As you travel through the Lowcountry on Interstate 95, you will find convenient rest stops, restaurants and hotels. Some of the towns that provide these services include Walterboro, Yemassee, Point South, Ridgeland and Hardeeville.
Walterboro, located in Colleton County, is a popular stop for travelers, and is situated just off I-95 at Exits 57 and 53. Settled in 1784 as a summer retreat for nearby plantations, this attractive city abounds with fine examples of 19th century architecture including many lovely churches dating even earlier. The South Carolina Artisans Center is located in Walterboro providing a retail outlet for the state’s finest folk art and crafts. Walterboro is home to the Colleton County Rice Festival held annually during the last full week in April. This festival commemorates the rice growing heritage of the late 1700’s. Walterboro was originally founded as a haven for rice growers and their families and presently has approximately 1,200 motel rooms and a dozen restaurants.
Yemassee, located at Exit 38, off Interstate 95, was named after a Cherokee Indian tribe. Located in Hampton County, this land of deep forests, swamps and ponds is today famous to many sportsmen, hunters and fishermen for its exceptional hunting grounds and excellent river and creek fishing. Evidence of the area’s first residents, the native Indians, can still be seen through such fascinating river names as the Salkehatchie, Combahee and the Coosawhatchie. Searching for Indian artifacts is a popular pastime, especially over a freshly plowed field after a good rain where many an arrowhead or pottery shard can be discovered. Other attractions include antebellum plantations, historic churches and cemeteries. Yemassee, just one mile off of I-95, hosts an annual Shrimp Festival the fourth weekend in September, celebrating the abundance of shrimp caught locally each year.
Point South, at Exit 33 off of Interstate 95, is also a popular stop for travelers. Located at the gateway to Beaufort and Charleston, The Lowcountry Visitors Center & Museum, housed in the old “Frampton House” (built in 1868) is one of the only plantation homes in the area open to the public. The Center is open, free of charge, seven days a week from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm and offers visitor information, antique “parlor room”, exhibits from the ten museums in the Lowcountry, the South Carolina Artisans Center, as well as a special display about movies which have been filmed in the Lowcountry. Civil War earthworks lie under the 250 year old live oak trees in the back yard of the old house. The Center’s gift shop includes items such as t-shirts, sweet grass baskets, South Carolina merchandise and home-made food items. Two campgrounds are located at Point South, both moderately priced and convenient. Convenience and moderately priced accommodations, camping and restaurants make Point South an excellent stop for travelers.
Ridgeland, at exits 21 and 22 off of Interstate 95, is located in Jasper County, named after young revolutionary war hero Sergeant William Jasper. Close to Savannah, Hilton Head Island and Beaufort, the area still maintains the simple, original flavor of the Lowcountry. The Blue Heron Nature Trail at Exit 21, behind the Comfort Inn, makes for a nice stop. This free walking trail surrounds a pond with a fountain. View water birds and turtles, feed large fish and ducks. Moderately priced accommodations and recreation make for a good base from which to explore the Lowcountry region. Known as a sportsman’s paradise, Ridgeland has a number of nearby hunting clubs and plantation grounds where wildlife abounds. The Savannah River, freshwater lakes and salt water rivers make it perfect for hunting, fishing and boating. Festivals are a big part of the County and a great opportunity to soak up the local ambience. At the Gopher Hill Festival, held each year on the first Saturday in October, you’ll find authentic Lowcountry cooking, hand-made crafts and other events which are fun for the whole family.
Hardeeville, at Exit 5 off of Interstate 95 just north of the Georgia border. This convenient stop for inexpensive accommodations and restaurants is home to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1927. This free, four-mile driving tour of old rice fields and marshlands was built to protect numerous species of wildlife. Take a break from traveling and let the family enjoy looking for native plant life, ducks, water birds, deer and if you’re very quiet, you will most likely see alligators laying in the sun. Hardeeville is home to numerous fireworks outlets and an antique mall. Hardeeville’s Catfish Festival, held annually on the third weekend in September features fresh fried catfish, arts, crafts, parade, street dance, boat races and kiddie rides.