If you are looking for a seaside town where your family can relax, unplug, and unwind, look no further than Edisto Beach. This sleepy oasis sits on the Atlantic Ocean, between Charleston and Beaufort. Sit on the beach, charter a boat and fish for the big one, take a tour, rent a bike, or casually shop the island’s unique stores.
Whether you’d prefer to explore the creeks in search of dolphin or simply take in the sunset while sipping your favorite refreshment, the Marina at Edisto Beach has a boat tour just for you. Grab your friends and hop aboard the Thirsty Whale to enjoy Edisto from the water.
Edisto Watersports & Tackle can take you on a charter fishing trip, a guided river tour or a shelling adventure. They also rent golf carts, bikes, paddleboards, and kayaks. Singleshot Guide Services and Fontaine Charters are also popular fishing experiences, providing inshore and offshore fishing trips. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/charters/
If camping is more your style, contact the Edisto Beach State Park. You can reserve a campsite along the salt marsh or ocean front. The park also has seven completely furnished cabins available for rental. For the truly adventurous, there are also five primitive tent sites located in the park’s Live Oak Campground.
Bringing the family dog along on vacation, but don’t want to leave him alone while you’re seeing the sights? Leave him with Edisto Kennels. Here they will be pampered with bed, bath, and biscuits. Services include day care, boarding and grooming. Edisto Dog Spa also offers grooming services and Walk the Dog will take your dog out for some exercise and a potty break. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/edisto-island-accommodations/
Dining out is a memorable experience at any of the fine restaurants at Edisto Beach. You can enjoy local seafood menus that change along with the seasons. If oysters are your pleasure, remember to visit during the colder months to enjoy local oyster roasts. Crabs are always plentiful in the summer season. Of course, local shrimp is available year-round. Be sure to visit the local farm stands and seafood markets on your way onto the island. For a full list of Edisto Beach restaurants visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/edisto-island-area-dining/.
Edisto Beach offers many tour options. You can rent a bike, golf cart or kayak to see the island for yourself. You can also step back in time and hear stories of the island’s past as told by a native. Hop on a boat and experience an ecotour or climb aboard a shrimping boat to help haul in the catch. The choice is yours. The hard part is deciding… For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/edisto-island-tours/.
If golfing is your passion, have no worries. Edisto Beach has a course that is rich in history, wildlife, and natural beauty. Tourists and islanders have been enjoying the Plantation Golf Course since 1973. Renovations in 2007 ensure your golfing experience will be both enjoyable and memorable. For more information about golfing in the SC Lowcountry visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/golf/.
If you would like to get out and soak up some island culture, visit the Edisto Island Museum or one of the many galleries on the island. The Edisto Museum is filled with artifacts and furnishings from many of the area plantations and slave quarters. They also have an extensive exhibit on the local Native American tribe the Edisto Indians. If you’re adventurous head over to the Edisto Island Serpentarium. This facility is dedicated to preserving reptiles found both locally and from around the world. For more information visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/edisto-beach/.
If you’re like most visitors, souvenirs and shopping are also on your list. Edisto Beach has a fun selection of beach shops and other retail experiences. Pick up a beach towel, resort wear and seashells at a surf shop. Find local art at a local gallery. Get lost in books written by local authors. For a full list of retail on Edisto Beach visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/edisto-island-shopping/.
Vacationing on Edisto Beach is a great break from the fast-paced world we live in. Come to the beach, pull up a chair and relax like an islander. You won’t regret it!
With summer quickly approaching, SC Lowcountry Farmers Markets are in full swing! Enjoy some fresh air, browse, and take home local produce.
While social distancing and wearing masks are still important habits to keep, the markets are open and have plenty to sell! Each market takes place out of doors in the fresh air. Check your calendar, find your market basket and head to SC Lowcountry farmers market that’s closest to you!
The Port Royal Farmers Market is open from 9 a.m. – noon each Saturday. The market officials ask that all visitors wear a mask and observe social distancing rules. Vendors will also accept preorders. Some of the items available include red potatoes, white potatoes, yellow squash, cucumbers, fresh bread, meats from Calibogue Catering, bakery goodies, shrimp, breakfast sandwiches, poultry products, flowers, and fresh pasta.
For more information or to sign up for weekly information visit https://portroyalfarmersmarket.com/. You can also sign up for their weekly newsletter alerting you to what’s going to be at the market for the week.
The Farmers Market of Bluffton is another Lowcountry favorite. Every Thursday, from 12-3 p.m. Calhoun Street is closed to traffic and transformed into a street market. Shop for fresh pasta, in season fruits and veggies, homemade bread and bakery items, fresh meats, jams and jellies, and prepared goodies. Don’t miss Hank’s Lowcountry she crab soup and the Cottage Bakery. If it’s a scorcher, treat yourself to a Palmetto Ice Pop!
The Bluffton Farmers Market information can be found on https://www.farmersmarketbluffton.org/. You can also sign up for their weekly newsletter to find out about what’s in season and for sale on Calhoun Street.
The Hilton Head Farmers Market happens every Tuesday, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on the grounds of historic Honey Horn Plantation. Take home fresh local produce, pasture raised chicken, free range rabbit, pork, seafood, salsa, fresh sausage, cookies, breads, she crab soup, and more. Free parking in the Coastal Discovery Museum parking lot, 70 Honey Horn Drive.
Local farmers, producers, vendors, and food trucks will be at the market to share the bounty of their crops. Three Sisters Organic Farm will be there to sell fresh zucchini, cucumbers, and tomatoes. The Grind Roasters will be there as well, to grind your favorite flavors of coffee. For more information visit https://www.coastaldiscovery.org/.
Ridgeland’s Jasper County Farmers Market kicks off the weekend every Friday from 1 – 6 p.m. The Market will host a variety of vendors including produce, baked goods, prepared meals, arts, crafts and estate sales.
If you’re in Walterboro, the Colleton Museum and Farmers Market offers fresh vegetables and fruits, local honey, local crafts, plants, baked goods, prepared food, music, and much more. The market is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The mission of the market is to “encourage, support, and promote the entrepreneurial efforts of local, independent, small-scale farmers, food artisans and crafters seeking to sell products directly to the consumer while operating independently from large corporate or factory farms and businesses.” You can find the market at 506 East Washington St., in historic downtown Walterboro. For more information visit http://www.colletonmuseum.org/farmers-market.
Thinking about planning a trip to the South Carolina Lowcountry? Why not plan a relaxing vacation in an area that is known for its scenic beauty and historic architecture. The SC Lowcountry is the perfect spot to enjoy a vacation that includes quaint southern towns, beautiful beaches and wide open spaces.
Hunting Island State Park is located 17 miles from downtown Beaufort. The park has 5,000 acres of beaches, hiking trails and plenty of fishing opportunities. Kayak, paddle board or hunt for crabs at the lagoon. Fish from the pier. Camp on the beachfront! Walk the many miles of the semi-tropical maritime forest that was used in the movies Forrest Gump and Jungle Book. Call 843-838-2011 for more information.
Spend the weekend at the historic Beaufort waterfront. Head downtown Beaufort and enjoy lunch at one of the many waterfront restaurants. Relax, soak up sunrays from the swings and watch the river roll gently by. When the sun goes down, head out to the Hwy 21 Drive-in to catch a double feature.
Beaufort has many outdoor dining options in the waterfront area. These restaurants are a great destination for your family. Sit on the deck, watch the clouds roll by overhead and enjoy some amazing food.
Beaufort fell very early during the Civil War. Homeowners abandoned the city and Union troops used it as army headquarters. Homes and churches became hospitals, offices, and officer’s quarters. Because of this, the city and its beautiful homes were spared from fire and destruction.
Bring your bike and ride the Spanish Moss Trail. This green space was made where the railroad once brought recruits from Yemassee to Parris Island. The trains also carried lumber, meat and produce from Beaufort farms. The trail stretches from Port Royal to rural Beaufort County toward Yemassee.
The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is another great space to get back to nature. The refuge can be found on the Savannah River, between Hardeeville and Savannah. You will find a variety of opportunities to explore and enjoy the great outdoors from sunrise to sunset every day. You can observe and photograph wildlife, fish and hike the many trails.
Fish the Savannah River from Millstone Boat Ramp in Hardeeville or B & C Boat Landing at the Tillman Sandridge Wildlife Management Area. Common species found in the impoundments and canals are bluegill, crappie, large-mouth bass, channel and blue catfish, bowfin, and mullet, plus striped bass, red fish, and flounder.
Visit Frampton Plantation. Conveniently located on I-95, Exit 33, The Frampton Plantation House serves as the home of the Lowcountry Tourism Commission. The downstairs is open to the public. It is used as a visitor center with museum displays, tourist information and gift shop. The backyard has a lovely picnic spot under the Spanish moss draped live oaks. There’s also plenty of room to run around with the dogs.
Walterboro’s Great Swamp Sanctuaryis a beautiful place to spend some quality time. The sanctuary contains a network of boardwalks, hiking, biking, and canoe trails that are perfect for viewing a diversity of a black water bottomland habitat. Wild turkey, deer, raccoons, beaver, otter, mink, opossum, squirrels, fox, alligators, and wildcats have been spotted here. Bikes and dogs on leashes are welcome on the pathways of the sanctuary, so load up the family and make your way to this nature-based tourism gem
Downtown Walterboro is another great destination. The city is a popular spot for antiquing. Washington Street has a vast assortment of antiques stores loaded with interesting finds. The Colleton Museum and Farmers Market is located at the end of Washington Street. Visit their Marketplace Café for fresh bakes goods. Beautiful homes can be found everywhere in downtown Walterboro. A walk is the best way to appreciate the lovely structures that were used as summer homes for nearby plantations. Take a nice, leisure stroll to photograph these beauties. Hampton Street is a favorite walking destination. Start here and let your feet guide you through the neighborhood.
Standing sentinel in the isolated woods of Colleton County, Pon Pon Chapel of Ease was once the center of a bustling thoroughfare. Located on what was once a busy stagecoach road, the ruins of this beautiful chapel are all that remains in the area. During the early days of American history, Parker’s Ferry Road connected Charleston and Savannah. President George Washington used this road during his 1791 Spring Tour. Rumor has it he even stopped to worship at the chapel.
Pon Pon Chapel was established during the Colonial Period in 1725 as the first Anglican church in the state. A brick chapel was built in 1754, to replace an earlier wooden structure. This chapel burned in 1801 and became known as Burnt Church. The structure was rebuilt in the early 1820s. The chapel was used lovingly until 1832 when, according to the National Register of Historic Places application, it was either burned or fell into disrepair. Nearby Jacksonboro was replaced by Walterboro as the county seat. As parishioners migrated to Walterboro, there was no need to rebuild. Hurricane Gracie came through the area in 1959 causing further destruction to the structure.
The founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley preached two sermons from the pulpit of Pon Pon Chapel in 1737. Locals continued to use the churchyard for burials. Two congressmen and several other local leaders are buried here. The Colleton County Historical and Preservation Society acquired the ruins and four acres in 1970. The front facade of the chapel was repaired and stabilized in 1971, then admitted to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. A grant was awarded to repair the front facade of the chapel in 1975. These ruins stand as a reminder of the early establishment of the Anglican Church in the area.
Pon Pon’s façade has a central, arched entrance and matching windows on either side. Upper level round windows also grace the front. Large rods stabilize the façade from behind. If you look carefully, you will notice the Flemish Bond brickwork, characteristically constructed with alternating rows of headers and stretchers.
Pon Pon Chapel ruins can be found of Hwy 64 (Jacksonboro Road), just outside Jacksonboro at Burnt Church Crossroads. Look for the sign between Jacksonboro and Walterboro. Turn down the dirt road and proceed until you see power lines. The ruins are located just before the power line easement on the right. For more information on Walterboro and Colleton County sights to see, visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/walterboro-colleton-county/.
Crystal Lake Park can be found just across the bridge from Beaufort, on Lady’s Island. This 25-acre park winds through forested habitats, salt marsh and around Crystal Lake. Boardwalk leads over saltwater wetlands, to the beautiful 7-acre Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake is an extraordinary habitat for bird species. Many species have been documented here. Songbirds, wading birds, birds of prey, migratory waterfowl, and endangered species such as wood storks. Egrets and herons can also be spotted here. Turtles, snakes, and alligators also call the park home.
The park has many opportunities for visitors to learn about the Lowcountry’s natural resources. Walk the trail or visit the interpretative center. Be on the look-out for birds and other wildlife that live in this Lowcountry habitat.
Catch and release fishing can also be done from the docks. The lake has a population primarily of redfish and mullet.
Beaufort County has renovated the former Butler Marine building into the Crystal Lake Conservation Center. Offices for the Beaufort Open Land Trust and the Beaufort County Conservation District can be found inside. A pollinator garden created and maintained by volunteers is adjacent to the park office building. The park is located at 124 Lady’s Island Drive.
Exploring SC Lowcountry Parks is a great way to get outdoors! During these stressful times, it is important for us to maintain our connection with nature. While we’re all social distancing and staying home, it’s a good idea to get outdoors and soak up sunshine and fresh air. If we take precautions and listen to the guidelines put in place by our leaders, exploring a park is just what the doctor ordered! Colleton, Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper Counties have a multitude of outdoor possibilities to connect with nature. For additional information and maps of these properties visit https://southcarolinalowcountry.com/wildlife-preserves-and-nature-trails/.
Colleton County and Walterboro have some wonderful parks and wildlife management areas. Whether you want to stretch your legs or take a scenic car ride, these natural wonders have something for everyone.
The ACE Trail is located two miles north of the intersection of Hwy 17 and SC HWY 303 in Green Pond. This trail runs along the abandoned Atlantic Coast Railroad Line that parallels SC Hwy 303. This trail is currently 2.8 miles, but another extension is planned soon. The trail is ideal for walking, biking and bird watching. The trail head has picnic tables and plenty of space for parking.
Colleton State Park borders the Edisto River. Here, you’ll find a short, easy walking loop trail that travels along the river. Signs are placed along the trail to help you identify a variety of trees and plants, including Cypress trees. While here, look for birds, deer, turtles and other wildlife. The park can be found at 147 Wayside Lane, Walterboro – just a few miles off I-95.(843)538-8206
Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge has trails that weave through the forest and across dikes of a historic rice plantation. The refuge also has one of the few remaining antebellum houses in the area. This refuge protects the largest undeveloped estuary along the Atlantic Coast. The area is home to a wide variety of wildlife. The refuge is located at 8675 Willtown Road, Hollywood, SC, on the way to Edisto Beach. (843)889-3084
Bear Island Wildlife Management Area is located off Hwy 17 in the Green Pond area. This wma is managed to provide quality habitat for wintering waterfowl. It’s a great spot to view bald eagles, wood storks and roseate spoonbills. 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 S 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
Donnelley Wildlife Management Area has more than 8,000 acres of diverse wildlife habitats. This property features a historic rice field system that is now managed to attract waterfowl and migratory birds. The former rice plantation is nestled between the Combahee and Asheepoo Rivers. All types of wildlife can be found here. There are 11 miles of roads that can be driven through the property. There are also walking trails that lead to dikes that cross old rice fields. Herons, egrets, ibises and many more varieties of birds can be found on this freshwater wetland. Located at 585 Donnelley Drive in Green Pond. The entrance is at the intersection of US Hwy 17 and SC Hwy 303. (843)844-8957
Just three minutes of I-95, the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to get back to nature. There are trails for hiking, biking and even canoeing. This wildlife sanctuary is in the heart of downtown Walterboro. Parking can be accessed on DeTreville Street. Boardwalks lead through a braided creek with a diversity of wildlife that inhabit the black water bottomland. (843)538-4353
Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area can be found on the way to Edisto Beach. This wildlife management area borders the Atlantic Ocean and the North Edisto River. Beach access is closed until further notice, but the remainder of the property is open. Drive through this undeveloped wetland ecosystem, then park to walk trails located throughout the property. The remains of two plantations can be explored here. You can even trailer in horses and go for a ride along the many roads of Botany Bay. The entrance to the property is one of the most photographed live oak canopies in the lowcountry. Many varieties of birds and wildlife call this coastal property home. (843)844-8957
Edisto Beach State Park is located on the beach and its adjacent maritime forest. The park has seven trails that are available for hiking, biking and birding. The trails wind through the forest and past the earliest Native American shell mound site in the state. A series of short, mostly level hikes travel 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, raccoons, or alligators, and may even catch a glimpse of the wary bobcats.
Beaufort’s Spanish Moss Trail is the product of the Lowcountry’s Rails to Trail program. The ten- mile trail follows the path that the railroad took from Yemassee to Parris Island, carrying recruits to the training facility. The rail lines were removed, and the trail was paved for walking, running, biking, fishing, skating, scooting and strolling. The Spanish Moss Trail offers spectacular river and marsh views, and a great opportunity to view wildlife. Historic points are noted along the trail.
Hunting Island State Park is located on the beach and its maritime forest. The park has wonderful hiking and biking trails. The park’s walking nature trails provide an opportunity to experience the island’s natural environment. The biking and hiking trail is 8 miles long. The trails lead through the maritime forest, providing scenic views of the lagoon and various wildlife habitats. The trails have dense vegetation that provides protected habitat for many animals including deer, raccoon, owls, hawks and squirrels. Walk the beach to search for shells and shore birds. Bring a picnic and pick from one of the many spots to enjoy lunch.
Crystal Lake Park can be found just across the bridge on Lady’s Island. This 25 acre park winds through forested habitats, salt marsh and around Crystal Lake. The park has many opportunities for visitors to learn about the Lowcountry’s natural resources. Walk the trail or visit the interpretative center. Be on the look-out for birds and other wildlife that makes the park home. Catch and release fishing can also be done from the docks. 124 Lady’s Island Drive, (843) 255-2152
Port Royal has two natural habitats to explore that are located relatively close to each other. You can visit both in one day. Cypress Wetlands Walking Trail is located on Paris Ave right off Ribaut Road, with parking on Paris Avenue. There are several species of birds that call this place home including herons, hawks, eagles, owls, falcons, geese, ducks, and other migratory waterfowl. It is absolutely a birdwatcher’s paradise. In addition to birds, regular visitors among the cypress trees are alligators, turtles, and snakes.
The Henry Robinson Boardwalk is a great place for a stroll. Enjoy the wildlife while walking along the vast waterway. Located on the southern tip of Port Royal, Battery Creek flows into the Beaufort River. Search for shark’s teeth on the sandy beach. Boats and kayaks can be launched from a ramp into the river. The boardwalk is a popular place for strolling, crabbing and fishing. An observation tower is located near the end of the boardwalk. (843)986-2200
Bluffton’s Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve is located in Bluffton off Hwy 278 on Sawmill Creek Road. Spend a day hiking, bird watching and picnicking. Avoid the preserve during hunting season. The area is used for bow hunting. Birders will want to bring binoculars and keep a sharp eye out, particularly in the spring. The understory thickets are dominated by saw palmetto and a range of evergreens. This habitat is ideal for migratory species such as tanagers, white-eyed vireos and a host of different warblers. Overhead, massive live oaks, and longleaf and slash pines cast deep shadows on the trail. In no time at all during a midday walk, things get cool and quiet.
Hilton Head Island is commonly known for its beaches and golf community, but did you know there are many places to enjoy nature? Audubon Newhall Preserve is located at 55 Palmetto Bay Road. The birds are singing, and the plants and nature trails are in top condition for spring. This woodland ecosystem is known as pine/saw palmetto flatwoods. The preserve has a series of short, easy walking trails through the fifty-acre property. Pick up a trail guide at the entrance which will guide you through a wide variety of trees and plants, from Florida Scrub to native hardwoods. (843)785-5775
The Coastal Discovery Museumhttps://www.coastaldiscovery.org/nature trails are open for walking and picnicking. Tale a leisurely stroll around the 68-acre property. The seashell nature trail leads to Jarvis Creek, and the camellia garden boasts 120 different varieties of bloom and color. (843-689-6767)
Jarvis Creek Park is located at 50 Jarvis Creek Road. The park was closed April 1st but will reopen on May 7th. The park is great freshwater pond fishing. There’s a floating dock and grass meadow. There’s a paved pathway that surrounds the lake and a fitness trail. Call the park for opening date. (843) 341-4600
Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is located between Hilton Head Island and Bluffton. 4,052 acres that preserve the salt marsh and maritime habitat. The 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, go fishing, hike or bike the 14-miles of roads that wind across the island. (843) 784-2468
Sea Pines Forest Preserve is a protected area for wildlife habitat and outdoor exploration. The preserve includes bridle paths, wetland boardwalks, bridges and fishing docks. Explorers can pick up a map and stroll the trails independently. View marshes and wildlife from a boardwalk at Old Lawton Rice Field. Explore a secluded forest on the boardwalk through the Vanishing Swamp. Discover the 4,000-year-old Sea Pines Shell Ring, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. See acres of native flora in bloom. Enjoy a picnic along the banks of Fish Island. (843) 785-3333
Ridgeland’s Blue Heron Nature Trail is a 10-acre green space that has a half-mile trail around a three-acre pond, and forested wetlands. The property also includes a butterfly garden, picnic area, and observation decks. Trail side displays help visitors learn more about the native flora and fauna of Jasper County and the Lowcountry. Exit 21, Ridgeland, (843)726-7611
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is located off US Hwy 17, between Hardeeville and Savannah. Many visitors take the car tour through the former rice plantation, but did you know there are 40 miles of hiking trails through the 7,000-acre refuge? Jasper County’s Savannah National Wildlife Refuge consists of 31,551 acres of freshwater marshes, tidal rivers and creeks, and bottomland hardwoods. Well-maintained hiking trails wind throughout the refuge, giving hikers and bikers access to these former rice fields. Explore the nearly 40 miles of trails that are built on dikes that contained rice fields dating back to the early 1700’s. (843) 784-2468
Hampton has two great places to get some exercise in the great outdoors. Webb Wildlife Management Area is located off Hwy. 321, bordering the historical Savannah River. The 5,866 acres encompass upland pine stands that host endangered species such as red-cockaded woodpeckers, as well as wildlife openings, bottomland hardwood forests and cypress-tupelo swamps. The property provides excellent viewing of deer, wild turkeys, bobwhite quail, gray squirrel and many types of birds. Several nature trails can be found on the property. Ponds are available for fishing. 1282 Webb Ave, Garnett. (803)625-3569
Lake Warren State Park is located in Hampton. The park has three trails for outdoor enthusiasts. The nature trail winds through the woods and around the fishing pond. The fitness trail has 10 exercise stations. The Yemassee Trail follows a path along Lake Warren. Interpretive signs are placed throughout. There are also fishing opportunities at the park. (803)943-5051
A drive down Hampton’s Lee Avenue brings you to the sight of an architectural treasure. The Palmetto Theater has proudly stool on this spot since 1946. This post-war building was once a social center in the Hampton community. The front features a prominent, ornate marquee with stylized neon lettering and geometric patterns. The theater was designed with a stage which was used for live performances. At full capacity, the theater can seat 450 on the main floor and balcony.
The Palmetto Theater is significant as an example of small-town, southern, 1940s movie theater. The Art Deco- influenced Art Moderne architectural style reflects the social and economic pressures of the post-war period. According to Designing Buildings Wiki, art moderne architecture, “… is an architectural style that developed out of 1930s Art Deco. It was seen as a response to the Great Depression, designing buildings to be more streamlined and austere as opposed to the ambitious, opulent forms of Art Deco. Art Moderne buildings were usually white, and built with stucco, cement and glass.”
According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation application, the Palmetto Theater was, “Built in 1946 by Clarence L. Freeman for its owners T. G. “Mutt” Stanley and Dr. James A. Hayne, Jr., the Palmetto Theatre is significant under Criterion C for its post-war Art Moderne architecture, which reflected the limited availability of construction materials following the war and the influence of regional theater construction. It remains as one of only a small handful of Art Moderne theaters in the state of South Carolina. The theater was restored in 1992 and retains a high degree of architectural integrity. The Palmetto Theatre was the brainchild of T. G. “Mutt” Stanley, a one-time mayor pro tem of Hampton, and Dr. James A. Hayne, Jr., a local physician. Built in a style heavily influenced by the flourishes of the Art Deco Movement that had given birth to so many movie palaces in the larger cities of the south during the 1930s, but technically an example of Art Moderne architecture because of its age and certain architectural elements, the Palmetto might have been considered passé to more cosmopolitan observers, but its design was greeted by the residents of Hampton as “handsome in every detail of its structure and design.”
The design of the Palmetto Theater was inspired by the Carolina Theater in Allendale. It was built for the bargain price of $45,000. Inside, the downstairs had upholstered seats and a red, white and blue color scheme. The projector was an RCA Brenkert 35mm. It took a full year to construct the theater due to war time construction issues and material delays. The building was constructed of concrete brick and stucco as a result. According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation application, “Prior to deciding on a design, Stanley and Hayne toured several existing movie theaters and ultimately crafted a look that bears a striking resemblance to the Art Deco-style Carolina Theatre (ca. 1936) in nearby Allendale, South Carolina, including its rectangular mirrored glass brackets around the upper façade and its stunted central pylon (with chevron accents at the Carolina rather than the neon design found at the Palmetto). Design and construction of the building is attributed to Clarence L. Freeman of nearby Varnville.”
The front of the theater boasts an ornate pattern made with black glass panels, probably from Carrara glass or Vitrolite. The concrete block wall is covered in stucco. The sides and back have exposed concrete block walls.
The Palmetto Theater has been well- preserved and lovingly taken care of. The building was restored in 1992, with modifications and secondary additions, but retains an unusual degree of original architectural integrity. It is one of the few remaining Art Moderne theaters left in the state. In the above image from 1950, you can see the theater and the traffic of Lee Avenue.
While the Palmetto Theater is a sight to behold during the day, the historic building comes to life at night. The original neon pink and green lights are stunning.
The prominent steel marquee projects over the central entrance with flat sides and a bowed front. The center of the marquee is adorned with a medallioned “P” which is covered in neon at night. Pink and green neon cover various Art Deco inspired chevrons, zig zags, and other geometric patterns. Four rectangular designs in black glass tiles rise toward the center pylon draws your eyes up to a neon adornment that spells out “Palmetto”. More black glass tiles outline the front facade.
Aluminum poster windows flank the marque and entrance. The entry leads to two sets of double wooden doors with huge plate glass windows. The ticket window is to the left of the doors.
The left elevation still holds a reminder of the separate first floor entrance and balcony fire escape. Before integration African American patrons used the side entrance and an interior ticket booth to view the movie from the balcony. The separate entrance and fire escape have been removed, but their components survive to highlight the architectural evidence of segregation that happened throughout the south.
The interior theater walls are made of acoustical tiles and still hold the original 6 Art-Deco light sconces. These light fixtures resemble candles sitting on semicircular bases. The unadorned balcony projects slightly over the orchestra. The majority of the balcony area is used for production purposes today. The original projection booth is housed in the back center of the balcony area.
The 1946 arrival of the Palmetto Theater into the social scene changed life in Hampton. The August 12 opening night festivities included an address by Senator George Warren. 550 patrons packed the theater, many in seats added for the special occasion. Movie titles at the Palmetto changed often and included newsreels and cartoons. It also parked a Blue Law controversy. South Carolina Blue Laws prohibited Sunday exhibitions. The operators of the Palmetto challenged this law and found themselves jailed for opening the doors on Sunday, September 10, 1950. Local clergymen expressed outrage. They gathered more than 800 signatures on a petition and presented it to the county. The men were arrested, but the movie continued uninterrupted. Hampton mayor Jim Holland bailed them out twenty minutes later. The theater owners went directly to the press to state their case. They claimed the Blue Laws were ridiculously out of date. Locals wrote the newspaper echoing these feelings. The theater continued to show Sunday movies. This challenge resulted in a social revolution in the county and paved the way for Blue Laws to be changed.
The invention of the television in the 1950s, then home video and cable television in the 1980s brought an end to screenings at the Palmetto, and other small movie theaters across the country. Theater doors were closed in 1985. The building sat unused until 1992, when the Hampton County Arts Council purchased it. After extensive renovations, the theater reopened the following year. Dressing rooms and an outdoor courtyard were added. The theater is now used for performing arts productions. The theater is once again the center of community entertainment in Hampton.
Many Beaufort, SC homes located in the historic district pre-date the Civil War, thanks in part to the fact that its citizens fled the city before Union troops made their way into town. Beaufort became the headquarters of the US Army, Department of the South. Most homes were converted into hospitals, offices and officer’s quarters. One home was even repurposed as a bakery.
The Beaufort historic district is a mix of Federal, Neoclassical, Greek Revival and Victorian styles. The city is also known for its widespread use of tabby construction, using oyster shells, sand, lime and ash to make an early form of concrete.
The house at 212 New Street was built by William Waterhouse for his wife. The piazzas of this late Victorian span across the eastern and southern sides of the house. The style of this house combines Queen Anne and Classical Revival elements of design.
The Thomas Hepworth House, located at 214 New Street, is long been referred to as Beaufort’s oldest house. Thomas Hepworth was Chief Justice of the colony. He acquired an original land grant in 1717, with a stipulation that a house be built within 5 years. The Dutch-influenced home has served as a residence, Republican Headquarters, a boy’s school and a meeting place for Masons. It was converted into apartments during World War II, then restored to a single-family dwelling in the 1950s. The Colonial two-story cottage is located in the heart of the Old Point. Rumor has it that the ventilation piercings of the tabby foundation (at the back of the house) were used as rifle slots to defend against Indian attacks.
The George Mosse Stoney house is located at 500 Port Republic Street. Dr. Stoney built the house for his wife Sarah Barnwell around 1823. Visible Greek Revival details were added around 1840. The street view has a small porch, but the side and back open with large porches to catch the river breeze. When first built, this house was only one room deep.
The Cuthbert Scheper Simmer House was built in 1820. It sits on a beautiful corner lot at 915 Port Republic Street. The house was built on a high brick foundation and originally one room deep. The house was expanded in 1875. During Civil War occupation, the Cuthbert family moved to Aiken and never returned to Beaufort. The Federal Army used the home as a bakery. Harriet Tubman baked bread here when she was stationed in Beaufort with the Federal Army. The house was changed in the 1870s with the addition of the second story veranda, a cupola, a storm entrance and a beautiful iron fence. The yard has a Victorian garden that still retains its original footprint. The house also contains a basement cistern that supplies water from 120 feet underground.
The Milton Maxcy Succession House, at 1113 Craven Street, is the spot where southerners first hatched plans for succession. The house was built in 1810 as a school for boys. Edmund Rhett bought the house in the 1850s and renovated it in the Greek Revival style. Edmund and his brother Congressman Robert Barnwell Rhett hosted gatherings of like-minded southerners in the house. During the Civil War the house was used as a hospital, officer’s quarters and paymaster’s office. Civil War scribblings have been discovered on the basement walls. Governor Carroll Campbell and US Senator Strom Thurmond added their signatures to the wall. Vice President George HW Bush added his signature to the wall in 1988.
The William Fickling House sits at 1109 Craven Street. It is believed to have been built in the 1790s when Mr. Fickling came to Beaufort to teach at a boy’s school. Another theory suggests it was built in the 1820s with renovations and additions being completed before and after the Civil War. The house is now the rectory for St. Helena Episcopal Church.
The W.J. Jenkins house sits two blocks away at 901 Craven Street. Built in 1845, this house is a good example of a finely proportioned Beaufort house. Union troops occupied the house during the Civil War.
The Beaufort Arsenal is down the street at 713 Craven Street. Construction began in 1795. It was designed to house a magazine capable of containing a hundred thousand weight of gun powder and a thousand stand of arms. The Beaufort Volunteer Artillery rebuilt the complex in 1852. This army was organized in 1775 and fought in every war fought by this nation including the Revolutionary War. The Beaufort Museum is in the building today. Two brass trophy guns captured from the British in 1779 are in the yard. The guns were seized by Union troops during the Civil War at the Fall of Fort Walker in 1861. They were returned to Beaufort around 1880.
The 500 Block of Craven Street contains charming examples of Victorian architecture. These homes were built in the 1880s and 1890s. The houses are nearly identical in design and ornamentation. Newly invented woodworking machinery was invented in the late 19th century and was implemented in the decorations of these homes.
The Castle is located across the street at 411 Craven Street. This house was built for Dr. Joseph Johnson in 1861. Some elements of the house were waylaid during the Union naval blockade. Bricks for the house were made on Dr. Johnson’s plantation on Lady’s Island. During the Civil War the house was used as a hospital. After the war Dr. Johnson reacquired his house for the sum of $2,000 in back taxes. The house remained in the Johnson family until 1981. The Italian Renaissance house is made of bricks covered in plaster. The house towers over an entire city block. The gardens contain hundreds of azaleas and camelias. Live oaks cover the yard as well. The garden also contains two ancient olive trees brought from the Mount Olives in the Holy Land.
The current house at 310 Federal Street was built sometime after the Civil War. It is known as Moorelands. It was built on the original tabby foundation of the home that burned in the 1890s. That home was used as a hospital during the war. The house sits beautifully against the backdrop of the Beaufort River.
The William Fripp House, or Tidewater is located at 302 Federal Street. It was built in 1830 by one of Beaufort’s wealthiest planters. He also owned more than 3,000 acres of land on St Helena Island with nine plantations. The home’s two-story portico faces the river to take advantage of the breeze.
Cassena sits at 315 Federal Street. Built in the early 1800s, the house was owned by sisters Ann B. Oswald and Mary Bell. After the Civil War the house was bought by a former slave of Mary Bell. The house remained in her family until it was severely damaged in the storm of 1893. It stood abandoned until 1898. The home was restored to its former glory.
The William Wigg Barnwell House sits two blocks away at 501 King Street. It formerly sat at the corner of Prince and Scott Streets until 1973. It was slated for demolition when the Historic Beaufort Foundation stepped in and saved the historic home. During the Civil War the house served as Union Hospital #4. The house stayed in the Barnwell family until 1895. The house next served as a school and apartment house. The house was purchased and restored by Savannah’s famous antiques dealer Jim Williams
411 King Street’s F.W. Sanders House was built in 1910 after the original structure burned in the Fire of 1907. Like so many of its neighbors, the house is built of heart-pine, but it contains mahogany woodwork.
Built in 1856, Little Taj stands proudly at 401 King Street. It looks out over a tidal basin The name refers to a modern reference due to the fact that a reflection of the house can be seen in the tidal pool across the road. The Beaufort style house was built to take full advantage of the breezes. A recent renovation revealed the corner supports of the house are made from limbs of trees that are six inches in diameter and were not sawed.
Located at 604 Pinckney Street, the Edward Means House was built between 1855-57. The brick mansion was used as Union Hospital #2 during the Civil War. The interior boasts marble mantles and a floating spiral staircase. The porches face south to capture the prevailing breezes.
The Paul Hamilton House, or the Oaks is located at 100 Laurens Street. Magnificent oaks shade the Italianate house that was built in 1855. Expansive porches wrap around two stories and three sides of this beautiful house. The house was abandoned in 1861 and used as Union Hospital #1. After the war Mr. Hamilton bid on his house and was given three days to secure the funds. He traveled to Charleston to do just that when his young son ran home to inform the family the home was going to be sold at sunset. Local citizens saved the day when they rallied to raise the funds to purchase the home in the name of Mr. Hamilton.
The Edgar Fripp House is commonly known as “Tidalholm” because the Beaufort River practically surrounds it. Located at 1 Laurens Street, this Italianate house was built in 1853 as a summer home. During the Civil War the home served as Union Hospital #7. According to family legend, when Mr. Fripp returned to Beaufort after the war, the house was being sold for taxes. He was regrettably unable to bid on the home. A Frenchman who was sympathetic to the South won the bid on the home. He then presented the deed to the former owner, then returned to France before the debt could be repaid.
The Berners Barnwell Sams House can be found at 201 Laurens Street. This home was built in 1852 with massive Doric columns and plantation-made brick. The flat roof is topped by a lovely balustrade. The Classic Revival home was used as a hospital during the Civil War. The dependency outback used to contain a cookhouse, blacksmith shop, laundry room, storeroom and servant’s quarters.
Elizabeth Hext House is located at 207 Hancock Street. Built in 1720, the house is considered to be one of the oldest homes in Beaufort. This early example of Beaufort architecture is set high on a tabby foundation. The house remained in her family until 1864, when it was sold by the US Tax Commission for $640.
The John Archibald Johnson House can be found at 804 Pinckney Street. This three-story house was built by Dr. Johnson in the 1850s. It was used as a hospital during the Civil War. The house sustained damage in the 1970s and slated for demolition when the Historic Beaufort Foundation purchased the property. It was resold to new owners who wanted to restore the historic property. The home reflects the prosperity of the time it was built. The wrap around piazzas can be accessed from multiple rooms, allowing breezes to enter the house in the summer.
The Talbird-Sams House sits at 313 Hancock Street. This simple example of Beaufort architecture was built around 1786. The house served as part of Union Hospital #3 during the Civil War.
The Robert Smalls House proudly stands tall at 511 Prince Street. Robert Smalls was born into slavery at this home in 1839, to the household of John McKee. At 12, Smalls was sent to Charleston, and remained there until the outbreak of the Civil War. He worked for the Confederacy on the CSS Planter. During a daring act of heroism, Smalls sailed the ship through the Charleston harbor to freedom. After presenting the ship to the Union Army he became a Union soldier. After the war he returned to Beaufort and bought the home where he was formerly a slave. After his return to Beaufort he was elected as the first African American Congressman.
The Daniel Hingston Blythewood House can be seen at 711 Prince Street. This house is another fine example of early Beaufort style. Mr. Blythewood was a British merchant and sea captain. He built this house in 1792 for his wife Elizabeth Taylor. She convinced him to give up life on the sea to become a Baptist missionary. The home is built on a tabby foundation and flanked with chimneys.
901 Prince Street is the site of the Frederick Fraser House. The 1803 home is built on a raised foundation and is fronted by double verandas. The exterior is made of brick covered in stucco and scored to resemble masonry blocks. The first-floor veranda is accessed by way of double stairs. A Palladian doorway accesses the second.
Beaufort’s lovely homes fan out in every direction from here. Take a walk and get lost on the beautiful streets framed in Spanish moss draped live oaks. Stroll through the church yards while you’re here. Bring the camera and capture the images for future viewing. Beaufort is sure to amaze you.
The Cypress Wetlands Rookery is located off Paris Avenue in Port Royal. This beautiful section of coastal wetlands is surrounded by a 0.6-mile paved trail loop that is wheelchair accessible. Birds that call the wetlands home include snowy egrets, great blue herons, hawks, eagles, owls, falcons, geese, ducks and other migratory shorebirds.
If you like to bird-watch, this is the place for you. Visitors can also spot alligators, turtles, snakes and other woodland creatures. The best time to see bird activity is between April and October. Dogs are welcome on the trail, but for their safety, they must always remain on a leash.
If you’re looking for a spot to enjoy birdwatching, this is the place for you. The rookery is a birdwatcher’s paradise. You should easily spot snowy egrets, especially if they have breeding plumage. The trail is full of cypress trees covered in Spanish moss.
The Cypress Wetlands Rookery is open during daylight hours. Public restrooms are located next-door in the Port Royal Police Station.
1700 Paris Ave, Port Royal, SC 29935
Sands Beach and Henry Robinson Boardwalk is just down the street. Located at the end of Sands Beach Road, this is the spot where Battery Creek flows into the Beaufort River. The boardwalk stretches for a ½ mile along Battery Creek. The panoramic views offered here are outstanding. Fishermen, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts enjoy this attraction.
A four-story observation tower can be found at one end of the boardwalk. Climb to the top to see amazing 360-degree views. Sunrise and sunset vistas are spectacular. Fishing and crabbing are excellent from the boardwalk. Bring your gear and catch dinner!
Sit in the sun and enjoy the views from the beach. This is also a great spot to search for shark’s teeth and shells. This is one of the few beaches where you can drive straight onto the beach and park your car. Pack a picnic, enjoy the water and hunt for treasures in the surf. If you enjoy kayaking, this is a great spot for you also.
Sit in the sun and enjoy the views from the beach. This is also a great spot to search for shark’s teeth and shells. This is one of the few beaches where you can drive straight onto the beach and park your car. Pack a picnic, enjoy the water and hunt for treasures in the surf. If you enjoy kayaking, this is a great spot for you also.
The Beaufort Historic District has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1969. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973. A city with this much architectural history is one you surely want to visit.
Beaufort, SC is a city rich in history and culture. Most of the homes located in the historic district pre-date the Civil War, thanks in part to the fact that its citizens fled the city before Union troops made their way into town. The city fell early during the war, surrendering on November 7, 1861. Beaufort became the headquarters of the US Army, Department of the South. Most homes were converted into hospitals, offices and officer’s quarters. One home was even re-purposed as a bakery.
The district is a mix of Federal, Neoclassical, Greek Revival and Victorian architectural wonders. The city is also known for its widespread use of tabby construction, using oyster shells, sand, lime and ash to make an early form of concrete. The raised basements of many Beaufort homes are made from tabby.
Some of the most iconic homes in Beaufort can be found along the waterfront of Bay Street. These homes, found in the areas known as the Bluff and the Point, sit just across the street from the scenic Beaufort River.
1411 Bay Street is home to the E. A. Scheper House. This house is believed to have been built in 1896. Originally it had intricate gingerbread trim, which was popular in the Victorian period. The house was bought in 1938 and almost completely rebuilt. The exterior was transformed into a more neo-Colonial style that we see today.
The Edward Barnwell-Geddes Dowling House is located next door at 1405 Bay Street. This house has had a very interesting past. The house has been dated at no older than 1815. Union soldiers used the roof as a signal station to communicate with soldiers through the passageway of Port Royal Sound to the Atlantic Ocean. Edward Barnwell was the grandson of Colonel John Barnwell, also known as Tuscarora Jack. He was an Indian fighter and founder of Beaufort. Two brothers once lived in the house. Because of their hatred for each other, they divided the house right down the middle. The nail holes can still be seen today along the floor. The house was owned by Broadway actress Maude Odell Doremus in the 1920s. The house was next purchased by the McTeer family in 1937. James McTeer was known as the high sheriff of the lowcountry. He was a big fan of Gullah culture and was called the white witch doctor.
Continuing down Bay Street, the John Joyner Smith House sits next. The actual address is 400 Wilmington Street, but the house faces Bay Street. This Federal-style home was built in 1813. A Greek Revival remodel was subsequently done to the house. During the Civil War a Federal military commander occupied the house along with his staff.
This 1883 Victorian sits proudly among its statelier neighbors at 1307 Bay Street. The William Ritchie House was built by a foot soldier from Connecticut who came to Beaufort during the Civil War. While stationed in Beaufort, Ritchie fell in love with the town and decided to make it his home.
The General Stephen Bull House is located next, at 1305 Bay Street. This 1910 house sits high on the bluff overlooking the Beaufort River. The cast iron fence that surrounds the house is said to have been cast from Swedish ore.
The Charles Edward Leverette House sits next door at 1301 Bay Street. This home was built in the early 1800s. The home is named after Reverend Leverette, who was the last rector of Old Sheldon Church, which now lies in beautiful ruins between Beaufort and Yemassee. The home was confiscated during the Civil War, but Reverend Leverette was lucky enough to petition to have his property returned. He regained ownership and it remained in his family until 1920
The Thomas Fuller House is more commonly known as the Tabby Manse. It sits at 1211 Bay Street. This house is one of the finest early homes in Beaufort. Built in 1786, this home resembles the Miles Brewton House of Charleston. This home is a great example of tabby construction. This early building material composed of oyster shells and lime mortar was used to cover the home. Tabby Manse was built by Thomas Fuller as a wedding gift for his bride Elizabeth Middleton. The house was built on a raised basement to take advantage of river breezes. The house was converted to a guest house in the 1870s. Francis Griswold wrote A Sea Island Lady while staying in the house.
The Robert Means House can be found next, at 1207 Bay Street. The house was built around 1800 by a prominent Beaufort merchant and planter. The stately two-story veranda wasn’t added until the early 1900s.
The John A. Cuthbert House sits just down the street at 1203 Bay Street. Built around 1810, the house underwent significant remodeling in the late 1930s. The Federal-style house was given Victorian elements in the form of gingerbread trim and a south porch expansion. The house operates as the Cuthbert House Bed and Breakfast today.
The William Elliott House is commonly known as the Anchorage. This magnificent home at 1103 Bay Street was built around 1800. The double verandas are topped with a roof line balustrade. The house was used by Union troops as a hospital and was designated as the Mission House. The home was greatly altered in the early 1900s when stucco was added to the exterior. The Anchorage was threatened with demolition, but the Historic Beaufort Foundation stepped in to save it. Today this protected property serves as the Anchorage Bed and Breakfast.
The George Elliott House sits proudly on a corner lot at 1001 Bay Street. When originally built, the house had no upper veranda. The second story porch was added in the late nineteenth century. The three-story 7,980 square foot home is built on a raised basement. This stately home with massive columns was used as a hospital during the Civil War. Union soldiers were posted upstairs where they kept an eye on the harbor.
Just two blocks away sits the Verdier House at 801 Bay Street. This c.1804 Federal-style mansion was built by and named after John Mark Verdier, a wealthy merchant and planter. Verdier acquired wealth trading indigo, lost his money then revived his wealth by planting sea island cotton. This home served as Union army headquarters and the adjutant general’s office from 1861-1865. Today the house is open as a museum Monday – Saturday, from 10:30 – 3:30.
The Wallace House sits just steps away at 611 Bay Street. This 1908 home was built after the Great Fire of Beaufort in 1907. The fire was started by three boys, all under 10, who sneaked into a barn to smoke cigarettes. The wrought iron fence in front dates to the early 19th century. The brick home’s double verandas are accentuated with arched doors and window trim.
The William Joseph Thomas House can be found at 607 Bay Street. Built in 1909, this Victorian structure was built of concrete stone blocks from materials brought from Charleston. The two-story porches and large windows are positioned to catch the breezes coming off the Beaufort River
The Lewis Reeve Sams House sits on the Point at 601 Bay Street. This three-story 7,600 square foot Beaufort Style house was built in 1852. The double verandas are held up beautifully with Doric and Ionic columns. The beautiful house was used as a hospital and headquarters for General Rufus Saxon during the Civil War. According to local folklore, the house was spared from fire in 1907 by the efforts of the Waterhouse cotton gin workers. They extinguished the flames by forming a bucket brigade and using wet blankets. This house was also used in the movie Prince of Tides.
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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.