famously known as “Tuscarora Jack”. Colonel Barnwell gained fame when he made an alliance with the Yemassee Indians and defeated the Tuscarora Indians of North Carolina, then forged a peace treaty. He died in 1724 and because of expansion, is buried under the church.

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A close-up shows attention to detail used by the craftsmen that built the surrounding brick wall.

Two British officers killed during the Revolutionary War are buried in the graveyard. American Patriot Captain John Barnwell sent a soldier into the church to retrieve a prayer book, then performed a burial service for the British soldiers. He then said that America could defeat the British while still having the civility to give them a Christian burial.

historic churches beaufort sc
Flags mark the historic graves of servicemen that are buried in the churchyard.

Confederate Generals Lt. General Richard H. Anderson and Brigadier General Stephen Elliott are buried here as well. The cemetery across the street contains the graves of persons who died from dueling and suicide since they were not allowed burial on the hallowed grounds of the church yard.

Wesley United Methodist Church – 701 West Street

historic churches beaufort sc
Wesley United Methodist Church is surrounded by native palm trees. Photo by Cosmos Mariner.

The Wesley United Methodist Church was established in 1833 as a mission for slaves and free blacks of Beaufort and the surrounding sea islands. This church, whose congregation was made up of black and white members was built in the meeting house form, which was common to the Methodist church.

historic churches beaufort sc
The beauty of this historic church lies in its simplicity. Photo by Cosmos Mariner.

The churchyard contains unmarked graves that predate the sanctuary’s construction. Headstones of both black and white members can be found in the cemetery. The church’s third pastor was buried here in 1871. According to legend and the blog of Fallon Green, an African American Genealogy expert, “These hallowed grounds contain the remains of former slaves, civil war soldiers, and some of Beaufort’s earliest prominent citizens.

historic churches in beaufort south carolina
Large, clear windows provide light into the sanctuary.

The church building was given a new role in the community during and after the Civil War. The church hosted a school for freemen. It also continued to serve the community as a house of worship. The church was turned over to the African American congregation after the war and began a formal affiliation with the Methodist Episcopal Church.  During Reconstruction, the first black minister was appointed to the church in 1873.

historic methodist church beaufort sc
As with all historic churches in Beaufort, a historical marker tells the story of the church.

It is believed that the church was built in the 1840s. The outside structure has been dutifully maintained. The porch, steeple and choir loft were added sometime between 1849-1899. From 1847-1850, the church had 379 African American and 27 white members. The church proudly stands today in pristine condition and serves as a monument to the history of the African American population of Beaufort.

wesley united methodist church beaufort sc
The Wesley United Methodist Church has an active congregation.

A commemorative plaque recognizes the foundation they laid for others to build upon and is dedicated to all – known and unknown – who rest here in.

The Baptist Church of Beaufort – 601 Charles Street

The baptist church of beaufort historic churches sc
Beaufort Baptist Church is a stately presence on Charles Street.

The Baptist Church of Beaufort began life on this spot in 1795. The present building was built in 1844 at a cost of $10,000. In 1857 the congregation was comprised of 183 white members and 3,557 slave members (many of the slave members attended missions on the sea islands). After the Civil War, the formerly enslaved members went on to create Tabernacle Baptist Church and the First African Baptist Church.

historic churches beaufort sc
This picture shows the church before the steeple was added. Image from Baptist Church of Beaufort Facebook page.

The church served as a hospital for black soldiers during the Union occupation of Beaufort. As a result, graffiti can still be found on the belfry beams and a sanctuary wall. A black deacon returned the communion silver that he had hidden away in his feather mattress during the war. The old pews were returned to the sanctuary. The communion table was recovered from Charleston.

historic churches beaufort sc
The church’s communion set and table were returned to their rightful place after the Civil War.
Photo from Baptist Church of Beaufort Facebook.

The congregation was able to reclaim and repair the Greek revival style house of worship after the war. Thankfully, the interior of the building was left intact. The cove ceiling is adorned with beautifully crafted plaster ornamentation. All plaster work was created by highly skilled slave artisans. The ceiling was restored in 1953. Craftsmen were able to use 98% of the original rosettes. Recently, the ceiling was once again restored.

historic churches beaufort sc
The plaster ceiling is a memorial to the slave born artisans who created it.
Photo from Baptist Church of Beaufort Facebook.

Doric columns support a gallery that wraps around three sides of the interior. This area has the best advantage for viewing the beauty of the interior and ceiling fretwork. The floors are made of heart of pine lumber and have been magnificently preserved.

historic churches beaufort sc
The steeple has stood proudly above the church since 1961.
Photo from Baptist Church of Beaufort Facebook.

A steeple was added to the church in 1961. Additions were also made to the rear of the church in 1997. 29 feet were added to the west wall to expand the sanctuary. This allowed for the placement of a historic pipe organ.

Tabernacle Baptist Church – 907 Craven Street

historic churches beaufort sc
The carpenter Gothic facade of Tabernacle Baptist Church has beautiful arched windows that extend up to the steeple.

Tabernacle Baptist Church was built by Beaufort Baptist Church in the 1840s, to be used as a meeting house and lecture room. In 1863, Reverend Soloman Peck, of Boston, acquired the building, organized the church, and brought 500-members of the African American congregation from Beaufort Baptist Church to Tabernacle. In 1867 the congregation bought the property from Beaufort Baptist.

historic churches beaufort sc
The stained glass windows are reminiscent of scrap quilts that were popular at the same time period. Photo by Robert Knight.

The church was rebuilt and rededicated after suffering damage during the hurricane of 1893. The stained-glass windows are fashioned from broken bits of colored glass that are held together by lead. To appreciate the beauty, it is best to see them from the inside.

historic churches beaufort sc
If the church doors are locked, you can walk around to the church yard to view the windows. Pictures are displayed to show a glimpse of the wonder that lies within.

Windows facing the graveyard have examples placed on the windows to show visitors a view of what the windows look like from the interior. If you ever get the opportunity, walk inside, and stand in amazement at the beauty these windows create.

historic churches beaufort sc
A monument to Robert Smalls sits to the right of the church near his grave.

The graveyard contains markers dating back to 1817, hinting that the praise house may have stood on the site before the 1840s. Robert Smalls and his first wife Hannah are also buried in the church yard. A memorial statue and plaque to Smalls is located beside the church.

historic churches beaufort sc
Robert Smalls is a Beaufort statesman that served his city, state and country.

Smalls was born into slavery, then in 1862, while working as a part of the crew of the Confederate steamer “the Planter”, he captured the ship and sailed it out of the Charleston harbor past Ft. Sumter and right into the hands of the Union army. Smalls went on to serve in the Union army and captain “the Planter”. After the war, he had a distinguished career in the House of Representatives and Senate. He then served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

St. Peter’s Catholic Church – 710 Carteret Street

historic churches beaufort sc
St. Peter’s Catholic Church is surrounded by a brick wall that dates back to 1857.

The beautiful St. Peter’s Catholic Church is the oldest Catholic church in Beaufort County. Closed for many years, the church has been returned to its former glory. Built in 1846, the chapel intimately seats 100 parishioners. The classical revival church has beautifully restored double doors, flanked by large multi-paned windows. These large windows extend down both sides of the chapel.

historic churches beaufort sc
A 1943 renovation enclosed the front porch. It was later restored to its original design. Photo from St. Peter’s archives.

A brick wall that separates the church from the street dates to 1857. A Gothic trefoil window was added over the pulpit in 1899. Be sure to meander through the churchyard where you’ll find several fine examples of 19th and 20th century gravestone art. The church served as a school run by abolitionists during the Civil War. The building continued service as a mission after the war. In 1923 the interior was renovated. The church doubled in size with additions in 1943. The nave was enlarged, and the front porch was enclosed.

historic churches beaufort sc
A complete restoration was completed in 2012. Photo from St. Peter’s archives.

As time went on, the congregation outgrew the small chapel. Another church was built on nearby Lady’s Island. The small chapel then fell into disrepair until it was completely restored in 2012.

historic churches beaufort sc
The serine sanctuary is a great venue for small weddings. Photo from St. Peter’s archives.

During the 2012 renovation windows were replaced with period-appropriate panes and restoration glass. Walls were replastered, hardwood floors were replaced, and the ceiling was repaired. An earlier renovation that enclosed the front porch was reversed and it was restored to its original design.

historic churches beaufort sc
The front facade of St. Peter’s Catholic Church is adorned with wooden double doors that are flanked with large, shuttered windows.

Today the chapel is used for occasional weekday mass, small weddings, and funerals. Tours are also available at Historic St. Peter’s Catholic Church and Graveyard. Tours are canceled when special events are scheduled at the historic church. Call (843)522-9555 for more information.

First African Baptist Church – 601 New Street

historic churches beaufort sc
Three sets of wooden doors welcome members of the First African Church of Beaufort.

The First African Baptist Church was built by freed slaves in 1885. The congregation grew from an Antebellum Praise House attended by some of the African American members of the Beaufort Baptist Church. These men purchased the land and built the praise house in 1863, only two years after emancipation.

The detailed carvings of the front doors were expertly designed and crafted.

The church was used as a school to educate freedmen after federal occupation. By 1865 a cornerstone was laid, and work began on the new church.

historic churches beaufort sc
Windows that light the sanctuary are massive in height.

In 1885 the congregation had grown to more than 900 members. They built this handsome and commodious carpenter Gothic church. Its most prominent member was Robert Smalls. He was a Civil War hero, state legislator and US Congressman. Smalls is buried in the churchyard of nearby Tabernacle Baptist Church. Only two members of the church are buried on the grounds of the First African Baptist Church. Arthur Waddell served as first pastor to the church. He is buried here, along with Deacon Isaac Moultrie.

historic churches beaufort sc
This sign commemorated the original praise house that stood on the site in 1863.

 According to the historic plaque in front of the church, “In 1895 First African Baptist Church was described as one of the most aristocratic colored churches in Beaufort.” No attention to detail was spared on the construction of this beautiful church. The white clapboard siding, simple gothic windows with black shutters and wooden doors are kept in immaculate condition.

historic churches beaufort sc
A ladder extends upward to gain access to the bell tower.

A peek through the second story middle window reveals a bell tower ladder. The front doorways are carved with circular motifs and crowned in pediments. The massive side windows boast 27 panes each! Almost the entire structure of the church as seen today is original. Today the former parsonage houses the church archives. Photos, historic documents, books, and bibles can be viewed here, along with an old travelling communion set.

First Presbyterian Church – 410 Church Street

Beaufort’s First Presbyterian Church was built in 1928
The colonial revival church has tall, arched windows made of clear glass.

Beaufort’s First Presbyterian Church was built in 1928. Prior to construction, the closest Presbyterian church was Stoney Creek Chapel, located 15 miles away in McPhersonville. Stoney Creek Chapel was built in 1743 and served as a summer chapel when Beaufortonians moved inland to escape the summer heat and threat from mosquitoes.

historic churches beaufort sc
A loft extends across one end of the sanctuary. The coffered ceiling and arched windows add to the beauty of the interior. Photo from First Presbyterian Facebook.

By 1912, the First Presbyterian Church of Beaufort was established, and sanctuary construction began in 1928. By 1929 a new white clapboard-framed church stood proudly on the corner of North and Church Streets. The colonial revival church has tall, arched windows made of clear glass. Church members worked diligently to complete the interior under the direction of chief carpenter and minister F.B. Mayes.

historic churches beaufort sc
Live oaks, palm trees and azaleas fill the church yard.

 By 1941 the church was completed, and all debt was paid. The Beaufort Gazette wrote an article about the church, stating, “This beautiful and artistic little church is a source of pride and gratification not only to the Presbyterians of Beaufort, but to the entire community.”

beaufort sc historic church
Arched shutters protect the buildings during storms.

When the 1950s rolled around the little church had grown to over 200 members. It was obvious that the time was right to expand. Rather than disturb the integrity of the beautiful church, a two-story building was constructed just across the street.

First Presbyterian Church in Beaufort SC
Azaleas bloom in the early spring. Photo found on First Presbyterian Facebook.

The church celebrated its 100th birthday back in 2012. The church has been preserved and retains its original integrity. The wooden floors and pews are just as beautiful today as when the church was first constructed. Black shutters adorn the arched windows on the sides of the church and azaleas in the churchyard bloom pink in the spring.

Beth Israel Synagogue – 401 Scott Street

The historic wooden synagogue on Scott Street is located beside the Beaufort Arsenal.
Photo by Historical Marker Database.

Beaufort’s thriving Jewish community predates the American Revolution. The Beth Israel congregation originally held services in private homes, the Masonic Hall, and the Beaufort Arsenal. As membership grew the need arose to build a permanent home for the congregation. In 1905 members of the Jewish community purchased a lot on Scott Street adjacent to the Beaufort Arsenal. A charter was granted by the state on October 16, 1905. The building was dedicated on June 14, 1908 and the congregation has worshipped there ever since!

The side gate is adorned with an iron menorah. Photo by Historical Marker Database.

The Beth Israel Synagogue was built by members of the congregation. The simple, frame building is one of the few wooden synagogues in continued usage in the southeast. The white clapboard structure has wooden double entry that is flanked by narrow, tall, pained windows. The same windows line each side of the church building. A social hall was added in the 1950s.

Interior view by the Traveling Bornstein.

The congregation of Beth Israel Synagogue has been home to many prominent Beaufortonians. Alexander Hamilton’s half-brother Peter Lavien was a merchant who lived and worshipped in the city before the American Revolution. Major Meyer Jacobs of the Beaufort Artillery helped welcome the Marquis de Lafayette to Beaufort in 1825. Jacobs also served as mayor and a member of state legislature.

Beth Israel Synagogue history listed on a historical marker in front of the historic structure.
Photo by Alice deForest.

Land for a cemetery was purchased in 1910. it sits nearby on Bladen Street. The cemetery has lovely iron gates that include the Star of David motif. A parsonage was also added for the religious leader in 1920.

The cemetery gates are decorated with the star of David. Photo found on Beth Israel Facebook page.

The Beth Israel Synagogue congregation celebrated its 1ooth anniversary in 2005. According to their website, “We work to maintain our religious traditions and Jewish identity, and to ensure at least another hundred years for this beloved Beaufort congregation, Beth Israel.”

For more information on Beaufort attractions visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/beaufort-port-royal-area/.

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SOUTH CAROLINA LOWCOUNTRY

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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.

simplysoutherncottage keeps us in awe with each her projects. This bed swing refresh is one of our favorites!
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📸: simplysoutherncottage⠀
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Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
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South Carolina lowcountry
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Built in 1790, The Cuthbert House is a historic mansion turned Bed and Breakfast with stunning water views  in Beaufort, SC
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#beaufortcounty #beaufortcountysc #beaufortsc #explorebeaufortsc #explorebeaufortcounty #explorebeaufort #landscapescapture #beautifulscenery #boatsatsunset #marinabeauty #sclowcountry #sclowcountryliving #beautifulsouthcarolina  #discover_carolinas #explorebft  #bestofthepalmettostate #onlyinsouthcarolina #onlyinsouthcarolina❤️#scnaturelovers #southcarolinabest #bestofsouthcarolina #southcarolinacollectives #viewsofthesouth #carolinacollectives #historicmansion #historicbedandbreakfast #bedandbreakfasts #oldsouth #cuthbert #cuthbertmansion
Beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry
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Headed down the road....Edisto Island.  #edisto #sclowcountry #trees #endofday  #beauty #islandsofsc
Discover at your own leisure at the coastaldiscoverymuseum 🌳  From century-old buildings with storied pasts, to wooden boardwalks that stretch into the Jarvis Creek salt marsh, there's always something to explore!
A visitor takes a leisurely stroke under a canopy of live oaks draped with Spanish moss in the Palmetto Bluff (palmettobluff) neighborhood of Bluffton, South Carolina. Palmetto Bluff is a picturesque community that sits in the heart of Lowcountry. Nestled along the May River, it’s abundant with beautiful walking trails, historic sites, and stunning views.⏰ Best time of the day to visit: There is no wrong time to visit Palmetto Bluff. However, we highly recommend sticking around for one of their spectacular sunsets.🛶 Things to do while there: Stop by Cole’s for some regionally inspired Southern fare, paddle board, kayak, or canoe along the May River, go saltwater fishing, take a tour at Bluffton Jack's Old Town Tours.🌊 Things to visit in the area: Palmetto Bluff Conservancy, Old Town Bluffton, Bluffton Oyster Factory Park, May River Sandbar, Heyward House Museum and Welcome Center (heywardhouse).📆 Best time of the year to visit: For the best weather, we recommend visiting between March and May or from September to November.🏨 Where to stay: The Montage Palmetto Bluff Resort (montagepalmettobluff) is the only resort in Palmetto Bluff. However, there are plenty of places to stay in the surrounding areas including: Old Town Bluffton Inn (oldtownblufftoninn), The Inn & Club at Harbour Town (theinnandclubatharbourtown), Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island (sonestahhi).Photo by jpgriceoz
A different type of sunrise for #sunrisesunday today. This is blue hour on Pawleys Island. Blue hour lighting hits different. Especially in places like this where there's such a vastness to the sky and you can see a gradient from stars to blues to the earliest purples from the sun's first rays in the sky, long before it even crests the horizon. Added benefit, no one in their right mind wakes up this early to be out an hour before sunrise. Except for me, that is. So, with my gas station coffee in hand, I get to enjoy this beautiful beach without another soul around. Just me, the waves, and the noseeums aggressively attacking me.
Beautiful Hinting Island State Park Sunset.
.https://sylviesadventures.com/2020/04/24/hunting-island-state-park/
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#landscapephotos #onlyinsouthcarolina #photooftheday #naturephotography #beautiful #beach #morning #sunrisephotography #landscapephotography #sunsets #travelphotography #goodmorning #photo #huntingisland #seaphotography #thatsmylowcountry #sclowcountry #bestoftheusa_sunrise_sunset #huntingislandsunrise #sylviefsmith #sylvieslens #sunrisephotos #sunrisephotoshoot #sunrisephotographer #bestofthepalmettostate #thatsmylowcountry #travelphotography #southcarolinasunset #southcarolinasunsets #bestofthepalmettostate #scstateparks #scstatepark #ultimateoutsider
#atalayacastle #huntingtonbeachstatepark #murrellsinlet #murrellsinletsc#letsmakeplans #discoversc #southcarolina #discover_carolinas #hunningtonbeach #photography #beautiful #moody #history #takemeback #gorgeous #explore #adventure #castle #corridor#huntingtonbeachstateparksc#scstateparks #southcarolinabeaches #optoutside #castles #lowcountrysc #myrtlebeach #sclowcountry #atalaya #coastalstyle #shesellsseashells
Just found out my big 60x48 oil painting “Luminosity” sold and is heading to Atlanta, GA. A giant THANK YOU to Kathleen from Sandpiper Gallery sandpipergallery on Sullivan’s Island for finding a new home for this piece. 😊 :: :: :: daregalleryart photographicskiawah #oilpainting #tonalism #tonalpainting #impressionistart #sunset #sunsetpainting #marshpainting #kiawahisland #kiawahislandgolfresort #seabrookisland #charlestonsc #charlestonartist #allaprima #southcarolina #sclowcountry #pleinairpainter #pleinairmagazine #contemporarypainting #landscapepainters #interiordesign #chs #chstoday #chsdesign #charlestonliving
“Whispering Sky”, 36x48,  oil on canvas.  markkelvinhortonstudio hortonhayesfineart hortonhayesfineartstudio #sclowcountry #southcarolina #sky #skyscape #charlestonsc #charlestonartist #mtpleasantsc #kiawahisland #marsh #marshpaintings #landscape #landscapepainting #contemporaryart #tonalism #tonalpainting #studio #studiopaintings #studiopainting #oiloncanvas #artistsoninstagram #artistsofinstagram
Life’s a party, always be ready to host 🍾.
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#southcarolinaliving #southcarolina #edistobeach #edistosc #southcarolinanature #bestofthepalmettostate #onlyinsouthcarolina #treesofinstagram #treeporn #lowcountry #lowcountryliving #sclowcountry #southcarolinabeaches #charleston #charlestonsc #ig_naturelovers #ig_southcarolina #viewsofthesouth #charlestonlife
Evenings in the Lowcountry
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How we love a Beaufort sunset!
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#beaufortcounty #beaufortcountysc #beaufortsc #explorebeaufortsc #explorebeaufortcounty #explorebeaufort #boardwalk #boardwalkbeauty #landscapescapture #beautifulscenery #boatsatsunset #marinabeauty #sclowcountry #sclowcountryliving #beautifulsouthcarolina  #discover_carolinas #explorebft  #bestofthepalmettostate #onlyinsouthcarolina #onlyinsouthcarolina❤️#scnaturelovers #southcarolinabest #bestofsouthcarolina #southcarolinacollectives #viewsofthesouth #carolinacollectives #bestoftheusa_sunrisesunset2 #raw_sunset #sunsets #sunsetphotography
Another sunset shot over the Edisto River in South Carolina.  #sunset #sunsets #sunsetphoto #sunsetphotography #sunsetlovers #dusk #dusktilldawn #river #riverphotography #edistoriver #sclowcountry #southcarolina #southcarolinaliving #amaturephotography #sonyshooter
My favorite sunrise ever......no filter.... #cottoncandysky #cottoncandysunrise #cottoncandycolors #sunrise #softpastels #lowcountrysunrise #lowcountry #hammockcoast #waves #naturespallet #art #seafoam #beachwalks #morningmotivation #getupandshowup #pawleysisland #locallife #shoplocal #supportlocalbusiness #onlyleavefootprints #bestofthepalmettostate #yes_busa #yeshammockcoast #sclowcountry
Some shadowy, Spanish moss covered views for your Monday! Have you ever visited the Chapel of Ease? #DiscoverSC 📸📍Chapel of Ease, Beaufort: summitridgephotos
Sunrise over the lowcountry
#sunrise #sunrise_sunset_photogroup #sunriselover #sunriseoftheday #sunrises #sunrisephotography #sunrises #cloudscape #morning #view #explore #fyp #sclowcountry #photooftheday #photography #instagood #igers
Happy Monday 💛
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Wishing you a great new week from the lowcountry!
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#canonusa #lowcountry #influencer #southcarolina #lowcountrylife #lowcountryphotographer #spanishmoss #visitsouthcarolina #visitsc #sclowcountry #hamptonlake #exploresouthcarolina #exploresc #blufftonsc #seaislands #gullah #lakelife #sunshine #k9palsblocksofiaterrierchileno #dandiedinmontswan #southernliving pupfluence pupgagement petfollowtrain southcarolina hamptonlake
The shore gently recedes beneath the stunning Pawleys Island Pier. The unique island town, located about 25 miles south of Myrtle Beach and 70 miles north of Charleston, exudes laid-back, beachy vibes. Locals have definitely adopted an island state of mind and encourage visitors to as well. When you go, make sure to relax on the beach, explore the famous sand dunes, or fish in one of the many adjacent creeks.⏰ Best time of the day to visit: We guarantee that you’re going to want to spend a whole day here. We recommend getting to the beach at around 10am.🗓️ Best time of the year: Pawleys Island has the best weather during the spring and early summer months.🏖️ Things to do while there: Pawleys Island Nature Park, Pawleys Island Chapel, Hopsewee Plantation.🐠 Things to visit in the area: Brookgreen Gardens (brookgreen_gardens), take a walking ghost tour, Myrtle Beach (mymyrtlebeach), Harborwalk Marina, South Carolina Maritime Museum (southcarolinamaritimemuseum).🏨 Where to stay: The Oceanfront Litchfield Inn (oceanfrontlitchfieldinn), Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort (litchfieldbeachandgolf), Sea View Inn (seaviewinn), 620 Prince (620prince).Photo by qcphotographer

The South Carolina Lowcountry Guidebook is filled with many things to see and do in the beautiful Lowcountry of South Carolina. Please fill out the information and we will send you a FREE GUIDE BOOK.

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