Edisto Beach in South Carolina
When you reach the end of scenic byway SC Highway 174, you will arrive at Edisto Beach. Edisto, pronounced “EH dis tow”, is one of the most serene beaches found on the South Carolina coast. By water, Edisto Beach is located in St. Helena Sound where the ACE Basin meets the Atlantic Ocean. Travel by land or sea to reach this destination is truly a delightful stroll through nature at its finest. By land, the meandering Highway 174 takes you through and over marshes and rivers under a tranquil canopy of graceful oaks threaded with Spanish moss. By water, the ACE Basin offers abundant wildlife including majestic wood storks, egrets, herons and an American bald eagle or two if you are so lucky. The sea creatures that you may encounter can include dolphins, sea otters, alligators and a variety of fish to delight any angler.
The beach itself is “gently” developed with low-level beach houses situated along 4.5 miles of uncrowded, pristine beach, beside the many tidal creeks and rivers and throughout the interior. Countless families have spent generations of vacations exploring the natural beauty this special place has to offer. With its laid-back lifestyle and quiet, yet breath-taking, natural setting, this sea island destination provides everyone a chance to enjoy the slower pace of days gone by.
Visit the Edisto Chamber’s website at www.EdistoChamber.com or check out the links below.
Sights to See
Click on the name of the attraction for more information.
Bay Creek Park
3706 Dock Site Rd
This park is owned by the Town of Edisto Beach and is an excellent place to try your hand at fishing or crabbing off the dock. There are open areas for a family picnic or a romantic walk with a spectacular view of the marsh surrounding Big Bay Creek. There is an intreperative center there and on Wednesdays, they have an Arts and Crafts and Farmers Market, weather permitting. Bay Creek Park is also a great venue for different festivals during the year.
Botany Bay Plantation
Hwy 174, Edisto Island, (843)953-9300. Botany Bay Plantation, a 4,630-acre tract located on Edisto Island, is now open for public access. The ecologically and historically significant property was privately maintained until recently by former owner, Margaret Pepper. The late Mrs. Pepper preserved the natural integrity of the land and fostered a diverse array of habitats including maritime forests, salt marsh, tidal creeks, freshwater ponds and hammock islands. The tract is now managed by S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as a part of the agency’s Wildlife Management Area (WMA) program. DNR’s stewardship of the property will continue Peppers’ customary legacy towards enhancing habitat for all wildlife species while providing public access including compatible educational and recreational opportunities and uses of the land. Read our Blog Post on Botany Bay for more images and information.
Edisto Beach State Park and Interpretive Center
Edisto Beach State Park features trails for hiking and biking that provide a wonderful tour of the park. The park’s environmental education center is a “green” building with exhibits that highlight the natural history of Edisto Island and the surrounding ACE Basin. With the theme “Choosing to Protect Our Coast,” the Edisto Interpretive Center helps promote the wise use of coastal resources. It is headquarters for Edisto Beach State Park’s interpretive programs and curriculum-based field studies, and for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ education and research services.
(843)869-4330 (photo by Wendie Smith)
Edisto Island Serpentarium
1374 Hwy 174, Edisto Island (843)869-1171
The Edisto Island Serpentarium is a culmination of more than 50 years of snake hunting adventure and experience by brothers Ted and Heyward Clamp of Edisto Island, SC. The modern indoor facility and beautifully landscaped outdoor gardens house a wide variety of reptiles, mostly those collected by the Clamp brothers and native to the southeastern United States. The reptiles in the outdoor gardens are not displayed behind glass but are viewed by visitors who look over low-walled enclosures to observe the snakes living in streams, climbing in trees or basking on stumps or logs exactly as they would be seen if encountered in the wild. Read our Blog Post on the Edisto Island Serpentarium.
Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge
8675 Willtown Rd, Hollywood (843)889-3084
ACE stands for the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto rivers basin system. The refuge is home to migratory and resident birds, reptiles and amphibians, fish and other wildlife. You can enjoy hiking and biking, photography, birding and observing other wildlife, hunting and fishing.
Located within the Edisto Unit is the Grove Plantation. Originally built by George Washington Morris in 1828. Today, the house is one of the few antebellum mansions left in the area after the Civil War. Come tour the historical home and rice fields today!
Old First Baptist Church
1644 SC Hwy 174, Edisto Island, (843)631-5040
This Church was founded and built in 1818 by the wife of an Edisto plantation owner, Hephzibah Jenkins Townsend. Many slaves worshiped here, and after the Civil War it was turned over to the African-American congregation. Descendants of 19th century members continue to worship today in the New First Baptist Missionary Church next door. The building is currently used by the Episcopal Church on Edisto.
Presbyterian Church on Edisto
2164 SC Hwy 174, Edisto Island, (843)869-2326
Established in 1685, the Presbyterian Church on Edisto Island is one of the oldest Presbyterian churches in the country. Tourists and genealogical researchers often frequent its historic graveyard, which dates back to 1787 and is the final resting place of many Edisto Island natives.
Trinity Episcopal Church
1589 SC Hwy 174, Edisto Island, (843)869-3568
Founded in 1774, the present church, consecrated in 1881, stands on the sight of the old sanctuary. The church was occupied by federal troops during the Civil War, destroyed by fire in 1876 and damaged by the hurricane of 1893. The sanctuary was rebuilt and features beautiful interior work done by a former slave. The old bead-board and blown glass windows have been lovingly preserved.