With a steeple that towers over the town of Beaufort, SC, the Parish Church of St. Helena is one of the oldest churches in North America. Established in 1712 as a colonial parish of the Church of England, this church still serves the community it surrounds. The original church was almost completely demolished in 1824 to allow for an expansive rebuild.
The church and grounds were used by the Union Army as a hospital during
their occupation of Beaufort during the Civil War. It is rumored that they even
used slabs from the graveyard as operating tables.
Luckily the church was spared from ruin, and after the war
services resumed. The church was preserved, and its steeple tower was extended
in 1942. The historic church boasts white pillared columns on its stately
The neighboring churchyard is just as historically significant as
the church itself. Many founding fathers of Beaufort are buried here. One of
the first church members laid to rest here was Colonel John Barnwell, also
known as Tuscarora Jack. He was an important officer during the Tuscarora (1712)
and Yemassee Wars (1715). Two British officers killed during the Battle of Port
Royal are buried here as well. It is also the resting place of two Confederate
officers. Lt General Richard H Anderson and Brigadier General Stephen Elliott.
While visiting Beaufort stroll over and explore the church and its
graveyard. Be sure to bring a camera to capture the beautiful church exterior
and gravestones dating back to the 1700s. Your visit will give you a look back
in time to the beginnings of this great and historic city.
The beautiful historic city of Walterboro sits right on I-95 at exits 53 and 57. If you’re traveling, this is the perfect spot to get out and stretch your legs. There are many interesting attractions for you to chose from. You just might decide to make this historic city a part of your itinerary.
Walterboro was founded in 1783 as a summer retreat for local planters. Plantations were sources of malaria during the summer months so towns like Walterboro were started on higher elevations away from bodies of water. The original settlement was started on a hilly area covered with pine and hickory trees. It was named Hickory Valley.
The Walterboro Wildlife Center is in the heart of downtown Walterboro. It is an interpretive exhibit hall showcasing the plant and animal life that is present in the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary and throughout the Lowcountry.
Specimens of native Colleton County wildlife are on display in aquariums throughout the center. The Wildlife Center features snakes, turtles, frogs, fish and alligators!
Just three minutes from I-95, the Walterboro Wildlife
Sanctuary combines history, culture, recreation, and education into a southern
lowland setting. The 600 plus acre sanctuary features what may be the only
“braided creek” swamp accessible to the public.
A completed network of boardwalks, hiking, biking and canoe
trails provide a perfect vantage point to observe the diversity of wildlife
inhabiting the black water bottomland. Native populations of wild turkey, deer,
raccoons, beaver, otter, mink, opossum, squirrels, fox and wildcats have been
spotted along the trail. The sanctuary’s Washington Street entrance is located
only steps from Walterboro’s main historic district.
TheColleton County Museum & Farmers Market is located just down the road at the end of historic Washington Street. This museum features exhibits represent the county’s history, culture, natural resources, plantations, as well as Revolutionary and Civil War. There’s also a children’s play area.
The farmers market offers local produce on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The site also has a Marketplace Café and a gift shop that sells local produce, crafts and home goods.
Located in Walterboro’s first settlement of Hickory Valley, the Bedon Lucas House is the location of the Colleton County Historic & Preservation Society. The house was constructed in 1820. For tours please visit the Colleton County Historical & Preservation Society website.
The streets of the Hickory Valley District are laden with beautiful homes. A walk is the best way to appreciate these lovely homes. Take a nice, leisure stroll to photograph your favorites. Hampton Street is a favorite walking destination. Start here and let your feet guide you through the neighborhood.
The South Carolina Artisans Centeris another must-see destination in Walterboro. The center is housed in a restored eight-room Victorian cottage downtown, which showcases over 300 local artists. Artwork ranges from traditional and indigenous folk art to contemporary. There are educational exhibits, craft demonstrations and live performances as well. Each piece is truly unique. Pieces range from glass work, jewelry, paintings and sweet grass baskets.
A visit to the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial is a great way to honor these brave men who fought for our country. Located on the grounds of the Lowcountry Regional Airport, the monument commemorates the heroism of the valiant young men who enlisted during WWII to become America’s first African American military airmen. These men spent the final three months of combat training at this airport, which was then called the Walterboro Army Airfield. Here airmen learned to fly the Air Cobra, Thunderbolt and Kitty Hawk airplanes.
The city of Walterboro is known for its antique shopping. Washington Street has a vast assortment of antiques stores loaded with interesting finds.
While antiquing, head to the end of
Washington Street and right into a Walterboro landmark. Hiott’s Pharmacy Soda
Fountain. This icon is a great spot to wet your whistle and step back in time.
The pharmacy fountain has been operational since 1969.
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, which were used for growing cotton, rice, and other crops. During the 1865 Campaign of the Carolinas, General Sherman’s troops marched from Savannah to Columbia. Along the way, they burned the plantation house and all the farm buildings that stood on this site.
As a delegate of the 1860 SC Convention John Frampton
signed the Ordinance of Succession, pulling the state out of the Union.
In 1868, just after the war, he built the current farmhouse on the
property and continued to work the land. It is probable that the farm operated
with sharecropping and tenant farming.
Major renovations were made to the old house around 1930, including adding indoor plumbing and electrical wiring. At the same time sheetrock replaced the old lath and plaster walls. The property remained in the Frampton family until the 1940s.
The house was sold to the Campbell family, who lived here for many years. They renovated the house and removed the second story porch which was unsafe. A room and bathroom were added to the back of the second story.
According to Arthur Campbell, “My family and I lived in this house during the time hurricane Gracie hit in September 1959 – one of only three category 4 hurricanes to hit in one hundred and sixty-five years.
The old house shook on her foundation with doors and windows rattling, wind howling but alas she held true.
My father had the shutters closed but we could still see well enough out to see a huge cedar tree being thrown across the yard and past the house.
It was a direct hit and I remember being allowed to walk out in the yard and see the blue skies above during the eye of the hurricane. Myself and four siblings were hustled back in the house when the backside of the hurricane struck with enormous intensity.
I was just six years old and I shall never forget…”
Charles Frazer and the Sea Pines Company purchased the house in 1970 and used it as a point of sale for his Hilton Head development. More renovations were made at this time. New wiring and central heat and air were installed. In 1974 the house was once again sold to Wyman Boozer, a Columbia developer. It fell into disrepair and was slated to be demolished. There was even talk of bulldozing the house and surrounding oaks to make way for an interstate truck stop.
In December of 1993, the house and four acres were kindly donated to the Lowcountry Tourism Commission for the creation of the Lowcountry Visitor’s Center and Museum. This assured the restoration of the old farmhouse.
The preservation of the magnificent old oaks that frame the building and the Civil War earthworks in the backyard (erected by Robert E. Lee’s troops in defense of the important railroad supply line for the Confederacy from Savannah to Charleston) were also guaranteed.
Major renovations were done to the Frampton House which prepared it for a new life. The Lowcountry & Resort Islands Tourism Commission offices are upstairs, and the downstairs serves as the Lowcountry Visitor’s Center and Museum. The rooms also contain historic displays and representations from Lowcountry museums.
Frampton Plantation 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 travel questions and SC Lowcountry information.
Northbound from Robert Smalls Parkway to Clarendon Rd.
The Spanish Moss Trail is an expanding rails-to-trail greenway running from Clarendon Road in northern Beaufort County to Port Royal along the historic Magnolia Line Railroad, which once connected Yemassee to Port Royal. This was an active railroad line from 1870-2003. This 10-mile greenway has become a must-experience activity for locals and tourists alike. The 12-foot-wide paved trail is a great space for walking, running, biking, skating, scooting, strolling or even fishing. The trail is handicap accessible, and parking lots are provided.
The Spanish Moss Trail offers spectacular views of Lowcountry marshes, waterways, coastal wildlife and historic points of interest. Points of interest are well marked along the trail. Pets on a leash are welcome on the trail.
Heading west, from Robert Smalls Parkway passes along Pick Pocket Plantation. A historic marker tells the history of this mid-19th century plantation with the funny name. According to the marker, little is known of the original owners, or how it got its name. The property changed hands many times before George W. Trask bought the farmhouse and its 214 acres. From this location, Trask and his sons ran the most prosperous truck farming businesses in Beaufort County. The property stayed in the Trask family until 2006. The house and 15 acres of the property sold to John H. Keith. He restored the dilapidated farmhouse and moved eight other historic buildings to the site.
The trail travels along Highway 21 for a while. Lowcountry natives like this stretch because it includes a hill. The trail dips beneath a driveway and under a tunnel. Hills are a rarity in this part of the state. Biking down a hill is a real treat!
The trail pulls away from the highway and over a trestle that has lovely views of Albergotti Creek.
The Roseida Road Trailhead is next. It has ample parking spaces and a trail map. Handicap spots are available. There is also a Parker’s Gas Station at this access point that has public bathrooms. The trail next heads over a wetland area and accessed by a beautiful boardwalk. This leads directly in front of the Marine Corps Air Station entrance. Cross at the light and head further up the trail.
This area was also the site for the Battle of Port Royal Island. This battle was one of 250 military engagements fought in South Carolina. Under the direction of General William Moultrie, 300 SC militiamen defeated the British in this area in 1779. This American success gave a needed boost to our troops after the fall of Savannah the previous year. On a side note – two signers of the Declaration of Independence fought in this battle: Captain Edward Rutledge and Captain Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Another historic site located along this path is Beaufort’s famous Hwy 21 Drive-in. This family fun attraction has been around since 1978. It closed briefly from 2003-2004, then reopened with much fanfare. It now has two screens and is one of only three drive-ins in South Carolina. The 80-ft tall screens have a digital format and show movies year-round. This is an attraction enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
As you travel further along the trail the pavement ends and a dirt and gravel section begins. This will be paved in the future. Pavement begins again as you near the Clarendon Road access point. This is the spot of Clarendon Plantation. In 1928 H.W. Corning bought 5,000 acres overlooking the Whale Branch River which he called Clarendon Plantation. This estate contains the remains of SC governor Paul Hamilton, who also served as Secretary of State during the War of 1812. Due to its proximity to the Magnolia Line Railroad, the property has been used as a sawmill, turpentine production, timber, cattle ranching, quail hunting, hay and other crops. It has also seen its share of fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities.
The Clarendon trailhead is the end of the journey – for now. It has a great parking area and for anyone wishing to complete the entire trail in one day, it’s a great place to park and start. The plans call for additional pathway to be added that will lead through and end at the river. The master plan map also shows additional path at the opposite end leading into Port Royal, and a path into downtown Beaufort.
These additions will be a great asset for what is already a wonderful Beaufort attraction. Plan on spending at least two hours to bike the northern side of the Spanish Moss Trail. Give yourself more time if you’re walking. Be sure to pack supplies for your journey. Make sure to stop along the way to read historic markers and enjoy views from the trestles. If you get tired just take a break on one of the many benches provided. Stay tuned for a future post on additions to the trail.
The Hampton Museum & Visitor’s Center is located at 15 Elm Street, across from the County Courthouse. Visitors are welcome to browse the displays on any given Thursday or Saturday, from 2 – 5 p.m.
This architecturally significant building started life as the Bank of Hampton in 1892. The two-story Italianate influenced brick building was designed by French architect Vincent Fontaine. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bank closed its doors in 1930, but the upstairs space was rented as a law office until the 1960s. The structure was given to the town in 1987 and it became a museum shortly after. The bank’s original vault and safe with hand painted doors are still intact today.
This museum and visitors center exhibits collections relevant to Hampton County. Visitors will find exhibits of Indian lore, military artifacts, antique medical equipment and Watermelon Festival memorabilia. A children’s room is included for younger visitors. Local artists and craftsmen also display their creations here. Genealogy information for this area is also available. Information on a self-guided walking tour of downtown Hampton can be found inside as well. A trip to the museum and visitors center is free, but donations are accepted. 803-943-5318
Just down the street at 702 1st St West, visitors will find the Hampton County Historical Society and the Hampton County Museum @ The Old Jail! The Hampton County Historical Society takes great pleasure in enriching the lives of residents and visitors through interpreting and promoting the rich history of the many communities within Hampton County. Collected and preserved artifacts, materials and family histories are exhibited for the benefit of residents and visitors through the society-sponsored museum.
The society also develops and presents public educational programs and events that highlight and explore Hampton culture and heritage, and the society encourages historic preservation by supporting the placement of historical markers at sites of significant interest throughout the communities of Hampton County.
Located in the old jailhouse, the Hampton County Museum artifacts include Civil War memorabilia, maps and uniforms. Visitors can also find exhibits from World Wars I and II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The County Jail was built in 1878 and served the people until 1976. Second floor cells have been preserved and are a distinctive museum attraction for the County Historical Society. This building is also on the National Register of Historic Places. The Hampton County Museum at the Old Jail is open Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. & 3 – 5 p.m. 803-943-5484
The Hampton Colored School can be found at 608 1st St West. Built in 1929, this was the educational facility for Hampton’s African American children.
This structure replaced a dilapidated one-room schoolhouse. The land was purchased by local citizens. Once the acreage was secured, Ervin Johnson, an African American carpenter, constructed the frame building with help of volunteers from his community.
The school served students through the eighth grade. When Hampton Colored High School was built in 1947, this school became its cafeteria. The facility has been restored and named to both the South Carolina and the National Register of Historic Places. The museum serves as a repository of Black History in Hampton. The museum is open Wednesdays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 803-943-2951
Brunson Museum and Visitors Center is housed in the original town hall. This unique museum contains a wonderful collection of artifacts, paintings and other memorabilia documenting the history of the Brunson area. The building was listed in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, as the only octagonal town hall ever built on stilts.
Built 1906, this structure was used as a municipal office and meeting place for the mayor and councilmen of Brunson. It was built over the town’s artesian well to provide protection and shade. Benches were placed around the well to provide a recreational spot for the towns people. While the open arena under the town hall was planned for pleasure, it was also used as the town’s voting place. It was even the scene of one election slaying. Townspeople will tell you that many of cotton crops were planned there. In 1952 the artesian well was covered and a modern water supply was installed. The tiny town hall was crowded out by the modern highway and rail systems, so in 1959, it was moved to its current location and the stilts were removed. The town hall continued to serve as the center of town government until 1996.
The museum offers a wonderful collection of artifacts, photographs, paintings, and other memorabilia documenting the history of Brunson and the surrounding area.
The Brunson Museum and Visitors Center is operated under the authorization of the Town of Brunson through a volunteer board. Hours of operation are Thursday 2-5 p.m. or by appointment. The Museum is located at 800 Railroad Avenue in Brunson. 803-632-3363
Southbound from Robert Smalls Parkway to Port Royal
The Spanish Moss Trail is an expanding rails-to-trail greenway running from northern Beaufort County to Port Royal along the historic Magnolia Line Railroad. This 10-mile greenway has become a must-experience activity for locals and tourists alike. The 12-foot-wide paved trail is a great space for walking, running, biking, skating, scooting, strolling or even fishing. The trail is handicap accessible, and parking is provided.
The Spanish Moss Trail offers spectacular views of Lowcountry marshes, waterways, coastal wildlife and historic points of interest. Points of interest are well marked along the trail. Pets on a leash are welcome on the trail. Doggie bag stations are available as well. There’s even a place to pump up your tires at the Depot Road access point. You can also find recreational fishing spots on various trestles along the trail.
Bringing a bottle of water is a good idea. You can refill it at any of the trailheads. There are also two restroom/port-a-potty facilities at the Broome Lane and Depot Road Trailheads. The Westvine Trailhead has equipment for push-ups and pull-ups.
From one of the trestles it was easy to spot a family of wood storks taking an afternoon nap. These wading birds are rather humble looking when at rest but are beautiful in flight. Also visible along the way are butterflies, king fishers and many other wading birds.
Fishing is great fun on the Spanish Moss Trail. Bring your supplies but remember to take your refuse with you when you leave.
Along the way visitors encounter the remains of the Seacoast Packing Company. This building began life as a meat packing plant, with hopes of encouraging farmers to raise livestock. This venture failed almost immediately. It later went on to be used as a grocery warehouse, a tomato canning plant and eventually a pickle packing plant. This building was once surrounded by other structures important to the railroad. Today it is the only remaining reminder of the once busy railroad area.
Another reminder of days gone by is the Charles E. Danner & Co. Grocery Warehouse. This remaining brick building was once surrounded by other warehouses at the Port Royal Railroad Depot. Located outside visitors will find a map showing the locations of other businesses that used to grace the depot area.
Plan on spending at least two hours to bike the southern side of the Spanish Moss Trail. Give yourself more time if you’re walking. Be sure to pack supplies for your journey. Make sure to stop along the way to read historic markers and enjoy views from the trestles. If you get tired just take a break on one of the many benches provided. Travels to the other side of Beaufort’s Spanish Moss Trail can be saved for another day.
Spending a day on the water with Captain Fuzzy Davis
Spending the day on the water in the South Carolina Lowcountry is always a good idea. Booking a charter fishing trip with Hilton Head’s nationally acclaimed Silva Dolla Fishing Charters with Fuzzy Davis is brilliant! Davis has been fishing the waters around Hilton Head for over 40 years.
He has been featured in magazines and television shows. Not to brag, but he has held the SC State Tarpon Record since 1986, and Saltwater Sportsman Magazine ranked him in the “Top 50 Boat Captains in the US”.
Davis’ skill on the water and great personality make him a
favorite for locals and tourists alike. He’s the boat captain my family calls
on for a day of fishing.
The day begins bright and early at the Boathouse dock. Davis
is ready and waiting. His boat is loaded with ice, bait, tackle, fishing
license, bottled water and all the fishing trivia you can handle.
After loading up, you will head off in pursuit of fish in the saltwater creeks, rivers, sounds or offshore. Inshore excursions focus on redfish and sea trout. Nearshore trips target Tarpon, shark, redfish, trout, and cobia.
The first catch of the day is always exciting. Per dad’s request, the group started fishing for sharks. It didn’t take long to start pulling in some beauties. This bonnethead shark put up quite the fight before being hauled on board. Bonnetheads live in subtropical waters from North Carolina to the Caribbean. They typically grow between two and five feet long.
The last catch of the day brought out the competition in the girls. They came out even though because one redfish weighs more while the other is longer.
After four hours of reeling in sharks, stingrays, and redfish, the fishing party was amply satisfied and exhausted. Great memories were made, and bonds were strengthened. The next morning plans were made for the next fishing excursion with Fuzzy.
Take a journey through unspoiled terrain at Webb WMA
A black water wonderland sits along the Savannah River in the heart of Hampton County. The Webb Wildlife Management Area is protected by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to protect and preserve the wildlife habitat on the historic property. This care has also created opportunities for public recreation.
Follow the brown binocular signs 2.7 miles from Garnet to the oak tree-lined drive that leads to the wildlife center complex. The office is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. -4:30 p.m.
Inside you’ll find maps and a restroom. Maps can also be found at the sign-in kiosk outside if your visit falls on a weekend. Follow the Bluff Lake directional signs to find the 2.1-mile Savannah River Nature Trail and a 1.2-mile canoe trail.
Webb WMA Wildlife
There are many opportunities along the way to spot local wildlife. Managed fields and openings are great places to spot white-tailed deer, fox squirrels, and turkeys. The Savannah River and its tributaries offer glimpses of alligators and turtles. Two oxbow lakes provide great opportunities for fishing and canoeing.
Webb WMA is featured in the South Carolina Nature Viewing Guide. This book showcases selected sites for nature observation in the state. The WMA also has a rookery where viewers can get glimpses of swallow-tailed kites, prothonotary warblers, painted buntings and even the extremely rare red-cockaded woodpecker.
driving through the upland pine forest, keep an eye out for white rings painted
on trees. These rings mark nest activity sites of the endangered red-cockaded
The Webb Wildlife Center Office
The Webb Wildlife Center office is housed in what was once the plantation house of a long-gone race-horse training facility. The state acquired the 5,866-acre property in 1941 and set out to protect and preserve the unspoiled property. The area’s pineland forest, wildlife openings, bottomland hardwood forests, and cypress-tupelo swamps make the perfect spot for a woodland hike along the Savannah River.
Bring your bug spray, binoculars, camera, and walking shoes. There are 40 miles of trails and roads to explore. The area is open year-round during daylight hours but will close on certain days for special hunts.
loop trail includes a section of boardwalk through a forested wetland filled
with ferns and native plants.
This 10-acre green space boasts a quarter-mile recycled rubber trail around a three-acre pond and a quarter-mile of boardwalk 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 trailside displays help visitors learn more about the native flora and fauna of Jasper County and the Lowcountry.
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 here. 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.
nature trail is open daily dawn to dusk. The Nature Center is open Monday thru
Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Here you’ll find many displays of
animals and other interesting facts about the South Carolina Lowcountry.
There is a parking lot that has plenty of room for a camper. The nature trail is also dog-friendly but be sure to pick up what you put down.
The Harold Turpin Park
The Harold Turpin Park is located very close by. It is a great spot to bring a picnic and lets the kids take a break from the back seat. The recently updated park has a treehouse and zip line, as well as a water feature and many other goodies.
The Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage
If you need more of a respite from I-95 traffic head into town just a few blocks to the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage. Their mission is to cultivate community experiences through education, preservation, and celebration of the region’s rich history and culture. Here you can see changing exhibits connected to the Lowcountry heritage.
3-D Honey Hill Battlefield Display Get a feel for how this significant battle of the Civil War played out. This display features a three-dimensional diorama of the Honey Hill Battlefield that took place in Ridgeland, South Carolina on November 30, 1864.
If you are in search of a great oceanfront campground, look
no further than Edisto Beach State Park. The park is rich in Native American history,
wildlife, hiking and biking opportunities, as well as two campgrounds, cabins
and 1.5 miles of pristine shell-covered beachfront.
The park is made up of 1,255 acres of maritime forest along
the beautiful SC coastline. There you will find the environmental learning center,
ranger station, and welcome station.
Edisto Beach, along with its neighboring Botany Bay, is famous for its seashells. While Botany Bay does not allow the collection of shells, Edisto Beach State Park does.
The Edisto Beach State Park also has 4 miles of ADA accessible trails for hiking and biking. These trails take you through maritime forest, historic monuments, and a Native American shell mound. These trails are also great for bird watching. Many shore and wading birds can be seen here.
The park is a nesting area for loggerhead sea turtles. You can also spot white-tailed deer, raccoons, alligators, bobcats, and opossums.
Furnished cabins sit nestled in the woods, and campsites can be found along the Edisto Island oceanfront or in the shaded maritime forest. There are 120 campsites that accommodate RVs or tents. There are seven cabins located on the salt marsh.
While visiting the environmental learning center you can learn
about the ACE Basin and more, featuring interactive displays including a touch
tank. The ACE Basin is an estuary that is made from the Ashepoo, Combahee and
Edisto Rivers. This is the largest undeveloped estuary along the Atlantic
Mornings at Edisto State Park can be spent hunting for
turtle tracks. You can also cast a line and enjoy some of the island’s best
fishing in Scott Creek Inlet. If you’re a boater, launch into Big
Bay Creek and enjoy a day of fishing or exploring the waters of the ACE Basin.
The park also includes picnic shelters and a park store.
The park offers a mile and a half of beach where surf fishing is allowed. Other locations include Steamboat Landing, Old bridge replaced by the McKinley Washington Bridge, and along the banks of Scott’s Creek along the Spanish Mount trail. There is also a small dock in the cabin area for cabin guests only.
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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.