Free Activities on Edisto Island, SC

Where Nature and Relaxation Rule along the Atlantic Coast

A premier treasure of South Carolina vacations can be found on Edisto Island. Lying south of Charleston, it’s perfect for a day or multi-day trip.

The natural beauty and terrific weather are just some of the claims little Edisto Island can make. Add in compelling history, welcoming natives, fabulous shopping, and diversity of accommodations and the list are complete. She lies on a strip of land approximately 55 miles in length and close to both the refined gentility of Charleston, South Carolina, and the slow relaxed pace of Beaufort. An easy half-day drive, or less, can be made from Charlotte, Savannah, and Atlanta.

Come by land or sea and be prepared to lose your heart to some of the same charms that captivated early Spanish explorers who named the island – Oristo in the 16th century.

To experience the geological beauty as the conquistadors and subsequent English settlers did head to the nearby ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge. Named for the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers, and thanks to multiple conservation groups the 350,000-acre site remains one of the eastern United States’ virginal regions. Birders flock here for seasonal views of painted buntings, wooded ducks, and more. Also on the Edisto unit can be found Grove Plantation, the 1828 plantation now on the National Register of Historic Places, and one of the few antebellum mansions still remaining in the area.

Some choose to visit the ACE by canoeing or kayaking. Finding a guide or equipment is easy, and the memories long-lasting.

As in many parts of the south – the arrival of loggerhead turtles is a major summer event and one that requires human cooperation. Residents, on the ocean side, are required to turn off all outside lights as to not confuse the females, which can deposit up to 120 eggs in the sand. The typical nesting season is from May to October.

Seashell seekers discover paradise on almost five miles of the sands and surf along Edisto Beach. Frequent finds are shark’s teeth.

Where horses once tread – Edisto Island is now bike and golf cart crazy. Renting them is a snap as is tooling around the island on them. Just a reminder – only bicycles can ride along the numerous designated paths. Also for those in motorized vehicles – speed limits range from 20mph to 35 mph, which is usual for a town without a single traffic light.

Over one half of a century of low country adventures with snakes can be found at the Edisto Island Serpentarium. Thanks to the efforts of local brothers Heyward and Ted Clamp a large variety of southeastern reptiles can be found in a diversity of natural settings. Be sure to check on the day’s free lectures to further your experience.

The region’s fascinating past can be learned, and appreciated, through a visit to the Edisto Island Museum. See how an entire stewpot of American history from Edistow Native Americans to Spanish pirates, indigo, cotton and rice planters, and forward-thinking educators each left their mark here.

Accommodations can be as charming as the surroundings. B&B’s abound or perhaps a stay at Wyndham Ocean Ridge where golf and tennis facilities are offered are more your taste.

When planning your next southeastern vacation – Edisto Island should be high on your list.

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